Let me run a vague thought through here.
Now, I'm a huge pro-choice advocate. I personally would never have an abortion. That does not mean that someone else should be kept from making that choice. I also reserve the right to have an abortion if I believe it's necessary, because I would rather spare my hypothetical child from a lifetime (however long or short) filled with pain from some unexpected defect. And, as I've written in a previous journal [link], I do NOT condone the idea of things being 'circumstantially' legal.
That being said, I find it a little disturbing when people on either side of the abortion/birth control argument disregard the men in the equation. In a previous journal [link], I pointed out the study that found that violent death (generally suicide and murder) actually account for more deaths in pregnant women and new mothers than the actual health risks of pregnancy.
Pregnancy does not only affect the woman. The man is also involved, if not in the same way. Take any one night stand with two adults consenting to sex. Or the two year marriage where they're still living on a prayer and ramen noodles. The family of six; they've had four children, and simply don't have the energy or space for another. The family of two--they don't want children, for whatever reasons. The constantly on-again-off-again couple, where the ups have him treating her like a queen, but the downs feature them fighting so loudly and violently the cops are being called. Or (sigh) the chronic single mother, with three babies and three baby daddies and she's just looking for a good man and a good time. I think everyone knows one of those. Hell, I know two.
The birth control fails. Now one man's life hangs in the balance, and the decision is not up to him.
If the woman chooses to keep the child, he is now a parent, just like she is. That child is now his financial responsibility, at the very least. His paycheck will be no longer his own. Depending on the man and his circumstances, he may feel the moral, ethical, or societal pressure to take care of that child in terms of custody, visitation, maintaining insurance, paying co-pays, splitting school costs, etc., etc. He may feel compelled to be in a relationship with a woman he might not otherwise have. After all, we even have a phrase for it: "Doing the right thing." Or in terms of coersion, the "shotgun wedding."
If the woman decides to put the child up for adoption, he has to agree. That can rack up some of those same problems, if he feels pressure from family or his own moral compass to act as a father. If the woman decides to ask him to give up his legal rights to the child, it's the same story.
And if she chooses to abort, he has no say in that whatsoever.
And, of course, let's not forget that one element that seems to be left out so often in these discussions: feelings. Imagine a man, being told that he's fathered a child--that little skip in the heart, that rush of excitement. I remember so clearly how thrilled/terrified/joyful/nervous I was when I saw that little plus sign.
Some men don't feel that.
They feel terror. They don't want children--perhaps not now, perhaps not ever. They feel like they're being obligated to pay for a mistake they made. They're regretting that one night they spent with that woman. They're wondering how they and their spouse are going to be able to afford another mouth to feed. They're desperately trying to figure out how to explain to their parents that they have to move home because a quarter of their paycheck is about to be garnished. They're grappling with the idea of 'doing the right thing' with someone they never intended on marrying in the first place. They're feeling pressure to take care of a child they never wanted, or intended, borne by a woman that they don't love, or sometimes even like.
Who can honestly say that men aren't 'involved' in pregnancy? If anything, I think not having that fetus/baby attached can be even more difficult.
My daughter was most definitely a wanted baby on my end. My ex and I planned to get pregnant. I thought he was as excited as I was, but apparently he got scared, and decided to kick me out right before our wedding. There wasn't a day I wasn't a little scared of being a mom, but I was able to look down at my swollen belly and feel her move and kick and her little heartbeat and know that she was real and that I loved her. Men can't really ever know that comfort. I mean, I know that a lot of women don't either, but at least some do.
I don't think my ex has been able to grasp the idea very well. He sees her about once a year at this point. He hates paying child support. He doesn't make any effort to contact her. She's five and a half now, and he's probably seen her about a month, total.
Ultimately, I think pregnancy should be in the hands of two people: the mother AND father. People who are forced into parenthood don't always become the best of parents. If two people get pregnant, and the man doesn't want to be a father, consider both circumstances.
For example, my roommate and I are in a sexual relationship. He's a very good friend of mine; we've known since before I knew my daughter's father. I'm still emotionally damaged from my ex, and have some amount of emotional scarring that keeps me from even wanting to look for a new relationship. Likewise, my roommate's fiancee died suddenly two years ago from an aneurism, and he's unable to emotionally connect with others. We have no intention of marrying or having children, but we both understand that contraception isn't 100% effective.
He doesn't want to be a dad. At all. The idea terrifies him, even in the abstract. Does that mean he should be relegated to monkhood, as the don't-want-babies-don't-have-sex-ers would say? Fuck that. He's an adult, and a human. Same for me.
BUT. That doesn't mean that I won't take his stance into account. We've already discussed the fact that I'm anti-abortion. For me. I cannot bring myself to abort a baby because I know that I would love it with all my heart and soul, just like I do Kelsa.
However, in deference to the fact that this hypothetical pregnancy will certainly be an accident, and unwanted on his end, I fully intend to offer him the opportunity to waive his legal rights and responsibilities. Hell, I'll even help hide it from his momma, if he asks, so that he doesn't have to feel pressure from her to step into a role he doesn't want. NO ONE should be forced into parenthood. And I don't feel it's right to force someone to pay for a lifetime for an accident. Or in this case, force our child to feel unwanted. All I ask is for my roommate's name on the birth certificate, and a promise for medical aid if our child has need of it (such as needing transplants or something like that.)
And I know someone might be asking "why not offer the same thing to that deadbeat baby daddy you already have?" My reason there also takes into circumstances. My ex and I had set the date for our wedding. We'd been common law married for two years, together two and a half. We agreed that we were going to stop protected sex and let it happen if it happened.
My ex and I didn't get pregnant on accident. We agreed to it, and he *changed his mind later.* Not just about the baby, but me as well. He never asked for an abortion, just for me to leave and he would 'come and visit.' And as I've told him before, our daughter isn't a puppy that you can un-adopt and send back to the pound. She's a living, breathing, human being with feelings and thoughts and understanding. Once she was born, she was his responsibility as well as mine, because he chose to help bring her into being. That he's a shitty parent is neither my fault nor hers. All I can do is be the best mom I can in his place, and hold him accountable for his choices.
All right; my 'vague thought' took a lot more space and energy than I intended. I need a nap.