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July 14, 2013

reproductive rights

Click on the picture for a Story about reproductive rights; or, the lack thereof…



By Deborah Watkins

NCFM Treasurer


               So often any discussion about reproductive choices as they affect both genders immediately goes straight to the abortion issue. The discussion then turns into a debate between pro-life and pro-choice ideologies, and completely bypasses the broad spectrum of issues which affect reproductive rights in general. Also such discussion almost always completely ignores the fact that men’s concerns figure into these reproductive rights. How can men’s reproductive concerns be addressed, or the rights they ask for possibly be granted, when the male perspective never gets talked about or written about by those who deal with reproductive issues?

            The approach I want to use here is to discuss the reproductive rights issue, and keep this discussion at least somewhat separate from arguments around abortion. Views on abortion can then be discussed but this discussion can be set forth with no stance on abortion being debated. The main focus then is on men’s reproductive rights, with other implicit issues also addressed such as matters of equity in the child support system.



            Most aspects of current law surrounding reproductive right and child support violate men’s basic civil rights. I cannot help but feel sympathy for men who want to be parents, yet have no say in the future of a pregnancy  they helped create. Me’s reproductive rights in a pregnancy can be addressed without arguing the morality of abortion; there are plenty of other perspectives which clearly show that men are being violated regarding the right to control their own reproductive and parental destinies. One does not have to be pro-life to see how unjust it is that a man cannot stop an abortion, yet can be held completely responsible for the resulting child if the woman, who first wanted an abortion, ends up changing her mind and chooses to go ahead and have the child. Men’s reproductive freedom—or lack thereof—is, in my opinion, the most obvious and disgusting example of this country’s hypocrisy. Men have been completely stripped of their reproductive rights, while at the same time men are held fully responsible for the decisions they are not allowed to be part of.



            We do not have to even look at abortion laws to show that reproductive rights are grossly imbalanced. Even if abortion were illegal, and even if abortion ceased completely, men would still have responsibilities far exceeding their rights when it comes to their parental destiny. For example:


            Many states have feeble, or nonexistent, notification laws regarding babies being made available for adoption. A woman can very easily deliver her child and offer it up for adoption without ever actually notifying the father as to what is happening to his child.

            In most states that do have notification laws, running an ad with the man’s name in an obscure newspaper is considered reasonable effort to notify him that he is to become a father. Therefore, a man fully wishing to be a parent, and having become on biologically, has no say in whether or not he actually can be an active father. His rights to help decide the future of his own children are non-existent—unless the woman is willing to give him those rights.

Imbalance#2—Child Support (part a)

            In situations where the parents have not married, most states operate with a child support system that allows child support wage garnishment to be applied before paternity is proved. The man then has to request a DNA test to absolve him of child support for children that are not biologically his own.

Imbalance#3—Child Support (part b)

            Most states provide that any child conceived during a marriage must be supported by the husband of the mother, even if proved that the child is not his.

Imbalance#4—Child Support (part c)

            In all states, post-divorce enforcement of child support payments is mostly or completely separate from issues of visitation. The child support system is designed to collect money—nothing more. The legal system does not care if a child is being allowed to have both parents in his/her life.

            Reproductive freedom should include the right, as a parent, to be with the child you are supporting. While domicile restriction are becoming more prevalent—making it harder for custodial parents to move children far enough away to make visitation difficult or impossible—this is unlikely to ever solve the problem of male parents finding that visitation is difficult, expensive, or so infrequent as to sabotage active parenting. Children should have the right to both parents, and they simply do not.


            Several states have now passed “legal abandonment” laws. These laws allow mothers to abandon their newborn children at approved places, such as hospitals, firehouses, and police stations. These laws give women another way out of parental responsibility, with no consequences. They deny the father any right to claim his own child. At the same time, they continue to deny him the right to legally “abandon” a child he does not wish to support.


(See how long it took us to get here?):

            Being pro-choice, I am pleased that abortion remains a legal alternative to parenthood. I will not, however, get into the abortion debate here. What I say is that giving only a woman the right to terminate a pregnancy and never considering the father’s right to terminate that pregnancy is simply hypocrisy.

            We need a system that either: 1) allows men to also walk away—a legal, on paper abortion—even when the mother wished to go ahead and become a parent, or 2: allow men to have a say in whether an abortion will occur. The problem with choice #2 is that if we give men power to prevent abortions, then they would also have the power to force abortions.

            I do not know anyone on either r side of the abortion debate who would like choice #2. If you are pro-choice, you might possibly be in favor of allowing a man in most instances to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term; but you would never want a man to force a woman, against her will, to continue a pregnancy that would endanger her physical health. If you are pro-life, you would not want a man to force a woman to have an abortion against her will—endangering her mental health and (in the process, according to our ideological view) killing the child.

            So as long as abortion is legal for women, I feel that men should be allowed their own “abortion”: the legal right to walk away from a child they choose not to have. A right which women already possess.


            Consider again the imbalances. Women have the following choices: celibacy (since no sex, as a birth control method, works 100% of the time), adoption, abandonment, abortion, and a child support system that makes it easy for them to get paid to have children and even deny the father any rights to see them. Men have the following choices: celibacy. Celibacy is the only foolproof way for a man to not be burdened with children he did not choose, or heartbroken by the loss of children he truly wanted.

            Every law this country has regarding parenthood and child support is designed to make choices as easy as possible for women, with no consideration for men. This not only deprives men of the basic human right to control their own future, it also denies children access to fathers and the responsible parenting they want to provide.

            There is so much to be done on the issue of reproductive rights without even considering the abortion inequity. I understand that abortion is murder to some, so I applaud their efforts to save innocent children from death. So I choose to fight for the reproductive rights of men in areas where I feel we have a chance to succeed.


  • Even “celibacy” does not prevent paternity fraud, a condition in which a woman names any man she chooses to be Dear’Ol Dad. Not even if the man has had a vasectomy!
  • This article was written in 2010 or earlier. This is the first time it is published here.

reproductive rights

Reproductive rights must be given to both men and women!

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  1. tagoldich on July 15, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Thanks Deb for adding empathy toward men and accountability toward women into the larger equation here. Both are sorely lacking in the world of gender politics.

  2. Ivan on July 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Very good article . Men don’t have reproductive rights ‘!! Women are the one making the decision when to get pregnant and from who ! They know when they temperature is high and that they are Ovulating . And there is always the Morning After pill so there is really a no excuse for a women to say’ oooo it was not planed or it was an accident ‘ -I’m the victim ?!! I was Raped ‘ ….and men have responsibility to were a condom if you are not ready for fatherhood . Yes but girls lie some times to the guy so… ‘I’m on the pill .don’t worry ‘! So… I say , women have more power so they should bare the burden !! Period .
    Lets move on . Very important Harry ,this article from ‘Toronto Star ‘ proves that not only girls are victims in Afghanistan . Boys are abused and raped too !!Take a look – — Next time Hilary opens her mouth about Afghanistan – there ,boys are raped and sexually assaulted too mom !

  3. Go'Ff Al'Ex on July 15, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    You forget one important point: Women who choose to be single mothers do abuse the system by making the tax payers pay for her choice. Her situation is not unwanted, she decided it, by a selfish choice and the community has to support her (community = all the workers, single men too!). How can this be acceptable?

    And while receiving state money or tax exemptions, those women dare to claim they are “independant”. It sickens me to pay for those selfish women…

  4. AlexB on July 14, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    “The problem with choice #2 is that if we give men power to prevent abortions, then they would also have the power to force abortions”

    Could someone clarify this line?I have trouble understanding this, if abortion laws were reformed to require the consent of both parents how would that give one parent power to force abortions?Personally I’d opt for supporting both option #1 and #2, ensuring the rights of both biological parents to be, well a parent, and in case of only one parent wanting the child then the responsibilities and rights should be given to that parent.The downside of course being that a woman might be forced to bring a pregnancy to term but in exchange for the nine months the child gets a life time and if the woman can opt out of parenthood after giving birth would that really be a bad deal overall?If not giving consent to abortion would result in the man(or woman) being held responsible for the child, I don’t think the law will result in misuse.

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