Men often feel powerless at the whim of societal pressures to allow the mother to end their child’s life, and with no true legal rights for fathers regarding abortion, the ability to advocate for the life of your child seems impossible.
Fathers have no right to be notified of their partner’s decision to abort their child nor do they have the right of non-consent to the abortion. Upholding the rights of fathers to protect their preborn child’s life becomes a crucial stepping-stone to creating a pro-life culture and outlawing abortion. Gender roles provide balance within society, and when the issue of abortion is dominated by its impact on women, we regularly fail to recognize the impact on men.
Ask anyone who is pro-abortion whether they value consent; their answer will most likely be “yes.” Ask them whether they believe a man must consent to a woman aborting their child; their answer will most likely be “no.”
In Planned Parenthood v. Danforth, the Supreme Court found spousal consent for abortion is unconstitutional. Based on the standards enunciated in Roe v. Wade, the court argued the state cannot “‘delegate to a spouse a veto power which the [S]tate itself is absolutely and totally prohibited from exercising” and “the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgement of the pregnant woman’s attending physician.”
The court reasoned due to the woman’s labor of carrying the pregnancy, “the balance weighs in her favor.” Effectively, this creates a double standard; a mother can veto a father’s choice, but the father cannot veto the mother’s choice. Based on a secret passage about abortion found on the back of the Constitution revealed only by lemon juice and Benjamin Franklin’s bifocals, the father has no greater right to deciding the life of their child regarding abortion than that of the state; and within the same respect, a physician has a greater right than the father to decide the child’s fate.
A father’s right to be notified of their child’s abortion grants the opportunity for the father to protect his child’s life. Whereas a father who is notified and agrees to the abortion holds as equal a moral implication as the mother, the father who will advocate for life and is now granted the right to notification will do everything within his power to save his child.
According to a study published by the Guttmacher Institute in 2008, 16% of the women surveyed did not inform their partner of a decision to abort their child. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court decided a father has no right to be notified of the abortion of his child, stating:
“…husband notification provision constitutes an undue burden, and is therefore invalid. A significant number of women will likely be prevented from obtaining an abortion just as surely as if Pennsylvania had outlawed the procedure entirely. The fact that 3209 may affect fewer than one percent of women seeking abortions does not save it from facial invalidity, since the proper focus of constitutional inquiry [505 U.S. 833, 838] is the group for whom the law is a restriction, not the group for whom it is irrelevant. Furthermore, it cannot be claimed that the father’s interest in the fetus’ welfare is equal to the mother’s protected liberty, since it is an inescapable biological fact that state regulation with respect to the fetus will have a far greater impact on the pregnant woman’s bodily integrity than it will on the husband.”
This opinion of the court, delivered by Justice O’Connor, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Souter, is based on the unfounded premise of abortion being a fundamental right. The court concludes a father is “irrelevant” when it comes to being notified of the murder of his child. The court went on, claiming a father’s interest in the life of his child is unequal to the mother’s interest in abortion due to the belief state regulation negatively affects the woman’s bodily integrity.
There is one problem: a woman is not granted the right to determination of life over a body which is not hers. For the court to rule the irrelevance of a father’s awareness and interest in the abortion of his child is what grants a woman the sole right to decide their child’s fate shows the importance of the father’s right to consent.
Despite the recognition of a potential pregnancy created in the mutual consent of engaging in sex, our courts have deemed mothers as the one true orator of a child’s fate; a father’s right to procure the life of his offspring is squelched in a manner retrospective of evil.
The father’s child is murdered in a manner void of repercussion; his life as a father forcefully stripped; and the part of his soul found within their child gone from this world. A pathway to change will be on the backs of men recognizing their rights as fathers, and only once we truly uphold these rights can we create the balance needed to shape a pro-life culture.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.