WHOSE CHOICE?

Megan muses as to whether abortion rights really benefit women, “or to the men who are thus able to pressure women who do want to have a child into aborting it.” An interesting question that I haven’t really thought about much.

A related question, though, is the age old rights-responsibility linkage. It has long struck me as problematic that the law as currently construed gives all the rights to the “mother” but yet confers significant responsibility on the “father.” If a woman gets pregnant, she is permitted to abort the child even if its father objects. This is true even for married couples. If, however, the father wants to abort the child and the mother does not, she again prevails. But, in this case, the father is now legally obligated to provide financial support for the child until it reaches adulthood. This responsibility obtains even if the couple is not married and, indeed, if they were both drunk and engaged in a one night stand. While I understand why, if abortion is legal, the mother has disproportionate power, the current legal balance is unreasonable.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.