Abortion tends to become an endless moral debate and this has previously been discouraged here. However, recent proposals by the NZ Law Commission deserve some consideration of this matter and its relevance to men.
The Law Commission has long been a feminist force forwarding the exploitation and harming of men. In addition to their proposal to make men pay alimony to the women who betrayed them and/or trashed their children’s family units, the Commission has also invented three options for changing abortion law. All three options treat fathers as totally irrelevant. It seems likely that the Labia-led government will enact one of these options unless there is very loud objection.
The lack of respect and importance accorded to fathers was already evident in this government’s earlier decision to make it ok for women to refuse to name a baby’s father.
The foetus in gestation is a man’s progeny. That has been of huge importance in biology and the evolution of behaviour. During pregnancy the father’s progeny is reliant on the mother’s womb and what she does with her body. After birth the father’s progeny is reliant on the mother’s breast milk and what she does with her body. The degree of reliance is somewhat less after birth than before but that’s a matter of degree. Disruptions to the thin veneer of civilization soon increase the degree to which infants’ survival depends on mothers’ nurturing. There is really no more justification for the slogan ‘woman’s body, woman’s choice’ regarding any responsibility for safely gestating a foetus than there would be for using the same mantra to remove any responsibility on mothers to feed or care for babies.
Further, the principle that we own our bodies therefore should be allowed to cut out healthy things in them is not tenable. If a man tries to cut out some healthy part of his body he will probably be forcibly prevented from doing so and if he asks some medical professional to do it this will probably be refused and rightly so.
Abortion really does need to be based on better arguments than the feminist slogan. That’s not a difficult task.
The current law has been widely flouted by women and their enablers. The ‘threat to mental health’ criterion has long been treated as a quaint, rubber-stamping exercise. For whatever reason this form of law-breaking has been mostly ignored or condoned by the authorities. This appears to be part of the wider phenomenon of special treatment towards women when they break laws.
Whether a foetus is aborted or not is of massive relevance to men. It determines whether or not the man will be forced into almost two decades of financial servitude and, for most, hardship. On the other hand it determines whether or not a man will at that time move into the next stage of his development, that of fatherhood. In some cases such as when a man’s potency is weak, a man’s health is poor, a man’s life ends prematurely or a man’s ability to attract a new mate is limited, the decision whether to abort or not will determine whether that man will have any offspring at all.
We want all children to have a right upheld to know who their father is. Where this is in doubt we believe all reasonable measures should be used to identify the father.
We want all fathers to have a right upheld to be informed about any progeny as soon as gestation has been identified.
We propose that abortion be available to any woman who wants it and can find a suitably qualified practitioner prepared to perform it, without any need to provide reasons to that practitioner or to any authority, up to an age of gestational development as decided by parliament on the basis of medical risk. However, we propose that the woman be required to produce proof that a decision-making process has been completed involving the father of the foetus as described below, before any practitioner is allowed to perform an abortion.
We propose that abortions outside the allowed gestational development period or failing to follow required process be treated as criminal offending and that the law be enforced as strongly as in any other criminal matter.
We propose that the father of a foetus have the right to have his voice and opinion heard in the process of deciding about an abortion. This could be through one or more compulsory mediation or counselling sessions either with the parents together or separately. We accept that the final decision be made by the mother but that decision needs to be in full awareness of the father’s preference. For example, a father may offer to take over full responsibility for raising the child if born and that may influence the mother’s decision.
We propose that if a mother wants an abortion but decides to proceed with the pregnancy on the basis of the father’s expressed wish to take responsibility for rearing the child, then the mother’s financial responsibility for that child be reduced or removed unless that mother chooses and is allowed to commence a maternal role with that child.
We propose that if a father wants an abortion to take place but the mother chooses to continue with the pregnancy, then the father’s financial liability for that child be reduced or removed unless that father chooses and is allowed to commence a paternal role with that child.
We propose that all abortions be required to include some form of funeral in order to recognize a degree of moral importance to the action. That ceremony may be very minor such as a short karakia or standard statement to recognize and to farewell the dead foetus. We believe this will also assist women’s emotional welfare following abortions.
There are no easy answers to the question of abortion but these are some starting points for debate that does not treat men with utter contempt.