Recently I found myself in midst of a small debate with a female friend about matters regarding having children and birth control. Because I felt – and still feel – that the point I was trying to make was not fully conveyed to the other party I decided to write this post in order to summarize the core of my argument as clearly as possible to avoid misunderstandings. The essence of the problem is the fact that a man has no say whatsoever when it comes to the custody of the child. That is, if a child is born outside of marriage the mother can – if she so chooses – either not recognize the father at all in which case the father has no rights to the child OR she can seek a court order to have the man DNA tested in which case he is identified as the father and the woman can the seek child support payments from the father. The man has no right to deny the DNA testing, nor has he any right to have his fatherhood recognized without the consent of the woman.
Also, I cannot stress enough the following: I am NOT arguing for any limitations to the mother’s bodily integrity. That is to say, the decision of carrying through with or aborting the pregnancy is – and always should be – the decision of the mother.
I am also not claiming that the biological parenthood is a matter of opinion. Of course the child’s parents are who they are and that cannot be denied. I am also of the opinion that if the child is born, once he/she becomes an adult, he/she should have the right to know who his or her biological parents are.
So this is not a biological issue. That is not to say that I am not aware that due to biological reasons, pregnancy is a highly stressful and a heavy experience for the mother both emotionally and physically and that the same is true for abortion. But in the same vein it cannot be denied that the father has his emotions as well, and to discard or to downplay those emotions simply because the father does not have to go through the physical strains of pregnancy is absurd and even misandry in some cases.
This is an issue of custodianship. This is a legal issue about who is responsible for taking care of and providing for the child after it is born. The mother currently can make any of the following decisions to free herself of the right and responsibilities of being a parent: use of contraception, use of the morning after pill, abortion and finally adoption. With men, the list is limited to the use of contraception, and if it fails – the man currently has no say on the matter after that.