Men speak: How much of a say should the presumed father have in an abortion?

All Woman

LARGELY, abortion rights have been framed as a woman's issue and as such, most abortion-related debates, not just here, but in other countries, predominantly focus on the rights of the mother and the foetus. As such, the rights of expectant fathers have rarely been discussed.

But with an increase in the number of lobbyists advocating for expectant fathers to have an equal right in the decision to continue or to terminate a pregnancy, it has been hard to ignore their voices. This has caused women to feel that their right to liberty, equality and financial security is under threat, as this seems to be yet another plan being orchestrated to legislate their bodies.

With abortion discussions fresh on the table here in Jamaica, All Woman asked a few men if they believe that men should have a say in the abortion of a pregnancy for which they are responsible, or if women should be allowed free rein in all decisions regarding their reproductive organs.

Richard, 40, engineer:

Well, it would be nice if a man gets a say, but especially if he is not married to the woman I think his say should be minimal. It's a woman's body and I believe she should have the right to make every decision regarding it. The burden is great for many women who decide to have an abortion, so whatever the reason may be, respect it because she already has to live with her decision for the rest of her life.

Liam, 29, banker:

A man should have equal rights in the decision of abortion. My thing is, if you are so against getting pregnant, make sure that you protect yourself against it. Don't rely on a man for birth control. I am pro-life too, so for me, a woman cannot even come to me about abortion should she get pregnant and I am responsible (I only lay with women I would be okay with mothering my child) unless it is a medical emergency. Otherwise, get ready to love that child or just have him or her and I will do it all by myself.

Kenrique, 39, teacher:

I think a man should have a 50/50 say in the decision. I know there are a lot of men out there who just want to make kids and don't want to accept the responsibilities after, but we can't create the standards based on them. There are good men out there who want to father their children and who would be good at it. So, please women, don't decide on your own and rob us of that.

Travain, 42, social worker:

When I was about 31 my long-time girlfriend, who was previously taking birth control and pretending that we were having trouble getting pregnant, aborted our baby after we finally got pregnant. It was devastating for me. We eventually broke up, but to this day I wish she didn't have the power to make that decision by herself. But when you look at it, you also don't want to force anyone into motherhood because things like that may lead to, among other things, child abuse. It's tricky, but I think the right thing to do is to allow fathers to be a part of the decision-making process. Knowledge of abortion can screw with our minds; it happened to me.

Miguel, 34, entrepreneur:

Leave the women, let them decide, it's their bodies. For men who want a say in what a woman decides to do with her body and its contents, I guess more of you will learn to act more sensible when mating. Don't get me wrong, I would feel a way for a man who wants children, but choose someone who wants to have children with you; don't risk the mental stress and depression. For the rest of you, good luck with child maintenance.

Chris, 33, taxi operator:

A man should have just as much right as the woman because whether or not we like, when the baby is born, if we are not playing our role, the court is going to come into play. So if we are going to have to take responsibility, financially and otherwise, we should at least have a say in whether or not the child is born in the first place. Suppose mi just no have it?

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