THE BLOG

Should Men Get a Say in Abortion?

30/01/2015 17:06 GMT | Updated 01/04/2015 10:59 BST

At first glance it makes sense that men, who helped create what is now a foetus in a pregnant woman, should have a say in if a woman has an abortion or not. Men will be affected by the outcome of whether it is aborted or carried through to delivery; they have to pay their part financially, most will have the time commitment of raising the child, it has an emotional burden on men too, it can be against that man's morals, as well as many other aspects that are particular to each man in each case.

So it seems pretty logical to give men a legal part in the decision to some extent right? The problem is it's just not that simple. Apart from the obvious that it is the woman (or transman) that hosts and conceives the child and bears the physical and emotional burden of the process, to give the man the ability to stop an abortion occurring could lead to serious harm to the woman. If the man had a say to go through with an abortion it is not his body that undergoes the abortion process. Yet we are still having this debate.

Even in the face of such obvious counter arguments, the origin of the problem is often negated. It takes two to tango and make a baby. It is not just up to the woman to take measures to avoid a pregnancy if it is not wanted, but a man's too. There is no 100% effective contraception, so even before engaging in sexual intercourse both parties should be aware that this is a possible outcome and in consenting to sex they are also consenting to this possibility, no matter how small it may be. This isn't just an unforgiving stance on men's rights, but a realist view on the facts of penetrative sexual intercourse involving a penis and a vagina.

Part of this misunderstanding does relate to the lack of information provided at a time when you can reach 99% of people at a single time- school. Yes, most will know sex can lead to a baby, but the ideals that it is also a man's responsibility to act in order to prevent conception seems to be lost in society. The simple act of communication in sex to see if your partner is on suitable contraception has not been drummed into the sex obsessed minds of young people through comprehensive personal, social and health education. At the same time, this is not an excuse for men, but a warning that it should not take until faced with the difficult decision of a positive pregnancy test to think about these issues. Too many men do see it as the woman's fault of getting pregnant despite that it took the man for it to happen at all. The need for a woman to seek contraception if she is not wanting to conceive but is wanting to have sexual intercourse is simple. As is the same for a man.

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Possibly, part of the issue is the lack of a man having the final say and being in power, something that with full honesty, that men have had the benefit of since Cleopatra somehow defied the odds of ancient times. The lack of care for the man's role in conception is also in relation as to how easy it is for a man to walk away from the situation. Laws have changed since we evolved from apes to have the capacity to think about our decisions and be held with responsibility. There seems to be a certain best friend to a man that is also lost in this story to make it a resounding and successful threesome: the humble condom.