A New Kind of Abortion … For Men

Should men be able to opt out of any responsibility for the kids they father?

By William M Briggs Published on December 6, 2016

Society these past few decades has already made terrific inroads allowing men to avoid biological realities. Yet as progressives remind us, there is still much work to do. Here, then, is good news: it might soon become even easier for men not to be men. Introducing a novel way men can skirt their responsibilities: the so-called financial abortion.

The financial abortion would allow a man, after having impregnated a woman, to disavow his responsibility for the child, to “opt out of fatherhood early in a pregnancy.”

According to Catherine Deveny, the financial abortion “(also known as a paper abortion or a statutory abort) would essentially enable men to cut all financial and emotional ties with a child in the early stages of pregnancy.”

The financial abortion would allow a man, after having impregnated a woman, to disavow his responsibility for the child by “opt[ing] out of fatherhood early in a pregnancy.”

It’s not clear what incantation the man would have to recite to invoke the financial abortion. Perhaps he could chant “Me Not Thee” thrice in the presence of the mother and an independent witness. Whatever it is, after the spell is invoked, the father would lose forever all legal rights to the child, leaving all decisions, burdens and joys of the child to the mother.

Traditionally, a man is on the hook for his actions. At the very least, a man will incur financial obligations for his offspring, even if he wants no contact with the child or mother. On the other hand, a mother can usually, without consulting with or securing permission of the father, kill the life inside her.

To some, this imbalance between the sexes grates. Deveny says “it’s not fair for a man to be forced to become a parent.” She quotes Mel Feit, director of the National Center for Men:

Women now have control of their lives after an unplanned conception but men are routinely forced to give up control, forced to be financially responsible for choices only women are permitted to make, forced to relinquish reproductive choice.

A Swedish political group even introduced male abortion legislation, which was rebuffed. This went beyond a financial abortion; the law would have allowed fathers to have women they impregnated undergo forced actual abortions.

If financial abortions become law, a man could theoretically impregnate any woman he wants and then back out of his responsibility without penalty

The financial abortion is, of course, less drastic. Doubtless, it would be appealing to many men. If financial abortions become law, a man could theoretically impregnate any woman he wants and then back out of his responsibility without penalty, as long as he followed whatever technical rules that were in place. Deveny argues, “A woman who chooses to continue a pregnancy from which a man has opted out would do so under no illusions, and be answerable to no one.”

The Purpose of Sex

Beside the natural imbalance between the sexes — an imbalance that is responsible for the continuation of mankind — why the push for financial abortions?

Deveny says, “Haven’t we moved past the thinking that people should be punished simply for engaging in pleasure? Do we really want our children to be conceived by force? … When we consent to having sex, we do not automatically consent to becoming a parent.”

These arguments are, as they must be, fallacies.

What is sex for? Deveny and many others say for fun, for the pleasure it brings. As seductive as this idea is — which of us hasn’t believed it at least once? — it must be false. The pleasure is a result of intercourse and not its purpose. Its purpose is so obvious that even Deveny knows it: Everybody knows it.

Many engage in sexual intercourse are careful to avoid its true purpose. Indeed, they do everything in their power to avoid it. Hence contraception — against conception. Anybody who uses contraception acknowledges that he understands full well the true purpose of sex, just that he wants to thwart it.

Contraception doesn’t always work; which is to say, methods to frustrate the true purpose of sex sometimes fail, as everybody also knows. In these cases, Deveny says, the fail safe is to kill that life which results from the sex. Deveny says “just because abortion may be a hard decision for some, does not mean it shouldn’t be made.” But whether one is for or against abortion, it doesn’t matter. The fact that abortion is used as a method of birth control reveals that all know the inbuilt purpose of sex: transmitting life.

This is why we can’t logically call it a “punishment” or coercive, as Deveny says, to let a sexual encounter fulfill its true purpose. You don’t have to view the child as a blessing or gift, but everybody knows that the result of sexual intercourse is often a child, and that this is natural.

This is why financial abortions are absurd. Every man engaging in sexual intercourse with a woman knows what the result might be. It therefore makes no sense that any man can disavow the child he created.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Paul

    Progressives rarely let truth get in the way of their agenda

  • Oh they can spare me. This is another reason for men not to grow up and be a man, a real man. A real man takes responsibility for his actions, and he for sure becomes a good father to those he sires.

    • TrustQuest

      So does that mean that a female is not a real woman if she doesnt accept the responsibility of her baby and instead aborts it?

      • Yep. That too. They are not mutually exclusive.

        • YeahNope

          Not saying this fits you Manny, but I’m always amused by how many men are vehemently vocal about both men and women taking responsibility. Yet suspiciously develop sudden onset lock-jaw about the responsibilities of the latter when a woman enters the room.

    • jake101goodale

      Alright then, I’m not a real man. I’ll take not being “a real man” over shelling out 18 years worth of child support for a child I didn’t want.

      • At least you admit it, you’re not a real man. If you don’t want a child, then don’t have sex.

        • jake101goodale

          If a woman doesn’t want a child she shouldn’t have sex, so no need for abortion.
          Also you harp on “not being a real man” like it’s something I should care about. Is there a store where I can buy stuff with my “real man card”?

          • And neither should a man have sex if he doesn’t want a child. What kind of a man are you if you place the responsibility soley on the woman? Obviously you don’t care, but then again low lifes don’t care about being low. You answered, you’re a cad and not much of a man.

          • jake101goodale

            So far a woman is the only one who can terminate the pregnancy so the responsibility rests solely with her. When there is equity in the form of financial abortions men can be held responsible.
            Also you keep claiming Im not a “real man” or a “man” like that’s something I should care about. Ill take being a “cad” (whatever that is) over being suckered into 18 years worth of child support payments

          • Terminating a pregnancy is terminating a life. Pfft. Wear your badge well.

          • jake101goodale

            And? It is a right women still solely possess as such they are the ones who are held responsible. When there is equity in rights there can be equity in responsibility.

          • Pathetic.

          • jake101goodale

            Sorry if the truth upsets your fragile sensibilities.

          • The only truth I see is the nature of your character. Ever hear of virtue? No, you probably haven’t.

          • jake101goodale

            Getting played isn’t a virtue. Demanding a good deal and being willing to walk away if a good deal can’t be made is a sign of a strong character.

  • Matt

    I thought the sexual revolution was supposed to be good for women.

  • Michael Gore

    Amazing how the results of actions of the Feminists (a group claiming to be focused on the good of women) has resulted in a society that has made it so easy to treat women as objects, and allowed men to abdicate from all responsibility in the sexual realm.
    In the end, I think the only thing the feminists organisations really care about anymore is continuing the sacrifices to feed their god, the abortion industry.

    • YeahNope

      “…allowed men to abdicate from all responsibility in the sexual realm.”

      Of the two sexes, it is only men that have social and legal responsibility. Currently all the laws regarding women are based on shifting responsibility onto individual men, or men in general.

      Even women that murder their children are held to a lesser standard of responsibility compared to men.

      The idea that society allows men to avoid responsibility is just another aspect of the feminist narrative, it’s pure projection.

  • lizdhm

    The pro choice argument is about women being able to control their own bodies. The man’s body only comes into it at conception, which is why this argument fails.

    • jake101goodale

      No. Pregnancy is only 9 months, child support is 18 years. ” Locke developed a normative theory of property rights based on labor, which stated that property is a natural result of labor improving upon nature; and thus by virtue of labor expenditure, the laborer becomes entitled to its produce”. As such men being forced to pay child support without their consent is preventing them from controlling their own bodies. As such the argument is identical.

      • lizdhm

        If and when men carry the babies, you might have an argument. But a baby is not property and neither is a woman.

        • jake101goodale

          No, the money a man is forced to pay in child support is property and that money is part of a man’s bodily autonomy. You really need to read some Locke.

          • lizdhm

            The money isn’t for the woman, it’s for the baby. Put down the Locke and actually think for a second.

          • jake101goodale

            And? I did not choose to have that child. The woman did. After all, she had the choice to terminate parenthood and I didn’t.
            It isn’t my fault she chose to have a child she could not provide for.
            She practiced her personal autonomy by choosing to not have an abortion. Then she is demanding I compromise my personal autonomy by financially supporting her choices.

          • lizdhm

            Ok, so you don’t know how babies are made? The man’s choice is when he deposits sperm.

          • jake101goodale

            Alright the woman’s choice is made when she allows a man to deposit sperm inside of her. Any argument you can make regarding prevention of conception also applies to a woman. So are you arguing woman shouldn’t have the right to an abortion?

          • lizdhm

            No, because there’s this thing called biology, see. The woman continues to have a choice after that. If and when men carry babies, then men can make that choice for their own bodies.

          • jake101goodale

            -Except as Locke established property is part of a person’s autonomy. Money comes from labor and labor derives from a person’s body. So child support compromises a man’s body in the same way pregnancy compromises a woman’s body. As such men should be given the choice whether they use their body in the raising of a child before it is born, just the same as woman.

          • lizdhm

            No it doesn’t, because the legal obligation occurs when the child is born. After birth, the man and the woman both have a responsibility to the child’s well being.

            I’d say nice try, but honestly, your tries have been terrible.

  • Harold Mendelson

    That’s why the liberals want legal abortions any time during the pregnancy.

  • InNeedOfGrace

    None of this would be necessary if abortion was not available. The child would then be the responsibility of both parents. Both would take responsibility for their actions. Currently, a woman can simply skirt her responsibility by killing her child. The father has no say. What’s ironic about the “It’s my body” argument is that it isn’t her body that will be killed, but the body of a whole and separate other human being. Unfortunately, some women purposely get pregnant even when the man does not wish it, but that’s the problem with contraception. If it was not available, then both parties would be fully responsible and neither will have been duped. All in all, I can’t really blame the men. They have no control prior to birth as to whether their children live or die. Financial control is really the only thing left to them to feel like they have equal say about being a parent. I have known some women who have had children to “keep” the father, to get added funds through child support, or to use as weapons against the father. Women like that do not see their children as human beings, but as a means to an end. I don’t think that there would be huge numbers of men embracing such an option. All in all, babies are given less respect by both parents than any other time in recent history.

  • PaulMurrayCbr

    None of this would be necessary had not the ancient bargain between the sexes been unilaterally ended by women. That bargain was: all his worldly goods become hers, and her children become his and take his name. That was the deal.

  • YeahNope

    Interesting, an article about why men, having no reproductive rights, should continue having no reproductive rights, because naturalistic fallacy.

    Look I’m on board with holding people accountable for their actions, but you wrote nearly 1000 words about why men should have no reproductive rights, while barely acknowledging the fact the women have unilateral control post conception. Mindsets like yours are why ideas such as “Financial Abortion” are gaining ground.

    Quite simply, men are tired of being told to take responsibility for women’s decisions. If you are really against ideas such as financial abortion, then you need to stop trying to shame men into compliance; a tactic increasingly less effective; and start pointing out where the problem actually lies.

    Perhaps your next thousand words should be based on the reality of legal responsibilities as they are, rather than the way you want them to be.

  • Bernie

    Men no longer participate in the reproductive decision. If a woman has the unilateral constitutional right to decide to incur or not to incur the cost of bringing a child into the world, then if she decides to do so, it is her responsibility to pay those costs. With unilateral rights and choices comes unilateral responsibility. Its amazing how women so obsessed with their rights can conveniently ignore the responsibility side of the equation. Because of contraception and Roe V Wade, sex is now separate and apart from reproduction. Men are now merely sperm donors. Donating sperm is not a consent to reproduce. The woman takes ownership of the sperm (its in her body just like the fetus so its hers to do with as she wants- reference Roe v Wade) and the process of conception takes place in her body using her body parts. Its a matter private to her alone, neither the government nor the man having any legal say(again ref Roe V Wade). Are women as capable as men? Are they willing and able to shoulder the responsibility of their constitutionally guarenteed unilateral choices. The continued existence of paternity laws, proves that they are neither willing nor able to step up to equality with men.


  • jake101goodale

    Do women have the choice to abortion a child or place it up for adoption without the consent of the father? Yes. Women do not even have to tell a man they are pregnant.
    As it stands women can choose whether or not to have a child. Men get no such choice. Financial abortions sound like a great idea. It gives men control over when they become fathers. In addition it will allow women to make informed choices since they will know whether a man will be present or not in the child’s life.

I Am No Angel, He Said
Bobby Neal Winters
More from The Stream
Connect with Us