Is It A Dad-To-Be's Legal Right To Opt Out Of Fatherhood?

Men want the option to opt-out of being dads, because getting pregnant is a solo effort

You know the saying, it takes two to tango? And, remember that time in sex ed when you learned that, aside from preventing sexually transmitted diseases, condoms are also really good at preventing pregnancy?

It seems like those two realities have been lost on a group of advocates in Sweden who think men should be able to opt out of being responsible for children they had a hand in conceiving.

According to The Telegraph, “[t]he Youth wing of the Liberal Party in that country’s Western district has formally recommended that, before the 18th week of a pregnancy which he has instigated, a man should have the official right to declare that he has no wish to be the father and to renounce any role in that child’s life forever. It would then become the woman’s sole responsibility either to have an abortion or to give birth and raise the child.”

The Telegraph goes on to explain that these men should be required to endure a long process of red tape in order to register away their rights to the unwanted child, because if there is enough red tape it will discourage men from thinking it’s an easy way out of parenthood, “instead of using a condom.”

Paperwork as birth control. That’s a new one.

The thought process is that these men might think they are covered in the birth control department by women who claim they are protecting themselves and that men therefore believe they are not putting themselves at risk of a pregnancy. Of course, the way to ensure that is to protect themselves but no, the proposed idea here seems to put the onus of birth control solely on the shoulders of the woman.

Neil Lyndon, the writer of the piece, seems to think it isn’t a bad idea—he touts it as “a more egalitarian future in which men are understood to share essential civic rights in sexual reproduction, where today they have none.” This sentiment is exemplified perfectly in his next sentence: “In our present circumstances, ‘it seems that “the woman’s right to choose” includes the woman’s inalienable right to rope in some sucker as father.’”

Wait, what?

Any and every time a consenting adult has sex with another consenting adult, you know the risk and you are taking on some of the responsibility for the possible outcome. And if you are having sex without a condom, that includes pregnancy. How is the woman to blame for this?

You’d think this genius idea was thought up by a bunch of childless men, but apparently it’s actually the brainchild of a gaggle of 17-20 year old women. The “youth wing of the Liberal Party” you might recall me mentioning earlier. So, the next generation of Swedish Liberals.

That the proposal foresees just two possible endings to their story—abortion or raise the child—is equally short-sighted and ignorant. Do these women forget that she could also choose to carry the child and give it up for adoption? That is also an option. Just saying. She has many options before her, more than two, and any of those options should be presented to her for her choice to make. Because ultimately it’s her belly doing the gestating and the growing and birthing.

And the young ladies totally agree that the ultimate choice of carrying the baby or not should remain their call. They just don’t think men should bear any of the responsibility of a baby they helped conceive, regardless of whether or not they had the option to protect themselves, regardless of whether or not they’ve been dating the woman for three hours or three years. Heck, married? Doesn’t matter!

“Yes of course” it would apply to married couples, Marcus Nilsen, chairman of the Western District youth group told the Telegraph. “But it probably wouldn’t be a good sign for the marriage.” I suppose not!

Rest assured though, the proposal is quite forward-thinking and does not back pedal on the major advancements woman’s rights have enjoyed in recent years. If the men say they want nothing to do with the baby, they can’t at the same time refuse to allow her to have an abortion. Oh well, that’s good.

“It’s important that the final decision on an abortion should remain with the woman. This proposal doesn’t diminish that right in any way.” No. Because that would be unfair. 

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