The American Feminist
Father's Right to Choose?
The National Center for Men is searching for a man willing to serve as plaintiff in a federal lawsuit aimed at ensuring a man's right to choose.
The center is arguing that men should also be covered by the right to privacy as protected by Roe v. Wade. Following this argument, the center believes that men should also be afforded the same choice of whether or not to terminate their parental responsibilities.
"Our position is that a man should have some say, some control, some choice over decisions that affect his life," said Mel Feit, executive director of the National Center for Men. "As long as women have that freedom, have that choice, we want men to have that choice, too."
If men were able to terminate their parental responsibilities, then the mother of the child would not be entitled to collect child support from the father. "[Men] don't want to have to pay child-support obligations, and that's the bottom line," said Nancy Duff Campbell, co-president of the National Women's Law Center.
The arguments in support for a father's right to choose are strikingly similar to those used in defense of abortion today: protecting the right to privacy; decreasing the number of "unwanted" children; and for reasons pertaining to the father's health.
"Paternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the male a distressful life and future," a position paper states. "Psychological harm and heartbreak may result. Mental and physical health may be taxed. There is also the distress...associated with the unwanted child. The continuing stigma of unwed fatherhood may be involved. The male is the victim."
Reprinted from The American Feminist, Spring 1996