Should men be allowed to “veto” an abortion?

Dr. Keith Ablow, a FOX News medical contributor, thinks so (big surprise, I know). This doctor makes his point by stating  men who can make a “credible” claim to paternity, who can wholeheartedly dedicate his life to taking care of the baby and willing to take full custody of the child should have the right to stop the mother from moving forward with an abortion.

Dr. Ablow doesn’t stop there. He also proposes any woman who goes forward with an abortion “should be civilly liable, and possibly criminally liable, for psychological suffering and wrongful death should she proceed to do so.”

Here’s a brief snippet of Dr. Ablow’s opinion:

I have limited the scope of my argument intentionally, in order to focus on what I consider to be a question that puts fairness front and center: If a man has participated in creating a new life and is fully willing to parent his child (independently, if necessary), why should he not have any control over whether that life is ended?

We are ignoring the quiet message that current abortion policy conveys to every American male: You have no voice in, and, therefore, no responsibility for, the pregnancies which you help to create. Your descendants are disposable, at the whim of the women you choose to be intimate with.

Giving would-be fathers a lack of veto power over abortions is connected psychologically to the epidemic of absentee fathers in this country. We can’t, on the one hand, be credible in bemoaning the number of single mothers raising their children, while, on the other hand, giving men the clear message that bringing new lives to the planet is the exclusive domain, and under the exclusive control, of women. 

Whether stated or not, the underlying message of withholding from men their proper rights to father the children they create is that they are not proper custodians, nor properly responsible, for their children.

The notion that there is no emotional injury done men by depriving them of decision-making power as to whether the children they father are aborted is naïve. 

Just in my own practice of psychiatry, I have listened to dozens of men express lingering, sometimes intense, pain over abortions that proceeded either without their consent, or without them having spoken up about their desires to bring their children to term and parent them. 

*Deep breath* 1…,2…3,…

I’m not sure where to begin with this subliminal, anti-abortion propaganda.

It’s always fun to navigate the many variations of anti-abortion, anti-choice, anti-woman opinion pieces often masked behind the idea of expressing support for both men and women acting in egalitarian accord while making important, life-altering decisions. Dr. Ablow’s most recent piece is no exception.

The main problem with Dr. Ablow’s opinion is he doesn’t take into account the reason why many women refuse to include their boyfriends or sex partners on their decisions to have an abortion. Women don’t tell men why they are having abortions because these men most likely are abusive partners who try to get women pregnant to entrap them in a relationship. Furthermore, a woman may have an abortion because she got pregnant by a man whom she deemed less-than-desirable father for her child. Also, many women who are raped or are victims of incest have abortions because they do not want to deal with the stigma associated with the conception of their child.

The good doctor also plays the sympathy card and discusses the emotional trauma many men face in his practice when they learn their significant others decide to terminate their pregnancies. I would be interested to know if these men were the concerned, eager fathers-to-be when they initially learned of their significant others’ pregnancies.

Ideally, both women and men should consult each other when it comes to major medical procedures. However, I feel that allowing men to overrule a woman’s decision to have an abortion would trample on a woman’s right to privacy established by Roe v. Wade. Last time I’ve checked, Dr. Ablow, women have their own minds, are not the property of the men in their lives and are capable of making sound, just and legal decisions concerning their health and welfare. No man has the right to tell a woman when and if she can or can not have an abortion. No woman’s body is a man’s playground or an extension of his domain on which he can rule with an iron fist. A woman’s uterus, ovaries, cervix, Fallopian tubes and vagina and what’s inside those organs are an extension of a man’s property.

While I’m not doubting Dr. Ablow’s concern for the mental health of his male patients,  I can’t help but to wonder if his opinion is a thinly veiled way to circumvent a woman’s access to abortion. Dr. Ablow’s piece is nothing short of another pro-life proclamation masquerading as expressing concern about the emotional well-being of men.

Dr. Ablow states men not having a “veto power”  over abortion is “connected psychologically to the epidemic of absentee fathers in this country.” That’s complete hogwash as absentee fatherhood has nothing to do with a man’s ability to tell their wives, girlfriends or hook-up buddies if they can have an abortion. Men who abandon their children aren’t compelled to do so because they can’t convince a woman to terminate a pregnancy; they abandon their children because they weren’t men in the first place and didn’t have the psyche to be a responsible father. Just like the popular saying goes: any man can make a baby, but it takes a real man to be father after it’s born (something like that).

Hiding behind his concern about the trauma men may suffer after a woman decides to have an abortion without their input, Dr. Ablow is using his FOX News platform to shove yet another pro-life crusade down the throats of pro-choice policy wonks, politicians, activists and average citizens. Dr. Ablow and his pro-life allies have no shame in using a woman’s body as a political football to promote their anti-choice, patriarchal, we-politicians-know-what’s-best-for-you-women legislation and agenda.