What are the Father's Rights?

Are we helping the Fathers or making it harder for them?

I have wanted to write this blog for a couple of weeks but frankly chickened out because I know this is a controversial topic. It started when I read on Yahoo about the man in Arizona who put up a billboard of himself holding an outline of a 2 month old and it said something like: “This is how old my baby would be if my ex-girlfriend did not abort my child”.

OK, first. Do I think the billboard is tacky and hurtful?... You bet!

But it raises an issue I have come to think about more and more as I work at Hope Clinic…

What are the father’s rights?

It is really hard for us to say more men need to ‘stand up and be a proper dad’ or force them to pay child support when they have no rights to the child prior to the birth. Most abortions occur when there is already a heartbeat. You can debate whether or not it is a viable life.
You can also debate whether you think ‘because the fetus is in her body, it is in fact ‘her body- her choice’.

I don’t know... I guess this all is just not sitting well with me as we are trying to get more and more men into Hope Clinic to be part of the decision. How can we want him to take part of the responsibility and part of the parenting if we only want him to have rights AFTER the woman has already done the deciding for the both of them? I know I know. Hear me out first.

I was flipping the channels and saw on both Sex and the City and another show (the name escaping me right now) about whether or not a girl even has to tell her boyfriend (or the guy she had sex with) if she is pregnant. The women were split in their opinions, but the men in the show were all of the belief they deserved to know and be a part of the decision. They were mostly frustrated that it is possible that they wouldn’t be told something so important. It may not be a life to her, but it may be to him. She may not want to raise the child but he may want to. I know we could say then he should get to vote ‘for abortion’….I guess, I wish that in a split decision we would err on the side of life. Couldn’t she go through with the pregnancy and terminate her rights if he wanted the child?

Again, I am not saying there is a simple answer… There’s not. I know fear and shame and confusion cause women to make this decision; sometimes without the guy’s knowledge. I am not condemning them. I am just sad about it. I am sad for her that she felt like she couldn’t tell him. Sad for him that he never knew and never had a voice for what may have also been his only child too. I’m just raising the question…

But I am also thankful that at Hope Clinic we are creating an environment that does allow for open, honest, yet hard discussions between the girl AND the father of the baby. We provide one on one and couples counseling for both of them. No matter what they decide, we want them BOTH to know they are not alone and that we can help them. That’s why our tagline reads: “A Safe Place for Tough Choices”.