Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Colorado

When a woman gets pregnant, both parties must make the decision to have unprotected sex (majority of circumstances). Equal decision, right? Yet when a woman gets pregnant she then gets the right to choose the burdens of parenthood or to opt out (abortion) when the man gets no such choice.

Scenario: The woman is pregnant, does not want the child and the man does. Can he force her to carry the child? Of course not. Yet in this country the reverse is totally legal. The woman gets the decision and the male gets the ramifications. No equal choice to opt out of an unwanted pregnancy.

How is this legal? How can one party be forced into decades of obligation because of someone elses decision? Why do men not get the same right to opt out of an unwanted pregnancy that the woman does?

Asked on 4/03/12, 10:01 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Because men aren't the ones who get pregnant.

You presume that men's and women's roles in having a child (which is different from raising one) are equivalent, but they aren't. The man's role is over as soon as they are done having sex, but the woman's is just beginning. The pregnancy affects her body in fundamental ways for nine months but has no effect at all on his.

One of the main reasons we allow abortion in this country is that we give people control over their own bodies. If the law worked the way you propose, then control of women's bodies would often belong to men.

Don't forget that the identity of an unborn baby's father can be hard for third parties to know. Should any man who claims to be the father be able to prevent an abortion? There are plenty of zealots who would hang around abortion clinics to make precisely that claim every time a woman walked up to the door if it would prevent her from aborting her pregnancy.

You ask "How can one party be forced into decades of obligation because of someone else's decision?" But if abortion was legal only when both parents approve, then a father who wants the child could force the mother into "into decades of obligation".

Or does being forced into such obligation only bother you when it happens to a man?

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Answered on 4/04/12, 9:22 am


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