It’s Time for Fathers to Have Rights in…
The issue of the father’s rights in a pregnancy has made it into the courts numerous times. In 1988, three lawsuits gained attention in which, in each case, a father sued the mother and, in one case, the doctor and hospital involved, for performing abortions without the father’s consent. In the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v Casey, the Supreme Court took on a Pennsylvania law requiring a husband to be notified of a wife’s intention to have an abortion. Unfortunately, in this case, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of a lower court to overturn this law. The lone dissenting voice on the appellate court was Justice Samuel Alito, now a Supreme Court justice. Still, fathers cannot legally protect their children from being killed, although the tide may soon be turning.
Earlier this month, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said he would sign legislation, AB237, that would allow a father, except in the case of sexual assault, to sue an abortionist for damages including personal injury such as emotional or psychological distress. While this legislation does not go far enough in giving a man the right to protect his child, it recognizes his pain in the situation. It will also, hopefully, give doctors pause in aborting a child without the father’s consent. The legislation is a step — hopefully, the first of many.
Parenthood is to be celebrated, and if there is a parent ready to accept the responsibility, he should be allowed to do so. Yes, the child is being carried in the woman’s body, but it is its own unique being, as much the father’s as the mother’s. It is not solely her child, not solely her decision to make. We so often hear “every child a wanted child,” Well, these children are wanted — wanted by their fathers. Let’s give fathers a voice in the lives of their children.