Thu, 22 Jan 2009 18:48:20 +0000 – By Tommy De SenoAttorney/Writer
The emphasis must not be on the right to abortion, but on the right to privacy and reproductive control.--Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Today marks another anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision which overturned all state laws that would stop a woman from having an abortion in the first trimester.
While the topic I have chosen here, "Roe vs. Wade and the Rights of the Father" may sound interesting, actually there is nothing to write about. There are no such rights.
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A father can't stop an abortion if he wants his child, nor can he insist upon an abortion if he doesn't want his child.
This situation should trouble everyone, not from a religious point of view, not from a personal choice point of view, but rather from an Equal Rights point of view.
Equal Rights for all people is difficult for any nation to achieve peaceably, because it requires the group in greater power to yield to the group of lesser power. This is usually accomplished only through war. Our own Civil War is a perfect example of equality being created by force, instead of reason and fairness, as it should have been.
This week as I watched and read opinions about Roe vs. Wade, I could find nothing, not a word among millions that addressed a father's relationship to his unborn child.
Two weeks ago I tried an experiment in anticipation of writing this column. I wrote a column about gun control and posited that only men should vote on the issue of guns. The logic (rather illogic) used by me was that men buy guns the most, men are called upon to use them most (when a burglar enters our home) and we get shot the most. Why shouldn't men have the only voice on the issue?
I wanted to gauge people's reactions to the thought that in America we would ever give more weight to one person's view than another's because that person can show the issue affects him more.
As I walked around my city during these past two weeks, I was accosted by people who wanted to take me to task for suggesting that women lose their right to vote on an issue just because they may be affected by it less than men. Some pointed out, quite rightly, that even if there was an issue that didn't affect women at all, as equal members of society, they should still have a voice in all decisions America makes.
Quite right indeed.
So where are all these well-reasoned arguments when it comes to a father and his unborn child? Why do people who have Equal Protection claims at the ready on other issues suddenly suffer constitutional amnesia when abortion is mentioned?
During every abortion a father's child dies, so fathers are affected. There is much written about the post-abortion depression of women. Nothing is mentioned about the father. A good father knows his role is protector of his child. His depression must be crippling when the law allows him no chance to save his child from death by abortion.
In the Roe vs. Wadedecision the Supreme Court found a privacy right in the 14thAmendment, which doesn't have the word "privacy" in it. Then they found that the privacy right had a "penumbra" containing other rights (penumbra means the shadowy area at the edge of a shadow). In that shadow they found the abortion right. That bit of mental gymnastics aside, it wasn't the most terrible part of the decision. This was:
The Court said that a woman my not be mentally ready to handle a child at this stage in her life, or the child might interfere with her career path, and that is so important to her that the State has no right to make a law against it.
So I ask today: Might a father find himself mentally not ready for a child? Might a father find a child inconvenient to his career path? If these are the rights women get to protect by choosing abortion, why not allow fathers "the right to choose" also?
I propose a "father's abortion." Let a father petition the Court to terminate his own parental rights to his child before or after the child's birth. He would be rid of his obligations to that child in favor of his mental health and finances, the same as a woman does when she aborts.
As Justice Ginsburg said in the quote that appears at the top of this FOX Forum post, the emphasis is not abortion, rather an individual's right to control his own reproduction. If we protect such a right for women, can we constitutionally deny it to men?
I propose this not because it would be in any way good. I propose it because constitutional Equal Protection demands it, and to show the danger created when judges destroy democracy by making up laws that don't exist.
"Father's Abortion." It's high time for a test case.
Any father with such a case can call me and I'll take it for free.
Read more from Tommy De Seno at www.JustifiedRight.com.
Also, check out Opposing Views for more information on the Roe V. Wade Debate.
Tommy De Seno is an attorney in New Jersey and contributor to Ricochet.com.