An expecting father vented his frustration on a parenting forum this week after his wife refused to abort their unborn baby.
Though it is difficult to tell whether this particular situation is legitimate, these types of situations occur more frequently than people probably realize. Research suggests women frequently are pressured to abort their unborn babies by a partner or parent, and sometimes abused when they refuse.
In the Mumsnet case, the man said he and his wife already are struggling with their three born children.
“Wife struggles with the basic running of the household and now with a 4th it will be too much for her,” he wrote. “We had discussed this previously and I made it clear I did not want more until the routines and house were in good order.”
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He said his wife is between three and five weeks pregnant and can’t bring herself to abort their unborn child – despite his claims that their baby is “just a yolk sac and a tiny ball of cells, no heartbeat etc.”
This is wrong, and several commenters corrected him. An unborn baby’s heartbeat begins during the earliest stages of pregnancy, typically between four to six weeks after fertilization. In October, researchers at the University of Oxford said the heart actually may begin beating earlier – as soon as 16 days after conception.
The man also brought up the increased financial burden of another child and the physical struggles his wife had during her previous pregnancies.
“She doesn’t seem to be able to rationally understand the huge commitment she is forcing on the whole family,” he continued. “I suggested termination for now, we can always get pregnant again in a few years once everything is in order but she is so adamant.”
Later, he added, “I don’t even want to look at her right now let alone support her selfish decision …”
He concluded, “I can’t force her, but it feels like she is forcing me because she knows I will step up, of course I will … but I would be doing it not by choice but by force.”
The situation, if true, is concerning for many reasons. One is that this husband and father seems to view unborn babies as if they are commodities to be kept or thrown away. He does not seem to realize that his unborn baby right already is unique, living human being. No other baby they conceive will ever be the same as that baby.
His wife also is likely feeling intense pressure from him to kill their child when she knows it is wrong. No woman should be put in that situation. As a husband and father, one of his responsibilities is to care for his wife and children, but he is doing the opposite. He is pressuring his wife to have an abortion — a move that could damage her permanently and kill their youngest child.
The situation also highlights another issue about parental rights and abortion. Had the situation been reversed and the wife wanted the abortion and the husband did not, the public reaction probably would have been very different. Then, some commenters likely would have come to the wife’s defense, arguing that the abortion is her choice because it’s “her body.” Never mind that the unborn child is biologically as much his as hers. Fathers in the United States do not have any legal right to protect their unborn child’s life from abortion. If the mother wants to abort their child, the father cannot stop her.
Ultimately, abortion damages the rights and lives of whole families. It denies an unborn baby a right to life, and puts mothers and fathers in troubling situations where they are pressured, abused and denied their parental rights to care for their child.