New research in Kenya confirms that fathers sometimes try to skirt their parental responsibilities by pressuring their wives or girlfriends to abort their unborn babies.
University of Nairobi Professor Charles Nzioka wrote about the matter in “Willing Fathers, Reluctant Parents: Young Men’s Perspectives on Unwanted Pregnancies and Abortion in Kenya,” according to Standard Media.
Nzioka indicated that quite a few abortions occur after men pressure or coerce their partners to have abortions. He said some men simply do not want the responsibility of fatherhood, while others do it to cover up affairs or end relationships with their girlfriends.
In one horrific case, Rita Mwali, a nurse, told The Nairobian that her sister died after her abusive husband forced her to have several abortions. Mwali said her sister’s husband wanted a boy, and her sister had conceived several girls.
“Her husband was not happy that my sister kept giving birth to girls,” Mwali said. “After the third girl child, he became violent. He even made her abort three times when she was on her second trimester [after ultrasounds revealed she had conceived more girls]. She was too scared to leave him because our parents were not happy that she dropped out of college to get married.”
Mwali said her sister died of complications from her fourth abortion.
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Nzokia said many studies about abortion put the responsibility solely on the woman, but the man also plays a “critical” role.
“[Y]oung men appear to admit to fatherhood, but few are ready to accept parenthood due to the heavy responsibility associated with parenting,” the professor said.
Fellow researcher Professor Paul Omondi of Moi University said poor women especially tend to face pressure to abort their unborn babies.
It’s easy to see why. A poor pregnant woman who already is struggling to survive on her own could feel desperate and afraid if her partner refuses to support her and their child. Without support from family or friends, she could feel that an abortion is the only way she will continue to survive.
“Men push women to abort by rejecting responsibility. They also blackmail insecure women to terminate their pregnancies if the relationships are to continue,” Omondi said.
Omondi said married men who have affairs also tend to pressure their girlfriends to abort so they will not have to pay child support or risk having the affair exposed. Sometimes, they offer to pay for the abortion and refuse to pay child support, he said.
The news site reports it conducted an informal survey and found Nairobi men who have paid for up to seven abortions.
Other researchers have found similar results. According to a 2009 study in the Medical Science Monitor, 64 percent of women say they felt pressure to have an abortion by a parent or partner. Sex trafficking victims also say they frequently are forced or pressured to abort their unborn babies.
On the reverse side, some women abort their unborn babies without their partner’s knowledge or against his will. Some fathers beg and plead their partners not to have abortions and offer to fully support the child; however, their partners choose to abort their unborn babies anyway.