Should Married Women Need their Husband's Permission to get an Abortion?

Rebecca Scarlett By Rebecca Scarlett, 3rd Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Pregnancy

A discussion on whether married women should have to get their husband's permission before having an abortion.

Should women have to get permission?

A woman puts a lot more effort into the creation of a child than a man does. Women go through the nine months of illness and exhaustion, women go through hours of excruciating labour, and women are the ones more likely to stick around after the child is born. Should a woman not have more say over what she puts her body through than her husband does?

Should husbands be able to force their wives to be sick?

There are many medical reasons that a woman might not be able to have a healthy pregnancy, no matter how much she, or her husband, might want a child. There is no doubt that a woman should be able to make the decision to have an abortion if keeping the child might be a risk to her own health. Marrying a person does not give them the right to force you into ill-health.

What about abuse?

There are many women suffering in relationships with controlling husbands who believe they own their wives. Some men will use repeated pregnancies as a way of keeping their wives physically weak, making them more fearful of beatings, and therefore more obedient. There are also men who force their wives through pregnancy after pregnancy until they bear sons instead of daughters. We may not want to believe that this sort of behaviour goes on here, but it does. Making it illegal to get an abortion without spousal consent will just allow men like this a legal avenue to oppress and abuse their wives.

What if it isn't the husband's child?

There are other issues to consider here, as well. What if the child in the woman's womb is not her husband's child? What if she became pregnant as the result of a rape? How could her husband have a legal right to force her to bear a child that isn't even his? Giving a husband that much control over his wife's body is equivalent to going back to the days when a woman was a husband's property; in those days, when a man wanted a child, he would rape his wife, and she would have no choice but to bear as many children as he wanted.

Consequences of forcing women to get their husband's permission

In many cases, requiring spousal consent for abortion would have the same effect as making abortion illegal; it will force women desperate to abort to seek out back-alley quacks who could cause them to suffer devastating infections or even die. Requiring spousal consent for abortion could well bring back the glory days of the coat hanger.

What about the unmarried fathers?

These days, more and more couples are engaging in intercourse, cohabitating, and even deciding to raise children without being married. Requiring married women to get permission from their husbands before getting an abortion would be giving special status to the (future) fathers who are married, while relegating unmarried men to have no say in the life of their offspring. Why should unmarried fathers not have a say in the existence of their possible future children, if married men do? Such a law would, in fact, give a married man more contol over the existence of a child that isn't his (if his wife cheated or was raped) than it would give an unmarried man over the existence of a child that was his!

The verdict

Although men should ideally have a say in whether their potential children are born or not, right now it is too difficult to know whether a fetus is the child of a certain man, without a doubt. A law requiring spousal consent for abortion would create too high of a risk for women to be held hostage by their wombs. Perhaps when genetic testing is sophisticated enough to determine parentage while the fetus is still in the first trimester, or when we solve the problem of marital rape (to avoid men forcefully inflicting unwanted pregnancies on their wives which the wives could not then legally terminate) it will be the time to consider such a legislation, but not now.

Tags

Husband Permission, Law, Legal Abortion, Married Abortion, Need, Women

Meet the author

author avatar Rebecca Scarlett
Rebecca Scarlett is a professional freelance writer with over 14 years of experience. She writes articles, essays, blogs, short stories, plays, poetry, songs, novels, and does copy editing. She has been published in print and extensively online. Scar...(more)

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Comments

author avatar Jack Vorster
4th Feb 2011 (#)

If one is in this world but no longer of this world, then everything becomes clear.

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
11th Jul 2011 (#)

This is a debatable issue, I agree with your conclusion.

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author avatar Daniel Roldan
8th Feb 2012 (#)

Fortunate for the author that she's able to state her opinion. Thanks to her concience mother that she did'nt abort her. Otherwise we would'nt be reading are brilliant article.

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author avatar Allison Wiberg
9th May 2012 (#)

The fact that a married woman can legally kill her husband's child without his consent is sickening, and so is this article. a fantastic job was done turning pregnancy int a loathsome plague upon women and the average husband into a rapist monster. Bonus points for mentioning coat hanger abortions. Until the laws in this country once again reflect an inherent right to life for all people, I say we need to provide some recourse for these guys who have to live the rest of their lives knowing their wifes destroyed a part of them. An annullment should be allowed at ANY time during the marriage if a woman has an abortion without her husband's consent, as that is the clearest desertion of one's marriage vows that I can fathom.

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author avatar Allison Wiberg
9th May 2012 (#)

The fact that a married woman can legally kill her husband's child without his consent is sickening, and so is this article. a fantastic job was done turning pregnancy int a loathsome plague upon women and the average husband into a rapist monster. Bonus points for mentioning coat hanger abortions. Until the laws in this country once again reflect an inherent right to life for all people, I say we need to provide some recourse for these guys who have to live the rest of their lives knowing their wifes destroyed a part of them. An annullment should be allowed at ANY time during the marriage if a woman has an abortion without her husband's consent, as that is the clearest desertion of one's marriage vows that I can fathom.

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