A Father's Rights

Why aren't fathers consulted on the decision of whether or not to abort their child?

Memories of my departed father are all a little more urgent to me during this time of year. I can still recall, with perfect vividness, my father teaching me how to catch a football or the firm grip of his hands as he hugged me after I won the 1976 high school oratory contest. I remember feeling like a grown up as I trailed him across the farm, trying to help out with various chores, or the abundance of joy in his face as I received my college diploma.

This is special bond between a father and a son. And while there are plenty of fathers who neglect the duty altogether, there are plenty for whom parenting is the most joyful and encompassing of all endeavors. We should be cognizant to encourage good parenting, and to protect fathers' rights as caregivers.

Sadly, we do not. Roe v. Wade assumed that because women are biologically tied to the birth process, they bear all responsibility in deciding the life or death of their children. Fathers' rights fall by the wayside. Liberals rally around the decision the way medieval citizens used to worship the church. The reason for their support is straightforward. Roe v. Wade rejected the idea that another person controlled a woman's body. This shattered patriarchal stereotypes that regarded women as little more than vessels. Plainly that is a good thing. But, in the continued fight for equality, various feminist groups have refused to acknowledge the basic human rights of the unborn child and the father. Plainly, that is a bad thing.


Just ask John Stachokus. Not long ago, Stachokus planned to have a child with his 23-year-old girlfriend. Together, they picked out the child's name and godparents. He imagined what it would be like to start a family. This made him happy. Then one day, his girlfriend abruptly decided to terminate her pregnancy. She was reacting to pressure from her parents, Stachokus says. Stachokus responded by obtaining an injunction, temporarily prohibiting her from having an abortion. Common Pleas Judge Michael Conahan overturned that decision last week. Just that quickly, Stachokus' hopes and dreams for his child dissolved.

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Armstrong Williams
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