[Thanks to reader David Reeve, we can introduce the so-called financial abortion.]
According to Catherine Deveny, the financial abortion “(also known as a paper abortion or a statutory abort) would essentially enable men to cut all financial and emotional ties with a child in the early stages of pregnancy.”
The financial abortion would allow a man, after having impregnated a woman, to disavow his responsibility for the child, to “opt out of fatherhood early in a pregnancy”.
It’s not clear what incantation the man would have to recite to invoke the financial abortion—perhaps chant “Me Not Thee” in the presence of the mother and an independent witness thrice. Whatever it is, after the spell is said, the father would lose forever all legal rights to the child, leaving all decisions, burdens, and joys of the child to the mother.
Typically, a man is on the hook for his actions. At the very least, a man will incur financial obligations for his offspring, even if he wants no contact with the child or mother. On the other hand, a mother can usually, without consulting with or securing permission of the father, kill the life inside her.
To some, this imbalance between the sexes grates. Deveny says “it’s not fair for a man to be forced to become a parent.” She quotes Mel Feit, director of the National Center for Men:
Women now have control of their lives after an unplanned conception but men are routinely forced to give up control, forced to be financially responsible for choices only women are permitted to make, forced to relinquish reproductive choice.
A Swedish political group even introduced male abortion legislation, which was rebuffed. This went beyond a financial abortion; the law would have allowed fathers to have women they impregnated undergo forced actual abortions.
The financial abortion is, of course, less drastic. Doubtless, it would be appealing to many men. If financial abortions become law, a man could theoretically impregnate any woman he wants and then back out of his responsibility without penalty, as long as he followed whatever technical rules that were in place. Deveny argues, “A woman who chooses to continue a pregnancy from which a man has opted out would do so under no illusions, and be answerable to no one.”