A while back my boyfriend posed a question to me: What do I think about a woman getting pregnant, keeping the baby when the man doesn’t want it, then the man being required to pay child support. I agree that this is a tough question, but I had a well-reasoned answer for him.
When a woman has sex, she knows that birth control or not, she could get pregnant. She knows that she would have to make a choice: motherhood, adoption, or abortion. That is a decision she has to make and she has to decide whether she can live with the decision she makes. For somebody decidedly pro-choice and nowhere near ready to have children, the decision is easy for me. Unfortunately, many women don’t think about these things until the decision must be made.
When a man has sex, he knows that the woman may get pregnant. He (should) also know that it is the woman who decides whether it will be parenthood, adoption, or abortion. Both parties are fully aware of the options. Thus, it is up to the man who has strong feelings about any one of those choices to ask the woman what she would do. If he is against abortion, then he shouldn’t have sex with women who would get an abortion (somebody like me). If he doesn’t want to be a parent either financially or emotionally, then he shouldn’t be sleeping with a woman who would choose motherhood. He has to decide if he can live with the choice she makes, and if not, he shouldn’t sleep with that particular woman.
All adults engaging in intercourse should be having this conversation. My boyfriend and I have and he knows that I am not interested in having kids anytime soon. He knows that if I get pregnant, I will get an abortion. He accepts and supports that decision. Unfortunately, considering most women don’t often consider their options beforehand, it is very unrealistic to expect men to consider them either. As well, all of this shits the bed if neither party is taught proper sex-ed.
Continuing this train of thought, a friend of mine posed a question to me that at the time I had no answer to. She is in a serious relationship with her boyfriend and marriage is inevitable. If she gets pregnant, she really questioned whether an abortion was appropriate. She fully supports the decisions other women make, but she felt that being in a stable relationship with a man who could support her negated her option for an abortion. At the time, I was vehemently opposed to having kids, so the decision for me would be a no-brainer. Eight months later I find myself in pretty much the same situation as her: stable, long-term relationship with a man who could support me. Ultimately for me, I will not have kids until I am ready. That means my career is settled and my students loans are all but paid off. My timeline is 8-10 years. If I got pregnant unintentionally in 7 years, I might keep it but I can’t really say. The important thing is that my boyfriend knows what I would do. I don’t hide it from him, and when it all boils down, he doesn’t have to like my choice, he doesn’t have to even support my choice, he just has to accept that it is my choice.
So men out there, if you have a preference for one of the 3 options, you need to find out what the women you sleep with would choose. If you can’t sort it out before you have sex, trust me, you won’t be in a better position to sort it out after she gets pregnant. If you are responsible enough to have sex, you are responsible enough to talk about choice.