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There are some things that most men should just not have a say in: the flower arrangements at your wedding (unless he’s David Tutera), wings vs. no wings and choosing good china.  Unfortunately, when it comes to pregnancy, a man’s opinion doesn’t get taken into much consideration past conception. Even under the most ideal circumstances much of the fuss is made over the mother-to-be.  Her skin’s glowing, everyone within a 10-foot radius wants to rub her belly and make it rain Baby Gap on her and the growing fetus. But dad…well, he just gets left on the sidelines until it’s time to head to the delivery room where he gets a pat on the back, a cigar, and in some cases, lowered expectations to play his part.

But what about when a pregnancy occurs under less than favored circumstances?  As much as some politicians want to limit or completely eliminate the options women have when it comes to their bodies and pregnancy, the options that are available to choose from are never easy to navigate when a woman faces an unintended pregnancy.  Ideally, we all would like to face that kind of situation with a partner who is committed to the relationship and truly cares about a woman’s well-being, but the fact is, babies are made every day between people who don’t care about each other, let alone want to co-parent together.  And when an unplanned pregnancy occurs some women may find that including their partner in the decision-making process is unnecessary and more trouble than it’s worth.

In most states, legally, the father has no say in whether a woman chooses to have an abortion, but if it’s possible, the father should at least be a part of the conversation.  The fact is, no woman should have to deal with the idea of an abortion alone.  When it comes to revealing a pregnancy to a partner, it’s easy for our minds to go into overdrive imagining a far worse reaction than what actually occurs.  I’d like to believe in most cases that there are responsible men who may be terrified at the idea of becoming a father, but can at least to step up to the plate as a source of support.

After Tom Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape,” President Obama quickly responded, “What I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”  While this may be true when we’re discussing women’s healthcare as a nation, there’s a big difference between a politician telling you how to handle your pregnancy and leaving the man who could potentially be your child’s father in the dark.  You know your partner best and if you’ve both talked about not wanting kids in the near future, there’s a good chance he’ll support your decision.  You also have to consider how much of a toll keeping inside information will have on the trust in your relationship if this is someone you intend on being with for a long time.  If you can’t trust him to support you in your decision or discuss something so serious rationally, you may have to question your investment into the relationship in the first place.

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