MARK HOLMBERG COMMENTARY: Why do only women have reproductive rights – choice?

Posted at 10:31 PM, Mar 08, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-09 09:10:32-05

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR)- I’m sure I’m really stepping in it now, but here goes. . .

As a man, I am baffled and, yes,  troubled by the idea that reproductive rights  - “choice” - only applies to women. The men have none.

Even though women can’t get pregnant without a man.

Even though the embryo is genetically half the man’s, half the woman’s.

If the woman wants an abortion and the man wants the child, he has no say.

If she wants to have the baby, and he doesn’t, he has no say.

And he’s on the hook for 18 years of child support, 21 if the child goes to college.
Most of the time, the woman gets custody, even if the man is a better caretaker.

Please listen carefully:

NO, I don’t think a man should be able to force a woman to have an abortion, or not have one.

YES, I think the man definitely should pay to raise the child, and be the best father he can be.

But this is the way the dialog feels to me:

It’s none of your business. You’re just a sperm provider. Shut up and pay the bills and we’ll say when we want you to  be a father.

There are about 5.5 million pregnancies in the US each year. ( About 1.3 million end in abortion.) There are about 95,000 rapes reported each year. The actual number is surely higher than that.

But the numbers indicate the vast majority of pregnancies arise from consensual sex.

Yes, men can keep their zippers up, or use birth control.

So can women.

Both should be responsible.

Now, I know I wasn’t a very good father. But I really tried to be. I’m probably not a very good grandfather, but I so want to be.

Yes, women carry the fetus for nine months, and for years after it’s born.

But I’ve carried babies in my arms, on my shoulders, on my back, in my heart.

I am not just a distant spectator.  I am not a nobody. I am a father.

I’ve wanted to say this for a long time. Thanks for listening.