Shut Out: Fathers of Unborn Children have No Legal Say Whether their Children Live or Die
Commentary by Hilary White
ROME, October 27, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – What is the first thing that pops into the minds of ordinary people when they hear the word “abortion”? If you have been lucky, or blessed, enough to have seen through the common rhetoric of our death-cult culture, you may answer something like, “…kills an unborn child.” But, sadly and despite our continuing efforts, the world at large has not yet made that connection.
No, what most people think spontaneously when they hear the word is “women’s rights.” The issue of “rights” in abortion rhetoric is the first and last one in any debate on the subject.
I was not involved in the pro-life movement, nor was I even paying much attention, when the Chantal Daigle case was making headlines in Canada, but the decision of the Supreme Court in Tremblay v. Daigle (1989) found that a fetus has no legal status in Canada as a person, either in Canadian common law or in Quebec civil law. While Canada has no positive law about abortion, the status of the unborn child is firmly established: there isn’t one.
Between the legal non-status of abortion and the legal non-existence of the unborn child, the question in the Daigle case that was under debate at the time, was, “should a father have any rights?” In Canada, the Supreme Court decided, No.
Recently, I have been interested in the development of a small but growing backlash against the abortion lobby’s assertion that there is only one person, and one person’s rights, involved in abortion. In law around the world, the decision to have an abortion is entirely, and legally exclusively, the woman’s. No one, neither her parents nor her doctor can, so the logic goes, be allowed to influence her. And that goes triple for the father of the child.
Today, I was watching an interesting set of videos made by a UK group called manwomanmyth.com who are attempting to reverse the trends of misandry that have grown in law and public opinion in the last 50 years.
I don't agree, of course, with all the conclusions in these videos [crude language alert] which assert among other things that the solution to all these problems is the development of a male contraceptive pill. But the points being made, from the point of view of the monstrous injustices to men created by the sexual revolution, are not made often enough.
As I was watching, I was powerfully reminded of two incidents I experienced when I was working in Toronto and giving talks in local Catholic high schools. I was often able to surprise the kids by telling them that the legal situation in Canada gave absolutely no rights to men to have any say in whether their children live or die.
I usually related the story of a man I once spoke to on the phone who had called our office asking for legal help. He and his girlfriend were refugees from Honduras, and had no idea what the laws were in Canada.
The man’s girlfriend was pregnant and was living in a woman's shelter. These places are often run by the hardest core of radical feminists, and they had arranged for her to have an abortion (immigrant/refugee women, many of whom don't speak English, are often told by social workers that they will be deported if they have a child, that their child is "illegal").
This poor man, who was in Canada having fled Honduras during one of their political difficulties and who could not risk being sent back, asked me, begged me, to tell him what he could do to save his child's life and get his girlfriend some other kind of help. I was forced to tell him that in Canada, he had no legal rights whatever and if he tried to intervene to save his child, he could be arrested and probably deported.
When I told the kids in the class about this, they were silent. They had only ever been taught (in a Catholic school) to consider the 'rights of women' aspect of the abortion laws. They had no idea that the law was so unbalanced and had not been provided with any sort of stock response to the concept that men are suffering grave injustices because of legal abortion.
At the end of one of these talks, a nice kid in one of the grade eleven classes was asked to escort me to the next class. He was tall and gangly and was tremendously good looking, but looked so sad; his face would have made you burst into tears. He quietly and very politely thanked me for having brought the subject of men's rights up in the talk.
He felt very strongly about it, he said, because his own girlfriend had had an abortion the year before. He said that he had wanted to help raise the child and that his parents had agreed, saying they would help too. But he was shut out of the discussion and his child was dead.
He was 16.