The comments in your December issue about the anomaly of the laws, as now constituted, that affirm both the woman’s sole right to decide on abortion and the father’s duty to financially support the child once born were very well taken.

The fact is that abortion is always justified on the basis of the tacit assumption that the issue is one of pregnancy only. Since the only one affected by the condition of pregnancy is the woman—so the argument goes—she should be the only one to decide whether she wishes to continue being pregnant. The way this is expressed in a slogan is, “A woman has the right to control her own body.” However, to assume that the main issue is pregnancy is totally dishonest. Except for a handful of cases, the woman is objecting not to the condition of pregnancy, but to the prospect of having a child. Everything testifies to this, including most of the reasons advanced for abortion: a child would interfere with my education, my career; I can’t afford to support a child; I have too many children already; the child has been diagnosed as defective; it is the result of rape or incest. It’s the child the abortion is intended to get rid of, not the pregnancy. Medical practice also testifies to this: if there were another condition that entailed the discomforts of even an unusually unpleasant pregnancy but that was guaranteed to clear up by itself in nine months, no doctor would feel a surgical procedure was justified to clear up the condition a few months sooner.

It is a contradiction to deny the father any say as to whether his child, the fetus, should continue to live or not, and then at birth suddenly acknowledge that he has the same relationship and responsibility for the child that the mother does. Where did this relationship suddenly come from if at conception nothing happened but a totally self-contained change in the condition of the woman’s body? This break in the organic connection that used to tie the male to the family is, in my view, ominous. Such a break is what abortion laws, in denying the man any say in the matter, necessarily entail. Forcing the man to support a child after birth to whom he was denied any connection during the preceding nine months becomes merely an act of the legislature, based not on nature but on the legislature’s arbitrary decision.

        —Mrs. Richard M. Haywood
West Lafayette, IN