9 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 369 (1982)
The Father's (Lack of) Right and Responsibilities in the Abortion Decision: An Examination of Legal-Ethical Implications

handle is hein.journals/onulr9 and id is 385 raw text is: The Father's (Lack of) Right and Responsibilities
in the Abortion Decision: An Examination of
Legal-Ethical Implications
MARSHALL B. KAPP*
The liberalization of abortion laws in this country has had significant
implications for men as well as women. Particularly, a number of ethical
and legal issues have been raised concerning the rights and respon-
sibilities of a father who had unsuccessfully attempted to persuade his
child's mother to obtain an abortion during her pregnancy. The author ex-
plores these issues and submits that in these circumstances the man
should be absolved of any legal and financial responsibility for the child
he has fathered.
I. INTRODUCTION
The ethical and legal implications of the subject of induced abortion
have been debated at great length for many years. Recent changes in the
substantive law and in normative ethical thought have intensified and re-
directed much of this debate.' This article attempts to explore some of the
ethical-legal ramifications of a largely neglected area, that of the father's
rights and responsibilities in the abortion decision, in light of these re-
cent developments.
To establish a framework for facilitating a discussion of the specific
issues which this article addresses, several assumptions must be made. It
is proper to state these assumptions at the outset, since one of the
characteristics of a moral dilemma, according to Ronald Green,' is that it
be a matter subject to human control and action. The assumptions which
are beyond the realm of human control, thus help to define those areas
which are controllable and which are therefore amenable to being treated
as moral issues. The relevant assumptions in this situation are:
1. During at least the first two trimesters of pregnancy, the deci-
sion to abort a fetus belongs to the mother of that fetus and her doctor,
and the state may not hinder or impede that decision. Put differently, the
mother of a fetus is entitled to an abortion on demand during at least the
first six months of pregnancy, free from governmental interference. This
*Assistant Professor, Wright State University School of Medicine. Adjunct Pro-
fessor, University of Dayton School of Law. B.A. Johns Hopkins University (1971); J.D.
George Washington University (with honors 1974); M.P.H. Harvard University (1978).
1. See T. HILGERS, D. HORAN & D. MALL, PERSPECTIVES ON HUMAN ABORTION (1981);
M. O'BRIEN. THE POLITICS OF REPRODUCTION (1981); L.D. WARDLE, THE ABORTION PRIVACY
DOCTRINE (1980).
2. GREEN, POPULATION GROWTH AND JUSTICE: AN EXAMINATION OF MORAL ISSUES
RAISED BY RAPID POPULATION GROWTH 3 (1976).

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