Abortion Decision-making — Taking Men’s Needs Seriously

  • Marie Fox


The theme of this volume provocatively seems to signal that it is only the interests of women which are of concern in abortion decision-making. In this chapter I aim to explore whether this is a tenable position for feminists to adopt, given that in other respects feminism is progressing to the point where we acknowledge the need to recognize fully the complexity of abortion decision-making. For instance, feminist theorists have rejected the simplistic contention that the foetus can be dismissed as a clump of cells, and formulated a more sophisticated analysis of its status,1 although this has been achieved only after difficult and sometimes divisive debate. By contrast, there is little comparable debate about the position of men. As Kathleen McDonnell has pointed out: Though feminism has never actually worked out a position on the role of men in abortion, in practice we have designated only one appropriate role for them, that of the ‘supportive man’ … So to a large extent, what we have encouraged in men is a passive, auxiliary role in abortion, allowing them to participate in a way that is helpful, but perhaps not, in some important sense, truly meaningful.2


Unborn Child Legal Abortion Child Custody Putative Father Illegal Abortion 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Fox
    • 1
  1. 1.Manchester UniversityUK

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