Contentious conversations surrounding reproductive rights ebb and flow — at turns gaining national momentum, then sitting high on the party-pandering shelf to pull out during a rainy election cycle. Through it all, the pivotal perspective of one person seems to be willfully ignored: The Father.

When a mother decides that abortion is her only option, with or without the father’s consent, she is legally able to do so. The Madonna/Whore Complex which inundates our society typically places both accolades and accountability squarely on the shoulders of the mother because the womb is where the fetus develops. The responsibilities of potential fathers are etched in stone in courtrooms across America, while their rights are eclipsed — exacerbating a judiciary imbalance that potentially undermines the father’s position by relegating him to sperm donor status.

This layered bias has been encouraged and accepted by society as a whole because the percentage of men who negate their responsibility to their children far outweighs those men left heartbroken over a partner’s abortion. Choosing instead to assert their reproductive freedom, and then just as swiftly disappear, absentee fathers contribute to some startling statistics. According to data compiled by Children: Our Ultimate Investment:

• 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
• 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
• 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
• 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes
• 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
• 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes
• 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes.
• 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes.

With these statistics in mind, women should unequivocally control when they give birth, and the complete authority over our motherhood options—whether that entails childbirth, abortion or adoption—should never be questioned. The lack of male guidance is glaringly obvious and has proven to be detrimental for many youth in this country. From the club to the clinic, to the church to the cradle, men must be held equally accountable for pregnancy and the subsequent innocent lives that enter into the world.

There are no excuses.

There is, however, an interesting argument that simmers on the fringes of the national narrative regarding reproductive rights.

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