David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Robert Almeder & James Humber (eds.), Biomedical Ethics Reviews: Reproduction, Technology, and Rights. 101-119 (1996)
Fathers do not have an absolute obligation to provide for the welfare of their children. If mothers have the right to opt out of future duties towards their children by deciding to have an abortion instead, fathers too should be considered to have the right to avoid similar future duties. I also argue that fathers should be granted a mechanism by which they can exercise such a right. The discussion is initially motivated by showing an apparent inconsistency among three widely accepted principles regarding a woman's right to an abortion, equality, and parental obligations. I argue that by allowing fathers (with certain restrictions) to refuse to support their forthcoming progeny, the inconsistency among the three principles is resolved. I also argue that this is the best resolution, and provide three other independent arguments in favor of a paternal right of refusal.
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