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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

SL Letter of the Day: Time to Choose

Posted by Dan Savage on Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I am a 25-year-old female and mother of three children. I am currently in school obtaining my GED because I didn't graduate with my class. I, instead, had babies. So now I'm finally bettering my life as well as my children's lives.

So, I started dating a guy about two months ago. We slept together after about a month. I got an IUD put in place last October. So we had unprotected sex. A few weeks later, I noticed weird symptoms that were similar to ones I had when I was pregnant. Which seemed impossible as I had an IUD. But then I missed my period. So it turns out that I am in fact pregnant. So here's the real dilemma. I took the advice that you gave to someone else and told the guy I'm seeing that I am pregnant and that I can't possibly keep the baby due to where I am in my life right now AND the fact that I don't even know him that well.

Now, he's trying to convince me to carry the baby to term and let him have the child. He is well off. He owns his own three-bedroom home, he has a brand new car, he has a great job. He would be more than capable of taking care of a child financially. He dreams of being a father someday and sees his time running out. He also says he should have just as much say as I do considering he is the father of the child. But I can't do it. As great of a solution as it sounds, I cannot do it. I can't carry my own child to term and then hand it off to the father. I would obviously form an attachment to the baby and I am not strong enough to hand a baby over.

So, what am I to do? Does he have as much right as I do to make decisions in this child's life? I really need your help. You are the only person who will give me an honest answer, even if it's not what I want to hear.

Serious About Deciding

My response after the jump...

·························

If this guy is desperate to be a dad, he's well off, he's willing to do it alone, and he feels like his "time is running out"—how old is he?—why the fuck wasn't he looking into adoption or surrogacy before you came into his life? Or before he came into your vagina? He had and still has options and it's unfair of him to put this kind of pressure on you.

That said, SAD, I do think you should to take his feelings into account while you make a decision that is ultimately yours, and yours alone, to make. Until a fetus can be removed from a woman's body and implanted and carried to term in man's body, the choice to have an abortion is the woman's to make. A man who can't handle knowing that a woman has aborted "his child" probably shouldn't be having vaginal intercourse at all—no birth control method is foolproof—or that man should, at the very least, make damn well sure that any woman he want to put his penis in feels exactly as he does about abortion prior to putting his penis in her.

So just to be clear: He can't force you to carry this fetus to term. You get to make the final decision. It's your body, it's your choice. You did the right think by informing in and hearing him out. Now you get to choose. But I think you should... think about it, SAD, and consider his side and what he's asking you to do. If he's a good and decent guy, if you think he'd be a good father, if this opportunity really is his last chance (how is his time running out exactly?), you would be giving this man an amazing gift. And you wouldn't have to "hand your baby over." You wouldn't have to relinquish your parental rights—or your parental responsibilities—to this child. You would be a parent, SAD, just not the custodial parent.

If this is something you would consider—if it was something you even could consider—then he should offer to hire you a lawyer, a lawyer of your own choosing, to walk you through your rights as a parent and hammer out an agreement that protects your rights as a parent. (If he would prefer to treat you like a surrogate, well, then Mr. Well Off should offer to pay you like one.) But if you simply can't do this—if you can neither care for another child yourself or relinquish a baby you carried to term to its father—don't drag this process out.

Choose.

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