"Choice For Men" (C4M), also known as "male abortion"
"Choice For Men" (C4M) - overview
"Choice For Men" (C4M or "male abortion") - more details
Commentary on the C4M FAQ
The politics of "Choice For Men" in the UK
An aiming point for the future "Beyond C4M"
Reproductive trends for never-together men & women
"Scenario 1" - what should the law be in this case?
Related topic - Advances in male contraception - overview
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"Choice For Men" (C4M) - overview

See: Commentary on the C4M FAQ (Commentary on Frequently Asked Questions About "Choice for Men")

Choice For Men (C4M) is a proposal to change the law to allow a man to make a legally effective, binding, statement to a woman who is newly pregnant with a foetus conceived by him:

"If a child is born, I will not accept any responsibility for it and I will not exercise any rights to it". Or:

"Whatever decisions you make, you are on your own".

It would enable the man to be secure that, if she carried the foetus to term, he would have no legal rights or responsibilities for the child. In particular, he could never be liable for child support, whether through courts or through an agency such as the CSA. This may sound like a stereotypical "deadbeat dad" proposal. In fact, it is very different, both in origins & in implications. Anyone who displays such a knee-jerk reaction to C4M is missing the point.

C4C can be opposed on a number of grounds. I believe it stands no chance of ever being implemented in the UK. I suspect it will never be implemented anywhere in the "Western World". But it deserves serious discussion, and the underlying issues will eventually be solved in other ways that will transform the relationships between men & women for ever. The basis of the C4M proposal is the assumption is that conception has occurred. If men can ensure that conception doesn't happen, then they can't be "tricked or trapped into parenthood", except in certain cases that should be dealt with separately. "Prevention is better than cure". C4M is in urgent need of addressing this fundamental principle of how to make things work better! It would be better to achieve "every child a wanted child".

Some underlying issues

There are cases "(Scenario 1") where the dice are certainly loaded against a man concerned.

In fact, there are several trends in reproductive options which appears to be loaded against men & in favour of women.

A major difference between this case & "deadbeat dads" is that at the time of the man's decision, there is no child, just a foetus. To some women, this makes no difference - they simply wouldn't have an abortion in these circumstances, and so the child will be born. To others, abortion is a quite acceptable form of post-sex birth-control, in which case if the child is never born the man is not a dad, so can't be a "deadbeat dad".

Opposition to C4M

Men, women and taxpayers (these are not mutually exclusive!) should be opposed to C4M:

The pressure on the woman. C4M is about giving a pregnant woman no choices other than to have an abortion or to give birth to a child whose father refuses to support it.

The wrong message to men. This proposal is a charter for men to be able to have casual sex and then walk away, abandoning the mother and child, or causing another abortion to take place.

A possibility of benefit fraud? (Whenever there is a new way of causing "the state" to pay out more money because someone isn't fulfilling responsibilities, there is always the possibility of benefit fraud!)

It would undermine the case for male contraceptives. Businesses must believe there will be sufficient market to make it worthwhile to provide such products. C4M would reduce the attractiveness to businesses of these products and may reduce their priority.

It is pretty clear that C4M will never be implemented at currently defined in the UK. But its arguments are worth examining because they show some issues that do need to be addressed, albeit in different ways.


See also An aiming point for the future "Beyond C4M".

The solution will certainly include the availability of high quality male contraceptives. This should be the last generation in "the Western world" when a significant proportion of children born were not wanted, or at least accepted, by both man & woman at time of sex.

This will change the relationship between men & women:

  • Many men will simply exercise a veto on conception until they positively want children.
  • Many women will feel able to say "it's your turn to take the pill - and remember that if you fail to, I still have choices but you may have to pay £51,000 for the child, so I can trust you to do so".

However, there may be an "arms race"!

The ability for men to exercise a veto will probably trigger commercially available tests which women can use to test whether men are exercising the veto! Would a woman say aloud "I'm not having sex unless you stop taking the pill"? Would a woman petition for divorce on the grounds that the husband is taking the pill?

Page last updated: 5 July, 2004 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2003