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The girl I had sex with is pregnant. Do I have a say in the decision about what to do? What if we disagree?

In many relationships, especially when they’re healthy and communication is open, the partner is the first to find out after a girl or woman learns of her pregnancy. In a situation like that, they can discuss options and he may have some influence on what happens. However, legally, when it comes down to the final decision, you do not have a say. Under the law, the pregnant girl or woman gets to decide what to do about the pregnancy, whether it’s abortion, adoption or raising the child. That’s her legal right.

Some girls and women want the father of their baby involved in the decision; others do not. There are a variety of relationship and personal reasons why either of these might be the case.

Some Things to Consider:

  • Think about how you feel about the pregnancy and the idea of becoming a dad. Do some soul-searching. Guys have different reactions when hearing the news initially. Some are shocked. Others are happy. Others are confused. Others are stressed and wonder how they could manage being a father right now. It’s important to work through whatever feelings you have, perhaps with someone close to you, before you talk to her. When you talk to her, listen to how she feels and what she wants. Ask questions. Calmly tell her how you feel. Answer her questions.
  • If the two of you disagree about what to do, don’t try to pressure her to accept your point of view. Once you know that she understands your side, even if she disagrees, take some alone time for both of you to think. Agree on a time to come back together and discuss it again.
  • It’s also important for you to spend some time figuring out how you feel about the child’s mother. How would you define your relationship with her? Are you together as a couple? Are you just friends? Are you barely speaking? What kind of relationship would you like with her in the future? After you’ve had some time to yourself, it can be helpful to talk things through with a trusted adult in your life.

Ultimately, the decision about what to do about a pregnancy is the girl’s decision. When she makes a final decision it’s best to start thinking about the next steps, not only for you personally, but also for your relationship. Once you work out the type of relationship the two of you want, you can focus on figuring out ways to handle the situation together. That includes dividing up responsibilities. Who will do what for the baby? How will you pay for the expenses of raising a child, or how will you pay for the abortion? Will you stay in school or get a job? Or who will research adoption agencies?

Here are some links to more information on being a father. If your partner chooses to have an abortion and you need or want to talk with someone about your feelings after the abortion, contact the Exhale hotline.

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