He Said/She Said - Baby Blues
Kim asks, "I just found out I'm pregnant from my boyfriend, but it was an accident and he doesn't want me to keep it. How much say does he have in what I decide to do?"
The short answer is: zero – it's your body, so it's entirely up to you. The long answer begins with admitting that you and your boyfriend know exactly "how is babby formed," but decided to participate in an activity specifically designed to make more people, and it worked – so you can't call it an "accident." That's like taking a hammer to the side of an aquarium and saying the fish accidentally fell out. If you don't want fish pouring onto your carpet, don't go swinging hammers around fish tanks. Anyway, Now you both have to decide how to take responsibility for your actions, but the burden of pregnancy (and how much influence he has on it) rests squarely on your head because guess what: he's not pregnant, you are.
Biologically, he planted his seed and is no longer physically bound to any kind of consequences. From a purely scientific standpoint, he could disappear without another thought about it, and you'll still be pregnant. Of course, morally, he should also take responsibility for something he helped to make, but the reality is he doesn't have to. This might seem unfair, but that's how reproduction works.
Legally, you can force him to pay child support. Ethically, his family has a new member on the way. Financially, he should support you because it takes two to tango. None of this, however, changes the fact that, when it comes to brass tacks, you're the only one who is forced to take care of this situation.
But, while you might feel jilted about the fact that being a woman means you alone have to do something about this, you should actually feel empowered. You – and only you – have the final say in whether or not you keep the baby. If you think you can support it on your own, go for it. If you don't think you can do it without your boyfriend's help, you can have an abortion. Want something to dress up for the next 18 years? Keep it. Want to avoid stretch marks and baby fat? Abort it.
The point is, if you are the only one who's physically pregnant, you're the only one that can make that decision. You have the options. You have the power. He doesn't. Your curse is that you're going to have to make a very hard choice; your blessing is that the choice is entirely yours.
The real question is this: if you were doing something you both knew good and well could create a child, why didn't either of you ask some pretty fundamental qualifying questions like "If this completely procreational activity ends up getting me pregnant, what would you want to do?" or "Do you plan on having safe sex or do you want to just go at it all willy-nilly and then call it an accident when it works?" or even "Where do you plan on finishing?" Remember kids: Penises are tools, not toys. Use responsibly.
I would like to answer a quick and simple, "none!" for all my empowered ladies out there, but think for a moment—are you really going to completely disregard your partner's wishes?
You're not starting at the beginning, and that's why you'll hit some snags. First, you need to make a decision yourself. A solid, life-changing, permanent decision, that is entirely your own. It needs to exist solitarily, at least at first.
Then I'm going to bet that you will present this decision to your boyfriend, whose mind is also made up. Then a – hopefully – appropriate conversation will ensue. That is how this would work in an ideal world.
Does this seem likely? Hell no. You know your boyfriend doesn't want a child, so whether or not you're acknowledging it, that knowledge is already affecting your ultimate decision. Because now you're thinking, "This kid isn't going to have a dad around. Is it better to get an abortion now, knowing how unstable its future will probably be?"
So really, you can't stop him influencing your decision. You don't have that much control over your brain or your emotions, especially not both simultaneously. You're in a relationship, you love him (right?), you're going to take how you already know he feels into account. Game, set, match. But if you mean whether or not you should let him tell you what to do, I'm going to have to respond with a resounding, blisteringly clear NO. Of course not – don't you watch Oprah?
More importantly, I fervently believe that not even another woman has any right to tell you what to do with your unborn baby. Until a girl is pregnant, and she experiences what it is really like to be faced with a decision of this magnitude, she has no way to predict what she would actually want to choose. I carefully and purposefully placed the word "want" in there, by the way, because I know that there are plenty of girls out there who know exactly what would happen if they were to get pregnant accidentally. Whether it's religious, spiritual, or just something you've always been crystal clear on ethically, I sympathize with knowing where you stand on the issue of abortion. But this question presents a gray area, a girl who is choosing: already admitting to being torn between two options.
So if your boyfriend doesn't want to have a kid, you already know that. That is his say, and that's that. His input will hold its weight, no doubt. Him reminding you of how strongly he might feel about it is crossing over a line, a line that you should confidently draw.