Karabo Mokoena
3 minute read
19 Aug 2020
9:45 am

A whatsapp conversation raises the debate on whether or not men can choose fatherhood

Karabo Mokoena

Since women can choose parenthood, should men be given the same choice?


Screenshots of a couple privately chatting about pregnancy have gone viral on social media. In the conversation, a girl is asking the man who impregnated her for money to buy baby essentials.

His response made the thread go viral.

“I told you from the start to do an abortion. Now you are nagging me with baby stuff. That ain’t my problem.”

It has started a conversation amongst people regarding a man’s right to choose not to be a present father if he communicated his unreadiness to have a child.


Also Read: The South African Government reminds parents about free family advocate services

According to Divorce Laws: “Both parents have a duty to maintain the child according to their respective means. The duty exists irrespective of whether the child is adopted, born in or out of wedlock, or born of the first or subsequent marriage.”

Men, therefore, are legally obliged to pay child maintenance whether or not they want to play an active role in the upbringing of the said child.

However, they can choose not to be a present father if they did not want to have a child. In South Africa, and globally, men have no say in whether or not a woman should terminate a pregnancy.

Also Read: SINGLE PARENTS: How to claim for child maintenance

If a man expresses a desire to father and a woman does not, she can go ahead and terminate, but a man cannot decide otherwise.

Derick Masoana of Christians South Africa told Timeslive in 2018: “It cannot be that a father must take full responsibility when a child is born and mostly taken to the maintenance court while they do not have a say in whether or not the child must be aborted or kept.”

Phindile Masuku, a mom to a pre-schooler argues that “women bare the consequence of unprotected sex”. They fall pregnant, and they birth children that look to them for primary care.

Women have the final say as to whether or not the baby is kept, but cannot force a man to be a part of the child’s life.

It is a multifaceted conversation that deals with the following argument amongst others;

Are men automatically expected to ‘man up’ by virtue of impregnating a woman?

The legal answer is ‘no’.

The moral answer is ‘it depends’. People come from very different backgrounds and some stay and even marry a girl they impregnated, while others don’t.

This conversation shook a lot of boats, with many women arguing that one should be careful who they have unprotected sex with, and should have conversations surrounding the inevitable results of unprotected sex.

Karabo Mokoena

Karabo Mokoena

Karabo Mokoena is a wife, a girl mom, a writer and content creator. She is the Resident Contributor for Parenty and a Mommy Blogger, creating relatable parenting content for her blog Black Mom Chronicles. You can engage with her on her Instagram and Facebook pages. She is a Political Science graduate, who has worked in Human Resources for most of her professional career. She loves engaging with people, thus her choice to specialise in recruitment. She loves telling stories and sharing her life’s journey to brighten someone else’s day. 

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