Men who don’t want to become fathers should be permitted to have a “legal abortion” up to the 18th week of a woman’s pregnancy, say the young liberals.
The cut-off date coincides with the last week in which a woman can terminate a pregnancy in Sweden.
“This means a man would renounce the duties and rights of parenthood,” LUF Väst chairman Marcus Nilsen told The Local.
By signing up for a “legal abortion” then, a man would not have to pay maintenance for his child, but neither would he have any right to meet the child.
The group believes “legal abortion” for men would promote equality between the sexes in the early stages of a pregnancy, giving men a chance to opt out. Women would also benefit if they knew from the get-go whether a man was willing to commit to parenthood, the young liberals say.
Asked how a mother would explain to a child later in life what had happened to its father, Nilsen said:
“This situation already exists, with single women who choose to inseminate or simply don’t know who the father is.”
He added: “We wouldn’t want to make this something that was subject to secrecy. A mother could say: ‘I consider this man to be your father, but legally he is not’.”
Some social media users have welcomed the plan but many have ridiculed it and Nilsen said the group had received a flurry of threats.
“One man wrote on Facebook that all our members should be put against a wall and shot.”
Johanna Frändén, a popular sports writer, was a lot more welcoming.
“I think I’m of the view that this is actually quite sensible,” she wrote on Twitter.
— Johanna Frändén (@juanitafranden) March 4, 2016
Ivar Arpi, an influential leader writer with the Svenska Dagbladet daily, disagreed.
“No, men shouldn’t be able to have legal abortions. Men should take responsibility for their children. Period.”
Nej, män ska inte kunna göra juridisk abort. Män ska ta ansvar för sina barn. Punkt.
— Ivar Arpi (@Ivarpi) March 4, 2016
Much of the criticism accused the young Liberals of misogyny, something Nilsen was quick to reject.
“This motion was actually put forward at our annual meeting by a group of girls,” he said.
Nilsen added that the group was unlikely to take the plan any further.
“It’s something we thought was worthy of debate but the reactions have been overwhelmingly conservative, with a lot of people viewing it as an attack on the nuclear family. We have other issues we're prioritizing such as housing and employment.”
The idea comes on the heels of two proposals last month that got tongues wagging: The young Liberals’ Stockholm branch said it wanted to legalize sibling incest for over-15s and to permit “consensual” necrophilia in cases where the deceased had written post-life sex requests into a will.
A senior member of the mother party, Carl B. Hamilton, called the youngsters idiots and wondered if “sex with hippos” would be next on the agenda.