In 1996, the GSS asked:
If the husband in a family wants children, but the wife decides that she does not want any children, is it all right for the wife to refuse to have children?
If the wife in a family wants children, but the husband decides that he does not want any children, is it all right for the husband to refuse to have children?
Survey says: 82% affirmed the wife's right to refuse, but only 61% affirmed the same right for husbands. Other than a simple men's rights story, anyone got an explanation?
In traditional households, the mother shoulders most of the costs of childrearing (not to mention childbearing!). If we can assume this background context, then we have 82% of people affirming one's right to back out of a massive burden, compared to only 61% affirming one's right to back out of a not-quite-so-massive burden.
Further: sexist gender norms mean that women are more likely to be stigmatized for being childless. If we can assume this as background, it means that not only is the alleged "duty" less burdensome for the husband, his reneging would impose greater costs on his spouse (compared to the costs to him if the wife were to back out).
These assumptions won't hold in every particular case, of course. But they seem plausible enough in general, so the asymmetry in the survey results seems perfectly sensible -- certainly not evidence of anti-male bias.