The couple in Ernest Hemingway’s "Hills Like White Elephants" faces a difficult situation – how to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. To further complicate the issue, it's pretty clear that one partner wants to settle down and have the baby, while the other partner doesn’t. What we see in the story is a public discussion of the matter. Since we don’t learn what the characters actually decide, the story is mostly about how they discuss the issues, what choices they explore, and even what choices they don’t explore. Written in 1927 when sex education and discussion of birth control were federal crimes in the U.S., the story also comments on what little was known about reproductive issues in those days, and how this lack of information impacts the options the characters consider available to them.
This story helps us explore the difficult issue of whether fathers should have a say in a woman’s choice to have or not have an abortion.