Saturday, December 10, 2005

Men's Right To Choose

This post is about abortion.

Full disclosure: at a point in my distant past a woman aborted a child of mine. She didn't tell me about it for 10 years. I still feel the loss.

I don't approve of abortion. Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, and hopefully will someday take its place next to Plessy v. Ferguson (separate but equal schools) and Bowers v. Hardwick (sexual privacy) as cases that were undone by far superior decisions.

This is not a topic I usually address on this blog, but I've read two articles on the topic recently and thought I'd share them. And I'm going to share them because our current laws regarding abortion, a woman's so-called right to choose, and support for children remain among the last overtly biased laws on our nation's books. They're clearly biased against men.

I'm sure my friends on the left will stand with me in this case because bias against anyone is wrong. Right? Especially if that bias is caused by something (skin color, physical handicaps, etc) over which the oppressed has no control because it is a natural condition. And bias against women (76 cents to a dollar!) must stop. What about the bias against men?

I've never accepted the pro-abortion's crowd that "It's my body and I can do with it what I want." No, you can't, at least not legally. You can't put illegal drugs in it. In most jurisdictions you can't sell it for sex. So no, you can't do whatever you want with it.

It's your choice? What about men's choices? If a woman wants to have an abortion but the man doesn't want her to, she can have the abortion, and he has no say in it. If the woman wants to keep the child but the man wants nothing to do with it, she bears the child, he is legally compelled to pay child support for at least 18 years, and he has no say in it. In both cases the woman has all the say and the man has none. There's no justice here. There's no appeal, because it's the law itself that separates men from the justice they deserve.

The articles I've read recently come from The Huffington Post and the LA Times, neither known for being a hotbed of conservative thought. These two articles are actually written from a feminist perspective and yet they call into question our current injustices with regards to men.

Here are a few quotes from the first:

In fact, we actively try to mitigate the effects of physical differences even though it comes at enormous costs to the rest of society -- particularly small business owners. Likewise, we reject social assignment based on other physical characteristics such as skin tone, most notably. And many progressives (including myself) think it absurd that only a pair of individuals who have the opposite sex organs should be able to enter the social and economic contract of a marriage with all the rights (and responsibilities) attendant to that contract.

The key to my argument is separating out the costs and risks of pregnancy from the issue of the child as joint property -- for lack of a better word. If you believe that a fetus is only a woman’s and part of her body, then the argument stops there. But then shouldn’t paternal obligations be abrogated too (other than compensating the woman for the “tort” he has inflicted by inseminating her -- i.e. perhaps paying for the cost of an abortion and associated pain and suffering)? From the point of view of the potential “father,” what distinction is there between his responsibilities to a bunch of cells when it is in the uterus to it when it is born if all the material “stuff” that created that child is donated, if you will, by the mother save half of the instruction manual (i.e. DNA)? The answer may be that he engaged in contract with the woman when he engaged in intercourse. Perfectly reasonable is to say that sex is not a contract, in which case, pregnancy should be non-binding on the father, no? (But can the same be said for sex within the marriage contract?) Again, if it all boils down to the fact that “it’s a woman’s body” then let’s have a real discussion of what can and can’t be expected of fathers.


Here are some quotes from the second:

But even though I was raised believing in the inviolability of a woman's right to choose, the older I get, the more I wonder if this idea of choice is being fairly applied.

Since we're throwing around radical ideas about abortion rights, let me raise this question: If abortion is to remain legal and relatively unrestricted — and I believe it should — why shouldn't men have the right during at least the first trimester of pregnancy to terminate their legal and financial rights and responsibilities to the child?

As Conley laments, the law does not currently allow for men to protect the futures of the fetuses they help create. What he doesn't mention — indeed, no one ever seems to — is the degree to which men also cannot protect their own futures. The way the law is now, a man who gets a woman pregnant is not only powerless to force her to terminate the pregnancy, he also has a complete legal obligation to support that child for at least 18 years.

In other words, although women are able to take control of their futures by choosing from at least a small range of options — abortion, adoption or keeping the child — a man can be forced to be a father to a child he never wanted and cannot financially support. I even know of cases in which the woman absolves the man of responsibility, only to have the courts demand payment anyway. That takes the notion of "choice" very far from anything resembling equality.

I realize I've just alienated feminists (among whose ranks I generally count myself) as well as pro-lifers, neither of whom are always above platitudes such as "You should have kept your pants on." But that reasoning is by now as reductive as suggesting that a rape victim "asked for it." Yes, people often act irresponsibly and yes, abortion should be avoided whenever possible. But just as women should not be punished for choosing to terminate a pregnancy, men should not be punished when those women choose not to.


Salient points. I wonder if they'll be resolved in my lifetime. There is a cry for justice that must be answered.

Update, 2/11/06: Here's an interesting story. Woman gives baby up for adoption after leaving the state to have the child--tells baby's father (who has Parkinson's Disease) that the baby was stillborn. She told him a year later.

47 comments:

Polski3 said...

I hear you. I've been there too. I was totally against her "choice" and told her that I would take care of the child. The "advisors" at her woman's health clinic told her I had no say whatsoever and she could do as SHE and SHE ALONE chose to do. I wonder what my son or daughter would be like today.

Good Post Darren.

Walter E. Wallis said...

If we don't fill this land, others will.

Carol said...

Very well said! I had a post a couple weeks ago along the same lines - sorry I don't know how to place a link in a comment - I'll just include the URL:http://themediansib.blogspot.com/2005/11/abortion-right-to-choose.html.
The rights of the man and the rights of the baby are not taken into consideration. It IS a most difficult issue. There are no easy answers.

jack said...

I agree with you

Darren said...

Carol has a great comment in her post:

The bottom line is that we've based a law on wants. If the baby is wanted, then it is protected by law. If the baby is unwanted, then it is not protected by law.

I would add that if the baby is wanted by *the mother* then it is protected.

JBL said...

Thank you for your post and I am sorry for the loss of your unborn child. I am not in favor of abortion except in cases of life and death. I appreciated hearing a man's point of view.

Wulf said...

I have always hated the "It's my body and I can do with it what I want" argument. Nobody opposes abortion because of what a woman is doing to her own body. They oppose abortion because they believe another person's body is being affected - the baby's. It's a meaningless "point"... like most in the abortion argument.

Personally, I don't see the laws changing to allow men any say in whether the pregnancy is continued. At least, not until after the child support laws are equal.

Darren said...

This is definitely *not* the post for which I expected so many comments in so short a time, especially on a Saturday. You'd think this was a touchy issue or something.

Save Ferris.

Mike T said...

Darren

I’m sorry about the loss. I wonder how she feels after all these years. Two very close friends of mine (who at the time were dating… they eventually got married and then divorced) had an abortion during their dating phase. I know she feels the loss every day. She’s remarried and just had her second baby.

I think you understand why I despise Roe v Wade. I sometimes pay the trick on people by asking “name me a right the Constitution grants” and they say speech, press, etc. No, to quote the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” In simple English, the rights were there before this document was written. But seven jackasses in robes said “well, there is something in between the lines of the 1st, 3rd, 4th Amendments that says abortion is legal.” Again, if the document say much more than what is written on it and only an undemocratic institution, i.e. the courts can say what it is, then the Constitution is meaningless. England don’t have a Roe v Wade moment. It did liberalize its abortion laws over the 60-80s…but it was done via the democratic process. No one is completely happy, but it’s not the open sore this county has.
Again my more “progressive” friends don’t have an answer for this question your post asked in a round-a-bout way. If the man has no rights, can he be held responsible for what he’s done? Fairness says no (as if life is fair), But what will be the response of NOW, NARAL et all when a man sues in federal court saying “I’ve got no say in this “woman’s body”, I should not be held accountably for her decisions, and a federal judge (s) say “Your right…mom, you can’t sue him for child support.”
Something to consider long term. Our society/culture/government is working against families in multiple ways. What will be the effect when a judge tells males (I refuse to use the term man) “impregnate all the females you want and don’t worry there is no responsibility…”
Depressing.

Ric Seaberg said...

darrell, i to am sorry that you still feel bad that your old partner aborted without your knowledge. perhaps she felt that you would not agree with her decision and that you would make her life miserable as she went through that awful time. but i don't want to in any way negate your sadness.

in my life, and i am an old guy, 57, i have come to believe that, on the issue of whether or not to abort, it should be the exclusive choice of the woman. a child is so close to a mom, and if she feels she cannot do it, for whatever reason, she is probably right. my opinion on that is exclusive of the fact that you still have pain from your expereience. i know you do, and i am sorry for that. but a child without a willing mom, coming into the world, is likely going to have a really rough ride.

there isn't much to go on in your story of your partner's abortion. did you love her? did she love you? was there a possiblitily that you could have formed a lifetime bond and the both of you taken care of that child, changed his diapers, bought him braces, picked him or her up from school, maintained a home and job, etc etc etc? maybe, given her opinion of you at the time, she was afraid that in truth, she would have to go it alone. I did raise a child from age 19, with my first wife, and i can't believe i did it, i was such a dope. Good luck to you sir, i like your blog, and your honesty, keep up the good work. but you are going to have to suck it up and be a man and get over that incident long ago. use that energy to pay attention to the needs of children who are in your world today.

Darren said...

Ric--"suck it up and be a man" because I "still feel the loss"? I've done both--and you are quite wrong. I have several things to say to you, but since I believe in keeping this civil, I'll invite you to be silent and be thought a fool rather than to speak and remove all doubt.

Mike T said...

Ric

I'll not go into great detail but I know Darren has given up multiple higher paying job opportunities and accepted the lower paying salary of a junior high math teacher to do one thing. Be near his son. Darren finished (as I recall) 39th West Point Class of 87 in Math. I think he can get much more than what a teacher pays. When we knew each other at Ft Carson CO in the late around 1990 he was a volunteer big brother. Put simply he would have taken care of his child.

From my previous entry into this discussion you can tell my objection to Roe v Wade (And it's predecessor Griswold v Conn) it that it is terrible law. The US Constitution says nothing about abortion and doesn't mention the word "privacy", but it allows a process for these matters to handled. The legislative/executive process. They are accountable to the people who elect them. We've seen multiple examples of judges acting like super-legislatures, e.g. court ordered bussing for school integration which only increased school segregation, turning eminent domain on it's head earlier this year, and the degrading of the 1st Amendment via letting "Campaign Finance Reform" (a worse contradiction in terms than "military intelligence") stand.

Darren said...

Mike:

It was 35th :-) And thanks for the props.

Now that I'm not so riled up at Ric I'll state that the woman told me the reason she aborted the child was because she feared that I'd give up going to West Point in order to raise the child, and she didn't want me to give that up. Again, I had no input in the matter at all.

Ric Seaberg said...

Someone is going to have to teach you about women. Where relationships are concerned, women are in charge. As men, we can make suggestions, like say, the name for a baby, or what color to paint the living room, but when it comes down to it, if you are in a relationship, your female counterpart is going to decide, and you are going to follow. If we are smart and mature men, we accept that role. Why do we do it? Well, first, in our culture, we cannot control women by using physical force, as they do in other cultures, which is a good thing. But since we cannot, and do not, it frees women to make their opinions and needs known. And if we men are smart, we do not interfere with their decision making, because it is not in our best interest. If we interfere with their decisions, like say, bitch and moan that they want to name the baby Darcelle, but they love the name Darcelle, and really really want the name Darcelle, then I think it is best to step aside. Because we then continue to reap the wonderful benefits that a loving woman can bestow upon a man, basically the same things that we got from our moms, warm love and care. And we men will do just about anything for that. And a thing like whether a woman wants to carry a baby which would be the sum of your sperm and her egg, you just gotta accept that you dont get a vote. Not really.

Darrell, you are allowed your feelings about your loss. It is a shame that it happened. But it’s over. Whatever reason she decided to do it, whether she was being straight with you or not, it’s done. You don’t have to change your mind about your feelings. But you do have to move on.

They might be from Venus, and they might do dumb things sometimes, like use SOS on the front of the microwave, but it’s not a good idea to call’em on it. I realize that the issue of abortion is way more complex than that, especially since a pregnancy means that we men have already been very involved. But the chicks get to decide what they do with a pregnancy. Get used to it. I welcome you to delete this post if you wish. I just want to have my feelings known to you. Others too, if you wish, but I don’t want to muck up your blog.

Darren said...

Which is a more accurate descriptor, whipped or milquetoast?

Darren said...

I always think of the best retorts after I've posted something visceral.

I imagine this view would go over well in the Middle East: "Where relationships are concerned, men are in charge. Just do what they say and everything will be fine. If they make a mistake, you'd better not call them on it."

Notice any similarities between this concept and your last comment, Ric?

Ric Seaberg said...

Sorry I have been misspelling your name Darren.

Well, it's not like there is no cooperation between the sexes. I just bought a ton of tools this week, and my wife knows, if I buy'em, I must need'em. I mean I didn't get a lathe or anything, just some of those cool Ryobi 18v battery operated ones, an all saw, and a circular saw, and when I demo the shelving in my warehouse this week, to make room for a new retail store, it's gonna be a blast. No electric cords, YESS!

Dude, we just have a difference of opinion. I wish you all the best.

One time, an older neighbor of mine, who I thought was just a great man, told me the story of losing his 12 year old boy to a drowning many years before. When he was finished, I asked him, in my naivete, and since I was a nervous young Dad, 'How do you ever get over something like that?", to which he replied, "You never do". So if you are having those kinds of vibes about your unborn child, I absolutely do not want to undermine your feelings about that.

But trust me Darren, if you want a woman in your life, and want to command respect and get things your way sometimes, you ain't gonna do it by tellin'. You get it by being a hard working and caring husband and father, and giving the girls their way, when you can see it is important to them. Then, they will give you more love than you ever thought possible. Call me in like 20 years.

Darren said...

Ric, I read your posts and I'm reminded of a joke. The joke is so funny because there's more than just a shred of truth to it.

Q: Why do men die younger than women?
A: Because they want to!

Anonymous said...

Ric (and Darren, since this is your blog), can you honestly tell me that every relationship between a man and a woman will work splendidly if men did just what you suggested? If so, then I think it is you who needs to learn more about women than what you got back in high school reading The Canterbury Tales. Your wife is different from any woman that I have ever met, who, in turn, are different than any of the women Darren's ever met, who are different than. . . Just like every man. This is getting further from the abortion debate, but I feel like it had to be said. There is no template for a good relationship. To think that there is one thing a man (or a woman) can do to keep a significant other in love with them is naive at best, egotism at worst.

Anonymous said...

It IS your body, and you CAN do what you want with it. Injecting heroin and consorting with hookers are both activities over which the state should have no control. Remember that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" thing? To use the argument that since the government has already intruded upon our personal lives in areas which are none of its business to justify further intrusions is wrong.

Darren, I'm sorry about your loss, and I agree that women enjoy an unjust upperhand here, but because pregnancy is a medical issue that directly affects their bodies and has potential risk to their lives, they should have the ultimate decision.

That said, if they abort a fetus that is half your 'donation' (family blog, right?) they have harmed you. I propose the following: before an abortion is performed, all potential fathers must be notified (except in the case of rape. No voluntary contract was entered in to, so no standing exists.). If the man wants the child, he can either negotiate with the woman, or sue her for damages if she elects to abort the child. If neither wants the child, nothing happens. However, if the woman wants the child and the man does not, the man gets equal standing -- by signing a declaration in favor of the abortion, he relinquishes responsibility for child support.

There -- equal footing.

Dan

Darren said...

Here's a blog post by a person who obviously has discerning taste!
http://whomovedmytruth.com/?p=535

maxxdadogg said...

Darren,

I am sure "if you want a woman in your life, ......(you'll get it by).....giving the girls their way", but of course would you really want a person so selfish so as to destroy your child at her personal whim, I think not.

In truth, what kind of man would not come to the aide of his child? What kind of man would not mourn the death of his child? What kind of woman would kill their child? Any man who would concede to the whim of another to avoid confrontation, and allow the murder of his child to get along lacks depth..... at the very least. Your pain and anger is justified.

The abortion rulings are illogical with criminal law. Currently, a woman can kill your child and bear no consequence yet a man who desires not to have a child would be guilty of murder if he intervened in a pregnancy. (yes I know this varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction) The point is that the law recognizes the right to be born and thus punishes the man who would intervene by punishing for murder. (i.e. Laci, Conner Peterson)

Considering the aforementioned, the right to self defense is a common law concept that is codified in every jurisdiction. It of course, is born out of the individual's right to self preservation. The law also recognizes that right may be exersised someone for another who is defenseless. There can be no more innocent and defenseless individual that the ones child in the womb. Yet the law gives you no voice in the singular instance of a woman who wants an abortion.

The concepts behind abortion do not stand up to close scrutiny and will fail in the end.

I am sorry for your loss.

maxx

Theresa said...

"If the man wants the child, he can either negotiate with the woman, or sue her for damages if she elects to abort the child. If neither wants the child, nothing happens. However, if the woman wants the child and the man does not, the man gets equal standing -- by signing a declaration in favor of the abortion, he relinquishes responsibility for child support.

There -- equal footing."

Let me get this straight, if the guy wants the child, the woman has to 'pay a price' essentially, but if the woman wants the child, and the guy doesn't, he gets to walk off?

And this is equal how?

Darren said...

Good question, Theresa. I've notified the person who made the comment.

I'm curious, though. How would *you* make the law "equal"?

Theresa said...

Ah, well, I never said I had the solution. It's a complicated issue. Do I think a man has the right to stop an abortion? Within a marriage, yes. Outside of one? No. I would hate to see a society in which men in a non-committed relationship were able to demand that a woman continue a pregnancy.

And this may not win me any brownie points, but I tend to think that every man should feel obligated to pay for a child he helped create, regardless of whether he is with the mother or not. At that point, it's about the child, period, and support should be fair, and only given after paternity has been established.

Darren said...

Ah yes, hide behind "it's in the child's best interests." If the man doesn't want the child and the woman does, let *her* shoulder the responsibilities. At least that would be legally fair.

A checkbook dad? I don't see how that helps a child.

Anonymous said...

To Theresa . . .

The equality of my proposal is that both the mother and father have equal say in whether or not the child will be born, and if it is born whether or not they want to support it. Currently, the woman has sole discretion; she can keep the child against the man's wishes and force him to pay, or she can abort the fetus against the man's wishes, leaving him without a child he was willing to raise.

My suggestion recognizes that both people played an equal part in creating the fetus, and so both should have equal say in a) what happpens to it and b) who pays for it if it is born. If the woman has a right to discharge her expenses by aborting the fetus, the man should have the same right. If the woman has the right to keep the child no matter what, the man should have the same right. In either case, the one who wanted to take the non-financially responsible route should be able to do so, if they choose, and the one who wants the child should take that into consideration when they make the decision.

If there is disagreement, that's when negotiation comes in . . .if the woman chooses to have the baby, and the man did not want to support it, she made the choice knowing and accepting that fact. It's not that he walked away: he told her he didn't want to support the child; she decided to have the child anyway. She only 'pays a price' in that she valued the child enough to have it despite the fact that the father would not support it. That's not a price, per se; it's a choice. The difference here is that the man has been given one too.
On the other hand, there is an inherent unfairness in the fact that in either case the woman is the one who must bear the child for 9 months. I wouldn't have a problem at all with a woman who felt compelled to bear the child being able to collect restitution for her inconvenience/pain/mental anguish/lost wages/ stretch marks etc. . . . That would give the man pause for thought.

What might happen if the law read this way, would be that women and men both might be more selective in whom they had sex with, how reliably birth control was used, and perhaps there would be both fewer abortions AND fewer unwed parents. That would be an outcome worth reaching.

Dan

Darren said...

Dan, your wisdom is almost Solomonic.

But, do you have something against unwed parents????? :-)

Anonymous said...

I only have a problem with unwed parents who teach math. ;-)

As devoted as I know you are to your son, we both know ( I suspect) that a child is better off growing up with a mommy and a daddy under the same roof. Having to go back and forth between parents, or never knowing one of them, *can't* be an advantage. (Except in terms of writing a college application hardship essay. See earlier blogs.) It also doesn't mean that the child shouldn't be born. My idea increases the likelihood that at least one parent cares enough about a child to give it a chance at having a successful life. You are fortunate in that, from what I've seen, both parents feel that way.

In your case, I have no doubt that you would have bought out the mom, and offered her whatever amount of cash would have been necessary to go through her pregnancy, and that the resulting child would have had at least one very loving parent.

The Solomon reference is flattering. Thanks. Just don't let it get out that I'm into cutting babies in half.

Dan

Theresa said...

One thing I have learned, is that nothing I could possibly say is going to alter the way you think. And nothing you could say would change my opinion. And we are all entitled to our opinions.

I think it's good, to have such open discussions, but I also recognize there is a time to walk away from them as well, when it's clear that nothing can be gained from them.

I'm sure you will interpret that as running away from an argument you believe I cannot win. I prefer to call it courtesy.

Darren said...

I can compromise. I'll consider it both :-)

Anonymous said...

Darren, we may disagree on this issue, but you are ok in my book.

Darren said...

Thanks! I'm ok in my book, too =)

Txfeminist said...

I disagree with the concept that it's a man's right to have a say in a woman's pregnancy.

On the technical side, it's inaccurate to say that a man's "contribution" to a fetus is anything like "half".

- All the mitochondrial DNA comes from the mother
- The first proteins synthesized which take on regulatory roles in the early development of the fetus are provided by the mother
- All the GI flora is provided by the mother
and so on. There are many other examples, biologically, of how a fetus is more the mother's than the father's. But it's ridiculous to "split the baby" this way.

The main point is, a zygote or a fetus is encompassed by the volume of the woman's body. It is a part of *her* body. Why is that so hard for men to understand?

So from a biological standpoint it may not be fair --but that's the reality: her body, her choice. It's not like you're going to trade at four and a half months and carry the fetus half the time.

Legalities, however, can be made as close of an approximation to "fair" as possible. I think that, if a man wants nothing to do with a pregnancy that a woman decides to carry to term he has the right to opt-out, and not pay child support. In my opinion, child support is grossly overrated, anyway. It mostly just leads to huge custody battles. Most guys would be happy to cut and run from an unhappy marriage and spare women the big trial if they could walk away with that one quarter of their income intact.

If you don't like child support laws, take it up with your legislature. But don't confuse biology with the law.

Darren said...

I'm not confusing the law with biology. I've stated up front that I want to make both sexes equal before the law.

Who, but someone who already benefits from the inequity, could disagree with that?

And your comment that "most guys would be happy to cut and run" is not only entirely unsupported but sexist. I expect better than that.

And I notice how guys aren't much of the picture when the fetus is created--but we'll (legally) take him for everything we can get out of him after the child is born. The hypocrisy staggers the mind.

The Happy Feminist said...

Wait a minute. Sami actually agreed with you that you SHOULD be able to opt out of child support. So her view is that the man can opt out of support, but should have no control over whether there is an abortion or not.

Would you be satisfied with that? Or would you still want to be paid in the even there is an abortion over your objection?

Txfeminist said...

Darren, I suspect you have taken "cut and run" out of context. Note I said most men would like to walk away from divorce with their cash intact. True, or not?

Yes - I am alleging that a large number of custody battles are actually instituted based on money - not the "best interest" of the child.

.."we'll (legally) take him for everything we can get out of him after the child is born."

Did I not just say that I believe men have a right to opt-out of an unwanted pregnancy (occuring out of wedlock).

As I said, if you don't like the child support laws - take it up with your legislature.

But equality under the law doesn't give you the right to enforce pregnancy. Undue burden, hello?

Please, tell me: what guy would *seriously* consider monetary compensation for a year of a woman's life? Give me a break. Women have a hard enough time collecting child support on children the men wanted in the first place.

Darren said...

I think *everybody* would like to leave a divorce with their riches in tact. To attribute that only to men does a disservice.

As I said on the Happy Feminist blog, just as child support is determined by legal formulas (formulae?), so should the "pregnancy burden compensation." If I had had the money, I'd have paid it. I'm a father, it's what I was born to do.

As far as the "take it up with the Legislature" comment, we're discussing it here. We'll see what you say about "taking it up with the legislature" if the Supremes rule that the South Dakota law essentially banning abortion is constitutional (which, being a federalist, I think it is).

Let's try to maintain a civil tone here, otherwise we'll just keep on snarking right past each other.

Darren said...

Today is 3/9/06, and I just pulled the following comment from
http://donsurber.blogspot.com/2006/03/abortion-rights-for-men.html

***************
I doubt that, regardless of the outcome of this suit--which I'll bet gets dismissed, although I'd like to be wrong--nothing will change in abortion law.

Because we've been lied to about the matter. We pretend it's about a "right to choose," but we don't hold the woman responsible for her choice. We do hold the man responsible.

We tell the woman if she has sex and a pregnancy results, she is not to be blamed or held responsible.

We tell the man if he has sex and a pregnancy results, he is totally responsible.

If you told the woman, "use birth control," you'd be an evil, vicious, woman-hating brute.

But we snarlingly say that to the man.

If we honestly said abortion is "a woman's right to choose," then we would do the logical thing and say men have a similar right: if a pregnancy results, the man's entire legal responsibility would be half the abortion expenses unless he CHOSE to become a father.

But we don't, because our abortion laws and rhetoric are, so far, based on a lie.
******
I could not agree more.

serenity said...

I am really being pulled in two directions with this topic. On one hand I do feel that it is unfair for men not to have any choice in the matter. But on the other hand, I have personal expericence with this that pulls me in the opposite direction.

When I was 18 years old, I was seeing someone. We were sleeping together and were not using protection. We had a conversation about the possibility of me becoming pregnant and were okay with that. Then one day it turned out that I did in fact become pregnant. We announced the good news to our parents and started making plans to move in together. Two months later he went to visit is family for two weeks, got back together with an ex and called me to tell me that he no longer wanted me or the baby and that I should have an abortion.

Needless to say, I was devastated. Despite this though, I could not bring myself to abort the little baby that I had grown to love (even more amazing since I am pro-choie), so I went ahead and had her. And yes I did take him to court for child support. I feel that my actions were entirely justified. If he were able to just walk away without having to take any responsibility at all, to me that would be a total injustice.

What do you feel would have been "fair" in this situation?

Darren said...

serenity, the two of you had an agreement that apparently several people could vouch on. He should have to live up to his *agreement*, the one he had a choice in.

serenity said...

One could say that a similar "agreement" is entered into the moment two people engage in intercourse.

Think of it as a property rights issue. A woman has the "property rights" to her body (as well she should). She agrees to allow a man to use her body for intercourse, but then the encounter ends up emposing more of a "cost" on her than was in the original agreement. Let's call it a an externality.

Now because this externality occurs on what is legally the woman's property, she gets to decide how the situation is rectified. It could be through abortion where the externality is removed totally. Or it could be through child support, where the man must reimburse her for his role in causing the externality. If a man knows that he does not have the willingness to pay, then he shouldn't engage in the activity in the first place. This is where the man's choice lies.
Also, a man can choose what type of woman he decides to share his sperm with. Maybe if they talked about the consequences BEFORE they had sex, at least some of these cases could have been avoided (but like my situation you never really can tell).

I have read a couple of comments that said that the woman should just have the child and give it to the father to raise. That is not a decision that a man should feel he has the right to tell a woman. Prenancy changes your body in so many ways. Its effects are mental as well. My body will never be what it was before I had my daughter. Even if I did manage to lose the extra weight that I put on, the unsightly strech marks that cover the entire area around my belly button will never got away. My breasts will never be as perky again. The walls of my vagina that were torn at my daughter's birth will never be unscarred. And what if a cesarian had been necessary? But these are my battle scars. I wear them proudly because the 19 hours of labor I went through, I did it by choice for the love of my baby. I can't imagine emposing those things on an unwilling person. Period.

A few more things. Women should use birth control (abortions should not be considerred a primary form of birth control). So should men.

serenity said...

Wulf said...
"Nobody opposes abortion because of what a woman is doing to her own body. They oppose abortion because they believe another person's body is being affected - the baby's."

Tell me then, who will take care of these unwanted babies? I bet you will say adoption right? Sure there are plenty of couples out there who would love to adopt a healthy caucasian infant. But what if the infant is not healthy? Or what if they are not caucasian? That makes a HUGE difference.

My husband was born addicted to cocaine. His three (adopted)sisters were born HIV+. No one wanted them. They were put into foster care with the woman who came to be their mother. She adopted them and raised them as if they were her own. She adopted 9 children in total, and fostered hundreds of others throughout the years. She would be the first one to tell you that there aren't even enough willing foster parents to accomodate all of the children with no home, much less enough families who are willing to adopt.

Sigh...
My next step was going to be to ask what pro-lifers were doing to alleviate that situation during their quest to exacerbate it, but I'm not (so don't answer it).

I just wish that people could just respect other peoples' choices on how they choose to live their lives. If you don't believe in abortion, find someone who also doesn't believe in abortion and have sex with them. That way your wants are both known from the start. Problem solved.

Darren said...

serenity, I reject your arguments outright for the reasons I've previously stated--not the least of which is the fact they they do not promote legal equality. I've already supported the "compromise" suggested by Anonymous Dan, which does allow for abortion in some circumstances and does create equality before the law.

Supporting anything less is to support a status quo based on inequality--something our country has spent many, many decades fighting.

serenity said...

How can you equalize a situation which is, by nature, unequal? When science figures out a way for the man to carry the baby to term instead of the woman, then we can have a discussion about equality.

Why is it so easy for you to ignore the burden of the childbearing process and/or abortion on the woman? You may feel the emotional loss of your baby, but I guarantee you that woman feels that loss, and then some, because she also suffered the physical pain. It's not equal. It might never be equal. Until it is, there is no room for negotiation on whose body and whose choice it should be.

Darren said...

serenity, you obviously haven't read the solution I approve of. It doesn't require a woman to carry a child to term.

It does, however, give equality *before the law*, which is a principle I support.

Pablo said...

Yes - I am alleging that a large number of custody battles are actually instituted based on money - not the "best interest" of the child.

That's nonsense. Have you any idea what it costs to wage a custody battle? Imagine a legal professional who makes the equivalent of 3-4 times your monthly support obligation for each 8 hour day he spends trying to reduce your financial load via custody rearrangements. This would be like hiring a guy to do all your walking so your could save on shoe leather. Now imagine that the court finds Mommy unemployed and therefore unable to afford her own shoe leather, and orders you to pay for someone to do her walking too.

Most custody battles are waged against women who are intent on alienating and separating children from their fathers. That's how mine went, until I realized the sheer futility of waging it, and accepted that I would not be allowed to be my child's father, even if it took the United States Navy to make it happen. I was not tilting at windmills alone.
I had a lot of fellow travellers, and there are still more today.