Friday, November 11, 2005

The discussion at Asymetrical Information

Has been a heated debate on abortion. It's a debate I generally stay out of 'cause my opinion is that abortion needs to remain legal and those who disagree need to get out of other people's business. And there's basically nothing anyone can say to change my mind. That doesn't mean I endorse abortion as a means of contraception. But I believe the problems with criminalizing abortion outweigh the problems of keeping the status quo - forcing women to raise unwanted children (usually by themselves), or abandon them to inadequate social services, propagates an underclass that we all end up being forced to raise, whether or not we chose to risk conceiving it or were part of the decision to keep it.

There seems to be a new position rising in the progressive ranks, however: keep abortions legal, but make them hard to get. I don't have any thoughts about that. I jumped into the fray, however, when commenters started using women's plenary abortion decisionmaking power as a rationale to get out of paying child support. There's way too much rationalizing in the men's movement designed to keep men both powerful and irresponsible. That's when I couldn't hold my tongue anymore.


Hm. So, a 14 yr old girl, whose bad judgment should bar her from the abortion decision-making process, should, instead, be forced to turn to her parents for consent. (What if the 14 yr old is the child of a single mother who bore her first offspring at 14? Would that mother's decision-making abilities be more nuanced than our current 14 yr old?) Her parent(s), then, may or may not grant permission for the abortion. If they do not consent to the abortion, what happens then? The 14 yr old then gets to excercise her bad judgment in childrearing decisions? What if the pregnancy was caused by paternal incest? The 14 yr old should be forced to get parental consent then as well?

As for fathers' rights, I agree that female hoarding of the decision-making power can be unfair. But I don't feel as sorry for men as others here seem to. Does it not occur to men that having sex with a woman, even if she's competently using contraception, might result in lifetime support of a child? Women don't get to divorce themselves of pregnancy when it happens, but men should be allowed to just because they're excluded from the abortion decision? Doesn't this absolve men of the consequences of their pre-sex decision-making? If you're worried about being left out of the abortion decision, then double up on your condoms and don't trust any woman who says she's on the pill. In fact, don't trust the pill itself.


The whole point is that women can get out post-intercourse, while men can't. Besides abortion there's adoption, and also (in several states) legalized anonymous abandonment. No woman in the US can be compelled to support her coming baby just because she's currently pregnant.

Wow, Michelle, that's harsh. Well, not for fathers. If a woman abandoned her child, then by default, the father would "get out" as well. Perhaps a more compassionate choice would be to allow men to force women to abandon their babies since we won't allow them to force women to have abortions?

I'm not sure I agree that a woman "gets out" by putting her child up for adoption or abandoning it. The emotional effects of carrying a child to term and then letting it go are severe. Men never experience that kind of withdrawal.

What you're talking about is fiscal responsibility while ignoring any other impact a pregnancy has (how very common in our culture).

These are a woman's choices as I see them: keep the child and, where the man refuses to take responsibility for sticking his dick into her, risk raising the child by herself; abort the child, if she can, and live with the emotional scarring; or put the child up for adoption or give it over to children's services and, again, live with the emotional scarring. Nice. Women may NEVER escape a pregnancy when it happens; men can, even if by no other means than crossing a state border.

I wouldn't, however, endorse a mother abandoning her child any more than I would endorse a father withholding child support. The fact is, BOTH parties agreed to sex (I'm leaving rape out of this equation); BOTH parties should have considered the consequences of sex (even with contraception) before they engaged in it. Because women cannot escape a pregnancy no matter what choice they end up making, men should not be released from the responsibilities of sex either. And that they can't force a woman to have an abortion is not a convincing rationale to support the dissolution of those responsibilities.

However, the world is not black and white and even when the choice to have sex was made responsibly, things happen. Therefore options need to be available that protect the least of us. If those options aren't in place, then the most of us aren't protected either. That is the role of the judiciary - representation reinforcement. Equal access to abortions protect the least of us, and arguably, protect the most of us as well. Equal access to the abortion decision is not, however, an excuse for men to refuse paternal responsibilities.

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