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Lady Liberty

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Sunday, September 05, 2004

Complete Abortion Justice
posted by Bathus

The article reproduced below is something that was posted anonymously to an internet news group a couple of years ago. I had skimmed it quickly and then copied it to my hard drive for a closer reading later. But when I tried to read it, the stilted, bloated writing made me give up after the first few lines. I had forgotten all about it until I ran across it again a few months ago while clearing out old files on my computer. On that occasion I managed to reread it all the way through and found it to be the strangest argument I've ever seen on the question of abortion. The argument is utterly off-putting, yet at the same time thoroughly convincing--if, that is, you accept the writer's implicit premise that a pregnant woman's decision to have an abortion or a child is hers and hers alone.

Notwithstanding the creepily inapposite hyper-rationalism that seems to inform his understanding of relations between men and women, the writer's argument maintains an internal logic that is difficult to dispute. I really do fear that the writer's opinion, due in part to the consistency of its moral logic, is now shared by a growing number of modern males who think, "If the bitch won't get rid of it, that's her choice and that's fine with me, just so long as she don't expect me to pay her to raise the damn thing."

Even if most men who arrive at that opinion navigate to it more by blind emotion than by cold-blooded logic, the spread of that opinion still worries me. For the sake of the relations among men, women, and children, both the opinion and the logic implicitly supporting it must be countered. So ever since I reread the article reproduced below, I've been trying to formulate some sort of effective response against it. As every decent student of Plato knows, the only real way to defeat an argument is to concede its premise and then to demonstrate that the argument's conclusion is not consistent with the premise. But in this case, once I concede the writer's premise, I'm stuck with his main conclusion. Perhaps you'll have better luck. In any event, while the opinion the writer expresses is so disgusting that it will equally offend pro-choicers and pro-lifers, it also seemed to me that the writer's inflammatory argument might stimulate in both camps some new reflections about how abortion politics has raised the stakes in the eternal battle of the sexes.


WHY THINKING MEN
SHOULD SUPPORT ABORTION


INTRODUCTION

One often sees surveys showing that a higher percentage of men than women support abortion. This is as it should be because abortion liberates men, at least as much as women, from the antiquated restrictions of traditional sex-based roles. This article aims to elucidate some of the benefits abortion secures for men and to encourage men to pursue the long term goal of complete abortion justice. Furthermore, because complete abortion justice does not yet exist for men, this article seeks to empower men with coping strategies to enable them privately to attain abortion justice in their individual reproductive, areproductive, and antireproductive transactions. In an era when abortion is freely available, no male can justly be held responsible for the birth of any child when any pregnant female can choose not to have that child.

I. COMPLETE ABORTION JUSTICE:
THE BENEFITS FOR MEN

The Obsolete Cultural Artifacts. Before the advent of the liberating influence of abortion, if a man impregnated a woman out-of-wedlock, traditionally he had only three options:

1) Marry the female and be bound for his entire life, not only to a woman for whom he probably had no genuine emotional attachment, but also to a mundane existence of enervating work, the fruits of which would be expended almost entirely for the support of the wife and child. Because of the dependence of the woman and her children, the man could not risk exploring or pursuing more fulfilling or pleasant life choices.

2) Allow the female to fend for herself and the child, in which case the male would most likely be made by society to feel guilt and certainly would be harmed in his reputation, which would damage his opportunities to find willing partners for future sexual transactions. He might also be psychically burdened by a culturally imposed longing to interact with his offspring to whom he could be denied access by the mother as revenge for his principled refusal to submit to artificial, socially constructed sex-based roles of head-of-family and provider.

3) Acknowledge paternity, refuse to marry, but pay child-support, in which case, the male would be burdened with the sex-based role of family provider, without receiving any of the benefits (i.e., the sexual benefits of regular access to a female; the dubious but nonetheless socially valorized psychic benefits of interaction with his offspring; and the purely artificial benefits society bestows upon a male who submits to the role of "good family man").

Even in the present relatively enlightened times when abortion is widely available, cultural artifacts of obsolete social values continue to coerce men into outmoded sex-based roles as bread-winners, protectors, soldiers, and heads of households. Archaic social values still unjustly impose responsibility upon a male--vis-a-vis a female who has freely chosen to accept a possibility that she might become impregnated by him--for a child produced of their sexual transaction, even though the birth of that child takes place only if dictated by the female's free and sole choice.

The Advantages of Complete Abortion Justice. Complete abortion justice will allow both men and women to enjoy the natural psychic benefits of frequent and varied sex partners without having any of the archaic burdens of the traditional sex-based roles imposed upon them against their individual wills. Moreover, if society valorizes a rational understanding of the liberating influence of abortion, society will eliminate the unfair advantages it now unjustly awards to the so-called "good family man." Complete abortion justice will liberate men from the shame-based and/or guilt-based constraints inherent in the suffocatingly narrow roles of protector and provider and will allow men freely to explore and to develop their creative and intellectual capacities to achieve fully self-realized individuality.

Complete Abortion Justice: Equality of Post Conception Choice. Achievement of full and equal reproductive, areproductive, and antireproductive rights for both men and women requires that the laudable principle that "no woman shall be forced to become a parent against her independent choice" must also be applied equally to men, such that "no man shall be forced to become a parent against his independent choice."

Complete abortion justice requires that there be an equality of choice that does not yet exist. Insofar as a male and a female, entering upon a sexual transaction and prior to conception of any child, have independently chosen to engage in that sexual transaction, then after the sexual transaction is finished, complete abortion justice requires that they each individually be granted an equality of choice after conception. Men, equally with women, must be permitted to exercise a post-conception choice about whether to accept any burden of parenthood.

Under current societal values, a woman cannot be compelled to accept parenthood merely on the basis of her decision to engage in the sexual act that resulted in pregnancy. Instead, with the liberating "right to choose," every woman is legally granted an independent post-conception choice about whether to become a parent. The female retains a post-conception choice either to have a child or to have an abortion. By contrast, in the currently imposed value set, the male is unjustly denied a corresponding post-conception choice. Parenthood can be imposed upon him merely on the basis of his having engaged in the sexual act that resulted in the pregnancy, even though parenthood cannot be imposed on the female who engaged in that very same act.

Not only is a male unjustly denied a post-conception choice equal to that of the female, what's even more unjust is that a male can be forced into parenthood by the female's post-conception choice to have a child. Thus, under the current unjust value set, the post-conception choice that properly belongs to the male is socially abrogated to the female, who is granted the power not only to exercise her own post-conception choice but also to assume authority over the male's post-conception choice. This abridgment of the male's post-conception equality of choice is a denial of equal justice for men. It is a denial of complete abortion justice.

Because the post-conception choice of whether to accept the responsibilities of parenthood is a private, personal, and life-altering decision, neither partner to a sexual transaction should be allowed to impose his or her own parenthood decision on the other sex partner. The equality of abortion justice requires that men, equally with women, must be permitted to exercise a post-conception choice of whether to accept any parenthood role, including the role of providing financial support for the child. This choice, when made by a male, must be honored by all other persons, including the pregnant woman, just as the post-conception choice of a female must be honored by all other persons, including the male who impregnated her.

This conclusion has been endorsed by Karen DeCrow, a leading feminist and Constitutional lawyer, who served as President of the National Organization for Women from 1974 to 1977, the very years when abortion was first enshrined as a fundamental individual right. In a letter published in the New York Times on May 9, 1982, Ms. DeCrow wrote:
The courts have properly determined that a man should neither be able to force a woman to have an abortion nor to prevent her from having one, should she so choose. Justice therefore dictates that if a woman makes a unilateral decision to bring pregnancy to term, and the biological father does not, and cannot, share in this decision, he should not be liable for 21 years of support. Or, put another way, autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice.
Ms. DeCrow's words belie any claim that a female's post-conception choice is uniquely supported by the consideration that forcing her to bring a fetus to term would be an unjust imposition on her bodily freedom. A brief nine month imposition on a female's bodily freedom, though perhaps more intense, is no more cummulatively burdensome than the twenty-one year imposition present law threatens against the bodily freedom of a male, who during that entire term is subject to humiliating incarceration should he ever fail to hand over an installment of child support. True equality of abortion justice demands that neither a male nor a female should be forced to accept any burden of parenthood against his or her free choice.

Complete abortion justice obviously requires that a pregnant female remains free after conception to decide for herself whether to become a mother. By the same token, the equality of choice that is inherent in complete abortion justice also requires that a pregnant female who freely decides to have a child--instead of an abortion--cannot be permitted to impose her parenthood decision upon her sex partner by forcing him to accept any duty of fatherhood, including a duty to pay child-support, if he has expressed a post-conception choice not to accept that duty.

II. PRIVATE PERSUASION AS AN INTERIM
SUBSTITUTE FOR COMPLETE ABORTION JUSTICE

Some might object that until the complete abortion justice described above is realized, so that both the male and the female have an equal right to exercise a post-conception parenthood decision, abortion rights as currently distributed do not fully benefit men. It remains true that when a pregnant woman exercises her post-conception choice to have a child instead of an abortion, society does not honor the male's post-conception choice against fatherhood, but instead attempts to force the female's parenthood choice upon the male by requiring him to provide financially for the child, and may even imprison the male for failure to pay child support if he refuses to submit to society's legal, sexual, and cultural oppression. While that objection is theoretically true, in practice a man can effectively realize abortion justice privately in his own case if he acts reasonably to persuade the woman to accede him his proper areproductive and antireproductive rights.

To overcome the lack of equality in existing legal and social mores, a man is equitably entitled to employ any form of persuasion short of force to fulfill any and all of his areproductive and antireproductive rights not yet formally recognized in law. To that end, men who would otherwise be denied abortion justice must not hesitate and must be willing to take advantage of the psychological fact that a newly-impregnated woman is, as a result of hormonal changes as well as the novelty of her condition, extraordinarily receptive to well-conceived and executed persuasive techniques. Without resort to force or physical compulsion, a sensible man privately seeking abortion justice in his own case can persuade almost any woman to have an abortion by using methods similar to those set forth below.

Emotional Persuasion. These techniques of emotional persuasion must be carefully adapted to suit the particular pregnant female involved:

Preganacny resulting from a semi-monagamous unmarried relationship. If not married to the impregnated female, but if involved in a semi-regular relationship with her, the male can usually persuade the female to have an abortion through the simple but effective device of telling her that he has strong feelings for her and that he wants the relationship to continue to develop, but that he fears that having a child now will interrupt the progress of the relationship toward its "ultimate goal." (Most women will interpret such a statement as a promising hint that a marriage proposal will be forthcoming after the abortion, while the man keeps it to himself that for him the ultimate goal of the relationship is to have sex as often as he desires until such time as he no longer desires that particular woman.) If the woman persists in expressing a desire to have the child, the man can also suggest that he, too, wants to have children, but only in the context of a loving, voluntary relationship, and marrying and having the child now would put the taint of obligation on the union and on the child, forever poisoning what might have been a pure relationship. If the female still persists in attempting to enforce her parenthood decision upon the male, the male should wait until the female is noticeably "showing," and then the male should offer to marry the woman immediately, but only on the condition that the woman has an abortion prior to the marriage. The male can justify this condition on the emotional basis similar to the one described above (i.e., that having a child at this time will put the taint of obligation upon the marriage). This approach creates a high-stakes scenario for the female, one which she is unlikely to be able to manage given the emotional volatility of her condition. Thus, the female is likely to accept this condition either because her reason for becoming pregnant in the first place (to ensnare a husband) appears to have been fulfilled, or because her personal vanity will make her want to be able to claim that she did not use her pregnancy to "force" the man into marriage, or simply because she will prefer to avoid the embarrassment of walking down the isle with a big belly. Most unmarried women of our times will be persuaded by such arguments. After the woman exercises her choice to abort the child, the man can, when he desires either withdraw the offer of marriage and offer to continue the relationship as before if the female so wishes or end the relationship altogether. In any case, the male should be careful not to impregnate the same female again, as the effectiveness of this type of persuasion declines slightly when used more than once on the same female.

Pregancy resulting from a casual sexual transaction. If the pregnancy was the result of a casual encounter, even though it is possible in such cases that the child might be the product of the woman's casual sex with some other male, the accused male should resist the initial impulse to deny paternity. In this era of DNA testing, denials of paternity quickly become irrelevant, and an incorrect denial of paternity has the effect of generating intransigence on the part of the female, which limits the male's persuasive options going forward. The successful male will realize that a female's uncertainty about paternity actually increases his persuasive alternatives. Instead of immediately denying paternity, the male should valorize all of the newly-pregnant woman's emotions, both her hopes and her fears. For when a female has become pregnant from a casual encounter, the shock of the unexpected emotional reciprocation leaves her less able to discern the true state of her affairs. Rather than abandoning the field to the machinations of man- hating family court judges, the male should indicate to the female that he will "respect and support" whatever decision she should make. At the same time, instead of explicitly denying paternity, the male should work subtly upon the doubts that the female herself will most likely be having, since she herself probably knows that this was not the only casual sexual encounter that might have produced the pregnancy. The male should tell the female that, whatever she decides, he will "do the right thing." The male's vague suggestion that he would be willing to marry this woman with whom he has had only a casual encounter will only increase the female's confusion. While the female is still riven with doubt and suppressed shame about her condition, the male should off-handedly mention to the woman some story about some childhood friend whose features were so unlike his father's and his other siblings' that the father could never completely accept the child as his own, etc. When telling this story, the male should be sure to emphasize how glad he is that they won't have to worry about that kind of problem with this child because he knows she was never acting like a slut. The effect of this persuasion is to put the entire burden of the decision on the woman when she is confused by the unexpected attention shown by a man who was merely a casual sex partner, when she is herself still doubtful of the child's paternity, and when she is completely uncertain about the family dynamic that would evolve if the child has features unlike the putative father. Since a female in this kind of casual relationship does not really know the true character of the person who is now a potential life-mate, it can be very useful to display some truly disgusting personal habit (e.g., nose-picking or finger-sniffing) or some bizarre hobby (e.g., taxidermy) that women generally find both offensive and revealing of character. This approach will cause the woman first to abhor the prospect of marrying the male and secondly to begin abhor the prospect that the child she carries will turn out to be like its father. When these effects have been brought to the most intense level possible within the shortest possible time, the male should tearfully tell the woman that he has "seen in her eyes" that she does not love him, that he understands that he is not good enough for her, but that he hopes she will not punish him by having his child--a child for whom he could never, under the circumstances, be a complete father. In the very rare case in which the female exercises her right to have the child, a child which she herself neither wanted nor anticipated, it is highly likely that she will decline to seek child-support inasmuch as to do so will cause her publicly to accept a permanent social arrangement (e.g., joint-custody, visitation, etc.) with a man she considers repugnant.

Pregnancy resulting from a married relationship. Even if he has already been trapped into a marriage, a man stands a yet better chance of persuading the woman to have the abortion: In addition to the arguments suggested above, which can be adapted to fit the married situation, the implicit threat of divorce (with suggestions of infidelity on the part of the female) carries additional persuasive force.

Rational Persuasion. One may sometimes impregnate a female whose character, intellect, and education render her invulnerable to the persuasive arguments set forth above. In that case, a more direct approach, based on rational arguments will always suffice. Such women tend to be those who most strongly support the principle of the primacy of individual choice. Thus, when the impregnated female is a rational creature, an appeal to basic fairness and the primacy of individual choice will enable the male to avoid an unjust imposition of the consequences of pregnancy. Rational persuasion is truly the most noble, because it honorizes the female's deeply held respect for choice and fairness, and results in freely negotiated abortion justice in the private context between a male and female operating at the highest level of intellectual honesty. Freely bargained abortion justice arguably would be preferable even to an as-yet-unrealized legally established abortion justice because, rather than being imposed externally through force of law, a freely negotiated resolution valorizes the choices of autonomous human beings who are fully respectful of the antireproductive and areproductive decisions of their sexual transactions partners. In dealing with the rare female intellectually and emotionally capable of accessing these principles, the argument the male must present to her is as follows:
This pregnancy was the result of the conjunction of our mutual, yet separate, independent, and free decisions to have sex. When you became pregnant as a result of your independent and free decision to have sex, you thereafter justly retained, and do still retain, a further post-conception choice either to have a child or to reject the burdens of parenthood by having an abortion. Neither I nor anyone else is entitled to force you to have an abortion or to force you into motherhood simply because you agreed to have sex.

Even though I am unable to choose fatherhood against your choice, while you are able to choose motherhood against my choice, simple fairness demands that, just as you retain the post-conception choice to reject the burdens of parenthood for yourself, so also should I at least retain the same choice for myself.

You know it would be wrong for me to claim that, just because you had sex with me, I was thereby empowered to impose motherhood upon you. It would be equally wrong for you to believe that, just because I had sex with you, you were thereby empowered to impose fatherhood upon me.

If you wish to bring this fetus to term, you are free to make that choice. However, your dedication to equal rights of men and women must make you freely acknowledge that you are not entitled to force me to accept any burden of your decision. If you choose to have a child, do not expect me to bear the father's burden of providing for its financial support.

I hereby express and exercise my choice against the burdens of fatherhood by tendering to you one-half of the current price of an abortion, an amount established by the most recent quarterly publication of regional health care costs issued by the United States Health Care Financing Administration. [A generous male would offer to increase this amount to cover the entire cost of the abortion since the woman alone undergoes the procedure, for which she should therefore receive some additional compensation.] Having tendered such an amount, I consider myself relieved from any further imaginary obligation either to you or the your fetal tissue. Of course, independently of my post-conception choice, you remain free to choose either motherhood or abortion. But you are not free to impose the consequences of your decision upon me.
A rational female who truly believes in abortion justice and the primacy of individual choice will accept this argument and will in all likelihood remain available for future sexual transactions with the male. A failure in employing this approach can occur only if the male has miscalculated the character of the particular female (i.e., he has used a rational argument when an emotional technique would have been more appropriate to deal with the particular female he has impregnated).

This rational negotiated resolution of the issue of so-called illegitimate pregnancy is certainly fair with regard to the female and the male. It does lead to certain societal issues should the female choose to bear the child, in that the child will not have the financial support traditionally provided by a man oppressed into the archaic sex roles. However, the persistence of this or any other coincidental problem stems more from society's incapacity to develop alternatives to the anachronistic sex-based family roles than from any deficiency in the argument itself.

IV. CONCLUSION.

That the predominant benefits of abortion accrue to men has some historical support. The earliest fighters for female equality, the suffragettes who won women the right to vote, took the position that abortion should be prohibited. They believed that legal abortion would actually be used by men as yet another tool to manipulate and oppress women at a point in their lives when they were most vulnerable and would allow men to avoid reciprocal obligations that supposedly arise naturally from sexual relations between men and women. While the early feminists were obviously wrong about women's capacity to deal rationally with circumstances surrounding their pregnancies, their intuition that the greater benefits of abortion accrue to men seems plausible. Experience and theory have demonstrated that men as well as women, if properly educated against society's false construct, can bargain as rational creatures to secure equal benefits from abortion.

The purpose of this article has been to show rationally why men should join with women to protect and to expand abortion rights. Though the abortion right, in its present incompletely developed permutation, is currently viewed as a woman's right, the benefits of the exercise of this right, even in the absence of full abortion justice, still can accrue to men at least as much and probably more than to women, inasmuch as the shackles of traditional sex-based roles restrain men, if more subtly, then also more completely, than they do women. The liberation of persons of all genders from such anachronisms and the development of a just society of complete individual autonomy depend upon men's ability to recognize, pursue, and demand full equality of abortion justice. However, until full equality of abortion justice is achieved in law, enlightened males should consider themselves equitably entitled to exploit all means of persuasion, rational or irrational, short of physical force to secure abortion justice privately in his individual case.

posted by Bathus | 9/05/2004 01:19:00 AM
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Blogger jdwill said...

I am really becoming a big fan of your site. However, I wanted to ask, do you ever post anything under 1000 words?

8:25 AM, September 05, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The author of Complete Abortion Justice fails to carry the argument to its natural conclusion. Both parties to the original sexual transaction retain the right of access to complete abortion justice until such time as any side effects of said transaction are economically autonomous.

Post-partum bio-excrescences are notoriously inconvenient, especially with regard to obtaining the "natural psychic benefits of frequent and varied sex partners". Any rational agent will want to keep open the option to divest of an unwanted investment. Perhaps the superflous bio-matter could be recycled via organ banks, or as dog food.

8:34 AM, September 05, 2004  
Blogger Bathus said...

jdwill,

The answer to your question is "rarely." As I wrote last month in the sidebar Annoucements, "Maybe I should have called this the 'Long Slog Blog.'"

My goal is to dominate the blogospheric niche that nature has reserved for long-winded blowhards.

Thanks for reading. Your patience is much appreciated.

11:13 AM, September 05, 2004  
Blogger Phil Dillon, Prairie Apologist said...

The author of the piece sounds an awful lot like Margaret Sanger - "Our objective is unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children. omen must have the right to love...to love...to be lazy...to be an unmarried mother...to create...to destroy...the marriage bed is the most degenerate influence in the social order...the most merciful thing that a family member does to one of its infant members is to kill it."
Margaret Sanger - The WSoman Rebel - 1922

How do you even have a dialogue with people who have twisted logic and no soul?

6:36 PM, September 05, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article should be divided into two parts. The first one argues that men and women are both entitled to an autonomous decision on whether to ecome a parent or not. The second one one gives advice to men on how to obtain such autonomy privately, so long as it is not available to them legally.

The second part has its internal logic in the same sense as would, say, an old thief's instructions to a young "apprentice" on how to steal without getting caught, only it is much more morally sickening. Luckily, we don't have to dwell on one perversed person's skewed view on the relationship between the sexes, and human beings in general.

The first part, though, is pure logic, albeit it is there merely to support the second. The premise of the first part, to me, is an acceptance of the view that an unborn fetus is a living human being. This is where, to me, lies the essense of the argument over the right of women and men to an abortion. This is also why I cannot accept the labels of "pro-life" and "pro-choice". A person's view that an unborn fetus is not yet a conscious human being does not make them anti-life. On the other hand, a person's right to choose whether to have a child or not, does not give them the right to kill a one-month or two-year old child.

Alisa.

12:48 AM, September 07, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reads a lot like "A Modest Proposal", by Jonathan Swift. Makes me wonder....

8:12 AM, September 07, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"... you thereafter justly retained, and do still retain, a further post-conception choice either to have a child or to reject the burdens of parenthood by having an abortion ..."

There is no argument offered to support that statement, that I can see in my skimming. As a premise, it's rather difficult to swallow, and it begs the question.

3:51 PM, September 09, 2004  
Blogger Bathus said...

I myself don't accept that premise, but I merely identify that premise that as the "implicit premise" of the article I quoted.

The point I was making with this piece was: Those who do agree with the premise that "a pregnant woman's decision to have an abortion or a child is hers and hers alone" are pretty much compelled to accept what follows: that "no male can justly be held responsible for the birth of any child when any pregnant female can choose not to have that child."

(Is this the same as explaining a joke? Hmmm?)

2:04 PM, September 10, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The current two opposing premises in the "abortion war" are: "The woman is the only one who has the right to decide whether to have an abortion or not", and: "A woman has no right to have an abortion". As I now realize, the question is not posited logically. There are two alternative ways to present this dilemma.

1. "The woman is the only one who has the right to decide whether to have an abortion or not", vs. "The society at large has the ultimate right to decide whether a woman can have an abortion or not". When you put it this way, you see that both camps ("pro-life" and "pro-choice", for lack of better names) subscribe to the latter premise. They both agree that it is the society that has the ultimate right to grant or deny that right to a woman, just as it has the ultimate right to grant or deny a killing of a human being in general. The real difference between the two camps is whether an unborn fetus should be considered a human being. This leads us to the second way of presenting this:

2. "A woman has a right (not an exclusive one, though, because society is the ultimate authority on this) to have an abortion", vs. "She does not". The guy that wrote that article subscribes to the former premise. He effectively argues that since the potential mother is not the only one who has the right to decide anyway, he sees no reason (and neither do I) why the potential father should be denied that right. What it effectively means is that "pro-choicers" such as myself, will have no choice but let potential fathers in on the decision.

Alisa.

8:24 AM, September 11, 2004  
Blogger Frater Bovious said...

Somehow the argument as presented makes me think of Brave New World. I'm thinking that's not a good thing. Which leads me to believe the premise is wrong, or at least, not desirable. As a world view, the long term repercussions are not beneficial to mankind. To explain:

You said in your intro to the argument, "the only real way to defeat an argument is to concede its premise and then to demonstrate that the argument's conclusion is not consistent with the premise."

This may be a logical stretch on my part, but here goes. There would seem to me to be an overriding, unstated yet understood premise to most arguments. The position being argued should support some line of thought or action that in some way betters our world.

Else, why propose and argue for it?

Since this premise leads, at least in my mind, to Brave New World, and since that vision of the future is appalling to me, I have to conclude the premise invalid.

fb

10:07 AM, September 11, 2004  
Blogger Bathus said...

Alisa,

And how would things be sorted out if the woman and the man don't agree?

5:06 PM, September 11, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Herman, I think letting men on the decision has the potential to benefit society in an important way, by making people consider not having sex outside marriage without using pre-conception birth-control, or even when using it, much more seriously than it is done today.

To me, and in my view to the society at large, the default decision (for example, when a woman forgot to take her pill) should always be against abortion. Adults should not forget for a moment that there is always a chance that sex will result in pregnancy, and once that happens, the decision whether to have a baby is no longer theirs alone.

I am too tired to consider this in more depth right now, but it seems to me that the only time when this should become a problem is when there is an allegation of rape - please correct me if I am wrong. If I am right, then we are basically faced with the same problem we usually are faced when investigating a rape complaint. But, in this case it would be a relatively unique kind of rape. Roughly, the scenario would be as follows: a woman (married or in unofficially committed relationship) is pregnant. She wants to have an abortion, but her partner wants her to have the baby. By default, she should not be allowed to have an abortion, since, as I pointed out above, by her having sex she took a conscious risk of becoming pregnant. All that changes if she can prove that her partner has forced her to have sex. And, needless to say, a proven rapist does not have any rights, as far as I am concerned. He can go to hell, too, for all I care.

In any case, the party that wants to have the baby against the other party's wish should be the one to take all responsibility for the care of the child, financial etc.

Does all this make sense to you? Best,

Alisa.

7:24 AM, September 12, 2004  
Blogger Bathus said...

Alisa,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, which have enticed me to violate my general rule of not posting my own opinions in the comments section.

It's so refreshing to hear someone acknowledge that the father of a baby ought to have some say in the matter. It seems to me that, aside from the other more obvious horrors of abortion, the rule that abortion is the woman's sole decision opens up a great divide in the relations between men and women on the most crucial aspect of that relationship: the bearing and rearing of children.

But giving men a say would be almost as bad as leaving it up to the woman alone, because men would too frequently opt for abortion (in which case, a woman who decided to have the child would be left to fend for herself).

So no matter how you try to arrange and refine the decision process, I think abortion inevitably divides men and women and that division hurts children (even the ones who manage to get born). Therefore, from my point of view, the abortion decision is one that neither men nor women should be allowed to make at all, except in the most exigent circumstances (e.g., rape, serious threat to mother's physical health, etc).

From my point of view, when two people freely choose to have sex, there's nothing immoral or oppressive about making them both accept what nature intended to result from that choice. If that were the rule, all the problems arising from the question of "who decides" would disappear, and would no longer distract men and women from their naturally shared role of cooperating to take care of the children they've conceived.

3:19 PM, September 12, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you oppose the use of the Pill?

2:45 AM, September 13, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I forgot to sign that comment (I have trouble registering with Blogger).

Alisa.

2:47 AM, September 13, 2004  
Blogger Bathus said...

Alisa,

Hmmm? When someone who usually posts long comments all of a sudden asks me a one line question, it makes me worry that answering will only get me into trouble. I'm guessing your question was aimed at my earlier comment that "when two people freely choose to have sex, there's nothing immoral or oppressive about making them both accept what nature intended to result from that choice."

What I meant by that statement was not that the pill should be outlawed, but that when a man and a woman both freely choose to have sex with each other, if the woman turns up pregnant (whether or not she took the pill, used condoms, etc.), then there's nothing oppressive about requiring them both to accept the natural result of their sexual union, which is a pregnancy that ends with a birth rather than an abortion.

As you said, "Adults should not forget for a moment that there is always a chance that sex will result in pregnancy," so I don't think it's oppressive to require people to accept the consequences of the risks that they themselves have chosen to take.

So the answer to your question is, no, I don't oppose the use of the pill (although I think handing it out to fourteen year olds is counter-productive--but that's another argument).

10:46 PM, September 13, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Herman, sorry about the one-liner. Actually, I am normally trying to avoid making long comments on other's blogs. But, given the complexity of the issue, etc. Eventually I felt compelled to be brief, to avoid imposing on your hospitality even farther. Anyway, if you feel that we have beaten the subject to death before I do, please let me know:-)

What I meant to find out by that question is the root of your opposition to abortion. It seems to me that it is the conviction that abortion is actually a murder of a live human being, that just happens to live inside a womb. Please correct me if I am wrong.


I certainly see your point, and it undoubtedly makes sense. The only thing I have to say against it, is that in a case where both pratners don't want to have the child, I think it is very counterproductive to force them have it. This actually takes me back to my original premise, and that is the question whether an unborn fetus is a live human being or not. It makes me realize that "pro-choicers", including myself, never had sufficient grounds to argue that it is not [live human]. Our actual argument rather boils down to an assertion that there are considerations that supersede the concern for that fetus's life. To some it may be the right of a woman (and possibly a man) to choose whether to become a parent, i.e. a concern for the rights of individuals. To me it is mostly the well-being (or most likely lack of it) of a child whose parents did not want to have him in the first place.

although I think handing it out to fourteen year olds is counter-productive--but that's another argument If you feel like elaborating on that, i am interested.

1:40 AM, September 14, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this argument. I have to admit to being a woman who is in this position with the fetus' father trying to bully me into an abortion. While I can see the hyper logic of this rational argument unfortunately it takes no account of the emotions of the woman involved who may want the baby regardless of the relationship with the man and seems to just come down on the side of the man.

It would seem that the author argues that men should play the field as often as possible and seems to have no regard for many women's biological clocks of inate urge to have a child although it does recognise man's interest in varied sex partners. Therefore it is too male for it to really be relevant to a woman.

Ofcourse a man will not want to pay for a child he has no involvement with but society accommodates single parents now and as said he has to be aware that sex can result in pregnancy and take this into accout along with the woman. He can always negotiate involvement with the child too.

Forcing of abortions by manipulation (as outlined above) are extremely disrespectful to a woman who wants the baby. If she does not want a baby most women would have an abortion as it is a heart decision for women (regardless of pregnancy hormonal changes).

At the end of the day it is she who physically carries the baby and cares for it if she is left. If loss of money is more emotional than that it is a sad world.

6:58 AM, January 09, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to reply to all this 'waste of words'; where on earth did you get this drivel? none of it reads true. I (a male) had to endure an abortion, against my will, and had no legal say in the matter. That is not equality, though you expect the father to provide even though he may not want the child. If a woman is allowed a legal choice,she alone must accept the consequences, whichever way she chooses.

9:52 AM, February 06, 2009  
Anonymous shawni said...

this lady is off her rocker.

12:02 PM, March 30, 2009  

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