Thursday, February 23, 2012

A man's right to choose - Abortion -

An interesting Salon article about choice for men. How is my opinion on that? Well I do believe the current situation is unfair for men and yet still believe women should have the final say due to the rights of their own body. The solution I hope we will finally see that has been 5 years away for 20 years is the male pill, but well, some thought provoking stuff here:

“In the old days, a woman’s biology was a woman’s destiny, today, a woman’s biology is a man’s destiny.” - Warren Farrell

Brings it right to the point.

Many men, and some women, see a very different situation — one in which women have rights and choices while men have responsibilities and are expected to support any choice a woman makes. “If she wants an abortion, he’s supposed to shut down all of his emotional bonding to the child,” says Fred Hayward, founder of the Sacramento, Calif., group Men’s Rights Inc. “Then, if she changes her mind and decides to have the baby, he’s supposed to turn it all back on and be a father.” [...] The expectation that men will “switch” to support the woman’s change of heart, Henry says, is “a fundamental denial of men’s humanity, as if they just exist to make the woman happy.”

Yep, unfair.

Of course, men’s lack of reproductive rights has another side: being forced to assume the burden of unwanted parenthood, at least financially. In the eyes of the law, it seems that virtually no circumstances, however bizarre or outrageous, can mitigate the biological father’s liability for child support, as an overview of cases published in Divorce Litigation journal in 1999 shows.

Did the woman ask him to impregnate her and sign an agreement relieving him of any financial obligations? He’s still liable if she changes her mind. Was he underage and legally a victim of statutory rape? Makes no difference. (One such case, in Kansas in 1993, involved a 12-year-old boy molested by a baby sitter.) Did the woman have her way with him when he had passed out from drinking and brag to friends that she had saved herself a trip to the sperm bank? Tough luck, said Alabama courts. Did she retrieve his semen from the condom she had asked him to wear during oral sex and inseminate herself with a syringe? Yes, it’s a true story, and in 1997 the Louisiana Court of Appeals told the man to pay up, saying that a male who has any sexual contact with a woman — even oral sex with a condom — should assume that a pregnancy may ensue.

Even in less dramatic cases that involve sex between two consenting adults with no coercion or deception, there is a fundamental imbalance. A woman who gets pregnant in her freshman year in college can decide that she’s not ready to be a mother, or that having a child would disrupt her life too much.

The above cases can lead us to interesting conclusions. In cases of rape I do believe people would accept "financial abortion" by the victim, is allowing that in cases of contraception malfunction for not married couples a fair solution. I am not to sure about that. Again, my solution here would be to give men more reproductive choices (male pill). Anyhow, when it comes to children conceived after rape, I do believe nobody would give a male rapist custody, why do get female rapists custody (of course only when she has that child, she should still have the abortion veto)?

The article goes on with a veto for abortion by husbands, which is just horrible. Bodily authority trumps that, and should always do.

And yet, in a broader sense, men’s autonomy is an issue. Advocates of choice for men like to cite a passage from a Planned Parenthood statement, “9 Reasons Why Abortions Are Legal”: “At the most basic level, the abortion issue is not really about abortion. … Should women make their own decisions about family, career and how to live their lives? Or should government do that for them? Do women have the option of deciding when or whether to have children?”

Substitute “men” for “women,” and it’s hard to deny that coerced fatherhood drastically curtails a man’s ability to make key decisions about how to live his life, including when or whether to have children with the woman he loves.

That just hits the nail on the head and really fits with the Farrell quote above and gives us a good view why it is so unfair.

Some maverick feminists agree with this view. Karen DeCrow, an attorney who served as president of the National Organization for Women from 1974 to 1977, has written 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 … autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice.”

Yet, by and large, feminists and pro-choice activists have not been sympathetic to calls for men’s reproductive freedom. “If there is a birth, the man has an obligation to support the child,” says Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center. “The distinction with respect to abortion is the physical toll that it takes on a woman to carry a fetus to term, which doesn’t have any translation for men. Once the child is born, neither can walk away from the obligations of parenthood.” (Actually, a woman can give up the child for adoption, often without the father’s consent, and be free of any further obligation.)

Indeed, on the issue of choice for men, staunch supporters of abortion rights can sound like an eerie echo of the other side: “They have a choice — use condoms, get sterilized or keep their pants on.” “They should think about the consequences before they have sex.” (The irony is not lost on men’s choice advocates or pro-lifers.)

And some good ol slut shaming here as well (keep your pants on).

In the meantime, we have to deal with biological realities as they are. Given these realities, it may be nearly impossible to come up with a solution that wouldn’t be unfair either to men or to women. The current situation is clearly inequitable to men. But allow a veto for fathers, and it raises the disturbing specter of giving a man authority over a woman’s body. Allow choice for men, and some will find it galling that a woman who wants to avoid the burden of parenthood has to undergo surgery or drug treatment with unpleasant side effects while a man merely fills out some forms.

Straight to the point that is the way it is. Well said.

The argument for at least notifying the prospective father of an abortion (with a waiver for cases in which the woman has a reasonable fear of bodily harm from the man, or the pregnancy results from rape), seems compelling. [...] There is also a strong case for providing some options for men to terminate their paternity. (At the very least, a woman who never bothered to let the man know that he was a daddy shouldn’t be able to hit him up for back pay 10 or 15 years later.)

I would add cases of rape to the list as well.

Above all, perhaps, the issue of men’s reproductive autonomy brings home the fact that abortion can create a radical imbalance rather than equality between the sexes. For years, women have been sending a mixed message to men: Sometimes we expect them to be full partners in child-rearing, sometimes we treat them as little more than sperm donors, walking cash machines or bystanders. If men’s parental role is to be taken seriously, women need to assume a moral, if not legal, obligation to involve their partners in any decision about pregnancy and we all need to have a serious conversation about men’s reproductive rights — no matter where that conversation may lead.

Overall a good article, which makes many valid points. Read it all!

1 comment:

  1. It is really easy. If it's her body, her choice, then it is her responsibility. He is not liable or legally responsible for the child or the mother. She has all the rights, then she has all the responsibility, and the man should be free to walk away. He should only be be held legally responsible if HE chooses to sign the birth certificate saying he is the daddy. Otherwise the woman should just piss off.

    Don't try that "it takes two" crap. Women are the gatekeepers for sex, they decide sex by taking their panties off. Men should NEVER be enslaved to womyn'z whims if they have no rights.