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Choice & Kink

October 10, 2012

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I recently discovered that my boyfriend of seven months and I have opposing viewpoints on the whole "life begins at conception" issue. He's not a crazy zealot, but he is strongly against abortion. And while he won't go so far as to say abortion should be banned, he does believe in the whole "personhood" concept, i.e., that a fetus-from the moment of conception-is a person with the same rights as any other person. This shocked me, and I almost broke up with him. He says that disagreeing on issues is fine in a relationship, but I am not so sure. I find his position abhorrent, one that ignores hundreds of real-life factors, and it opens the door for a litany of laws regulating my body. He's a sweet, loving guy and progressive in every other way. But I'm suddenly unsure about a relationship I viewed as totally solid just a few days ago. I'm not sure if this should be a deal breaker or if this is just a disagreement. Please advise.

Love Is Finding Errors

Your boyfriend won't go so far as to say abortion should be banned... or maybe he saw the shocked look on your face and realized that going so far as to say abortion should be banned to you would be a big mistake.

Here's a good way to find out if your boyfriend is serious about not wanting to impose his personal beliefs on others or whether he's an anti-choice zealot: Tell him you're pregnant.

Some men blithely assume anti-choice positions because "personhood" and other anti-choice arguments appeal to them in the abstract and, hey, it's not like their bodies or their futures are on the line, right? Most anti-choice-in-the-abstract men come to a very different conclusion about the importance of access to safe and legal abortion when an unplanned pregnancy impacts them directly.

So tell your boyfriend you're pregnant. You can present it as a thought experiment if you prefer, LIFE, but I think you should flat-out lie to him. Then, once the news sinks in, ask him if he's ready to provide financial support for a child and/or make regular, monthly child support payments directly to you. Ask him if he's ready for the responsibilities (and the grind) of full- or even part-time parenting. Ask him if he knows you well enough—just seven short months into this relationship—to make the kind of lifetime commitment that scrambling your DNA together entails. Because even if you don't get married, even if you don't live together and raise this child together, you two will be stuck with each other for the rest of your lives if you have the baby.

I'm guessing his answers will be "no, no, and no" and he'll offer to drive you to the nearest abortion clinic himself.

As for whether you should date someone who is anti-choice, well, women have to be in control of their own bodies—and when and whether they reproduce—in order to be truly equal. I don't think I could date someone who didn't see me as his equal or who believed that the state should regulate my sexual or reproductive choices. So, yeah, this shit would be a deal breaker for me, LIFE, if I had a vagina.

Actually, this issue is a deal breaker for me, even though I don't have a vagina. I wouldn't date a gay dude who was anti-choice. Any gay man who can't see the connection between a woman's right to have children when she chooses and his right to love and marry the person he chooses is an idiot. And I don't date idiots.

If your hypothetical pregnancy doesn't shock your boyfriend out of his idiocy, LIFE, you'll have to ask yourself if you can continue dating this idiot.

And speaking of abortion...

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis released the results of a massive study—more than 9,000 women participated—on the effects of making birth control more widely available. And how did they make birth control more widely available? They gave it away for free. And it turns out that making birth control available to women at no cost, which is what the president is trying to do, reduced the teen birth rate by more than 80 percent (from 34.3 births per 1,000 teens on average to 6.3 births per 1,000 for teens enrolled in the study), and it reduced the number of abortions by 62–78 percent (from 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women on average to 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women enrolled in the study).

A person can't call himself pro-life and oppose access to birth control (or Obamacare!). If you do oppose access to birth control—or you oppose Obamacare because it expands access to birth control—you're not really pro-life. You're just anti-sex.


I found porn on my kid's computer and I talked to him about being careful about spyware, the difference between actual intimacy and objectification, and that kind of thing. I don't have a problem with a 15-year-old boy looking at porn—so long as he's discreet and doesn't do it to excess. But what my kid was looking at was standard stuff, i.e., garden variety M/F porn and a touch of M/M porn. But a friend found a stash of really kinky violence-against-women stuff on her kid's computer. I'm thinking a parent can't let that go as easily. She's about to confront her kid. I don't think you can help her with what to say, since she'll already have said something, but what would you have advised her to say?

My Friend's Kinky Son

You meet two kinds of people at kink events and in kink spaces: people who've always known they were kinky—people who were jerking off to kinky fantasies and/or porn long before they were 15—and people who got into kink after falling in love with someone who was kinky. Your friend's son sounds like one of the former.

It's important for your friend to bear in mind that her son, if he is indeed kinky, sought out kinky porn. Kinky porn didn't make him kinky. And being shamed by his mother for his porn preferences—or his kinks—isn't going to unmake his kinks.

That said, MFKS, your friend should talk with her son about the difference between porn and real sex—kinky or vanilla—and the difference between erotic power exchange and violence. She should also talk to him about safety and misogyny, and she should encourage him to be thoughtful about his sexuality. And most importantly, MFKS, she should emphasize the importance of meaningful and informed CONSENT.

Your friend's son isn't going to want to dialogue with his mom about his porn stash or his kinks, MFKS, so she should go in prepared to monologue at him.

Finally, there's a chance that your friend's son isn't kinky and was just looking for the most appalling shit he could find on the internet. Mom should acknowledge that as a possibility, and her son, even if he is kinky, is likely to seize on that excuse. If he does claim that he was just looking for shocking video clips, she should say: "I believe you. But there's a small chance that you're saying that because you think it's what I want to hear. So I'm going to say everything I wanted to say about safety, misogyny, and consent just in case. And all of it applies to vanilla sex, too."


Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.

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Comments (358) RSS

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1
Dan, you are perfect!
Posted by hihi on October 9, 2012 at 6:29 PM · Report this
2
I agree with Dan; I couldn't date someone who thinks he can make (any) decisions for me.
Posted by alyssa0987 on October 9, 2012 at 6:35 PM · Report this
3
The advice in the second one is good, but I would add: make sure he thinks of being violent toward women as a kink (when it's done consensually), and not just "the normal way hetero relationships work." Some people seem to think things I would consider in the BDSM area, are just regular vanilla sex when they're being done to a woman by a man.
Posted by meh99 on October 9, 2012 at 6:43 PM · Report this
mydriasis 4
I can't stand the way Christians managed to hijack the issue of abortion and turn it into a personhood debate. Is a fetus a person? Obviously. Should a fetus have certain rights? Of course. Should we ban abortion? Absolutely not, that's ridiculous.

Dan's advice was on point this week.
Posted by mydriasis on October 9, 2012 at 6:47 PM · Report this
5
LIFE-- Don't lie! There's no good outcome if you do. Better just to break up with him without putting your integrity on the line, risking the chance of the story getting out, and ruining your chances with any other good man who might be interested in you.

Let's say he considers Dan's point, decides he's not ready to be a father and tells you to get an abortion. What have you got? A hollow victory. The chances are good that he goes back to believing abortion is a terrible thing anyway, and besides the woman he trusted who said she thought abortion should be legal is a manipulative bitch of a liar.

Let's say he gets on one knee and offers to marry you. Except you're not pregnant. Same result. You break up, and he knows you're a manipulative bitch of a liar.

The point is this. Believing that a small bunch of cells is equal in rights to a human being is a contradictory position in the first place. So it's not much of a stretch to believe that a safe (but not legal) abortion for one particular girlfriend at one place in time is okay while maintaining that it should be illegal and not recommended for everyone else. You can point out the contradictions 'til the cows come home. You'll make as much headway with one as you will with the other.

There are WOMEN who live with the contradiction. They get legal abortions when they're young, enjoy all the freedom and advantage of being able to have one, then grow up to believe that their lives would have been better if they hadn't. They blame the greater society for their screwed up lives. The convince themselves that the jerk of a boyfriend who abandoned them would have been a decent human being if only abortion weren't legal. Happens all the time. Don't bother telling them they're being irrational. They can't hear it.

Actually, living with and loving a man with whom you have basic disagreements isn't such a terrible thing. Relationships have survived worse. If he's great in every other way, keep talking to him. Debate civilly. You have a better chance of getting him to come around that way.
More...
Posted by Crinoline on October 9, 2012 at 6:52 PM · Report this
6
I'm sorry, but that is awful advice to fake a pregnancy. Dealing with philosophical differences by lying and playing mind games can only hurt the relationship and damage trust. And for such an open-minded guy, Dan is being very, very close-minded about the possibility that the boyfriend genuinely would want to raise the imaginary baby that is (in his view) a son or daughter from one-cell-old. What happens when LIFE tells bf she's pregnant and he jubilantly proposes marriage? Oops, sorry, faking. Haha.
Posted by PinkMotorcyle on October 9, 2012 at 7:00 PM · Report this
7
I really disagree that lying and mind games are a good way to handle philosophical differences. It can only damage the relationship and erode trust. Besides, what if he is sincere and his response to the fake pregnancy declaration is to get down on one knee and propose? "Haha, faking! Nice that you are philosophically consistent but I'm a big liar."
Posted by PinkMotorcyle on October 9, 2012 at 7:07 PM · Report this
8
Personhood at the moment of conception means that a single cell is identical to a fully formed human. That's right: one cell simultaneously performing as skeleton, digestive tract, lungs, heart (and at the same time the blood being pumped by it), nervous system, and most of all, brain. Yes, something smaller than the period at the end of this sentence is a human being.

Break up with him because he is too stupid to reproduce.
Posted by avast2006 on October 9, 2012 at 7:09 PM · Report this
mydriasis 9
So size denotes personhood? Number of bones? Number of organs?

It's a living being with a human genome that is distinct from the genomes of it's parents. If it's not a human being... what is it?
Posted by mydriasis on October 9, 2012 at 7:16 PM · Report this
10
I think you should never lie about something like being pregnant, especially just to prove a point like that. And feel free to pose it as a thought experiment, but you really won't achieve anything. I've met a number of guys who were perfectly willing to say they'd marry the woman carrying their child, but then there were always issues - they'd marry after X amount of time, or when they'd earned Y amount of money; they'd marry if the woman did A, B, and C thing to show that she "valued" their union and child as much as he did and to make sure that she was sacrificing as much or more than he was; he'd marry her if she was going to be the perfect, obedient wife and dutiful, devoted mother that he thought she was. Etc.

All of which is to show that he will SAY he'd marry you if you became pregnant, but in reality he can make it so conditional and intolerable that the marriage will never happen. That's the suck thing about pregnancy. The MAN can walk away at any point and say that he's not going to cooperate unless his dick is getting sucked good and proper (ie, unless he's been given a disproportionate share of the power in the relationship). His cooperation has to be BOUGHT because the woman can't walk away from it and he knows that. Abortion really levels the playing field and I think that is part of why so many men oppose it.
Posted by Gamebird on October 9, 2012 at 7:19 PM · Report this
nocutename 11
@9: It's the potential for a human being. Which is a big difference.
http://pigroll.com/256_abortion-not-a-di…
Posted by nocutename on October 9, 2012 at 7:21 PM · Report this
12
I agree that lying about being pregnant carries a distinct risk that he might actually get down on one knee and "do the right thing," at which case your bluff is called. You could take it a step further and insist that you aren't ready for this for all the reasons Dan lays out, and that you are going to have an abortion whether he likes it or not, and let Mr. Conscientious break up with you over his horror. But that also is risky, if he starts spreading stories about you.

I think you should just tell him that you refuse to fuck him ever again, because under his philosophy, fucking is a fairly direct line to losing your rights over your own body. Let him know that his stance has logical consequences.
Posted by avast2006 on October 9, 2012 at 7:24 PM · Report this
13
@9: It's a single cell. Duh.
Posted by avast2006 on October 9, 2012 at 7:25 PM · Report this
nocutename 14
I agree that lying about being pregnant is a terrible idea. And being willing to marry the woman whom you've accidentally impregnated, who may not want or be ready to care for and raise a child, is not a solution. Crinoline may have a valid point: perhaps you two can discuss this and can come to an understanding, or agree to disagree (but you'd be wise to make damn sure that your birth control method is foolproof). I think all of us not involved are awfully quick to tell others to DTMFA. Still, anyone with that kind of "personhood", anti-choice mindset is showing some fundamental differences that the lw might find to be ultimately incompatible.
Posted by nocutename on October 9, 2012 at 7:27 PM · Report this
15
Wrong on both counts. Lying is the best way to destroy trust in the relationship. Under current law a woman has the right to control her body. So it's not an issue of him forcing you to carry a fetus to term. It's a political issue. And couples should have the right to disagree on political issues. Even if one of them is wrong. Of course you can choose not to date a republican or democrat, but its not a good criteria for dating, particularly if both partners are open minded and willing to consider differing viewpoints.

Kinky porn can mess with kid's brains and can cloud their boundary decisionmaking at a time when they are not capable of making great decisions. Suggest moderation. Parents should be the parents. Set rules, even if you know that you cannot enforce the rules effectively.
Posted by Junta thought on October 9, 2012 at 7:30 PM · Report this
16
My, I actually hold that if you need a microscope to find it, it isn't a person by any reasonable definition. My cheek cells aren't people, either, even if we are close to the sort of cloning tech that might turn them into people. (Genetic distinction I don't buy: twins can be genetically identical yet they are two people. People who have had bone marrow transplants are genetically distinct from their prior selves, but I think that's just one person.)

This means that at some point between cell (not a person) and about to be born child (a person), you start calling it a person. I'm okay with this being fuzzy. I put the mark at viability with minimal intrusion outside the womb, and that's about the end of the second trimester. Should anyone invent an artificial womb, transfer to which would be less invasive than abortion, they can call me and I'll look at my definition again.
Posted by IPJ on October 9, 2012 at 7:31 PM · Report this
17
I agree with #5. Lying will just make you look like a crazy person. Dan does not know what it feels like to be a woman who everyone thinks is a crazy bitch for lying about being pregnant. That shit gets around. I'm not talking from experience or anything, just sayin'.
Posted by sher-bear on October 9, 2012 at 7:39 PM · Report this
mydriasis 18
So we're judging humanity by the number of cells? Or the size. A fetus that is visible to the naked eye is a person, but an embryo isn't? What about a magnifying glass? How good does the person's eyesight have to be? What kind of lighting are we talking about? How close?

The point is, any line we pretend to draw is arbitrary. The arbitrary lines need to exist (so that we don't outlaw abortion which would be awful) but it doesn't reflect any kind of objective reality and it's absurd to pretend that it does.
Posted by mydriasis on October 9, 2012 at 7:41 PM · Report this
mydriasis 19
@IPJ

I think your reasoning is fair. But if you admit the line is fuzzy, why is my decision any less valid than two, three, or four cell divisions down the line?

Also, DNA methylation means twins have different genomes, in a sense.
Posted by mydriasis on October 9, 2012 at 7:45 PM · Report this
20
Someone can believe that a fetus is a person and understand how terrible an unwanted pregnancy can be, and respect women's bodily sovereignty.

Here's the thing -- I believe people should be allowed to do whatever they want privately, or with other consenting adults. The problem is that abortion involves a third party. That makes it completely different from the question of whether Dan should be allowed to do whatever consensual things he wants with his husband.

It's totally possible that LIFE's boyfriend is a really nice guy who understands that banning abortion would have awful consequences, but thinks that a fetus is a person.

There's really just one real question they need to agree on -- what happens if LIFE gets pregnant? If she decides to get an abortion, will he be supportive?
Posted by lizliz on October 9, 2012 at 7:45 PM · Report this
mydriasis 21
^20

This.

"Someone can believe that a fetus is a person and understand how terrible an unwanted pregnancy can be, and respect women's bodily sovereignty."
Posted by mydriasis on October 9, 2012 at 7:48 PM · Report this
22
I judge humanity by whether something looks and acts like a person: the duck definition, if you will. And my cheek cells don't pass that test. Nor newly fertilized eggs, nor eggs that have divided into 8 cells, or into the little tube state as the nervous system starts to get laid down. A seven month fetus, nervous system hooked up, able to react to external stimuli, does.
Posted by IPJ on October 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM · Report this
23
LIFE: Dump his pig-headed ass--NOW! Men never have and never will bear children, due to biology. They will NEVER know what pregnancy is like, personally, or what it entails! your BF is on a serious power trip to keep you voiceless, barefoot, pregnant , and in the kitchen.

If your boyfriend is so biased that he willfully puts a priority on an unborn fetus-- which cannot talk, cannot vote, and doesn't even have a bank account!-- ahead of you, your own body (whether you get pregnant by him or not, if at all), OR your beliefs, then he is a chauvinist pig who should simply die lonely and with his family jewels shriveled up into a tiny pink pickle with warts.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 9, 2012 at 8:08 PM · Report this
24
What happens if he says he is willing to provide financial support for a child and/or make regular, monthly child support payments, says he is ready for the responsibilities (and the grind) of full- or even part-time parenting, and says he doesn't necessarily know her well enough but is willing to try for the kid's sake?

In that case, she'd just end up being the girl who faked a pregnancy, and he'd be the guy who said he'd do anything for the child. She would look terrible in that situation.

My boyfriend is a guy who is pro-choice, but if I came to him with a fake (or real) pregnancy, I am damn sure he would say he would be willing to raise the child, and do everything that comes with it.

Really, she should sit him down and tell him that she can't fathom the idea of being with a guy who wouldn't have her best interests at heart if she happened to become pregnant. Personally, I think this is a DTMFA situation, unless he can come around to the idea that even though he isn't pro-choice, he will have to be completely okay with dating (and having sex with) a girl who is.
Posted by thisiserika on October 9, 2012 at 8:11 PM · Report this
mydriasis 25
I'm not arguing for your cheek cells, I'm also not challenging your choice to feel that human-ness starts when you feel it does. I'm asking you to appreciate that there is no discrete line between personhood and non personhood, and as such, it makes little sense to say "oh my point is reasonable, but yours isn't".

I also don't add all the baggage to "personhood" that other people do. Is a dead body a person? When a person dies, when do they stop being a person? Not all of their cells die at once. We have only a rough estimate of which cells are alive and dead at any one point. What about comas?

Like I said, we draw hard lines so laws can function, but I think it's reasonable to keep in mind that the lines we draw are artificial and based more on feeling than anything else. I don't see personhood as binary, and if I'm forced to I'd rather grant it at the point of the cleanest cut I can think of: the creation of the new genome. But that's just the answer I find most intellectually satisfying - I'm not asking you to adopt it.
Posted by mydriasis on October 9, 2012 at 8:12 PM · Report this
26
Oooo, an abortion debate.

I have to object to Dan's recommendation to lie about a pregnancy. There is never any excuse for telling a boyfriend you are pregnant when you are not, and if you do he should dump you ASAP. It's a DTMFA move and I'm extremely surprised and disappointed that Dan suggested it. If your boyfriend gives you the right answer, are you then going to say, "Ok, just testing" ? You'll have created a huge trust issue in the relationship.

But there is a perfectly reasonable conversation to have here: "If we're going to have sex, and I accidentally get pregnant, are you going to support this baby for the rest of your life?" If the answer to that is "No", then you have to ask if he would support an abortion, and if the answer to that is still no, you have to dump him for being an inconsistent asshole. If the original answer is "Yes", then you have to tell him that you would have an abortion anyway, and aborting an unplanned pregnancy is part of the terms and conditions of having sex with you. So if a pregnancy does happen, he'll have consented in advance to abortion.

I also disagree with Dan's assertion that being pro-life is inherently wrong. Everyone is entitled to their own values, including that life begins at conception, and that they do not support abortions at all.

But, if someone is going to have that opinion, they need to follow-through on it. That means they should not have sex unless they are willing to support any potentially resulting child, and they should not have sex with anyone who does not share their opinion that any resulting fetus should not be aborted under any circumstances.

Anyway, short answer:

Tell your boyfriend that if you get pregnant in your present circumstances you are almost certainly going to have an abortion and leave it to him whether he still wants to have sex with you or not. If he does, well then, guess he wasn't so opposed to abortion at all. If not, you won't have to dump him - he'll dump himself, because you'll have made it clear that having sex with you IS supporting abortion.
More...
Posted by biggie on October 9, 2012 at 8:14 PM · Report this
27
@19: Two, three, four cell divisions down the line is still absurd. There is no heart, no lungs, no brain, no gut, no organs, no muscle. It is still a clump of cells just barely undergoing its first differentiation. People like to point to the first grouping of a few cells in the blastocyst pulsing and crow, 'Look, see, a heart!" This is romanticism. If that is a heart, where is the blood? That is at best a very rudimentary proto-heart. By extension, a fetus is for a large part of its development time a very rudimentary proto-human.

Yes, the line is fuzzy, but not until you get around 24 weeks. In the first trimester, not even close. To hear you talk it's so fuzzy that it's one 40-week long smooth gradient -- but oddly enough it's the same color at both ends, ranging from a fully human baby at delivery, back to a fully human amoeba at conception.
Posted by avast2006 on October 9, 2012 at 8:20 PM · Report this
28
@25: You think the fetal developmental issues that undergird the present 24 week limit are just so much bullshit, and that 24 weeks is just a number someone pulled out of their ass?
Posted by avast2006 on October 9, 2012 at 8:24 PM · Report this
29
Horrible advice about faking a pregnancy. Great way to get killed at worst and at best get punched in the stomach or kicked down a flight of stairs. Men who don't believe women have a right to control their bodies generally have no problem controlling it for them.
Posted by Eggsandsuch on October 9, 2012 at 8:26 PM · Report this
30
What I've never understood is WHY it matters if a fetus is a person, and whether or not it should be given rights equal to what a person has. NO PERSON has the right to use another person's body for their survival without their permission. Even if they will die without the use of that person's body. Even if the use of that person's body would be a minor inconvenience at worst to that person. It isn't about giving a fetus rights equal to a person's, it's about reducing a woman's rights until she is viewed as being less than a person.
Posted by Pinky on October 9, 2012 at 8:30 PM · Report this
31
DON'T LIE TO YOUR BOYFRIEND!!!!!
ESPECIALLY NOT ABOUT SOMETHING SO EARTH-SHATTERING AS A PREGNANCY!!!!
Holy F**ing Sh**t Dan. Seriously, such bad advice.
Weather or not you are going to DTMFA over this, don't add crazy-woman fuel to the fire by dropping such a huge-ass LIE. Lordy.
Posted by pumpkinheadedcat on October 9, 2012 at 9:00 PM · Report this
32
Only peripherally related, but curious to know if there are other pro-life women who regularly read Dan. (For what it's worth, I don't really consider myself an idiot, but I guess I wouldn't, right?)
Posted by spikele on October 9, 2012 at 9:22 PM · Report this
33
I'll jump on the "you shouldn't lie to your boyfriend" bandwagon.

I'll also call you, Dan, a bigot for assuming the boyfriend isn't willing to step up and be a father. I'm pro-choice, but I know a LOT of pro-life people (both men AND women), and several of them HAVE stepped up to the plate despite timing being inconvenient or even life-altering.

I also know first-hand that being pro-life and being pro-choice are not incompatible positions. Believing that abortion is wrong, even immoral, and believing that it should be outlawed are not required to go together and more than believing that Nazis are evil requires you to want to ban speech.

I'd say you've spent too much time in cloisters, Dan, but I know that's not true. You do seem to have lost sight of larger principles on this particular issue, though, and I think you should seriously rethink your response.
Posted by Eric M on October 9, 2012 at 9:31 PM · Report this
34
@ mydriasis I agree that saying that a human person starts at conception, the creation of a new genome, is intellectually the easiest way to go. But don't you think that has ethical implications for the legality of abortion?

I would be interested if you expanded on this statement: "Is a fetus a person? Obviously. Should a fetus have certain rights? Of course. Should we ban abortion? Absolutely not, that's ridiculous." What rights does a fetus have? And what distinguishes a living person in the womb from a living person outside the womb that justifies abortion as a legal option?

And @lizliz, I wholeheartedly agree that you can "believe that a fetus is a person and understand how terrible an unwanted pregnancy can be, and respect women's bodily sovereignty." And yet like you said, abortion involves a third party. How does one reconcile respecting a woman's sovereignty over her own body with the fetus's "choice" (biologically speaking) to live?

For those who have unintended pregnancies, is abortion simply "back-up birth control" with the moral complexity of already having a "third party" who we consider a person?

Thanks pre-emptively for your thoughts.
Posted by musingoverabortion on October 9, 2012 at 9:49 PM · Report this
35
I am with LizLiz @20 and with mydriasis.

Everyone banging up on the poor guy: she says her bf doesn't want to have abortion banned. So what they have to discuss (and what could be a deal-breaker for her) is whether he could deal with her having an abortion. If yes, fine, if not, apparently they are not compatible.
The whole question when a human being starts to be a person is then more of a philosophical disagreement.

FWIW: My father has always been anti-abortion. But he was ok with legalising it to a certain degree, since making it illegal doesn't save a single fetus but kills/ maims a lot of women. My mother is completely pro-choice.
My parents had 4 children together and are still married.
So, as Crinoline said a disagreement on this topic doesn't mean that a couple can't be together. They just need to respect each other's point of view.
Posted by migrationist on October 9, 2012 at 9:58 PM · Report this
36
There's no point in arguing with mydriasis. She is completely incapable of understanding that her experience isn't everyone else's. The only thing she wouldn't argue with is "You're right, mydriasis, like always."
Posted by random_lez on October 9, 2012 at 10:01 PM · Report this
37
@30: This seems like a good time to post Judith Jarvis Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion":

http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil1…

It's possible to believe that a fetus is a person and still be pro-choice; it's also possible to be pro-choice and to believe that the right to abortion is not absolute, and can be superseded when what Thomson calls "Minimally Decent Samaritanism" is all that's required to carry the child to term.

That said, the idea that personhood begins at conception is ludicrous (I can't accept the idea that a two-week old clump of cells is a person), but the idea that it begins at delivery is also ludicrous. The dividing lines we have now seem fairly reasonable, actually, however arbitrary they may be.
Posted by Anonymous 8 on October 9, 2012 at 10:05 PM · Report this
38
Eh, that's annoying. Here's the second half of the URL for "A Defense of Abortion":

Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm
Posted by Anonymous 8 on October 9, 2012 at 10:07 PM · Report this
39
Now for the reason I came here in the first place:

Dan, your advice to the last caller was absolutely beautiful.
Posted by random_lez on October 9, 2012 at 10:08 PM · Report this
40
@30 - Thank you!
Posted by sanguisuga on October 9, 2012 at 10:11 PM · Report this
41
And now I have to add a "thanks" to @36 as well... :)
Posted by sanguisuga on October 9, 2012 at 10:14 PM · Report this
42
@32 and 34:
I am a regular Savage Love reader and I am what some would probably call pro-life. A human being starts being a human being at conception.

I can't imagine ever having an abortion. BUT, I have never really been in a desparate situation. Women who felt that their situation didn't allow them to have a child at this moment (if it was because they were raped, because they already had children, because they couldn't provide for a child, etc.) have always had abortions.

It is better if just one human being dies (the fetus) instead of two (fetus and mother) which is often the case in illegal abortions. In this line of reasoning, I guess I am my father's daughter.
In my opinion, it is more successful to give free access to contraception, make adoption a viable option (that is make pre-marital sex acceptable so that pregnant girls don't feel like sluts) and permit abortions than to teach abstinence, make birth control inaccessible and then wonder why so many girls/ women have abortions.

The child doesn't have a choice in this. That's regrettable, but children also don't have the choice if the have nice parents or abusive parents, religious ones or atheist ones, etc.
Posted by migrationist on October 9, 2012 at 10:17 PM · Report this
43
Rather than thinking about whether or not the boyfriend is pro-life, she needs to find out whether he thinks he has any say in her decision if she gets unexpectedly pregnant. I was surprised to find out that my boyfriend didn't really like the idea of abortion, but that he understood that I would probably want to abort if he got me pregnant while I was in college and he said that he'd support me, whatever I decided. He understood that it wasn't his decision, and that he had no right to pressure me in any direction.

That what she needs to find out from her boyfriend. If he's okay with the fact that she'll probably abort the baby and it's not his decision to make, then she should keep him. Otherwise, DTMFA.

Also, for people who are pro-life? Read the Roe vs. Wade decision. Not very many people do, and it really lays out why exactly they placed the limits that they did.
Posted by alguna_rubia on October 9, 2012 at 10:36 PM · Report this
44
As far as the when-is-the-clump-of-cells-a-person argument, I think that a woman's body actually offers some perspective to the debate. I got pregnant about 4 years ago. I really, really didn't want it, the guy in question was a total fucking asshole (which became abundantly clear when I told him about it), and I planned to have an abortion. Lucky me, I miscarried before it came to that. I had only made it to about 6 weeks of pregnancy, so the miscarriage itself wasn't too painful. I was spared the horrible choice that so many women face, and intellectually I knew that I was the luckiest girl in the world. But every part of my body was screaming with loss. No matter how much I may have hated the idea of pregnancy, my body had different feelings about the little time bomb I carried for such a short time.

I think that 'personhood' is an inflammatory term because it conjures the image of cute little curly-haired babies, when in truth an embryo or fetus under 12 weeks old really is just a clump of cells--a clump of cells with potential. Is it possible to recognize grades of personhood in utero? A zygote or embryo or fetus absolutely has value as human, but that value is, by necessity, limited. Anything wrong with acknowledging that?
Posted by chicago girl on October 9, 2012 at 10:37 PM · Report this
45
Dan, apologize to LIFE!!! That is the most leotarded advise I have ever heard you give. This does not have anything to do to with abortion rights, this has to do with telling a woman to lie about something that in reality can be extremely stressful!! Why would you tell her to lie about something as a male you will never know what it will feel like to be pregnant and have to make this kind of decision. This would only end in a break up, it would be better to DTMFA, but maybe you are not giving people a chance to make mature decisions and given a better chance to communicate, this person might not be as pro-life as he came off, how would he know he is not a woman either! But, telling her to lie about it, that can only cause her harm, what were you thinking????
Posted by NaturallyGGG on October 9, 2012 at 11:13 PM · Report this
46
LIFE: Dan's totally off his rocker on this one. Since when is it OK to play manipulative mind games with your partner?

I totally agree with the other commenters here: What's important is whether he'd respect her choice to have an abortion, if it came to that. LIFE should have a calm discussion about the issue, and how important it is to her.

It's totally OK to agree to disagree, as long as you can both live with that.
Posted by wat on October 9, 2012 at 11:20 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 47
Dan: OMG such mixed feelings about your first piece of advice, to LIFE - On hand: NO, do NOT lie to your B.F. Ugh, as everybody has already said, women get accused of faking pregnancy all the time, & sometimes they do. It's not something you lie to someone about, ever. Massively uncool. LIFE, if you're reading this far down, I seldom say "don't do what Dan says", but don't. That's deciding whether you are gonna break up or not, right there. Pull that move, you are.

Definitely try to have more of the discussion, though, before things get too much more serious.

I am a one-issue girl on the topic of abortion myself. I couldn't be w/ someone who didn't accept my right to control my own (& women's rights in general to control their own) body (bodies). It's cool that some of you know people who can co-exist w/ that difference. I couldn't.

Posted by Eva Hopkins http://www.lunamusestudios.com on October 9, 2012 at 11:21 PM · Report this
48
Ugh terrible advice on the first letter - fake a pregnancy by lying to him to test something you haven't made clear is a deal-breaker for you. Even if he now passes this impossible litmus test, now you will have to confess to being a liar or live with knowing that you will always be the worst person.
Posted by Guest1111111 on October 9, 2012 at 11:23 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 49
Oh, and DAN, you said: "Any gay man who can't see the connection between a woman's right to have children when she chooses and his right to love and marry the person he chooses is an idiot."

Does this mean I can stop being sad over the gay boyfriend who recently "dumped" me for being pro-choice? 'cause it still makes me blue, I still miss him. Makin' new pals when you move is hard & you're not in college, anymore. :/

I could understand a GBF breaking things off if yer anti-gay-marriage, 'cause, hellooooo, rights. I've been a marriage equality activist for some years now. Just happy to see someone else connect those two issues.
Posted by Eva Hopkins http://www.lunamusestudios.com on October 9, 2012 at 11:25 PM · Report this
50
@25 If it doesn't have a brain, then it isn't a living person. It might be a dead person and it might be a potential person, but it certainly isn't a living person. Something without brain function is declared legally dead. If it doesn't have brain function, then it cannot have started true human life yet. A fertilized egg is in no way comparable to an actual living person.
Posted by uncreative on October 9, 2012 at 11:32 PM · Report this
51
No, no, no, no, no, do NOT lie to the boyfriend!

Present it as a thought experiment, or sit him down like grownups and say, so what happens if? honestly. Then, if you stay together, march yourself off to Planned Parenthood and get an IUD/IUS, an implant, or a Depo shot--something long-lasting that you can't forget to take and he can't mess with--and never, never, ever fuck him without a condom again.

Because @10 really nails it:

His cooperation has to be BOUGHT because the woman can't walk away from it and he knows that. Abortion really levels the playing field and I think that is part of why so many men oppose it.

In his world, the second sammy sperm meets ellie egg, YOU are suddenly a slave. Everything you do, every decision you make, is secondary to a zygote, while he is free to pronounce you a slut, bitch moan and whine about it, disappear and never put forth any financial or emotional effort into you ever again, or maybe step up to the plate and be a good partner. But you don't know that, you'll never, ever know until it happens (because you have only his word to trust, after all) and what is true for YOU regardless is you're stuck with the financial, medical, physical, and emotional consequences. The single best thing you can do for yourself, in that case, is make damn sure you never get pregnant. And make sure he knows WHY you are doing this--it's one thing to have a view in the abstract, and quite another to see that those views have consequences, and one of those consequences of having his opinion and dating you is that his opinion puts you in a dangerous, unequal, and intolerable situation, and you are trying to put yourself back on the level playing field.

If he's not willing to play by those rules, rules that protect you both and allow you to live together despite your differing views, DTMFA and RUN.

A personal note: I'm dating a very sweet man who is very much against abortion, and I'm as pro-choice as you get. I can't take hormonal forms of BC and IUDs aren't an option for me, so we're limited to fertility awareness and condoms. We use condoms all the time and when the CM gets thin, no sex at all, period, until it goes back to normal....which sucks, but it's highly effective and since his libido is lower than mine, I can pass it off as neither of us are in the mood. FAM, if practised consistently and your cycles are regular enough that you can tell with reasonable certainty what's going on, is really effective, especially when you use it and condoms together.

On the downside, you lose a lot of spontaneity and you can't ever risk getting drunk and have drunk (fill in the special occasion) sex. And since I can't take hormonal BC, which he knows, I told him before we even got naked the first time that refusing to wear a condom, whining about wearing a condom, or pulling one off mid-screw was an automatic and irrevocable breakup-level offence, because it put me and my health and safety in an intolerable situation for the sake of him getting his rocks off. But we are getting along happily, with plenty of fun in the sack, despite our differences of opinion.
More...
Posted by slinky on October 10, 2012 at 12:04 AM · Report this
52
A newly-formed fetus does not think, feel, or react to its environment in any way. I will never understand why some people think the rights of a mindless clump of cells should take priority over the physical and emotional wellbeing of an adult woman.

Anti-choice zealots make a lot of noise about "personhood", but they seem more than happy to treat pregnant women more like incubators than people. Are these people completely blind to the ugly reality of pregnancy? Pregnancy is a painful, life-changing, potentially life-threatening ordeal. It can fuck you over in a myriad of ways. You'll be buried in medical bills if anything goes wrong, and good luck paying them when you lose your job because you're too busy puking your guts out all day to work. Why is it fine to put a thinking, feeling adult woman through nine months of hell for the sake of a baby she doesn't want, but morally reprehensible to flush out a little amoeba that is physically incapable of experiencing pain or emotional distress?
Posted by Did on October 10, 2012 at 12:25 AM · Report this
53
I'm sorry Dan, I love your columns and rarely find myself disagreeing. But your advise to LIFE is utterly wrong.
I am pro-choice myself but I have no trouble understanding that somebody could be strongly against it. The BF is described as sweet and caring, is it such a leap of imagination to consider he might show those qualities towards an unborn baby? Which doesn't mean that he is right, it just means that he's position is an honest and conscientious one and needs to be addressed as such. She still might agree to leave him but only because her own valid convictions compel her to.
Your advice was cynical, counterproductive and downright mean.
Posted by RFord on October 10, 2012 at 2:00 AM · Report this
54
Is it not possible that two people could date and have a difference of opinion about something?
Posted by sheinoz on October 10, 2012 at 2:02 AM · Report this
55
@54 Sure, couples don't need to agree about everything, and it would be creepy if they did. However, two people with fundamentally differing opinions about what actions are acceptable in the case of pregnancy probably shouldn't be fucking each other.
Posted by chicago girl on October 10, 2012 at 3:36 AM · Report this
56
Lying about it = terrible idea.

What if he's happy? Excited to be a dad? Loves the idea of supporting you? And it turns out to all be a stupid head game because you don't trust he really means what he says - you might as well just dump him now because if it plays out like this you won't see him for dust.

I don't think I could be with someone who disagreed with abortion to that extent. If you ever did get pregnant accidentally that would really mess you both up even if it didn't end up in court. This is an issue where you need to have similar values. I've ended a relationship because the man I was with said if I got pregnant and didn't have an abortion he'd finish with me, for pretty similar reasons. It's hard to relax in bed with someone when all you have in mind is the grim consequences if it all goes wrong.
Posted by krissf on October 10, 2012 at 3:42 AM · Report this
57
Since you and your "boyfriend" cannot procreate I don't think you are qualified to give advice to normal couples.
Posted by truthhurts on October 10, 2012 at 5:08 AM · Report this
58
Reiterating that Dan's advice to lie about a pregnancy is phenomenally stupid.

What I don't get is the rabid pro-lifers who appear incredibly concerned about the death of an 8-celled "person", but don't seem to object so much to the killing of tens of thousands of actual people, including actual children, when we needlessly invade places.
Posted by biggie on October 10, 2012 at 5:18 AM · Report this
59
@57:
So if a man or a woman are infertile, they can't give advice on birth control/ family planning/ abortion?

If my ob/gyn is infertile she can't advice me on reproductive medicine?

Do you also think that psychiatrists and psychologists need to have mental instabilities to be permitted to be therapists?
Posted by migrationist on October 10, 2012 at 5:19 AM · Report this
60
lies make the unborn fetus of baby jesus cry
Posted by stormcrow on October 10, 2012 at 5:23 AM · Report this
61
Don't lie! That's manipulative crap my sister would pull. Just don't stoop to that level. Break up with him or give him a hypothetical situation.
Posted by Walnut on October 10, 2012 at 5:34 AM · Report this
62
Dan doesn't seem to give a s$$t about you, your half baked doubts about your loving boyfriends "progressive" pedigree or your relationship. Only the cause.
Posted by Eichlein on October 10, 2012 at 5:48 AM · Report this
mydriasis 63
@ avast

No, I think they're based on science, and I think they make good sense. I agree that there are real, true, differences between something that's just turning on it's hedgehog genes versus something that's sitting there sipping amniotic fluid and perceiving the taste. But I don't hinge personhood on those things myself.

The idea of what personhood is means different things to different people - it certainly isn't a scientific entity. I agree that it's absurd to claim that a fertilized egg is identical to a fully formed human being. But I also think it's absurd to claim that a fertilized egg is the same thing as a somatic cell, and people who make that comparison bewilder me.

Look, if I were to take a bunch of thalidomide now, you can bet my cheek cell wouldn't develop into a fully grown human being with deformities that adversely impact his or her quality of life.
Posted by mydriasis on October 10, 2012 at 5:59 AM · Report this
The Max 64
LIFE- Don't lie to your boyfriend! It's a DTMFA move. You dropped the ball on that one, Dan. Everyone tells little lies, but the Preg isn't a little lie.

If you can't change his mind with a rational argument, don't bother trying to rock his world with an appeal to his emotions.

My take on the rational argument to the personhood from the moment of conception belief is that human rights = human responsibilities. If an early-term zygote has human rights, then it has human responsibilities and therefore, every person who absorbs his or her twin in utero (and that may be a majority of us) is a murderer. Murderers must be punished.

If personhood arrives at the moment of conception, perhaps as many of two-thirds of people who come into being are murdered by the biological process before their mommies ever know they exist. If the personhood argument has any weight whatsoever, these women are evil and must be punished.

Would you willingly live in a world like that?

We deal in truth, not lies, because truth is so much more powerful.
Posted by The Max on October 10, 2012 at 6:01 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 65
If I was dating a girl who lied about a pregnancy just to play a mind game, I would dump her on the spot.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on October 10, 2012 at 6:01 AM · Report this
66
Dan suggesting she lies to her boyfriend ;( Hopefully he will retract that stupid advice in his next column / podcast.

Several people have already said what I wanted to say, sit down and have a chat with your boyfriend about what would happen if you got pregnant.

Personally I had that chat with my current girlfriend and for the time being she said she would want to get an abortion if something happened. Which is good because that is what I want as well, my ex-gf was the same as well. If her view was that she would want to keep it I would probably have dumped her because it is not a risk I am willing to take.

All in all, really bad call on that one Dan. Next time please advice people to act like grown up and not scorn children.
Posted by VB on October 10, 2012 at 6:10 AM · Report this
67
Dan I found todays column completely boring and leaving a little to be desired. What happened to the old Dan who was brutally harsh, yet funny
Posted by boredinsrq on October 10, 2012 at 6:34 AM · Report this
68
The point about advising LIFE to lie is that the effective advice is to break up with him, but the lie is to give him what Mr Savage considers him to deserve on the way out. It could end up involving additional lies if LIFE wants to avoid some of the pointed-out consequences. If he were to respond with a proposal, she then would be stuck between exposure, faked miscarriage (which brings up fond memories of Ryan's Hope, of all things) or doubling down into "going through with the abortion".

What I think Mr Savage got particularly right is that the BF's attitude could well be less than fully-informed/deeply-considered. And what someone says in the abstract does not necessarily reflect on how supportive (s)he will be of somebody's decision contrary to personal ideology. I have nothing against anybody thinking his position is an automatic dealbreaker, or anyone thinking that he might evolve or be educable and okay getting a chance. (Personally I'm so pro-choice that I abdicate a personal view of abortion, seeing it as something entirely to be settled by women without male input beyond acting to see to it that women have the power of choice and are not imposed upon by men.)

The interesting thing may be how close viewpoints have to be on this issue in order to be able to coexist. I've seen far more frivolous dealbreakers, certainly.
Posted by vennominon on October 10, 2012 at 6:52 AM · Report this
69
Lying about a pregnancy is a horrible idea. The LW wrote in looking for the chicken exit--probably because the b/f is really cute--but she know what needs to be done: DTMFA.
Posted by repete on October 10, 2012 at 6:54 AM · Report this
70
What what WHAT?! NO! A woman should NOT tell a guy that she's pregnant when she's not! If that woman goes through with this, then HE should DTMFA.
Posted by DRF on October 10, 2012 at 6:55 AM · Report this
71
@63:
The problem with your reasoning is that it would deny mentally handicapped people their personhood.
Someone who is mentally disbled still has human rights, even if the disability is so strong that s/he doesn't have any human responsibilities.
Posted by migrationist on October 10, 2012 at 6:56 AM · Report this
72
You know why Dan's advice to fake the pregnancy won't backfire?

She's going to have a "miscarriage" two weeks later! But, she'll have to take the secret to her grave if the relationship continues.
Posted by unclezeke on October 10, 2012 at 6:57 AM · Report this
73
Don't lie about the pregnancy! Dump him or date him or do the thought experiment. Lying about a pregnancy will do nothing but blow up in your face.
Posted by EricC_DC on October 10, 2012 at 7:05 AM · Report this
74
Is it possible to insert an edit after the column's been posted? There should be an insert that says "UPDATE: DON'T DO THIS" after the advice to lie about the pregnancy. On the off chance that LIFE actually takes Dan's horrible, horrible advice, he should make every effort to make sure she knows how wrong he was about this.

Her BF is probably one of those "I'm anti-abortion, but I'm pro-choice" guys (I used to be one). There are plenty of them. For guys, pregnancy is always a thought experiment. She's not going to change his mind with one argument, but she can encourage him to be more adult about it and try to imagine someone else's experience. Or not. In either case, under no circumstances should she lie to him.
Posted by Howlin' Jed on October 10, 2012 at 7:10 AM · Report this
75
Ai yi yi. No. Count me on the bandwagon of people who think that inventing a pregnancy as a rhetorical device is a terrible idea.

The dude is on the wrong side of the theory. If that's enough for you to dump him, then dump him.

Otherwise, have a serious discussion about what he would want to do if the two of you accidentally conceived a child. (Yes, we can't know what we'd do until we're actually in a given situation, but we can make a decent guess.)

His answer may or may not surprise you. My husband is adamantly pro-choice, but I know that he assumes that we would raise any child we conceive, even if it's not in The Plan. He wouldn't divorce me over an abortion, but I don't think he'd be too happy, either.

Stop having sex with him, or not, after you find out whatever you find out.
Posted by MN on October 10, 2012 at 7:13 AM · Report this
76
Like several others, I have to conclude that Dan didn't think this through when he suggested to lie to the BF. If your boyfriend being pro choice bothers you deeply enough to question the validity of your relationship, then in the very least it requires a frank discussion. Lying in a no-win scenario here, honesty is required.

How about sitting him down and just saying something like, "After I learned you were anti-abortion, I started to have serious questions about this relationship. This issue is very important to me, and it's difficult for me to just agree to disagree because it has a very real possibility of impacting my life and our relationship at some point." Then go on to explain how regardless of personhood, being anti-abortion takes away your own right to living your life and control of your body. Don't get into a heated debate if you can, focus on the emotional content of what you're saying, so that rather than being stuck on politics he understands how this directly affects YOU on a real, personal level. Then make it very clear to him that you will accept no less than full control of your own body and life in this relationship, and that even if his views stay the same, that by remaining in a relationship with you he is agreeing to allow you control over your body.

This isn't fool proof, he might just say what you want to hear to get you to stay, or believe that if it came down to it he could convince you otherwise. But, it's the best chance you have, and if you're good at reading people at all, even if he lies you have a good chance of sensing something is off with him.
Posted by DrReality on October 10, 2012 at 7:19 AM · Report this
77
The "one cell" argument is specious, at best, on BOTH sides of the abortion debate. A single cell is not a person, but nobody gets an abortion when the fetus is just one cell, or even just 1 million cells.

There are a lot of people who fall within what I call the "abortion spectrum" (think Kinsey scale).

For example, I totally and completely 100% support abortion during the first trimester. During the third, however, I think it's wrong unless the mother's life is in danger or it's obvious the child won't survive. If a child can survive prematurely outside the womb, at that point abortion *is* indeed killing a person.

So the argument for me comes down to the second trimester, and since I don't know enough about that, then I defer to the judgment of each individual woman.

As for the line that men shouldn't be telling women what to do with their bodies, that's also specious. Female legislators vote all the time on things that affect men's bodies.
Posted by sfguy on October 10, 2012 at 7:21 AM · Report this
78
Lying about a pregnancy? That's pretty crazy. I'm pretty sure that if a guy wrote in to say his gf lied about pregnancy, then Dan's answer would be: DTMFA and "bitch be crazy". The furthest I've ever gone was to mention to a guy I was sleeping with that I was late- He was being difficult about using condoms and I was tired of having to beg him.

Plus, it doesn't autmotatically make him a misogynist to believe that a fetus is a person. I'm pro-choice b/c I don't think that I know what's best for other women, but I personally believe that a developed fetus is a sentient being(buddhist terms). What I believe is closer to beleiving in "personhood" than it is to people who are flat-out prochoice b/c they believe that a fetus is only a bit of cells/tissue as worthless as menstrual blood.

I personally wouldn't be able to get an abortion past the first trimester. By the end of the first trimester a fetus is developed enough that it has a brain/CNS, can move independently and make a fist. It might still be in utero, but I believe it's a living being moving around in there all on its own. Plus, I'm pretty sure that anything with a CNS can feel pain. That's way too human for me to be ok with abortion at that point.

Abortion is a complicated issue and many people have conflicted feelings about it, whether they are prochoice or not. It's hard to say when life begins and at least this guy has thought about it. I would rather have someone like him over some guy who hasn't even thought about the issue enough to have a position. At least it shows he has a few paternal instincts- that's much better than the type of guy who would want to pressure you to rush off to a clinic the moment you said you were pregnant.
Posted by complicated issue on October 10, 2012 at 7:23 AM · Report this
79
I think it would be absolutely wrong for LIFE to flat-out lie to her boyfriend. Because what if her boyfriend responds completely perfectly, in every way that she could imagine or hope for? She turns around and reveals that she has lied to him? That she was manipulating and testing him? Suddenly that makes her the bad guy, not him, and it turns into a discussion about trust instead of a discussion about the actual issue.

Make this a thought experiment. If he can't respond well even in the abstract, there's no reason to think he would respond well in real life.
Posted by HonestyIsTheAnswer on October 10, 2012 at 7:24 AM · Report this
80
Being deceptive/manipulative in a relationship serves no good. Take the high road and end the relationship. Something to consider, in the event you become pregnant and you want to abort, he just might make your life a living hell in court trying to stop you....
Posted by woodin on October 10, 2012 at 7:28 AM · Report this
81
Instead of lying (never a good idea in a relationship) just tell him you can't have sex with him. That if she turns up pregnant, she will have an abortion, so since that would violate his morality they can't have sex any longer.
Posted by SunshineandPuppies on October 10, 2012 at 7:34 AM · Report this
82
If LW1 and her guy want to keep fucking (risk of pregnancy), then they need to establish how things are going to go down in the event of pregnancy.

I believe that men also have to be allowed some choice -- the choice of whether or not to involve themselves in a particular response to pregnancy. A man who doesn't want children or who couldn't bear to think of the fruit of his loins being aborted should be provided with the information necessary to make a decision about fucking any given woman. It's responsible for a man who is adamantly anti-abortion to refuse to fuck a woman who will have an abortion if she gets pregnant; it's responsible for a man who could not and would not have children to refuse to fuck a woman who would definitely have the baby.

So LW1 should allow her partner to make an informed choice about fucking her, and then in the event of pregnancy, she can exercise her own choice about her own body.
Posted by Anonymous123 on October 10, 2012 at 7:44 AM · Report this
83
Dan I'm disappointed you would say for someone to lie about a pregnancy. Imagine how outraged you would be if some guy wrote in that his girlfriend faked a pregnancy to get his natural reaction to the idea of abortion. Is it just because you don't agree with his viewpoint? I don't agree with him either, but I wouldn't want him to be lied to about it just to get his real opinion on the subject.

He's stated his belief, even if I, you, and the girlfriend disagree with it. You should have told her, that's it, make the choice. If it's a dealbreaker, then she can go find a better guy, and he can go date a Christian girl.
Posted by AbeFroman on October 10, 2012 at 7:55 AM · Report this
84
I'd like to add my voice to those pointing out that believing a fetus is a person and being pro-choice are not incompatible viewpoints. I am a woman, and I believe with all my heart that a fetus is a child from the moment of conception. I don't think I could ever have an abortion, no matter the circumstances, though I have been lucky enough never have to make that choice. But I also recognize that belief in the fetus as a person is theological, philosophical; there is no concrete science that delineates when a fetus stops being a cluster of cells and starts being a person, nothing everyone can agree on as fact, thus leaving it to our own gut feelings and beliefs.
Basically, I recognize that everyone has the right to decide for themselves when they believe that a fetus becomes a person, and I have NO right to force my own views upon them. (I am NOT Christian btw, I came to these pro-life/pro-choice views in an extremely liberal nonreligious family). I also recognize that the decision to have an abortion, or not, is deeply personal, and should be arrived at by the mother with input from whomever SHE believes is pertinent to the discussion (her doctor, her partner, her priest, her family, if she so chooses), NOT the government.
I will also mention, though, which may get me crucified, that while I do think the final choice is up to the mother, those of you saying that the father should have no say are wrong. It's his potential child, too. They made the mistake together. It's her body, she certainly gets the final word, and he should be prepared to support whatever that ultimate decision is, but I think the father should be involved in any discussion like this (barring the father being a total asshole or rapist, etc).
Also, usually I like Dan's advice, but lying about a pregnancy is total juvenile game-playing. Sit down and have a grown up discussion about it. It will be good practice for all of the other grown up discussions you'll need to have, about religion, raising children, money, etc. If he's generally liberal-leaning, I doubt he's for making abortion illegal, and I bet this will turn out to be a philosophical disagreement you can live with.
But be extra damn careful with birth control until/unless you're ready to reproduce with this guy, because I'm also betting that, even if he isn't for banning abortion, if you had one, even if he supported you completely, it would be the beginning of the end of your relationship.
More...
Posted by sadiquechienne on October 10, 2012 at 8:00 AM · Report this
Karla Canadian 85
It seems like we're all forgetting that he said he didn't think abortion should be banned.

There is room within pro-choice to think that abortion is terrible or immoral, but that the alternative of women dying in childbirth, dying due to botched abortions, forced to give birth to unviable (stillborn) babies and being treated as incubators with no agency of their own, is worse. Or even that the decision, which he may disagree with, is up to the person that has to carry the fetus and give birth.

Those are acceptable pro-choice positions, even if they're aren't pure "abortion, with these minor caveats, is A-OK". All of those respect a woman's agency and ability to make reproductive choices.
Posted by Karla Canadian on October 10, 2012 at 8:11 AM · Report this
86
Mydriasis is right. It's not that abortion is either right or wrong; it's that any decision about it is going to be arbitrary one way or the other. This is what I was trying to get at in 5. Deciding that a few cells have the same rights as an adult human being is ridiculous, but so is deciding that it's fine to abort a full-term healthy pregnancy when the baby could be delivered Caesarian and survive. After all, even when the infant has taken its first breath, it still can't survive on its own without help. The whole thing, conception, pregnancy, birth, raising a healthy kid, life, death, it's all a process. Making sound laws surrounding when an abortion is legal is always going to be about choosing an arbitrary place in that process.

Here's another grey area to consider. If it makes sense to break up with a man 7 months into a good relationship because you differ too much on the subject of abortion, shouldn't you break up with him 1 day into the relationship? Or maybe you should interview him on that very subject before you sleep with him. Or before you kiss him. Or before you agree to go out with him. Maybe you should check his political views before introducing yourself. After all, if this is going to be a deal-breaker, shouldn't you know up front?

Then consider the other deal-breakers like where you'll live, how you'll raise the children, what you'll do for money, if he can put up with your crazy parents, and whether he leaves he collects old computer parts in the basement. Get him to sign a document before that first date!

Seriously, let me turn the sarcasm off for minute. LIFE asked if this should be a deal breaker or if it's merely a disagreement. I'd say it was a disagreement, but naturally it's her call.
Posted by Crinoline on October 10, 2012 at 8:11 AM · Report this
87
LIFE doesn't say if she & her bf are using contraceptives. If they are, and she tells him she's pregnant, he's gonna think she's been fucking another dude.

Just as well, since Dan is now stupidly advising people to lie in their relationships. What a douche.
Posted by wayne on October 10, 2012 at 8:14 AM · Report this
88
In re. to the topic of porn, Dan stated that kinksters go find porn to match their inherent interests, rather than vise-versa. I do not agree with this though I usually find Dan to be right on the money. At best, what he is saying is a half truth. While people may seek out what they are interested in of course, they will also be exposed to things they do not seek. The nature of porn and compulsive masturbation, is to be strongly affected by the images, and need ever more transgressive material to find gratification.
Posted by Synthus on October 10, 2012 at 8:15 AM · Report this
89
I have some additional advice for LIFE. Don't lie, precisely, but DO mess with your boyfriend's head a little. With some finesse you can do an effective thought experiment. And frankly, any idiot who holds such opinions deserves to have their head messed with for ten minutes. It's not gonna kill him.

LIFE, call your boyfriend and tell him you have something important you need to discuss with him - face to face. When you see him, act very serious and nervous (let's face it, you'll probably BE nervous) and say this: "What would you do if I told you right now I'm pregnant?" Without hearing you state categorically you're pregnant, he will probably assume that really is the news you're about to deliver. Don't wait for an answer. Draw a picture for him while he digests the idea: "I know we've only known each other 7 months, but are you be prepared to be tied to me for life? Would you help me support the child for the rest of your life - even if we broke up at some point?" And he'll have one of two reactions, depending on whether his emotions line up with his so-called "rational" opinions. He'll either be happy/honorable about it and say yes, he'll have a kid with you - or he'll be dismayed and upset, as Dan predicts.

If he reacts positively and says he would help you raise the child, you say: "That's lovely of you, but I don't think *I* would be ready to have a child with you. I would have to consider abortion." He'll almost certainly respond badly to this and try to seize control of your [hypothetical] options, at which point you clarify that it's not an immediate issue since you aren't pregnant, but you cannot be with someone who feels the way he does about this crucial issue. (Dan's excellent rguments for why it's a legit dealbreaker can come into play at this point.) You won't have to live out some crazy fake-pregnancy-and-miscarriage lie, you'll just have misled your boyfriend for a few minutes for a very good reason. Pregnancy is hypothetical now, but it could easily become reality, and you are within your rights to DTMFA.

If he has a negative reaction, you have won the argument, and MAYBE you can save this relationship. People sometimes change sides on an issue - especially if they're young. My first girlfriend was horribly anti-choice when we got together and said she'd break up with me if I ever had an abortion, even if it was the result of rape. I stayed with her because (since we were both girls) it was such an unlikely scenario, and I was hopeful she'd think differently in time. I was right: within a couple of years her position had completely changed. Ten years and several relationships later, I hear she's now as fiercely pro-choice as I am.

P.S. I know adoption is a third option besides parenting and abortion, but I doubt it'll come into play here. If the boyfriend hasn't already said "I think if you got pregnant, adoption would be a great way to proceed," then he probably won't bring it up. If he does, you can claim that's also not something you're ready for.
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Posted by Skipper Jo on October 10, 2012 at 8:36 AM · Report this
90
I will join those in the camp who believe that LIFE should NOT take Dan's advice and lie about being pregnant. If you take it, and do it; then the guy has the legit reason to do the DTMFA number to you - and as a bonus you look like a batshit crazy douche. Asking, "If I accidentally get pregnant will you 1) support the kid and 2) be willing to be a part of the kid's (and my) life in some way shape or form for at least the next 18 years?" because based on his position, the only answer is, "Yes." If it's no, you need to DTMFA.
Posted by mjesf on October 10, 2012 at 8:38 AM · Report this
91
@wayne, if LIFE's boyfriend assumes pregnancy despite using contraceptives MUST mean she's cheating, he has another two major problems: 1) misogyny, and 2) sheer stupidity. If he thinks ANY contraceptive is 100% effective, even when used perfectly, and so it would be just IMPOSSIBLE to knock her up, he needs some re-education.
Posted by Skipper Jo on October 10, 2012 at 8:48 AM · Report this
92
I have to join the chorus of people saying that LIFE should NOT lie to her boyfriend and tell him she's pregnant. I'm pretty sure this is the worst advice Dan has ever given.

It's really up to her whether his anti-choice views are a deal-breaker or not. I don't think she's obligated to break up with him or risk losing her pro-choice card.

If she does decide to stay with him, she needs to make it clear that if she does get pregnant, SHE will be deciding how to proceed and that, given his views, she might not even consult with him on the matter.
Posted by amy2amy on October 10, 2012 at 8:51 AM · Report this
93
I disagree with one thing Dan - a girl should never tell a guy she's pregnant when she knows she's not.

That's a DTMFA move, if ever I heard one.

Though completely different, how would you feel if someone told you that your boyfriend had been killed in a road accident?

Shocking fake news is not funny. It's cruel, no matter what your justification is.

And a girl telling you you're going to be a father, (not she *thinks* she's pregnant) is shocking news.
Posted by JohnF on October 10, 2012 at 8:57 AM · Report this
94
Dan can't resist being a provocateur ("Lie to him."), and it doesn't take long for a comment thread to grow when the topic is abortion.

Here's a question: A NARAL member and volunteer once told me that one can still think abortion is morally wrong and be pro-choice. Do abortion advocates still believe this? My understanding was that this line of reasoning was behind the term pro-choice, as in 'my moral beliefs shouldn't necessarily be public policy.' Is this still a thing?

I see that this doesn't apply to the boyfriend in this letter since the he picked up the mantle of the Personhood, which is a political idea.
Posted by Pablo Picasso on October 10, 2012 at 9:04 AM · Report this
95
I love Dan, however he might have dropped the ball on the last letter, MFKS. I'm not a trained councilor, but I was once a teenage boy who liked porn and lived under my mother's roof. Dan you didn't really get enough info. about this kinky? kid. What if his mother is controlling? bummer! What if she's whithholding? This kid might be reactionarily into power exchange because of a dysfunctional mother. I think this kid should only talk with a professional. Being confronted by his mother might aggrivate the situation.
Posted by scorpio of Id. on October 10, 2012 at 9:06 AM · Report this
96
@4 and others...

There are some traditional definitions of personhood we should remember, before going all moment-of-conception all over it. One long-standing one is that personhood occurs when a newborn takes its first breath. You know, that whole slap on the bottom thing? A traditional religious thought is that God breathes a soul into the child with that first breath.

Because of the number of spontaneous miscarriages, and all the things that can go wrong in early pregnancy, I believe there was a time when women didn't count themselves as truly expecting, or announce it, until the second trimester.

In older cultures, and many aboriginal ones, a high incidence of early child mortality developed into a tradition of not counting the newborn as a person unless it could survive a certain period after birth first, in some cases a month, in others a year, and they wouldn't name the child until then.

And in some aboriginal cultures, early infanticide was practiced in times of famine, so as to preserve the mother to raise children in better times.

All in all, the first-breath thing seems a pretty decent compromise to me. I do support legal protection of a fetus from criminal violence, but only when it's wanted by the mother, who is, after all, investing her flesh and blood and hopes in it.

Posted by Brooklyn Reader on October 10, 2012 at 9:06 AM · Report this
97
See David Foster Wallace, whose incredibly sane position on this issue was the same as the boyfriend's (assuming the boyfriend is actually pro-choice, despite believing abortion is wrong. Which he appears to say that he is.)

http://www.liberalwalrus.com/2006/02/12/…

“When in irresolvable doubt about whether something is a human being or not, it is better not to kill it”

“When in irresolvable doubt about something, I have neither the legal nor the moral right to tell another person what to do about it, especially if that person feels that s/he is not in doubt”
Posted by pemulis on October 10, 2012 at 9:16 AM · Report this
98
Also, the answer is an incredibly hurtful and manipulative fake pregnancy? Sheesh.
Posted by pemulis on October 10, 2012 at 9:18 AM · Report this
Fenrox 99
If you lie about being pregnant, you are really breaking up with him. How and why would he trust you after that.

In reality Dan and her understand that she has already broken up with this guy. He said a thing and her judgement kicked in and ruined him as relationship material. Not defending his views, but this lady seems to be the worst.

If you can't tolerate someone because of a belief you don't share, you are kinda a dick. You don't have to love or defend the person, but you do need to realize that you are unable to interact with others without judging them very harshly.

If this guy is so great why not try to appeal to a great side and see if you can change his mind. If he is truly a great guy then when it hits the fan he will be only interested in what you need. You instead decide to have ZERO trust in him, that this belief is stronger than any relationship you could form? Sheesh.
Posted by Fenrox on October 10, 2012 at 9:23 AM · Report this
100
I concur that Dan gave some horrible advise on lying to her boyfriend about being pregnant. Stupid stupid stupid idea and any reasonable guy would dump a girl crazy enough to do that
Posted by duhhhh on October 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM · Report this
101
The fake pregnancy is a mean - malicious even - strategy for ferreting out this guy's real feelings about abortion. If he truly believes that an embryo is a person deserving of society's protection then he will likely be traumatized and alienated by this prank. And what if he does? It doesn't mean he's an unrepentant asshole who deserves to have a woman he cares about fuck with him like this. Bad advice. Boooo

Better advice? Tell him that you're concerned that his position on abortion is a red-herring, that many men who feel this way are misogynist pigs, and that you cannot have your body in the hands of a man who holds to those views. See what he says. Maybe he's just a sweet man with a soft spot for the unborn. You don't know yet.
Posted by hrchick on October 10, 2012 at 9:38 AM · Report this
102
First of all, he said he thought abortion is wrong, not that it should be banned. I thought the whole point of being pro-choice is that it's ok to personally think abortion is wrong without imposing that choice on others. So I think to break up over this is crazy- almost as crazy as lying about being pregnant to play a mind game. I agree with you Dan 99% of the time but I think you jumped the tracks weith this one.
Posted by intheweehours on October 10, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Report this
103
Mr Savage, it is disgusting that you would advise someone to lie to her boyfriend about being pregnant in order to prove a point.

You've lost a reader.
Posted by long-time-reader-no-more on October 10, 2012 at 9:58 AM · Report this
104
@9 a tumor has a genome that is often wildly different from the human it developed in. Oh, and it's definitely human cells. Should we think of all the little tumors as people too.
Posted by olechka on October 10, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Report this
105
Abortion is an an issue where you CAN agree to disagree as long as everyone (the woman) retains her rights in case an abortion becomes necessary.

I know this because I am an ob-gyn who performs abortions, and my husband is pro-life. He knows what I do and lets me rant about the poor access to contraception that makes my job difficult and I let him rant about Obamacare this and that.

If both parties respect each others opinions and share other values, this issue does not need to define and ruin their relationship.
Posted by LYR on October 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM · Report this
106
He said he was against abortion, not that it should be banned. I thought the whole point of being pro CHOICE is that it's ok to be personally against abortion as long as you don't ban it for those who are ok with it. To break up over this is crazy- almost as crazy as pretending to be pregnant to play a mind game. I usually agree with 99% of your opinions Dan but this is the 1% time I disagree.
Posted by intheweehours on October 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM · Report this
107
sorry, new to the site, posted twice by mistake (not trying to double my input!) Should be able to delete one's own post . . .
Posted by intheweehours on October 10, 2012 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Foggen 108
Good job there advising your reader to play creepy mind games with her boyfriend.
Posted by Foggen on October 10, 2012 at 10:18 AM · Report this
109
I think the big question here, one that none of the sides wants to face, is what makes a person a person. We have made decisions on a number of borderline cases -- to give an example, a comatose patient is a person even if there is no personal activity going on in his/her brain and even if the doctors think that there probably won't be in the future (basically because it was one before the coma, and we think personhood only ends with death). Another culture might decide that, in this case, we're already dealing with an empty shell, even if the machines can keep that body alive.

Humans are clearly a phenomenon rather than a thing. They "start" at gametogenesis, way before they even have a sigle, individual DNA strain, and they "end" at death -- hopefully after producing a series of new gametes, some of which will hopefully evolve into a human body. Humans are a process, with several stages; a shape-shifting cylinder in the (old) forth-dimensional time-space continuum, changing width, girth, shape, but remaining always continuous, always unbroken. We are like the egg that becomes a caterpillar that becomes butterfly that then lays eggs from which new larvae will come.

A lot of ink is spilled on the question of whether some of the first phases (or of the final or post-final ones) are to be called "human". To me, this is all a cultural problem, not a scienfic one; it depends on your philosophy, not on the reality of the long process that is a human being -- though it will take cues from some of its phase transition stages and insist that "something happened here" that made this part of the long process "truly human". Be it the formation of a single individual DNA strain at conception, or the moment of "viability", or the moment of birth, or a few years after that (as the Ancient Greeks used to think) -- whatever your choice, it is simply a line that you're drawing to divide some part of the human process from some other part, for practical reasons.

To (sincere, not simply political) anti-choicers, humanity begins at conception; so this is where they draw the line, and the human process that came before that moment is simply discarded, declared non-human. The basic reason is pragmaticity: we cannot do anything to save all those gametes (which I suppose Christian ethics would dictate we should save if we believed they were "already human"), so we conveniently prefer to follow the traditional view that they are not "human lives" and thus need not concern us. At best, they are only "potential humans".

To (sincere, not simply political) pro-choicers, humanity begins at some point after conception. Birth was the usual point and, historically, it was traditionally accepted as the moment of the beginning of (at least legal, often also real) human life; that it no longer is accepted as such is an interesting phenomenon (part of another tendency in our culture that deserves separate analysis). Pro-choicers have to find some other moment -- a few weeks, a few months -- at which the fetus becomes 'viable' and is therefore 'human'. Again, for pragmatic reasons: pro-choicers don't want to control the mother's body or choices, so they have to give her some time after conception at which to exert her right to choose what to do with her body; but this is only possible if human life is seen as beginning at some point after conception (hence 'viability').

So I frankly don't see the whole abortion debate as a substantive issue. It's simply a question of where we draw the line -- and draw we do, because no culture has ever embranced the whole human phenomenon, in all its length, as one process. Ours is no exception.

The arguments should be pragmatic -- how to save more lives, how to respect people's individuality and right to control their own bodies, fully understanding the need for pragmatic compromise here. What would cause more harm, more unhappiness, more suffering? It seems to me quite arguable that prohibitting abortion would cause more suffering than it would solve. The pragmatic equations would yield a net negative result. Which is why I'm pro-choice.

That people, however, prefer to frame the debate on first principles -- it's a human life! no, it's not! -- rather than on pragmatic ones shows, I think, that the fullness of the human phenomenon is really not accepted by anybody. They are having cultural battles masquerading as substance, scientific, moral battles -- simply because they can't see that this is at heart a pragmatic question with cultural consequences, not a biological (or even philosophical) one.

And that, I think, is a pity. Especially because this implies that the debate will never go away. A belief is a belief is a belief, and there is no way to repudiate it; it may become more or less popular in time, it may become dominant or it may disappear, but it cannot be disproved. And yet people get so angry about it!...

(To say nothing of those participants who aren't sincere, and who are just trying to carry out some political agenda... But I leave these out, because they really have nothing interesting to contribute to the debate.)
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Posted by ankylosaur on October 10, 2012 at 10:18 AM · Report this
110
I have to disagree with you Dan, which I rarely do. "Faking" a pregnancy for any reason is shitty. Period end, DTMF-level shitty.I'm pro-choice but I also can at least understand how a person would have a serious dislike for abortion. I don't think that abortion is ever a "good" thing, and I think that reducing the number of abortions is a legitimate goal. The way to do that is through increased sex education/access to birth control, etc..., but just because those are my beliefs doesn't mean that I'm a fan of abortion. Anyways, you rule but you're off base on this one.
Posted by mojo4395 on October 10, 2012 at 10:22 AM · Report this
111
I love Dan`s column every week, but wow did he drop the ball this week. Advising the girl to lie about a pregnancy is the worst advice ever. Hopefully he will retract it next week...
Posted by bradley on October 10, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
112
A final comment, on our culture and birth no longer being the accepted moment at which human life begins.

Many say that this is all about conservatives trying to regulate women's (and actually also men's) sex life. And indeed it is: abortion politics is riddled with the desire to make people conform to the "right" kind of sexuality, which, to conservative right-wingers, means marriage only and only for procreation.

But there is something else: a tendency in our society, as we become more "enlightened," to see life and feelings in, and to ascribe rights to, more and more entities in the world. From the abolition of slavery to the animal-rights movement, we have been seeing and admiring life ('that in others which is like that which is in me') in more and more entities, and we have developed a stronger desire to accept and protect these other entities.

In such a climate, is it a surprise that more and more people also ascribe life, feelings, humanity, a soul, etc. to a fetus?

This is especially difficult for liberal left-wingers, since they represent inclusivity, the desire to reach out to others and form a larger communion. There is something apparently self-contradictory with ascribing feelings and rights to animals and not doing that to fetuses; and sufficiently many liberal left-wingers vaguely feel that. Which means that right-wingers have an unexpected ally in this "outreach" tendency in our society: an already present predisposition to be open-minded and think that, if something could possibly be alive, feeling, and human, then maybe it is.

It is a bit surprising that it should be so, when one thinks of the very different origins of this feeling for left- and right-wingers (respectively, the desire for inclusivity, and a desire to keep tradition and to control people's sexual freedom). But it's not the first time that history makes strange bedfellows. Think of second-wave feminists like Catharine MacKinnon siding with religious activists on the topic of pornography.
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Posted by ankylosaur on October 10, 2012 at 10:30 AM · Report this
113
@63 mydriasis:

I agree that personhood isn't a scientific concept. The problem is that it is a legal concept with huge ramifications for all the parties involved. If a single-cell human zygote is a person, it stands to reason that as a person it should have a full set of those rights that go with personhood. But those rights infringe severely on the personhood rights of the woman carrying that zygote. We find ourselves in the position of saying either a) it's a real, live, fully-qualified human being, but it's still okay to kill it, or b) Mom is a real, live, fully qualified human being, but her zygote has more control over her body than she does herself. She is a lesser human being than the single-celled creature inhabiting her abdomen.

Saying "fine, then a zygote isn't a person" isn't just a way out of that paradox. It's also a far more realistic interpretation of the physical situation. A zygote is a lot more like an amoeba than it is like a fully formed, fully-functioning human being. The idea of compromising the rights of a woman to her own body in order to protect the interests of what is functionally an amoeba is absurd.

You ask in #18: "So we're judging humanity by the number of cells?" The answer is Yes, of course we are. When the number is within the normal range of tens of TRILLIONS of cells, no. When it's one cell, or two, or a few thousand, or even a few million cells, yes. That creature is not functionally human. It is even less functionally human than the brain-dead accident victim whose life support we sadly shut off. It doesn't even have a brain, or enough of one, to qualify as brain-dead under human functional standards.

True, it will be a human being eventually, given a nurturing environment, time, and lack of interference, but it isn't one NOW. Rights are derived from current status, not future status. Children are not allowed to vote, drink, smoke, drive, have sex, sign contracts, et cetera, even though they will be adults capable of all of the above one day, given a nurturing environment, time, and lack of interference. Likewise, you can't collect on your life insurance until you are actually dead, even though it is known beyond any shadow of doubt that you will be inescapably eligible to collect eventually.

An acorn is not an oak tree, despite containing a unique, living specimen of the oak genome. There is no reason that human development escapes that logic.
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Posted by avast2006 on October 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Report this
114
Crinoline, in comment 6, is right on.

I was shocked Dan recommended such a douchebag lie. Never lie to a man about pregnancy. Nothing good can come from it.

This horrible advice is shaking my respect for Dan. How could he be so wrong and give such ruinous advice? Really, this disturbs me.
Posted by andylou on October 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Report this
115
I think I'm with most people here that lying about an imaginary pregnancy is a bad idea.

But I do think that you should have a frank discussion about what each of you would do if you faced an unexpected pregnancy. That's something you probably want to know.

I had an unexpected pregnancy, in a newish relationship with a pro-life man. He supported me in getting an abortion, but it was very hard on him, and very hard on our relationship. I don't regret my decision, but sure as hell wish we'd used a condom! Incidentally, we did reconcile and got married several years later, so this is not the totally insoluble thing that some people might think it would be.
Posted by areallylongscreenname on October 10, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Report this
116
@30 - Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Posted by ladyrockess on October 10, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Report this
117
@9 When it can viably exist as a organism separate from its mother.
Posted by Nom de Plume on October 10, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
118
Add me to the list of people who think lying is a horrible idea. Sure, it'll flesh out his "real views," but it will do nothing to "save" the relationship.

I recommend continued discussions on the topic where you can flesh out his beliefs in detail, and see how they sit with you.
Posted by krista1203 on October 10, 2012 at 10:54 AM · Report this
Bonefish 119
It's difficult to think of an analogy where the guy is in LIFE's shoes. They all sound ridiculous, but I'll give it a shot anyway:

If there was a woman who believed that I, as a man, should not legally be "allowed" to have an orgasm unless I was ejaculating into a fertile, ovulating woman's vagina, I would not date that woman.

It wouldn't matter to me how conscientious she was on other issues, or how sincerely she believed that sperm are people. The bottom line is that someone who truly viewed me as an equal would be INCAPABLE of believing anything like this about men, and anyone who doesn't view me as an equal is not worth my time.

For whatever reason, this is not something men have to deal with outside of hypothetical analogies. For women, however, it's a different story, and you should demand partners who think of you as ranking somewhere above livestock. Even if he's "sweet and loving" towards his livestock.
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on October 10, 2012 at 11:00 AM · Report this
120
People can come around, if they are open to discussion. My partner changed his mind on abortion after we were together for a couple of years. ... I'm more concerned about the second part; the kid caught looking at violent porn. Yeah, maybe he just discovered that he's kinky. Could be. But as someone in the same situation right now, I think I can add a bit to the conversation. We caught our kid looking at violent porn, too. Porn of women being raped, beaten, spit on, etc. The first time, it was "Maybe he was just looking for the most shocking stuff." Around the sixth time we realized it was more serious. Not only is he continually searching out the stuff, he is also using violent behavior to control people and make them do what he wants. He also seeks out smaller, younger females and tries to be alone with them. !!!!!!!!! I have seen him hurt other kids on purpose, coldly. I could go on and on. The point being, sometimes it's just early kink. Sure. But sometimes it's the sign of something much more serious and dangerous. Please be aware of that, Dan, and put that possibility forward as well, for the safety of all kids.
Posted by jellybeans on October 10, 2012 at 11:01 AM · Report this
ShifterCat 121
Add me to the chorus of people saying Dan really needs to issue a retraction of his advice to LIFE.

First of all, as someone else pointed out, there is a lot of "them crazy bitches'll lie about anything, like pregnancy and harassment and rape" misogyny out there, and it's a terrible idea to add to that.

Second, playing that sort of mind-game is such a severe breach of trust that I would say *that* is much more of a DTMFA case than holding pro-life views. Imagine you and your S.O. had opposing views about euthanasia, and he came home one day claiming to have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, only to reveal later that he'd just done it to call you on the carpet about your views.

Third, there are more ways to change someone's mind than telling a big, fat, trust-destroying lie. When Mr. ShifterCat and I were teenagers, he was pro-life. We had some awful arguments about it, but I presented my case well enough that today, while he's still not comfortable with the subject of abortion, he's definitely pro-choice.
Posted by ShifterCat on October 10, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this
122
I'm more concerned about the second part; the kid caught looking at violent porn. Yeah, maybe he just discovered that he's kinky. Could be. But as someone in the same situation right now, I think I can add a bit to the conversation. We caught our kid looking at violent porn, too. Porn of women being raped, beaten, spit on, etc. The first time, it was "Maybe he was just looking for the most shocking stuff." Around the sixth time we realized it was more serious. Not only is he continually searching out the stuff, he is also using violent behavior to control people and make them do what he wants. He also seeks out smaller, younger females and tries to be alone with them. !!!!!!!!! I have seen him hurt other kids on purpose, coldly. I could go on and on. The point being, sometimes it's just early kink. Sure. But sometimes it's the sign of something much more serious and dangerous. Please be aware of that, Dan, and put that possibility forward as well, for the safety of all kids.
Posted by jellybeans on October 10, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
123
Whether he'd marry her has nothing to do with his consistency or stance. He could marry her and she might still want an abortion. Marriage <> keeping the baby. He could also say "Hey I'll support you through the pregancy and adopt the baby afterwards, regardless of what happens to us."

What I think is very relevant is whether this guy is 'anti-choice' ie believes no one should get to decide, or 'making a choice' ie if it was him that was pregnant (I know impossible but it's hypothetical) he would prefer to keep the baby? Because there is a world of difference between the two. I was listening for clues and while she says he feels strongly she doesn't say that he would deny anyone their right to choose (even if they choose differently than he would).

The fake pregnancy suggestion is lose-lose. If he says 'abort it' then she's looking at someone who is a hypocrite, he's looking at a crazy liar (because let's face it faking a pregnancy gets you instant batshit cred), and neither wants to be with each other anymore. If he stays consistent ("I prefer to keep the baby..whatever that requires from me") then she has to deal with how they would handle the conflict (presuming she would potentially choose differently).

So instead take the more ethical hypothetical right into that conflict: "Boyfriend, what would you do if I accidentally got pregnant, and despite your strong feelings against it I chose to get an abortion? Would we still be together?" I think his answer to that is more telling. Because if he says "We'd be done." then she can end it now. Or he could say "I'd deal" then she can keep the relationship (if she believes him). And if he says "I don't know but let's do our best to not have an unplanned pregnancy and I'm willing to take the risk that we would face this difficult decision down the road" then she can decide if she wants to take her chances. I'd probably trust this last response over "I'd deal".

I believe in the right to choose. However, when my ex-wife and I had a condom-break scenario my personal feelings about abortion had me begging her to get plan B so I wouldn't have to face the possibility of our coming out on different sides of the abortion decision (I know there's those out there who see no difference between plan B and an abortion...but I do). If she had decided to have an abortion it would weigh on me (yes it's her choice, but I would have felt in some part at least indirectly morally responsible for the outcome).
More...
Posted by TheBigRagu on October 10, 2012 at 11:06 AM · Report this
ShifterCat 124
Yikes, jellybeans, sorry to hear that. Have you found anything to be done for/about your kid?
Posted by ShifterCat on October 10, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
125
@77: The reason the one-cell argument is not specious is that people want to legally define personhood at the one cell stage. If that's how the law is going to treat it, then that's the scenario that gets argued.

Of course people have abortions much later than one cell. That doesn't invalidate the developmental issues along the way. One cell is merely one stage in that spectrum. It happens to be the most extreme (and therefore most absurd) stage, but that's where the pro-life people want to draw the line.

If this wasn't about legal attempts to control women's bodies against their will, we wouldn't be having this conversation. It would be a lot more of "Fine, you believe what you believe and I'll believe what I believe" and "If you don't believe in abortions, don't have one" and that would be as far as it went.
Posted by avast2006 on October 10, 2012 at 11:10 AM · Report this
126
@113(avast), you're actually stating quite clearly what I think pro-choicers (and anti-choicers for that matter) should state clearly: namely, that this is a pragmatic question, not a philosophico-scientifical one.

The point is indeed what the consequences are, what problems will arise or be solved by a particular choice about where in the human phenomenon we draw the line between (legal) personhood and lack thereof.

But most people want to consider that a scientific (or philosophical) question. They want to "be right" about when personhood starts.

When in this case the best we can hope for is to be right about what causes more problems and what doesn't.

We should stick to that, and be a little less concered with Big Questions (which actually aren't). But I won't hold my breath. People will go on talking as if this were indeed a scientific question -- as if science could look at the number of cells and tell us what The Truth(inc) is about personhood, and we'd have to take it no matter what the consequences are.

It's like deciding that we come of age at 18 (or 21) rather than earlier or later. It's a pragmatic matter -- informed, but not resolved, by science.

Cost-benefit analysis is the most reasonable way of approaching this problem; but alas, very few on either side will consider it as the main source of their activism. Which truly is a pity.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 10, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
127
I hope Dan's advice to fake pregnancy was just a rhetorical move and not actual advice. If anyone did that to me, even if the outcome was exactly what she'd hoped for and she was thrilled, I'd dump her on the spot.
Posted by Alec on October 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM · Report this
addiemonroe 128
Real-life example of people who are anti-choice-in-the-abstract (but then suddenly not in reality): http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/10/sco…
Posted by addiemonroe on October 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
129
Of course Dan's advice for LIFE is absolutely ridiculous, and if taken, would result in a breakup either way- she dumps him because he's anti-abortion, or he dumps her because she's a manipulative liar. But that's not really what I want to comment on.

I am absolutely pro-choice. I firmly believe in a woman's right to choose. But that's just it. I believe it's a choice. Personally, I wouldn't choose abortion. I believe that life begins in utero (although, not at conception), and I would never choose an abortion (and haven't, I was unexpectedly pregnant twice and have two beautiful, amazing children). I don't believe those stances are necessarily mutually exclusive.

Do I think they should break up? Yes, not because he's a life-begins-at-conception person, but because that is obviously a deal breaker for her. It would be a good idea if they both took this as an opportunity to do some deep thinking of their stance. If he is against abortion, and would never want any of his "babies" aborted, then he should not be sleeping with any woman until he knows for sure she feels the same. Likewise, if she is at a point in her life that she would have an abortion were she to become pregnant, she should not be sleeping with anyone who wouldn't choose the same.

Basically what I'm trying to say is, talk it out. Find out how supportive he'd be if you chose to have an abortion even if he wouldn't want you to. And ask yourself if you'd be willing to go against the other responsible party's wishes if it meant you would most likely be irrevocably damaging the relationship. If you and he don't like one or both of those answers, end the relationship now.
Posted by swee p on October 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM · Report this
addiemonroe 130
@55's comment is best comment. Setting aside the abortion debate entirely: two people who cannot agree on the appropriate course of action in the event of a pregnancy should not be doing anything that could potentially result in pregnancy.
Posted by addiemonroe on October 10, 2012 at 11:55 AM · Report this
131
Dan, I do respectfully disagree agree with your advice to My Friend's Kinky Son.

Exactly what good to you really think will come from their friend confronting their friend's son about his kinky porn, other than the friend getting the satisfaction of having taken some sort of action in response to something that upsets her? What teen boy is actually going to incorporate a monologue from his mom into positive sexual behavior?

And, at the risk of getting all wannabe Freudian, you did not touch on the possibility that this kid's eroticizing of violence against women may be connected to his mom being overbearing (like, say, snooping for porn on his computer because she does not respect his privacy and may be threatened by any expression of his sexuality, be it kinky or vanilla), so her confronting him about these feelings via monologue may only serve to strengthen them.
Posted by kungfujew on October 10, 2012 at 11:58 AM · Report this
saxfanatic 132
Wow, I'm shocked. Dan's advice to LIFE, while technically useful, has enormous destructive potential. Sure, she'll get to the truth of whether or not the boyfriend believes what he's saying, but feigning pregnancy is like shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.
Posted by saxfanatic on October 10, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
133
LIFE Just tell your boyfriend that your period is late (it may even be true, some women have irregular periods for various reasons) and that you may be pregnant. Display increasing angst for a week (most men don't track the menstrual cycle of their SO) and ask your boyfriend what he is prepared to do(i.e. Dan's suggestions) now that it's crunch time. Don't let him not answer or delay responding until you are sure of the pregnancy. Tell him you "really need" an answer now!!! His response will be informative, indicate the flexibility of his beliefs, and whether he really is committed to your relationship (he can say that he loves you as long as a problem/issue is hypothetical/abstract)

Along time ago I had a girlfriend who was absolutely terrified whenever her period was a week or more late. She was in no way, shape, or form ready for motherhood.
Posted by truth? and its consequences on October 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Report this
134
@130 People can say or even believe something when it is abstract or hypothetical. You really don't know how someone will "act" until they are faced with the reality (e.g. their attitude, feelings, and supportiveness in cases such as rape, health issues or parenthood, being the most common such situations). My wife had a friend (now deceased) whose husband and friends abandoned her when she was diagnosed with MS.
Posted by truth? and its consequences on October 10, 2012 at 12:24 PM · Report this
135
Sure, that little cluster of fertilized cells is a person. A person who is inside my body. Without my consent. Now, if I killed a man in the act of raping me, ie, being inside my body without my consent, no jury in the world could convict me. Therefore, if you want to say that an unwanted fetus is a person, I say it's a person committing a crime against my bodily integrity and I should be able to defend myself any way I can.
Posted by palet on October 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
136
@135:
The rapist is in your body out of his own volition.
The fetus in your body could say (if it was conscient and able to speak) that it never asked to be in your body; in fact it was forced by you and your sex partner to be there.
Posted by migrationist on October 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM · Report this
137
@129 See my above comments. People may talk it out and theoretically agree, but that is no guarantee about how they will act when it is real. People also change their minds and it is important that they confirm that that agreement remains true. I speak from personal experience, but don't necessarily disagree with what you and 130 are saying.
Posted by truth? and its consequences on October 10, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
138
I think the LW is leaving out some info: I know many people who do not personally agree with abortion but do not believe that it should be banned or not available to those wishing to have an abortion. It is a personal CHOICE. Much like supporting abortion rights is a CHOICE. If this guy said straight up that he is against all abortions and no one should have them, then I would (sorta) agree with the advice. But that's not (according to LW) what he said. I am very liberal and a extremely pro-choice, but I think that response is exactly the same "all-or-nothing" rhetoric used by anit-abortion groups.
Posted by Amanda Huggenkiss on October 10, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
139
Dan I'm with you 99% of the time but I think you're doing LIFE's boyfriend a great disservice by overlooking the fact that she stated that he does not think abortion should be banned, and that while he believes in personhood from conception, he thinks that its ok for them to have a disagreement about the issue. It doesn't sound like he's necessarily trying to make choices for her/control what she does with her body, he's simply expressing his opinion on the subject. His opinion is one which I myself wholeheartedly disagree with, but if he is truly not trying to force that opinion on others (and thats a big if) then I don't see it as a fundamental indication of assholery, just a difference of opinion.
Posted by etoile_sombre on October 10, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Bonefish 140
Yeah, I'm with #127 in thinking that Dan's "advice" was more of a rhetorical rant to point out what hypocrites anti-choicers often are, and not so much a piece of actual advice.

Hopefully the "advice" she gets from this is that anti-choicers are bad relationship material and that abortion views are highly relevant when it comes to sex partners, and that she should just dump him before a pregnancy even comes up.

At least, that's what I hope; faking a pregnancy is always a bad idea, and it wouldn't make him rethink his views so much as it would allow him to vilify pro-choicers as crazy, manipulative liars.
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on October 10, 2012 at 12:49 PM · Report this
141
I am pro choice and almost always agree with Dan, but lying about being pregnant is really awful. It is cruel, manipulative and conniving, and there is no reason to do it.
Posted by zanderz on October 10, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
142
@141:

Generally I would agree in principle, but being cruel, manipulative, and conniving to an anti-choice douchebag (or at least someone who presents as such) is simply fighting fire with fire. Entirely justified.
Posted by ctmcmull on October 10, 2012 at 1:22 PM · Report this
143
@142 Except NO WHERE do we have proof that he's an anti-choice douchebag. Everyone seems to be assuming that, but the LW says straight out that he told her he doesn't think abortion should be banned. Wouldn't that, by very definition, make him PRO-CHOICE? Isn't the whole point of being pro-choice that you allow others to make their own choices, no matter your own beliefs? Is it written somewhere that in order to be pro-choice you HAVE to subscribe to the "it's only a bundle of cells, not really even alive" way of thinking? Isn't it possible that SOME people may believe that life begins at conception, or at least that we don't know WHEN life begins so if in doubt, you shouldn't abort, but still recognize that others have the right to a different belief, and that NONE of those beliefs have any business being dictated by the government?
It's important that she have a discussion with him about his beliefs. That they really think, together, about what would happen if she came up positive on a pregnancy test. Would she have an abortion? Could he live with that? Manipulative game-playing has no place in an adult relationship. It's high school bullshit, and I'm disgusted that Dan would give such advice.
Posted by sadiquechienne on October 10, 2012 at 1:35 PM · Report this
144
On the abortion issue... While I don't necessarily agree with lying, it is a great way to see this guy's true colors. I could never be with someone who couldn't understand the difference between a clump of cells and an actual thinking & feeling human.

As to the kid looking at kinky porn--big deal. So he's into some kinky stuff. I look at some crazy shit but would never actually do any of it. Porn is (for a lot of people) a fantasy, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Posted by xarasia on October 10, 2012 at 1:35 PM · Report this
145
LIFE's boyfriend may be pro-choice, but if he's really anti-abortion as well she should really consider whether she wants to date him. He won't try to make abortion illegal, but he can be a royal douche in the event of an unwanted pregnancy. He can lobby her to carry to term beforehand, adding extra layers of stress she doesn't need; he can "refuse to participate," requiring her to get a ride from someone else and pay for it herself; he can shame her afterwards with nasty comments and looks, and "grieving" with his friends - i.e. telling everyone they know about it.

That said, Dan's response is still The Worst Advice On The Internets.
Posted by Howlin' Jed on October 10, 2012 at 1:38 PM · Report this
146
Dan, is this a political column or a relationship column? Your answer to question one was terrible. Blowing up the relationship in the way you advise may be good for the nation, but will obviously doom their relationship.

No one who writes an advice column on relationships should advocate torpedoing an otherwise functional relationship for the purpose of teaching a lesson. It is one thing to do that on the way out of a bad relationship, it is another to abandon a good one in that way.

I read your blog for the politics. It's ok to fit the occasional political rant in the main column, but at least try to keep it out of the practical advice portion of your answers.

She can end the relationship if she wants, but imagine yourself on the other side of this letter. What would you tell someone to do who was the victim of such a prank? 5 letters, starts with D....
Posted by Learned Hand on October 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM · Report this
John Horstman 147
Opposition to abortion is misogyny, full stop. It's a denial that a woman should be able to determine what happens to and in her body; it's a denial that women are full people ('fetal personhood'/'fetal rights' is a derail - we don't let actual people who have been born do what they want to women('s bodies) without their consent, even if they, say, need an organ donation or blood transfusion to survive). Don't fuck (and especially don't stay in long-term relationships with) misogynists; it validates the behavior. And if you disagree, then please dismiss me - I have no more right to be telling any of you what to do with your bodies than the anti-abortion crowd does.
Posted by John Horstman on October 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM · Report this
148
"If you do oppose access to birth control—or you oppose Obamacare because it expands access to birth control—you're not really pro-life. You're just anti-sex."

Gee, really? It wasn't obvious or *anything*!

If anything, I don't think those who are anti-sex see anything wrong with being anti-sex, either.
Posted by gromm on October 10, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this
149
I think it is definitely a case of DTMFA. IF I had a girlfriend who could not respect my opinion on a subject that is completely arbitrary and philisophical, so much so that she was unsure of the relationship, I would dump her so fast. Never mind a fake pregnancy scare.

Life or not life is all a matter of personal opinion. Of course, I do think that banning abortion is a different subject entirely.

Frankly, if you could somehow completely divorce the life or not question, from the control of a woman's body issue, women might have very different opinions. Consider, women tend to be very spiritual, and might consider that there is something spiritually special about that clump of cells, they are also often very pro animal rights, which could also transalate into pro life. Plus, women are always talking about that special feeling they have once they are pregnant. No woman ever really wants to abort. They just consider the alternative worse. Is there any woman on this board who has ever had an abortion and felt it was completely like having some type removal like a skin tag or a small tumor growth. I doubt it. the bottom line is, the life or not life debate tends to be more about how it allows you to believe in abortion rights or not, more than a carefully considered choice in and of itself. Conservatives use the life argument to support control of women's bodies. Liberals use the not life argument to de3ny control over women's bodies. Both might have different opinions if it did not line up with other political opinions.
Posted by rp on October 10, 2012 at 2:33 PM · Report this
150
What I find shocking about Dan's post is that he completely ignores the option of adoption. He writes that if she has the baby, LIFE and her boyfriend "will have to assume all of the responsibilities of parenthood ... Because even if you don't get married, even if you don't live together and raise this child together, you two will be stuck with each other for the rest of your lives if you have the baby.") Ignoring adoptoin shocks me because Dan's own son was adopted. If I were her boyfriend and didn't feel ready to be a parent, I'd say that I'd help her through the pregnancy but that I didn't feel ready to be a parent and discuss putting the child up for adoption with her.
Posted by matt202 on October 10, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
151
interestingly enough, i know of a guy who desperately wanted his girlfriend to have his baby, but not only supported her right to choose, he also offered to pay for her to have the medical option, rather than the surgical abortion (free, but also more traumatic).... people can hold differing convictions and still behave ethically and with compassion.
also, i think the line is somewhat arbitrary.... over here it is easy enough to get an abortion before 12 weeks (coincidentally about the time you can feel movement, and the point at which early miscarriages become unlikely), more difficult to get approval between 12 and 20 weeks; and illegal after that unless done to save the life of the mother. deliberately causing the death of the child between 26 weeks and when they are born, carries a murder charge.
Posted by sappho on October 10, 2012 at 2:39 PM · Report this
152
I liked how @81 formulated it:

Since I know that abortion is strongly against your moral code, I cannot in good conscience risk involving you in a potential situation within which I know you would be very unhappy with the outcome. So, no more sex.
Posted by avast2006 on October 10, 2012 at 2:52 PM · Report this
153
For people who are wondering how Dan can give such terrible advice: remember that for Dan this IS a purely intellectual discussion, in a way that it is not for heterosexual males.

@119: Here's an analogy where the guy is in LIFE's shoes: the Draft.
Posted by Old Crow on October 10, 2012 at 2:57 PM · Report this
Auragasm 154
Don't listen to Dan, LIFE. get yourself on the pill if you're not already. Educate this boy and DON'T allow him to come inside of you until you know you want a child (if he does anyway, DTMFA). Make him read the news. A lot of people just inherit their polical view from their parents, believing they are right.

Also don't be afraid to get snarky. "Ohhh, big manwy man must weawwy want a wittew baby, how KYOOOOT!" It is adorably naive of him to think he'll prevent you from getting an abortion in the slight chance that you become pregnant.
Call him gross, it worked on my now-hubby (I asked him why he would care about fetuses when he is generally more misanthropic than I am, and he couldn't argue that). Here's hoping he comes around!
Posted by Auragasm on October 10, 2012 at 3:02 PM · Report this
155
@147: That's sillyness. If you're 9 months pregnant and you kill the baby inside you that's murder. There might be a very small set of circumstances where that murder is justified, but it's still murder.

Perfectly rational people can also feel that aborting a fetus at any stage is also murder, but STILL be Pro-Choice. You can think abortion is bad, and also think that forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term is MORE bad.

That's the thing about abortion - there is no universally GOOD option; just a whole bunch of disagreement as to which bad option is worse.
Posted by biggie on October 10, 2012 at 3:11 PM · Report this
156
Hi Dan,

I love your column and usually find your advice solid and thoughtful. I am also vehemently pro-choice. So I find myself quite surprised to be at (serious) odds with you in your response to LIFE.

First, she said that her boyfriend believed that life began at conception. She did not say he was anti-choice. Perhaps he is or perhaps he isn't; but we simply don't know. It seems, in any case, that you have a very narrow view of what it means to be pro-choice: that either a person believes abortion should be entirely a matter of personal predilection at any stage or else a person is anti-choice. Although I would argue strongly in favor of the view that a woman should ultimately have complete control over her body, it does seem to me that there is some gray area hear, and it would be a destructive thing to argue that her spouse's or lover's (male or female) views should not be taken into account; or to completely ignore the views of her family and friends; or even to dismiss the question of what we mean by the phrase "human being." You are a smart man, Dan, but you don't have a special pipeline to the meaning or nature of life.

Second, I think your advice that she lie to her boyfriend is a terrible idea. It seems to me unethical to put someone (anyone, but particularly a person who has reason to assume they are loved and trusted by you) through the emotional upheaval and torment of the kind of lie you suggest. What if her boyfriend is delighted by the idea of having a child? Imagine his heart leaping with joy and excitement. Then after reassuring her of his love and commitment, he is told she has just lied to him because she doesn't trust him. That could well feel like a little death right there. And it might well mark the death of the relationship--and for no good reason other than that LIFE followed your advice.

I'd suggest you rethink where your (otherwise admirable) support for choice is taking you--and your readers. Perhaps it would be a good idea to trust that LIFE can talk honestly and directly with her boyfriend, over a period of days and weeks and even months, and, at the same time, reflect on her own beliefs and values, and arrive at a just and balanced answer to a very complex question.
More...
Posted by Orrence on October 10, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
157
Until people stop confusing (or deliberately conflating) bioligical humanity with legal personhood, the scientific with the religious, and the political with the personal, LIFE's decision will be a difficult one at best. I'm not saying that any of the juxatpositions listed above are black-and-white dichotomies; they are all most likely grey continua, but arguing as if the there are no necessarily meaningful destinctions among them doesn't advance the debate in the direction where the participants have at least some hope of even agreeing to disagree.
Posted by mjpam on October 10, 2012 at 3:44 PM · Report this
158
Just got on, and skipped most of the msgs. Sounds like religious wars.

Life, You can't mindfuck your bf. If you couldn't live with a person of that mindset, move on.

Posted by Hunter78 on October 10, 2012 at 4:03 PM · Report this
159
I really, really wish that my mother had the kind consideration to murder me at any time during the 9 months I was inside her. Abortion does involve a third party, and why does everyone seem to think that this party wants to be born? I believe that a fetus has a right not to be forced into unwanted genital contact, or forced into existence. The kindest, most sacred thing any mother can do for her child is to destroy it before it suffers the degradation of birth.
Posted by maenad69 on October 10, 2012 at 4:09 PM · Report this
160
Add me to the chorus who finds the advice to lie about being pregnant weird and wrong. It seems like a childish and cruel game to play with anyone's feelings (yes, even anti-choice zealots deserve human consideration--good ethics apply just as much to those with whom we disagree). Besides, it sacrifices the LW's moral/ethical high-ground to the anti-choice boyfriend--she becomes a manipulative and unkind liar, he becomes a victim of her manipulation and lies.

Either agree to disagree with the boyfriend regarding abortion, or dump the boyfriend--either is vastly preferable to staging a phony pregnancy.
Posted by Functional Atheist on October 10, 2012 at 4:23 PM · Report this
161
I was a woman dating a really sweet guy who opposed abortion. Fast forward 25 years and now I'm begging for a divorce from a man who is so rigid and emotionally repressed that he has never been able to tell me what he likes sexually, among other things. I'm not saying that these things are corollaries, but it does make me wonder... There are the little things you can overlook, or even come to love about a person, and then there are the big things that become bigger as time goes on. If this is a big thing for you, then you should move on now. Take my word on it. I have a kid and a mortgage. It's a lot more difficult 25 years later.
Posted by loverly on October 10, 2012 at 4:24 PM · Report this
162
"@135: The rapist is in your body out of his own volition. The fetus in your body could say (if it was conscient [sic] and able to speak) that it never asked to be in your body; in fact it was forced by you and your sex partner to be there."

A better analogy than simply rape is rape by a severely mentally ill person. Even if one acknowledges that a fetus is a person, and that the fetus does not have the necessary moral agency to "intend" to be violating a woman's bodily integrity, it's still arguable that the woman has a right to expel such an intruder with deadly force.

Having sex does not mean you give up your right to bodily integrity. If I unknowingly walk into the room of a mentally ill serial rapist, I have not "forced" him to rape me, even if he is unable to stop himself. Nor has the act of sex "forced" a fetus into a woman's womb. Both acts may enable the violation of bodily integrity. But neither act is morally laden with force. Nor is either one acceptable, simply because the woman in question opened the door to it. You do not give up your right to bodily integrity simply because someone else wants--or even needs--your body.
Posted by SilverChimera on October 10, 2012 at 4:32 PM · Report this
163
Oh, I would add 2 things:

1) I think Dan's suggestion to lie was simply rhetorical. He writes this column not just to dispense advice but also to entertain. I doubt he seriously thinks the LW will deceive her boyfriend to prove a point (or wants her to).

2) I wouldn't sleep with anyone who opposed abortion. Accidents happen, even after you've been married for years. I want a partner who will be supportive of my choices. I also want a partner who believes and respects the fact that I own my own body.

This isn't a theoretical difference of opinion. She needs to have a long conversation with him to figure out the root of his beliefs and discuss the implications of them. And, after that, if she finds a fundamental lack of respect for her body and her choices at the root of this opinion, she should leave.
Posted by SilverChimera on October 10, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this
164
As far as we know, life began exactly once. Or maybe once for each kingdom (animals, plants, viri, etc). Or maybe many times, but kingdoms went extinct (that's awfully likely).

Life does NOT begin at conception, nor at birth. Life is a continuous process. By just about any definition other than "Life is what happens at conception/birth", it is utter nonsense to claim that life begins at some point in the process of DNA building itself a new body.

Life THAT'S WORTH PROTECTING might begin at conception or at birth, but it seems more reasonable for it to begin at the onset of consciousness or memory, or at the point of the acquisition of the other symbiotic life forms without which we could not survive (e.g. e. coli in the gut), or, better yet, at the ability to recognise and admit when you're wrong.

For that matter, I rather love the idea of getting people to define what they mean by "life that's worth protecting" and then discuss how it applies to animal rights. How can anyone believe that it's okay to kill sentient life forms that play and learn and mourn and have loving families, but that it's not okay to squish a few thousand cells that are less capable of experience than a gnat? Getting them to pin down that definition is fun.

But no, I'm going back to "Life that's worth protecting begins when you start regularly using experience, observation, reason, and scientific impartiality to recognise and fix your faulty preconceived notions."
Posted by something on October 10, 2012 at 4:46 PM · Report this
165
Unusually bad advice from Dan. There are sooo many examples of men who will relentlessly try to prevent their gf/wife/ex from obtaining an abortion, regardless of their own willingness or suitability or ability to be a father.
I find it just that he might try to tell her to carry the baby to term as he would be to drive her to an abortion clinic. Which wouldn't actually prove a damn thing about him, except that he opposes abortion, which he already said.

His willingness or unwillingness to "step up" isn't what's being debated. And it doesn't mean he gets to make that call for her, which is the true crux of the matter.
Posted by DF on October 10, 2012 at 5:03 PM · Report this
166
LIFE, DTMFA. Do not pass go, do not collect his opinion of a pregnancy that affects him personally. He does not respect your right to control your body. That makes him poor relationship material. If he doesn't think you have the right to control your uterus, he doesn't think you have the right to control your vagina. In short, he's a rapist in potentio. He may or may not ever actually act on the impulse, but it's there in his beliefs.

For added value: What do you call a nice progressive man who is anti-choice? A future Republican. One hundred percent of the "progressive" anti-choice men I met in college are now Republicans, some of them Tea Partyers. You're better off with a conservative fundie: He might grow up eventually. A supposed progressive who doesn't think that half the population should have the right to free themselves from a life threatening condition? Not a chance. They're only playing progressive to get sex. They don't respect you, they don't see you as an equal and partner, only as a sex toy. Get out now.
Posted by Been there, got out on October 10, 2012 at 5:24 PM · Report this
167
I wouldn't go so far as to say that any abortion is murder, as I think that an early term fetus is not a person and should not have any more rights than my sperm or her eggs separately do, but I am saddened by abortion and even if I wanted the abortion, I believe I would feel guilty about it for awhile. I am viciously pro-choice, though, mostly because I disagree with criminalization and stigmatization of the women involved (and like prostitution, making it illegal won't make it go away, it will only make it more dangerous for everyone).
Posted by falconswan on October 10, 2012 at 5:59 PM · Report this
168
I don't know about anyone else, but I've known couples that broke up because they had opposing views on eating meat, Israel, astrology, and the proper way to wash dishes. Those aren't deal-breakers for me, but they were for those couples. If LIFE feels that her boyfriend's stance on abortion is a deal-breaker -- and she states that she finds his position abhorrent -- than hey, it is a deal breaker for them. No reason to lie or cry or play mind games, just split up and move on.
Posted by SimplyPut on October 10, 2012 at 6:20 PM · Report this
169
Accidents happen, even after you've been married for years.

In many countries (including Singapore, Germany, and the Netherlands, so this isn't necessarily due to the low standard of living), married women have the majority of abortions.
Posted by Eirene on October 10, 2012 at 6:22 PM · Report this
170
I agree, it would be a very bad decision for LIFE to lie.

I don't think that LIFE and her boyfriend need to feel the same way about abortion to have a loving and supportive relationship.

However, if it is a serious concern, they should postpone intercourse until they both feel that they would be ready to raise the child if she got pregnant. There are plenty of other ways they can have sex and intimacy in the meantime.
Posted by bcd234 on October 10, 2012 at 7:34 PM · Report this
171
I have never commented, but have to for this one. Faking and lying about a pregnancy is appalling. Horrible advice and I usually love your advice! This is setting her up for failure....why would you suggest that?? And what if he's all excited about the baby and it backfires?
Posted by inkedshamrock on October 10, 2012 at 7:39 PM · Report this
172
Lying to someone about a pregnancy is emotionally abusive to the extreme. I never thought I would read an article in which Dan Savage advised someone to abuse their partner, but I sure as hell just did.
Posted by PaddyMike on October 10, 2012 at 7:45 PM · Report this
mydriasis 173
@ avast

I think we're mainly on the same page. Ankyl (who's been gone for a while, no?) pointed out what I agree with - the definition of personhood is a pragmatic one, not one that truly reflects a binary reality.

I accept that the law must define personhood how it does and that the definition serves a purpose. That's fine by me. My own definition of personhood is just messier.

I think the thing that troubles me about the opposite view - that the developing person is essentially the same as a somatic cell or clump of somatic cells - is what I mentioned earlier. A pregnant woman who carries her child to term has a borderline godlike ability to effect the future life and wellbeing of her child. Thalidomide was one example, but alcohol is another easier one. The idea that a pregnant woman could do permanent damage that will affect the life of a human being (a real human being!) without it being considered immoral because, oh, well that's not a person yet. That troubles me.

A fetilized egg is not the same as a person, but it's also not the same as just any old cell in your body.
Posted by mydriasis on October 10, 2012 at 8:05 PM · Report this
174
Whether or not the writer of the first letter should break up with her boyfriend is probably not a one-issue decision, but I wanted to point out that the anti-choice nuts don't want the fetus to have the same rights as a person, they want the fetus to have MORE rights than a person. If a person -- a regular, already born person walking around -- needs a kidney, there are no laws on the books trying to force anyone to donate a kidney, even though the end result may be the person dying.
Posted by Tessiee on October 10, 2012 at 8:17 PM · Report this
175
OK, so one moral here is that a letter about abortion gets more responses than a letter about nasty porn.

What does this say about our nation? About Dan?
Posted by kungfujew on October 10, 2012 at 8:19 PM · Report this
176
Long-time reader here; I signed up for the specific purpose of posting this comment:
It's up to LIFE whether or not the choice issue is important enough to break up over, but I think it should be noted that the anti-choice nuts don't want the fetus to have equal rights and status as a person. They want the fetus to have MORE rights than a person.

A person -- a regular, already born, walking around person -- does NOT have the right to use another person's body, or any part of the other person's body, without consent. No one is trying to get laws on the books saying that it's mandatory to donate a kidney, because someone with kidney failure might die if you don't.
Posted by Tessiee on October 10, 2012 at 8:30 PM · Report this
177
Yeah, NO lying about pregnancy. BAD, BAD idea in this or any other situation.
This is my personal experience. I thought my bf was anti-choice in the abstract. We had several conversations about his feeling that he didn't have a right to impose his will on another person's body. And then I got pregnant. He would have LOVED to marry me and was certainly willing to be an active and financially supportive parent. But I didn't think having a baby was the right choice for me at the time. Suddenly, in an already stressful situation, I was faced with a person I loved calling me a murderer and threatening me emotionally and psychologically. Choice should have been a deal breaker for me before him, and it CERTAINLY is now.
Posted by rrgrl on October 10, 2012 at 8:31 PM · Report this
178
Dan, that's the fucking craziest thing I've ever read someone advise someone else. Just break up with the douchebag.
Posted by jennined on October 10, 2012 at 8:34 PM · Report this
179
@30: Pinky, have you considered running for presidency?
You ROCK!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 10, 2012 at 8:39 PM · Report this
180
I usually don't comment but I also think that lying about pregnancy is a bad idea.
Posted by anonymous234 on October 10, 2012 at 8:55 PM · Report this
181
Random Lez, @36, yes.

Only two letters today! I do hope Dan reverses his advice to lie about being pregnant. Doing so would hurt the letter writer's relationship and reputation.
Posted by lurkylurky on October 10, 2012 at 9:27 PM · Report this
182
I'm a pro-choice female, but I do think it's important to consider something before we accuse pro-life males of not considering us "equals". When an unintended pregnancy happens, it is only the female who has a choice. Those child support payments Dan mentioned, etc, will be mandated by the state whether the man wanted to be a father or not. Men are expected to prevent conception if they don't want the responsibility of a child; if a pregnancy happens despite his best efforts, he's legally a father. Women are lucky in that we have post-conception options. Men do not. In that respect, we really are not equals.
Posted by Haley on October 10, 2012 at 10:41 PM · Report this
183
I'm a pro-choice female, but I think there's something important to acknowledge before we accuse pro-life men of not considering us "equals". We're not equals. Only women have post-conception options when it comes to parenthood. Men are expected to prevent conception if they don't want the responsibilities of fatherhood. In the event of an unintended pregnancy, it's completely out of his hands and those child support payments Dan mentioned will be mandated by the state whether he wants a child or not. Women are lucky in that we still have months to make this decision. In this respect, we really are not equals.
Posted by Haley on October 10, 2012 at 10:50 PM · Report this
184
@SilverChimera:

I don't think that a fetus has more rights than the woman carrying it. But I definitely think that it is completely wrong to compare it to a rapist, mentally ill or not.

Nicely quoted, though.
Posted by migrationist on October 10, 2012 at 11:14 PM · Report this
185
@162: I hadn't thought to hear something more ludicrous than one-cell-equals-a-human-being, but you just topped it. That fetus is in the woman's body as a direct consequence of HER actions. The fertilized egg has absolutely no agency whatsoever. It had absolutely nothing to do with its own implantation, and it sure as hell didn't get there by itself, randomly. It got there because the woman had sex, period, end of story. (Yes, there's a man involved too, and he bears responsibility for it too. But the egg cannot be responsible for its own creation.)

I agree with the second part of your thesis: there isn't a person on the planet, fully developed or not, who has the right to commandeer another person's body to meet their own physical needs. Even if you would die without it, you don't get to just take my liver. Hell, you don't even get to demand a pint of blood off me, even though that's entirely replaceable and only slightly inconvenient for me. It's my body; you get my permission or you go without, period. Personhood, no matter when granted, does not confer a right to infringe that. So technically, the question of when personhood is acknowledged should have no bearing.

Just the whole fetus-as-rapist thing, mentally ill or not, is beyond absurd. Pregnancy is a known result of sex. Biologically, that's what sex is for. Claiming that it's the fetus' fault that it's in your uterus is the equivalent of getting drunk, plowing your car into a bridge abutment, and then accusing the concrete wall of assault and battery. Or eating cheeseburgers three meals a day and then accusing the resulting fat cells of raping your waistline.
Posted by avast2006 on October 11, 2012 at 12:19 AM · Report this
186
@123(mydriasis),

indeed, I was in the field (upper Marau river) for a couple of months, then another month finishing a project with colleagues.

I basically agree with you -- with the added comment that the "godlike ability to affect a person's future" is not limited to "that bunch of cells" after fertilization. Since the process we call "human being" starts before fertilization, this power is always present. You -- man or woman -- can always affect your future children by exposing yourself to substances that will cause mutations in your gametes.

In other words, I think that the mere facts of sexual reproduction -- in fact, of any biological reproduction -- imply that we have borderline godlike powers to influence the next generation. It's disturbing, but it's inescapable, given how reproduction works. Which is why I concentrate on the question of which decisions have which consequences (and motivations), rather than on the brute fact that we have such power.

To some extent, given the way DNA works, no cell in our body is "just a cell;" soon cloning will make all cells potential gametes, potential (?) humans. Still we have to live our lives with some (limited) concept of personhood, as independent from our cells.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 11, 2012 at 12:41 AM · Report this
187
@182(Haley), who said: "Women are lucky in that we have post-conception options. Men do not. In that respect, we really are not equals."

Indeed. But if we accept the concept of "my body, my choices" (see avast above on how you can't force me to donate even blood unless I agree, even though donating blood wouldn't harm me at all), then there is no other solution, as far as I can see. Or do you see a way in which men -- who don't have their bodies on the line when it comes to pregnancy -- could justify having the same powers? Either we repell the principle of bodily autonomy (and what should we replace it with? under what conditions do I have the right to commandeer your body?), or then we can only blame nature for making reproduction work the way it does.

Maybe in the future it will be possible for women who don't want to continue their pregnancies to simply remove the fetus and place it in an artificial womb. Then both the man and the woman could have, I believe, the same rights as to deciding what will happen to that fetus. But as long as the fetus ''has to live'' in the mother's womb -- no other options available -- then either we give up bodily autonomy, or we accept that we aren't equal.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 11, 2012 at 12:54 AM · Report this
188
@187 (ank, welcome back),

I think the equality that 182 was hinting at is not about requiring pregnancy, but about equal ability to opt out.

Women can opt to not be burdened with a child if the pregnancy is unwanted. She can walk away from it via abortion. Whether she wants it is entirely critical; whether he wants it is entirely immaterial. Carrying to term is at this point essentially entirely voluntary on the part of the woman, but the man is being held responsible for a decision that he didn't get to make. People who would be apoplectic to hear someone say "If she didn't want to be a mommy she should have kept her legs closed" will happily turn around and say "If he didn't want to be a daddy he should have kept it in his pants" and the hypocrisy is entirely lost on them.

Given today's medical realities, which make carrying to term voluntary on the part of the woman, a fairer system would allow the man to walk away from a pregnancy exactly as easily as the woman can -- no more, no less. If she then decides she does not like the prospect of being a single mother, nobody is forcing her to carry to term.

Women already make this resource availability calculation today. If a woman feels she lacks the resources to raise a child, and feels that an abortion is necessary, it happens, and no one gets to coerce her against it. The difference would be that she does not get to commandeer the resources of the man when making that determination. She can secure his partnership, she can go it alone, or she can opt out the same way he did. (Which is also to say, he would be able to opt out the same way she gets to today.) Neither party is able to force the other to become an unwilling parent.

Specifying of certain details would be necessary, such as limited time periods in which to opt out, and splitting of costs (she cannot disavow the pregnancy without the abortion, so it would be reasonable to require the man to split the cost of the procedure with her).

Let the flaming begin. It will be interesting to see whether there is any logic applied, or just screams of outrage and name-calling.
More...
Posted by avast2006 on October 11, 2012 at 2:30 AM · Report this
mydriasis 189
@174

"don't want the fetus to have the same rights as a person, they want the fetus to have MORE rights than a person."

THIS. EXACTLY.

@ 175

That people get more riled up about a human rights issue than something that every 10 year old with an internet connection has seen and become accustomed to?

Posted by mydriasis on October 11, 2012 at 3:17 AM · Report this
190
There is another way to test the bf from question #1. Just tell him your period is late and you MIGHT be pregnant. It is not uncommon for women to have an unusual cycle from time to time.

So tell him your late, see how he reacts and then in a few days tell him you got your period and everything's ok. It's a better way to judge his reaction than flat out lying about being pregnant.
Posted by butterflyrose83 on October 11, 2012 at 5:04 AM · Report this
191
I've been pregnant, felt the baby move at five months - I could never have an abortion. Why that should translate into thinking other people shouldn't, I can't imagine.

I do what's right for me, you do what's right for you. If I work on the assumption that you are an adult autonomous human being making whatever choices you think best when in a difficult situation, there's really no conflict. There's only conflict if I think I know better than you do what to do with your life.
Posted by agony on October 11, 2012 at 7:33 AM · Report this
192
Never thought I would hear Dan advise someone to fake a pregnancy.
Posted by deTerrence on October 11, 2012 at 7:40 AM · Report this
193
LIFE's boyfriend may be the sort of person - like myself (a married straight guy) - who is personally conflicted about what constitutes personhood, and who would have a hard time participating (from the embryo-daddy side) in the choice to abort. AND who recognizes this to be a matter of personal belief and NOT policy, and would never dream of imposing their own moral judgment on another person, or limiting access in any way.

Pro-choice means pro-choice. I'm not saying this guy is that, but he might be.
Posted by Eversy on October 11, 2012 at 8:45 AM · Report this
194
On to the letter about teenage boys, kinky porn, and Jellybeans's heartbreaking letter in 120. Perhaps the reason we've all been going on about abortion is because we don't know what to say about violence. I know I don't. What's a parent to do? The assumption is that porn is one thing over there that doesn't affect what people actually do over here. But what's a parent to do when the assumption is incorrect? What's the society to do? In some number of cases, there are people who do want to act out on the violence because it turns them on. I can't see any evidence that nurture or upbringing has anything to do with it. Anyone know of any studies? It's such an unpleasant subject I don't blame anyone for wanting to avoid it, but it's pretty important too.
Posted by Crinoline on October 11, 2012 at 9:04 AM · Report this
195
@182 Haley: As a guy, I thank you for being so sensitive and insightful about this.

@187 Ankylosar: You make strong points, but kind of put words in Haley's mouth. She did not suggest that men should have power equal to the women they knock up with regard to whether or not to abort. She was just trying to be open minded as to a particular male perspective.

@188 Avast2006: Life isn't fair, and not all laws should be designed to be fair. The really important laws must be driven by what is best for society in the big picture. No, it's not fair that knocked up women get to unilaterally decide whether the guy spends the next 18 years financially (and hopefully, emotionally)on the hook. Too bad! This is what is best for the kids, and therefore for society as a whole. There are plenty of perks to being a guy that make up for this inequity.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/…
Posted by kungfujew on October 11, 2012 at 10:39 AM · Report this
k.strezo! 196
Dan, regarding letter #1: THANK YOU! You warm my heart!
Posted by k.strezo! http://strezolive.blogspot.com/ on October 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM · Report this
197
Speaking of reproductive rights, Dan (and thanks for that!), please consider posting a link to the amazing and amusing video campaign from the Center for Reproductive Rights, "Draw the Line." Kevin Bacon, Sarah Silverman, Audra MacDonald and Meryl, oh my! No one deserves to be compared to a farm animal and we all need to consider what is really at stake right now politically. https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLNjz…
Thanks!
Posted by SeaEXPat on October 11, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Auragasm 198
@194 Crinoline--Parents catch their kids watching porn everyday, MFKS pretty much had the answer all along. It was kind of a boring letter compared to all the knee-jerk reactions the word "ABORTION" can create (coupled with LOUSY advice).

LIFE, I think a good man's stance on abortion is related to how stongly his woman feels about it. Don't let the conversation die, but don't break up with him over this right away, you only just recently found out about his views.
You should strive to create a pro-choice ally in him; which is better than scaring the boy into the arms of a less-educated woman. You said yourself that he's not an unreasonable man.

Never let him forget how psycho his "pro-life" allies are, crowding abortion clinics to harass people for lack of anything valuable to do.
Posted by Auragasm on October 11, 2012 at 11:42 AM · Report this
199
@194 Crinoline: Maybe upbringing doesn't have anything to do with kinks. But if this is true, then it kind of follows that upbringing (such as a monologue from a fretting and snooping mom) also won't have anything to do with modifying a kink in a "positive" direction or modifying behavior that is supposedly connected to the kinky porn.

I probably wouldn't be psyched if I found "violence" (in quotes because it is pretend violence) against women porn in my kid's possession, but even if I wanted to and believed I could get rid of all his porn in this genre, I wouldn't delude myself into thinking there was much I could do about the underlying curiosity and/or fantasies.

Dan should have filed this one under "let it go and stop snooping." He advises against "shaming" this kid, but then proceeds to advise: "talk ... about the difference between porn and real sex ... the difference between erotic power exchange and violence ... about safety and misogyny ... encourage him to be thoughtful about his sexuality." But this is a conversation that will bring primarily shame and embarrassment to 99% of boys "caught" with vanilla porn and 100% of boys caught with kinky/violent porn, so Dan is accidentally contradicting himself here. This plan will not work.

Dan's advice to: "emphasize the importance of meaningful and informed CONSENT" is of course spot on, but this is a conversation to have with all kids, and it can take place completely outside of some "I found you porn, son" conversation. Tell your kid this without mentioning his porn, if you want it to actually sink in.

I wouldn't worry too much about this kid acting out violent, non-consenting versions of these fantasies. People, male and female, masturbate to plenty of things we would never actually do-that's part of the turn-on.
More...
Posted by kungfujew on October 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM · Report this
200
Just weighing in to agree with the other comments that lying about being pregnant in order to ascertain someone else's integrity in this situation is a terrible idea. It encourages LIFE to act like a jerk instead of a thoughtful, responsible adult herself. These are profound existential disagreements. Better to take him at his word and end the relationship on that basis. Plenty of men - including my brother - have foolishly married a woman they never intended to because of an unplanned pregnancy. While I usually think you are right on, this time it is bad advice, Dan.

LIFE, I would be more concerned in your current situation that, should I actually become inadvertently pregnant, he would not attempt to block my choice and my right to have an abortion by asserting any paternity rights. It's happened - look up John Stachokus. And earlier this year the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act fortunately did not get the 2/3 vote needed to pass the House, but it will be a shitty business getting pregnant with an anti-choice man and acting on your right to have an abortion if it ever does pass.
http://jezebel.com/5886575/prenatal-disc…
Posted by nancy315 on October 11, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
shw3nn 201
@188 I've been staying out of this because I don't want to get annoyed by arguing with a flouncy brick wall but also because you are taking my position better than I could.

I would like to respond to your question, as thanks if for no other reason.

I find it unconscionable that men are forced to care for a child they did not want. Not only are women able to abort, we can give a child up for adoption should we give birth.

@195 If men have unfair perks, we should address those issues as well. Those would be different subjects. How are we supposed to advance as a society if we justify injustice with injustice? That's horrible!

There are certain biological differences that are unfair be we can't do anything. If a man wants the child but the woman chooses to abort, that is unfortunate...end of sentence.

But we could let men opt out of parenthood. And I think we should. I think every adult should have the option. If the woman can't take care of the baby alone, she should opt out herself. If that seems flippant, I'm sorry. I get how hard that would be. I just don't believe the difficultly of that decision justifies forcing a man to be a parent.
Posted by shw3nn on October 11, 2012 at 1:21 PM · Report this
202
I find that this first question hits kind of close to home. My boyfriend is also very progressive and a bleeding heart liberal but doesn't agree with abortion. I wouldn't say he's anti-choice, but it's something that he just don't like. I feel like he's coming at it from a different angle though, because an ex-girlfriend of his aborted their child. He didn't try and bully her out of it, was there when she went and took care of her when she went home, but he wanted that child. So I find it hard to reconcile too, but I figure I wasn't in that situation. So I guess he's allowed to have that opinion, but it still (as dan would say) squicks me out that he could believe that. Especially since he works in science.
Posted by Little Foot on October 11, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
203
I think there's a difference between saying that porn depicting rough sex with little clear consent is bad, full stop, and saying that it might be a good idea to limit one's exposure to it. That goes doubly for adolescents. I've never been under any illusions that I could or should protect my kids from any such depictions forever. I do think it's reasonable to limit their opportunities to access commercial porn. That's not limiting their fantasies one bit -- indeed, you could argue that it's encouraging them to develop their own rather than relying on societal scripts.

In any case, unlimited private internet access, whether used for porn or not, is just asking for kids to waste all their time and not get any homework or anything else done. That's the main reason computers stay in public areas at my house and I limit my kids' time.
Posted by Eirene on October 11, 2012 at 3:28 PM · Report this
204
Lie about being pregnant? Are you fucking retarded? Why the hell would any guy stay with the sort of crazy chick that thinks it's OK to lie to her partner to find out information she wants?

Did I stumble across the ass end of advice columns where hose beasts go to tell each other they aren't crazy and it's OK that they burned their boyfriends house down to prove how much they loved him or something? How are these chicks getting away with saying your advice is great?
Posted by Absurd on October 11, 2012 at 3:30 PM · Report this
205
Dan's advice to LIFE to lie about being pregnant is the worst advice I've ever read from any advice columnist about anything. Ever.

I've been reading Savage Love for over a decade. I've never seen Dan drop the ball like this.

Posted by Can't be serious? on October 11, 2012 at 3:32 PM · Report this
206
@188(avast), thanks!

Oh, I see. I had imagined 182 to be talking about the fact that a man cannot force a woman to have the baby even if he is the father. He can say he will legally adopt the child, bear all responsibility, that she'll never need to worry or even see it if she doesn't want to; still, he cannot legally force her to take the pregnancy to term and deliver the baby, since this would be akin to commandeering her womb. And this, only because there currently is no option to a woman's womb as a place for a fetus to develop: either the woman agrees, or there is no pregnancy, given the principle of body autonomy which our culture considers important.

But you (and maybe 182, too) are talking about a different thing: the right to opt out of parenthood. And there I tend to agree with you: it would be better (by which I mean: more equal) if both the man and the woman had the same right to opt out of parenthood. In moral/ethical terms, I don't think there is any counterargument to what you say.

In pragmatic terms, however, there may be a problem. Historically, for whatever reasons, the tendency is for fathers of unwanted children to abandon said children (this is more frequent than the opposite) and their mothers, which basically puts the burden of raising the kid on the woman. Indeed, she may opt out and have an abortion, but there is social pressure against that (no need to remind anyone of how anti-choicers make life hard for women who want to have abortions, plus religious beliefs, etc. etc. etc.); so the actual, pragmatic result of allowing men to opt out of fatherhood is more single mothers without father support (to change that, we would actually have to encourage single pregnant women to abort -- with all the disturbing feelings that this would generate). Now, if we admit the principle that, in such cases, the law should decide on the best interest of the child (who is the one totally innocent participant in the whole story: s/he could neither have kept her legs closed or his junk in his pants), it stands to reason that it is better for the child to have more financial resources -- the mother's and the father's -- than fewer -- only the mother's --, so it is in the best interest of the child to make the father carry part of the burden. The only other options I can see is to accept a less good situation for the child (which goes against its best interest), or then for there to be some social security benefit for single mothers -- in which case the burden would be borne by the taxpayer, which, in the current political climate, looks pretty hard to swallow to me.

In sum, pragmatically speaking, it seems that the principle of deciding in the best interest of the child leads one to go for making the father share the burden -- even though the decision not to abort was the woman's. The alternatives are giving up the principle of the best interest of the child, burdening all taxpayers, or then encouraging abortions (perhaps even making them obligatory unless the mother can prove she has guaranteed income above some threshold value X) -- all of which look worse to me.

But what do you think?
More...
Posted by ankylosaur on October 11, 2012 at 3:34 PM · Report this
207
@191(agony), I think that, if I were a woman, I would feel exactly like you. I couldn't possibly abort, and I couldn't possibly tell others not to abort if they think they should. Which is why I am ultimately pro-choice.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 11, 2012 at 3:36 PM · Report this
208
Letter #1 - I believe life begins at conception AND that a woman should have the right to abort. It's my body. It's my life. Until that little person can exist without using my womb, it's continued existence is a matter of my choice. I do not believe that any good can come of forcing a woman to give birth to a child she does not want.

Letter #2 - as a militant feminist who discovered kinky porn around the age of 12 (a friend's older brother's magazine collection) scoured bookstores (thank you anne rice) and libraries (thank you misters desade and masoch) for more - the interweb was in its infancy, I can whole heartedly agree with dan's advice. I like kinky violence against women and men in my porn. I 'always' have. Safe, sane, consensual violence is great (can you really call it violence when everyone is getting what they want)! Porn is not reality, and a talk about the difference between the two is warranted. Now that we have the Internet, that talk could include directing the boy to some of the more educational kink sites as well, for a bit more advice on kink in real life.
Posted by Platypus99 on October 11, 2012 at 3:43 PM · Report this
209
@194(Crinoline), that is an apt observation, and as far as I can tell indeed true. It's not difficult for us to accept sex in the media; we're slowly coming to the conclusion that seeing happy people having orgasms is not something that harms people, even children. But violence?... Especially when, as in Jellybean's case, it does seem to be (which is not to say that there actually is -- another added complexity) a causal connection between a child's desire to watch violence and his/her mental evolution into a potentially violent person?

It seems worse when one connects violence and sex, because our civilization does have a history of mixing them -- and then there's BDSM to add to the mix, just to make things more complicated... But I would claim that what is disturbing is not that the violence Jellybean's child was watching was specifically sexual, but that s/he was (apparently?) being influenced by it towards actual violent behavior.

Indeed, what do we think about that? What is the role of violence in art and the media, especially the part consumed by our children?

I don't have an answer for that. I do have an opinion, but not a strong one, and I'm struggling with it (to put it shortly: I'm not against violence in art, even if it does turn out to be a bad influence). I'd like to hear other people's opinions on that.

Even worse, what should one do, regardless of one's opinion, if one is confronted with Jellybean's situation -- an apparent correlation, and a very disturbing one at that? (My first gut feeling: for what we should do, it shouldn't matter much what the source of the kid's violent behavior is, but the fact that said violent behavior is there; we should find out how this violent behavior integrates into the ecology of the kid's psyche and attack it there; but with what methods?...)

I keep seeing ambiguous images of violence-related characters in art and literature, from the Alex of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange to Dexter Morgan. This topic clearly needs thinking.
More...
Posted by ankylosaur on October 11, 2012 at 3:50 PM · Report this
210
@195(kungfujew), indeed, I agree; I had missed that particular fact, as avast has already pointed out.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 11, 2012 at 3:54 PM · Report this
211
@201(swh3nn), I also find it unfair for the man. But you put this as a simple question concerning only the man and the woman, as if they were the only parties to whom we could be fair or unfair. And what about the baby?

It does need to be repeated that if there is one person in the story who did nothing to deserve any punishment, it's the baby.

As I said in my post to avast, either we give up the principle of deciding on the best interest of the child (by arguing that the mother's and/or the father's happiness is more important than the child's), or we create a new tax (heaven forbid!...), or we encourage abortions or even make them obligatory (if the mother doesn't earn more than X dollars per month)... or we force the father to pay. It is unfair, in the sense that he is in a worse situation than the mother; but all the above options look to me even unfairer. Yes, unfairer than making a poor guy pay child support for 18 years.

In other words, it's not simply about how many options the mother or the father has, but also about what is best for the baby (who may also, by the way, be a man). Unless you disagree with that, I don't see how to avoid the conclusion that the least unfair (better: the pragmatically more efficient) solution is indeed to burden the father.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 11, 2012 at 4:09 PM · Report this
212
you just told a woman to lie about pregnancy. Really? .....Really? Are you high? This is one of, if not the, stupidest things you have ever said. I am so disappointed in you.
What's next....lie about a rape?
Yes, lets lie.
You have just destroyed all the credibility you had. I have been a loyal reader for over 10 years, but this time, you screwed up.
Posted by Fetoid on October 11, 2012 at 4:17 PM · Report this
213
@203 Eirene:

I hear you. I'm not advocating unlimited internet access for kids. I'm just advocating against confronting your kid about porn you find distasteful. I understand the gut instinct behind such a confrontation, but I do not see any positive outcome. (Again, Dan's points about discussing consent and safety are good, but apply to all kids, not just those who like kinky porn.)

And your point about taking away porn to encourage the kid's imagination is good in theory but not in practice. Guys are very visually oriented, so we don't want to jerk off with our eyes closed. And if porn were really just a "societal script", which is I'm guessing how you view this kid's porn, then there wouldn't be any porn featuring women dominating men. And you'd probably be able to "fix" gay boys by showing them the "script" of straight porn.
Posted by kungfujew on October 11, 2012 at 4:20 PM · Report this
GymGoth 214
The answer to LIFE is one of the stupidest and most disingenuous ever. Are you saying Dan that the boyfriend's belief regarding human life is so insignificant that he should just drop it to make her feel better? Or that you think he will just up and flip his position if she is pregnant?

You are a leftist who believes in coalition politics. Therefore you try to make the ridiculous argument that if you are in favor of gay rights, then you also must support abortion rights, amnesty for illegal aliens, unionized public workers, etc. HOGWASH.

Mixing abortion with contraception is also bullshit. They are not the same. And no one has a constitutional right to free birth control. I agree it makes sense for the poor who can't come up with the $9/month. But for upper class c**ts like Sandra Fluke, the taxpayers or other policy holders don't need to subsidize it for her.

People opposed to abortion have very good grounds for that position and it is pretty heartfelt. To dismiss it and mock it and use it for an excuse to end a relationship is intolerance at its very worse.
Posted by GymGoth on October 11, 2012 at 4:21 PM · Report this
215
i was once lied to by a girlfriend pretending to be pregnant because she wanted to test me on how much i loved here. it was a controlling, manipulative act on her part and it ultimately doomed our relationship. Dan, you're an amazing columnist and i truly admire you; but as someone who claims to put honesty as the core foundation of a relationship, that is the WORST piece of fucking advice I have ever heard you give. It's manipulative, dishonest and, simply, wrong!
Posted by NyBluesGuy on October 11, 2012 at 4:22 PM · Report this
216
wow... this has got to be the worst advice I've ever read in an advice column. It is so obvious both dan and LIFE look down on this guy just because he has a different view point than they do. Because of this, he deserves to be lied to? What does she plan on doing when he wants to raise the baby or decides to propose? It sickens me Dan looks down on pro-lifers so much he thinks they will break when faced with a real life situation. A person who is strongly pro-life (as in, they didn't just formulate this view on a whim) will NOT seek abortion no matter what. This will be his first son/ daughter after all, it is not a stretch to say he'll want the kid. All you will really be doing is showing him you are a manipulative, lying cunt. If I were him, I'd break up with you if I found out you lied to me about being pregnant just to try to prove me wrong.

Just break up with him, LIFE. It is obvious this relationship is going to end badly, because if you are willing to break up with him over that, then you really shouldn't be together.

I also never dated men who were on opposite ends of this argument, because I cannot take birth control due to a medical condition. I did not want to get pregnant by a pro-choicer only to have him pressuring me to have an abortion. When it comes to children, you should be with someone who shares the same belief on such important issues as having children, raising them, etc.

On a side note, I don't think I'll be coming back to savage love anymore. I don't really like advice columnists who claim to be open minded and accepting, yet look down their noses at other people's view points like they are some sort of demons. Hypocrite.
Posted by anonym on October 11, 2012 at 4:24 PM · Report this
217
@202, unlike you, I find it very easy to understand your boyfriend's opinion; it doesn't squick me out at all. It is sad -- I hope you agree -- that he could not have his desire to be a father satisfied because the woman in question, for whatever reason, did not want to let that baby develop in her womb. It is simply plain said; it's unfair.

It's not the woman's fault, because she didn't create our reproductive system; it works the way does not because of her, but because of nature. Also, she is not responsible for the principle of bodily autonomy: our bodies cannot be legally commandeered against our wills. She didn't create this principle; it's our society that holds this belief.

So it's not her fault that life and society are like that. I don't hold her responsible. But it's a damn sad fact that your boyfriend couldn't get the child he wanted so much.

It would be equally sad if someone died because your boyfriend's former girlfriend refused to donate a kidney, or bone marrow, or even blood -- sad enough that your boyfriend come to the conclusion that maybe we should give up complete body autonomy and make certain things -- blood donation, for instance -- obligatory when human lives are at stake. It's an honorable opinion; just as it is honorable to be (sincerely, as opposed to politically) anti-choice. It's a defensible moral position. I happen to disagree with it on pragmatic groudns -- criminalizing abortion creates more suffering than it solves -- but I don't disrepect or hold a grudge against people who have this opinion (if it is sincere, and consistent).

I could perfectly well live and even love someone who had the opposite opinion to mine on the abortion issue, as long as I thought this person's opinion is sincere and deeply felt. I can understand where they're coming from.
More...
Posted by ankylosaur on October 11, 2012 at 4:28 PM · Report this
218
@201 shw3nn:

The fact there are perks to being a man is really just a side note to the issue of the sexes' power inequity vis-a-vis deciding whether to abort a fetus when the guy doesn't want to be a dad. Please ease up on the "two wrongs don't make a right" hand-wringing.

This is not about some power trade off ("you get to force me to be a dad, then I get paid more than you for comparable work"). It's about what is best for the kids and for society as a whole. Please see comments # 206 and 211. Again, not all laws are about or should be about "justice" for each individual effected. Sometimes laws are just rules that best organize society.
Posted by kungfujew on October 11, 2012 at 4:34 PM · Report this
ShifterCat 219
I think kungfujew @195 nailed it: the problem with any opt-out law for men is that if a woman decides to carry a pregnancy to term and keep the resulting child, for whatever reason, then that means that a child now exists, and that child needs resources. Those resources have to come from *somewhere*. The woman is *still* going to be making an extreme investment in that child, physically, financially, and psychologically -- asking the father to provide some financial support is a drop in the bucket in comparison.

Yeah, it may not be perfectly fair, but has anyone got a better solution for the welfare of the child?

And let's not forget that plenty of men can and do find ways around paying child support, legal and otherwise.
Posted by ShifterCat on October 11, 2012 at 4:36 PM · Report this
220
I meant "plain sad", not "plain said", of course. Hm. Maybe it is time to go to sleep...
Posted by ankylosaur on October 11, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this
ShifterCat 221
@214, you didn't actually listen to Sandra Fluke's testimony, did you? She was talking about a friend of hers who needed hormonal birth control pills for her endometriosis.

And I really don't care whether anti-choicers feel their reasons are "heartfelt". They're still ignorant, often willfully so.
Posted by ShifterCat on October 11, 2012 at 4:53 PM · Report this
222
Wow, I've been reading the column for years and have almost never ever disagreed with Dan and certainly never been moved to comment before. Dan's advice to lie to the guy about pregnancy is horrible. What good can come of that. The guy has been up front about his beliefs that while I don't agree with him they aren't that crazy. She needs to decide for herself if this is a deal breaker. I would never consider dating a 2012 Republican but someone who had reasonable progressive views on everything but this one thing I think I could live with.
Posted by monkeymonkey22 on October 11, 2012 at 5:05 PM · Report this
223
@221, I don't think that (at least some) anti-choicers are "ignorant, often willfully so". True, some are out there simply to control women's (and frankly also men's) sexuality. But that's not true for all of them.

Some are really concerned with the fact that "that bunch of cells" is something more... troubling than simply a bunch of cells.

I find it perfectly respectable to be so concerned about that disturbing, troubling bunch of cells.

I think it is pragmatically bad to be anti-choice -- this creates more suffering than it resolves. But I don't think all anti-choicers are just ignorant. Some are actually very wise. I still think they are pragmatically wrong -- but I don't despise them. Only those who do deserve it (by actually being more concerned with controling other people's sexuality or following the rules of some old rule book than really being concerned with that disturbing bunch of cells).
Posted by ankylosaur on October 11, 2012 at 5:44 PM · Report this
224
kungfujew@213: Guys are very visually oriented, so we don't want to jerk off with our eyes closed.

Not convinced. I thought the same people who said guys were so visually oriented also said that guys are very, very good at visualization? As in, picturing things that aren't there? Not to mention going around being already totally horny all the time anyway? And there is no shortage of stimulating images in the world. In my generation, the vast majority of people never saw a porn movie until they were grown up, and even those who did seldom had sufficient privacy with the VCR to be jerking off to said movies. I really, really don't think they had any trouble finding things to jerk off to.
Posted by Eirene on October 11, 2012 at 6:32 PM · Report this
225
If my girlfriend lied to me about being pregnant to try and see my position on abortion, I'd say she's fucking crazy! This is the worst advice I've ever seen Dan give.
Posted by WanderingSoul on October 11, 2012 at 6:41 PM · Report this
226
The thing that bothers me about being labeled "anti-choice" is this: I'm married, my wife and I are trying to conceive. If we do conceive, at any time during the pregnancy she could choose to abort our baby and I have zero say in it. There are no time restrictions on abortion in Canada, where I live.

I trust my wife explicitly, but find this fucking scary as hell.
Posted by WanderingSoul on October 11, 2012 at 6:44 PM · Report this
227

What an appropriate column. Thank you Dan, for this week's letters.

Today, I sat in on an abortion. It was one of the most positive, life enriching experiences I've ever witnessed.

A woman deciding if and when to have a child is HER business, period. She is spiritual enough, smart enough, kind enough and capable enough.

Once she has decided, being able to provide abortion services in a warm and peaceful space, was such a gift.

The women and men in the doctor's office needed this, got it, and had respectful, considerate treatment. Exactly the way it should be.

Vote Obama. @8- yes!
Posted by Ms.11 on October 11, 2012 at 6:46 PM · Report this
228
@226 - trusting your wife is scary...? You don't have physical control over the situation and that's the way life is.

Maybe you were just venting?/
Posted by Ms.11 on October 11, 2012 at 6:50 PM · Report this
229
@99 - would date a white power supremacist? Someone who was categorically against gay marriage? A person who raised money for the Catholic Church priest defense fund? Exactly.
Posted by Ms.11 on October 11, 2012 at 6:53 PM · Report this
230
@228, no, trusting my wife isn't scary. It's the fact that as a man, I have absolutely no say in whether my unborn child lives or dies (and in Canada, there's not limits to when an abortion can be done). Look down on me if you want, but it's scary.
Posted by WanderingSoul on October 11, 2012 at 7:54 PM · Report this
nocutename 231
@230: No one is looking down on you. But if you and your wife have been actively trying to have a baby, and you say you trust her, what is scary about the fact that women have the final say about whether or not they are going to have babies? The scenario that your wife will make a unilateral decision to abort your child is clearly not viable--what's there for you to be scared of?
Posted by nocutename on October 11, 2012 at 8:41 PM · Report this
232
@230, legally, yes, your wife could terminate her pregnancy at any time before birth in Canada. Pragmatically, though, it's a different story. Few doctors or hospitals are able to provide abortions post-14 weeks or so without medical reasons.

But in general, yeah, your wife, as the carrier, gets to decide what goes on in her own uterus. If you don't like this, maybe consider adoption.
Posted by KayElle on October 11, 2012 at 8:44 PM · Report this
233
@214: If your beef is with money coming out of your pocketbook, you should be aware that if you fail to subsidize her birth control, you most certainly will end up subsidizing all the new citizens she ends up producing. Compared to prenatal costs, delivery costs, well baby care, pediatric care, immunizations, dentistry, education, and all the additional civic infrastructure necessary to support the increased population such as roads, water, gas, electricity, fire, police, et cetera, et cetera, 30 bucks a month for a packet of pills is a fucking BARGAIN.
Posted by avast2006 on October 11, 2012 at 9:06 PM · Report this
234
I'm a longtime reader, and I never comment, but I'm commenting today to contribute to the massive horde of people who are saying that the advice to lie about a pregnancy is probably the worst advice I've ever read from Mr Savage. He really ought to revisit this letter, with a retraction and/or some better advice, and SOON.
Posted by FFS. on October 12, 2012 at 12:51 AM · Report this
235
What the hell, Dan? Telling someone to lie about being pregnant? That's not okay.
Posted by Minkymoon on October 12, 2012 at 1:51 AM · Report this
236
im sure plenty of people have statet this already, and the discussion has run its course, but i just have to get this off my chest: the advice to LIFE sounds terrible. im not one of those "never EVER lie" types, but what is proposed here is just mind-games. if she actually goes through with it, what does it say about her to him? i couldnt fault the guy for breaking up with her... pregnancy is not something you lie about.

i do love the advice to MFKS.
Posted by yeah! ho! wah! on October 12, 2012 at 1:53 AM · Report this
237
Lots of crap advice all around today. Surprising from Dan. Lie that you're pregnant? That's a douche move in any situation. The advice seems to presuppose a decision to dump the guy. It won't end well. And implying that most anti-choice people are just wishy-washy ideologues is rather short-sighted as well.
I also have never really agreed with Dan's view on porn. I can tell you that I am really pretty sure that the things that I saw and heard and was generally exposed to when I was a young teenager INFORMED my sexuality. I don't believe I had some kind of blueprint and that I just responded to something that fit the mold. If I'm wrong on this, I'd like to see the evidence that such preferences work in this way. If that were my teenage boys I'd be telling them under no uncertain terms that while I can't control what they choose to seek out in the porn realm that I strongly frown on them looking at extreme porn or anything that degrades women. I realise the attraction of the freaky or illicit but I'd be trying to prevent it in any way I could. At some point in the evolution of the porn world on the internet, because of it's ubiquitous nature and the scale of its presence, people just seem to have suddenly accepted that because teenagers CAN have access to any and all manner of sex expression that they SHOULD. Bullshit.
Posted by Vivic on October 12, 2012 at 3:22 AM · Report this
238
A few weeks ago Dan retracted his advice to the aunt who wanted to give her teenage niece sex toys after he got a ton of angry letters telling him it was a terrible idea. As I recall, in the comments column for that one, there were a few who said the gift was fine. In this weeks column, I don't think there's anyone who likes the idea of lying about a pregnancy. I wonder if Dan will print a similar retraction.

I'd like to point out that our objection is pragmatic. I'm not against all lying on principle. I'm against lying in this case because it wouldn't serve Dan's intended purpose, because it wouldn't serve any good purpose, and because there would be negative unintended consequences.

In some ways that makes the question like the one on porn. The far right objection to porn is on principle, that looking at it somehow makes a man unfaithful to his wife or that it's wrong to get turned on in general. My objection (when I have an objection) is pragmatic. I want to know if looking at the porn has a negative effect in the real world. In other words, if a boy looks at violent porn, does he have a greater chance of becoming violent in reality?
Posted by Crinoline on October 12, 2012 at 5:09 AM · Report this
239
Even if you think that LIFE should lie, you suggested the wrong lie. As has been mentioned, there is a significant possibility that her boyfriend will be okay with raising a child with her, especially if he's as decent as she says he is. Being pro-life doesn't automatically make one a hypocrite. My pro-life mother ran away from home with my father when she was pregnant with me at the age of 17.

The lie should be this: "I got raped and pregnant, I had an abortion, do you think I'm a murderer?"

If LIFE's boyfriend really believes that life begins at conception, and that a fertilized egg is a full citizen with all the rights citizenship entails, he believes that women who have abortions are accomplices in murder, and that the law should recognize that.

Of course he doesn't believe that, almost no one does, because if they did they would have a little funeral every time a woman miscarried.

Politicians who invent little reasons why pregnancy from rape doesn't matter do so because they recognize that the inconsistency in opposing abortion except in cases of rape is indefensible.
Posted by mike a on October 12, 2012 at 8:44 AM · Report this
Fenrox 240
@229, Yeah, if all the other things were true. Remember, I would try to change his mind. Also, the scenario is that you find this out during the relationship.
Posted by Fenrox on October 12, 2012 at 9:18 AM · Report this
241
Totally agree with all the others who think that lying about being pregnant is terrible relationship advice. It is great advice to freak him out and get him to rethink his stance on abortion rights; but it could be absolutely detrimental to the relationship. It would be perfectly valid grounds to break up with someone.

I would just show him Dan's comment, and ask him to really imagine what he might feel. Maybe he isn't capable of it, and maybe she will want to dump him. But if the point of the exercise is to change his mind AND keep him as a boyfriend, DON'T PULL A STUNT LIKE THAT.
Posted by TJordan on October 12, 2012 at 10:11 AM · Report this
242
@ Eirene 224:

You are clearly smart woman making points based on common sense. A lot of times, smart men make points about female perspectives based on common sense, but are wrong.

Most guys don't end up having very frank conversations with women about jerking off. Women lucky or unlucky to have such conversations have generally only had them with one or two guys. I don't know you and don't want to make assumptions about you - and I definitely don't want to come off sounding as though a lack of experience having detailed discussions with guys about jerking off qualifies as some sort of deficiency. But I suspect you may lack such experience.

You are correct that guys can jerk off to things other than porn, have done so prior to the existence of porn, and, when the need arises, continue to do so today. At no point did I suggest that that getting rid of porn would render impossible the act of male masturbation.

This was not the point I was making. You suggested that taking away a kid's porn would help him develop his sexual imagination. My response was not that he would stop jerking off if his porn were taken away, just that he would keep jerking off without experiencing any increase in imagination, and that his jerking off would be less pleasurable if he were denied his preferred images. While it is true that guys have not always has easy access to pornographic images (just as we have not always have easy access to warm food), I think it's safe to say that we prefer them to the alternative, and this this preference is not simply a social construct but rather goes to biological hard-wiring. (No, I do not think gender is all biological ... but some of it is.) Thus, the cross-cultural male appreciation for porn, when available.

I think the mistake you make here is that you imagine yourself as a young boy switching from a porn to a no-porn status, but kind of superimpose a female sexuality on the scenario. Also, the process of males looking at porn is not as static as you seem to think it is. We often take the porn as a starting point, then imagine other scenarios which incorporate the images. So porn does not necessarily have the dulling effect on imagination you describe.


More...
Posted by kungfujew on October 12, 2012 at 10:40 AM · Report this
243
Lying about being pregnant? That's really uncool. He will carry it for the rest of his life, whether or not you tell him you just made it up to see his reaction (very jerk move), or just continue the lie by saying you had a miscarriage. He will wonder for the rest of his life about 'what if'.

Separately, just because he is pro life doesn't mean he wants to impose his views on other women.

Why are you making it so black and white? Abortion is a non reversal decision,and life is long. Just because you also believe in it in theory doesn't mean you yourself, when really confronted with the decision, would have one.

Cut out the game playing your boyfriend sounds like a nice guy and it sounds like he presented this view to you in a thoughtful manner

Have you considered that you might have hangups about this issue, and only see it in one light e.g. your perception that men are enforcing their belief on your body?
Posted by NameHere on October 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this
ShifterCat 244
Ankylosaur @223: Willfully ignorant doesn't mean stupid. Thing is, I have yet to encounter an anti-choicer* whose response to data about what actually happens when abortion is banned wasn't some variant of "lalalalala I can't hear you".

*By which I don't mean people who are "personally pro-life, politically pro-choice" -- I mean people who actually think abortion should be outlawed.
Posted by ShifterCat on October 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Report this
245
This is one of those questions where I wish I'd seen the boyfriend's side of the story. My first impression was the guy was a chauvinist pig. But then I thought of some of my progressive guy friends, and how they believe it's a woman's right to choose even though they don't think of abortion as an option. As in, "It's your body and it's ultimately your decision, but I'd at least want to discuss our other options."

I believe that a fetus is a life. Does that make me pro-life? No. One of the considerations women use in determining whether or not to have an abortion is what the quality of life of the child would be like. There have been stages of my life where I have taken types and quantities of substances that would have affected the health of the child. There have been times when the lack of social support would have impacted the child.So yes, in that way, I am considering the rights of the fetus to a healthy, loving, supportive home.
Posted by pavloviandoggy on October 12, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
246
@ 238 Crinoline:

"I want to know if looking at the porn has a negative effect in the real world. In other words, if a boy looks at violent porn, does he have a greater chance of becoming violent in reality?"

I think the verdict is still out on this one, and the concern is not baseless. However, we should keep in mind that the kid is not really looking at "violent porn"; he is looking at porn where people are just pretending to be violent.

I've seen a lot of TV/movie violence, and I've also seen a fair amount of real-life (non-sex-related) violence. These experiences are surprisingly different, whether a viewer of or participant in the violence. I'm not sure if this difference undercuts any of your points or directly addresses any of your concerns, but it may be worth mentioning, anyway.
Posted by kungfujew on October 12, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
247
The first LW should DTMFA. You can't really negotiate with someone who doesn't have respect for other's rights to their own bodies and choices.. Jesus H. Christ, how many unwanted children are out there now as it is? Why bring a life into this world that doesn't have a chance at health, love, care, protection and happiness?

I say every last one of those pro-life assholes should go to Malawi (or, shit, outside our doors in America) and adopt a child each, and THEN get back to us about why pro-life is such a sacred thing.

Easy to spout off about while they count their tax-break dollars collecting dust in a bank in Switzerland..

God, how badly I wish I could smack a right-wing Republican pro-life tool upside the head with THE Biggest Bible I can find and handle!

The C**ts.

;-D
Posted by Tim, Here ;-) on October 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
248
@243: "Cut out the game playing"

Uh, reality check time. Lying about the pregnancy was only ever a suggestion, and it came from Dan. Letter Writer didn't say anything of the sort. Just so we are all clear on that. We now return you to our regularly scheduled ranting... :)

It's not necessarily completely black and white, but there are a number of beliefs that logically follow, and the whole chain of them have ramifications:

If you believe that human life begins at conception, then you believe that abortion kills a real live human being. (You've probably heard the slogan "abortion stops a beating human heart.") If that was your wife/girlfriend who aborted a fetus resulting from sex with you, then it follows from that belief that your girlfriend/wife killed your child.

What do you estimate the odds are of long-term relationship success after an abortion if a man carries within his heart the conviction that his wife literally killed his child? Is it surprising that a woman would seriously reevaluate her chances of a successful relationship with him when that became a known example of a very likely deal-breaker?
Posted by avast2006 on October 12, 2012 at 12:06 PM · Report this
249
My husband is anti-abortion, a fact I knew fairly early on in our relationship. His position is largely informed by his religious background. I've spent the last four years pointing out, whenever possible, how an always anti-abortion stance hurts real women and how effective family planning is the best way to eliminate the need for most abortions. And I told him in the early days of our relationship, in no uncertain terms, that if I got pregnant by him abortion would be my most likely option. Thankfully I did not get pregnant, because we are both vigilant about birth control - though once we did have to hit the pharmacy for EC and he could not have been more supportive about that.

He still thinks abortion is a bad thing. But he's THINKING, and realizing that black and white views on abortion, birth control, and family planning are bad in real life situations where the shades of grey are to numerous to count. He's not on my side of the fence yet, but he's looking at it with new perspective and respect.

And that's okay with me.
Posted by Hannah in Portland on October 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM · Report this
250
Most "abortions" are spontaneous miscarriages. God did it.
A potential person isn't an actual person.
Corporations are people.
Get it? Got it? Goooood.
Posted by spike1999 on October 12, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this
251
@kungfujew: I was talking about not having access to MOVIES. I specifically said that other stimulating images were very easy to come by. In any case, given a typically horny mid-teens boy's state of mind, I can certainly see why they're drawn to erotic images, but by the same token I can't see why they should actually need them very badly, any more than they usually need appetite stimulants.
Posted by Eirene on October 12, 2012 at 2:15 PM · Report this
252
@Crinoline: In other words, if a boy looks at violent porn, does he have a greater chance of becoming violent in reality?

I think the question for me is more if the kid already has violent tendencies, is he likely to see the porn as reinforcing the idea that everyone is like that? It's well known that male rapists tend to think that what they do is pretty much what all guys do, and that stuff like rape jokes tends only to reinforce that belief in them.

There are also young people, don't forget, who are relying on porn for what they should be getting in sex ed. See, e.g., Cliff Pervocracy's post http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2012/02/t…, in which she points out "And yet it left me, not just lacking in advanced topics, but in the basic understanding of how sex even worked. I mean, it wasn't until I started watching porn that I understood what an erection was, or that intercourse involved thrusting. The sex-ed version was so sanitized it had left me honestly thinking men stuffed their soft dicks in women and just sorta stood around until they ejaculated. This isn't a frivolous pornographic detail. This is like taking driver's ed and still not knowing about the gas and brake pedals."

It seems likely to me that kids who come to porn with that little understanding (and who probably don't have the advantage of Cliff's intelligence and talent for analysis, because face it, most of us don't) are likely to be getting very different messages out of it than those who are looking at it in a more sophisticated way.
Posted by Eirene on October 12, 2012 at 2:58 PM · Report this
253
@Fenrox:

wise advice.
Posted by möwhäk on October 12, 2012 at 4:30 PM · Report this
254
@230, it is scary, I agree, but it is also unavoidable. It's not your wife's fault that reproduction works the way it does, so that her womb is essential to your future fetus' development.

You and her have exactly the same rights and exactly the same options. But she has one thing you don't -- a womb. It's not your fault, it's not her fault; it's just the way things are. And, if you believe in bodily autonomy, you can't force her to use her womb against her will just as she cannot force you to donate blood against your will.

Scary? Yes. But unavoidable (at least until science invents artifical wombs), and nobody's fault.

Death is scary, and equally unavoidable. Nobody said life was supposed not to be scary.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 12, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this
255
@Crinoline, who wrote:
if a boy looks at violent porn, does he have a greater chance of becoming violent in reality?


I suspect it does. After all, we are affected by the images we see. If we weren't, the advertising industry would make no sense.

But things aren't deterministic: the images we see don't determine who we are, they are not the only thing that influences the final outcome. Or else, advertising would simply be the same as brainwashing.

We tolerate several things that have some negative influence or consequence or have some inherent level of danger (drinking, driving, etc.) because we think their bad influence or level of danger is tolerable, and because we think there are also good consequences (drinking is fun, driving is an efficient way to move around, etc.).

So the pragmatic question to me is: what is the level of danger / intensity of bad influence from violence in porn (or art in general -- porn is just a specific subarea of art)? Is it tolerable? Is it compensated by any good consequences?

Yes, the latter is an interesting and intriguing question: are there good consequences of there being violence in art (including porn)? (My personal short answer: yes). If so, what are they? (My personal short answer: they satisfy a certain need, both in art and in us; they play an important role in a larger system, like all other frequent topics/elements in art.)
Posted by ankylosaur on October 12, 2012 at 4:52 PM · Report this
256
@244(ShifterCat)--whereas I have actually come upon several (here where I live, in the Netherlands, where abortion is legal and this is unlikely to change) who had a much more nuanced response to that then "lalalala I can't hear you". Let me sketch one such response (with which I don't agree, but which shows that there is thinking involved, not simply denial).

Anti-choicer: "When evaluating how bad the consequences of something is, we have to take into account all the consequences, not just some of them. True, when abortion is banned, it often continues under worse conditions, which is bad. The number of women who would die in illegal abortions is worrysome -- that is a huge minus. But, if we consider that all life is important, the number of babies who won't be killed in abortions should also be taken into account -- babies who will be born and live. If their number is much higher than the number of women who die from badly performed illegal abortions, then the pluses still outweigh the minuses. Also, if we make contraception more widely available and make sexual education and information more widely available, the number of women who will need an illegal abortion will decrease -- thereby making the pluses outweigh the minuses even more strongly."

(I don't agree with the above argument, for reasons I think are obvious, but I hope you'll agree that this hardly qualifies as "lalalala I can't hear you").
Posted by ankylosaur on October 12, 2012 at 5:12 PM · Report this
257
@246(kungfujew), it is indeed true that seeing violence in art and seeing violence in real life are two different things, just as reading about safaris in Africa and actually going on a safari in Africa are two different things (people who like the former may hate the latter). But I think the main point is whether or not violence in art can have the effect of increasing the possibility that (some of) its consumers will develop violent behavior. And I suspect that the answer is yes, it would -- just as books about safaris in Africa may increase the possibility that (some of) their consumers will someday want to go, or even actually go, on a real safari. To me, the question is how important this effect is, and whether or not it is outweighed by the good aspects of violence in art (adrenaline, shock effect, the "emotion piano", etc.).
Posted by ankylosaur on October 12, 2012 at 5:22 PM · Report this
258
@257(Eirene), why only movies? Don't you think that stimulating images that incorporate elements of violence can have the same kind of bad effect that the movies would? Maybe movies make it stronger (and the future virtual reality machines will make it even worse -- the possibilities were quite graphically illustrated in the first episode of Caprica, a spinoff series based on Battlestar Galactica); but wouldn't the same argument still also work sexual images with violent content?
Posted by ankylosaur on October 12, 2012 at 5:28 PM · Report this
259
@252(Eirene), who wrote: I think the question for me is more if the kid already has violent tendencies, is he likely to see the porn as reinforcing the idea that everyone is like that?

That's a great question. I will only add a comment: having violent tendencies is only part of a more complex ecological system we call "personality." There are people with violent tendencies who keep them under control -- in some cases, exactly by using violent images as a surrogate for actual violence. Paradoxically, they would be more openly violent if they didn't have access to violent images.

I would add to your question: and what else, besides violent tendencies, is there in this kid's mind? How do these tendencies relate to these other elements? If the whole dangerous? If so, is there some way to re-structure these elements so as to produce a non-dangerous outcome?
Posted by ankylosaur on October 12, 2012 at 5:39 PM · Report this
260
Eirene @ 251:

"I was talking about not having access to MOVIES."

Nope. You mentioned movies in a subsequent post @224, but here is what you originally wrote @203: "I do think it's reasonable to limit their opportunities to access commercial porn. That's not limiting their fantasies one bit -- indeed, you could argue that it's encouraging them to develop their own rather than relying on societal scripts." See? No mention of movies at all, let alone limiting the discussion to movies. That is why I interpreted your use of the phrase "societal scripts" as figurative, not literal.

And, far more importantly, as far as we know, the mom of the kid at issue here did not mention movies to their friend who wrote to Dan here, only "a stash of really kinky violence-against-women stuff on her kid's computer" - a stash which likely contained still photos, as still photos of men committing pretend-violent sex acts against women are readily available online. So even if you did limit the discussion to movies, which you did not, you would have been going on a tangent which does not necessarily apply to giving this person advice on how to deal with their particular situation.

"In any case, given a typically horny mid-teens boy's state of mind, I can certainly see why they're drawn to erotic images ..."

Oh, it doesn't end at the teen years. And, per the biological hard-wiring I referenced @242, the visual orientation of male sexuality which I referred to @213 is not limited to imagery, but is rather rooted in us being sexually aroused primarily by the appearance of females, rather than by their intelligence status, wealth, sense of humor, or willingness to provide us shelter. (Ditto for gay guys, just substitute "males" for "females".) Which is why jerking off without images will almost never be our first masturbation choice. Which is why your suggestion that this kid might be better off jerking off without images was wrong. I want to emphasize that I don't believe that your inability to get this far into the head of a masturbating guy constitutes a character flaw, although your unwillingness to recognize this inability might be.

"but by the same token I can't see why they should actually need [pornographic images] very badly, any more than they usually need appetite stimulants."

Right. I'm not on a soapbox saying "Your teenage boys need porn!" They don't. This isn't about whether teenage boys need porn, it's about what a mom should do when she rudely snoops and finds a stash of her son's porn that contains images, moving or otherwise, of men pretending to commit violent sex acts against women.

My advice would be: Don't tell the kid you found his porn, and don't throw away or delete the porn. Have a general, non-porn sex discussion along the lines of Dan's suggestion regarding consent and safety. Try to come to grips with how little influence a parent can (intentionally) really have on their kid's sexual tastes and actions, and hope for the best.
More...
Posted by kungfujew on October 12, 2012 at 6:52 PM · Report this
261
Ankylosaur: Thanks.
Posted by kungfujew on October 12, 2012 at 6:57 PM · Report this
262
@187, I absolutely do not wish to give any man any rights over a woman's body or pregnancy. I think it might be fair, though, to offer them the same options post-conception that women have. No court mandated child support for men who decide they don't want to be fathers in the event of an unintended pregnancy. Just give him that same time frame to weigh his options and choose not to become a parent; this way both men and women have the right to choose whether or not to go through with parenthood when an unplanned pregnancy occurs.
Posted by Haley on October 12, 2012 at 7:16 PM · Report this
263
@ 173 - Thalidomide was one example ... The idea that a pregnant woman could do permanent damage that will affect the life of a human being (a real human being!) without it being considered immoral because, oh, well that's not a person yet. That troubles me.

Wow, did you seriously just say that the women who took Thalidomide were committing an immoral act? Please tell me you don't honestly believe that women took that horrid drug because they wanted to fuck up their child and give him or her flippers. They took it because it was prescribed by their doctors. They took it because they were told it was safe. No one had any idea it would do what it did.

But let's put alcohol back into the discussion. Have you ever taken a peek at the recommendations given to women in Europe? If France, they tell you not to have more than two glasses of wine daily. In Italy, they tell you not to have more than one. Neither nation is overrun with children who have fetal alcohol syndrome. In fact, for a significant portion of human history women drank wine and beer and mead because the water wasn't safe!

And what if a woman gets the flu or any other virus while she is pregnant? Recent studies have shown that a child born to a woman who catches a virus during pregnancy have a 1.5 to 7 times increased risk for schizophrenia. Are those women immoral as well?

Where does a woman's responsibility to spend 40 weeks of her life being a proper incubator end? We are already told to eat lots of fish (EFAs) but to avoid fish (mercury and PCBs and listeria). We are told to avoid shellfish (algae-related infections). We are told to avoid deli meat (listeria). We are told to avoid soft cheeses (listeria). We are told to avoid raw vegetables (toxoplasmosis). We are told to avoid raw meat (coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella). We are told to avoid foods like mayonnaise and Caesar salad that may contain raw eggs (salmonella). We are told to avoid unpasteurized milk (listeria). We are told to avoid pate (listeria again). We are told to avoid caffeine (studies have shown that caffeine is safe but doctors aren't 100% sure it doesn't potentially contribute to miscarriages during the first trimester so they prefer it if women simply don't drink it throughout the pregnancy). And of course alcohol, as you mentioned.

And that's just foods. The list of activities we are told to avoid is even longer. For fun, this is just a taste: We are told to avoid cats (toxoplasmosis). We are told to avoid gardening or otherwise coming into contact with dirt (toxoplasmosis). And we are told to avoid any activity in which we might potentially fall down.

But yes, please, let's be sure to pass moral judgement on new mothers who are already devastated to learn that something is wrong with their baby and who are, I -promise- you, already blaming themselves. That will help.
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Posted by MiscKitty on October 12, 2012 at 7:40 PM · Report this
264
@250: The doctor at the horsepital must have dropped you on your head when you were born, Spike. Please go back to your cave now, and stay there.

You obviously aren't getting any because you don't get it.
Idiots like you are among the many reasons why fewer women
are having children, and more people in the United States are
happily choosing to remain single.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 12, 2012 at 9:20 PM · Report this
265
Lying about being pregnant? No. Telling the boyfriend that your vagina is off limits until he gets a vasectomy? Yes.
Posted by Miko on October 12, 2012 at 10:37 PM · Report this
266
Bad advice to LIFE. Having different points of view doesn't mean a relationship cannot work. The boyfriend isn't necessarily against a woman's right to choose but for him he believes life begins at conception. Having this opinion does not make someone "stupid." Joe Biden, our vice president, is also personally against abortion but is staunchly pro-choice. If the relationship has been "solid" for the last 7 months, it might be worth giving it more time. Of course, she could break up with him and look for someone who doesn't believe that life begins at conception if that's a deal-breaker value her partner must have.
Posted by NancyM on October 12, 2012 at 11:21 PM · Report this
sissoucat 267
@263 "In France, they tell you not to have more than 2 glasses of wine daily"

Do they ? Source please.

Already in 1998, French doctors would recommand to "avoid alcohol as far as possible" during pregnancy. I know, I was pregnant at the time. I didn't touch the stuff. I already cared for my children.

As for toxoplasmosis, it's recommended for young girls to have cats, so that they get toxoplasmosis and have antibodies a long time before they're pregnant.

A woman who chooses to have a child has a responsability to do everything possible to be, yes, a proper incubator. A woman who doesn't want to take the pains to be a proper incubator, she should abort.
Posted by sissoucat on October 13, 2012 at 12:30 AM · Report this
268
Rock on Dan! Your political viewpoints are right on. Contraception prevents abortion, and women are not brood mares, we propagate if and when we want to, and the government can't make us. Any man who thinks otherwise deserves to be sexually deprived forever after. All those Republican Congressmen and Senators who are making personhood laws are usurping the right of women to control their own bodies. Here's the plan...stay calm, and vote Democratic. Obama 2012
Posted by Wild_Eyed_Liberal on October 13, 2012 at 4:09 AM · Report this
269
Dear commenter number nine: It's a zygote.
Posted by Wild_Eyed_Liberal on October 13, 2012 at 4:23 AM · Report this
270
Old Dan's sympathies would have been with the boy discovering his sexuality, not the mother swooping down into his computer stash and taking him to task for what he thought he was viewing privately.

Looking at violent pornography does not mean being violent to women, just as watching war movies does not make ruthless killers.
Posted by Hunter78 on October 13, 2012 at 5:22 AM · Report this
271
There's lying about a pregnancy. Then there's lying about encouraging an abortion. I mean, if there's no pregnancy, then how can pushing for an abortion be a sin?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/12…
Posted by Crinoline on October 13, 2012 at 5:48 AM · Report this
272
Dan: Have you lost your fucking mind?!

LIFE - if you lie to your boyfriend about being pregnant, that relationship is over. I, and any sane man, would take that as a sign that you were willing to manipulate me shamelessly, that you were completely unworthy of trust, and that I should run (not walk, RUN) from you as fast as I can. You would become a story about a crazy lady in my past, an exemplar and warning to friends, family, acquaintances and coworkers about what not to do in a relationship.

Lying to him immediately transitions the issue from one about him being a troglodyte when it comes to abortion to one about you lying to him about one of the most important events in a relationship. Absolutely do not do it.
Posted by tomothy on October 13, 2012 at 5:55 AM · Report this
GymGoth 273
@233- You miss the point, people of means should pay their own way period. And it's $9/month at Walmart. I am in favor of free or lowcost BC through Medicaid. My issue is Obama forcing all insurance companies to provide it for free regardless of income. Other people who take regular drugs for diabetes, depression, etc usually have a small co-pay. No reason why one regular drug should not.

@227- You found an abortion positive and life affirming? "A woman deciding if and when to have a child is HER business, period". Abortion is not birth control. A woman has all the choice she needs prior to getting pregnant: BC pills, Norplant, IUD, diaphragm, condoms, tubes tied. Waiting until the miracle of life has occurred and another being is created is not the time to make your "choice".
Posted by GymGoth on October 13, 2012 at 6:14 AM · Report this
mydriasis 274
@ Misskitty

No, I wasn't suggesting that the women unlucky enough to take it when it was prescribed for morning sickness are immoral. I find it surprising that you'd interpret my statements in such a way.

I'm saying that if we are to suggest that a fetus isn't a person and therefore has no rights, then a woman who isn't pregnant taking thalidomide is no different morally than a woman taking thalidomide today (knowing what it will do to her baby). To my mind this is completely absurd.

I'm aware that being pregnant requires extra responsibilities and it's exactly the "wah wah, women are treated as incubators" rhetoric that you just went through that is a perfect example of what I was talking about a few weeks ago - why I have beef with feminism's veiwpoint on pregnancy.

It's not that women are "just incubators" or that a fetus has "more rights" than a woman. But when you choose to bring a human being in this world - and in a society with IUDs, condoms, pills, surgeries, and abortions as an option, pregnancy is a choice - it is clear to me that you should take on the extra responsibility especially since YOU are consensually choosing to have a child while that child is not consensually choosing to be in you. There are lots of roles and professions where people are held to a higher standard. We don't consider that a loss of rights, we consider it an addition of responsibilies. The same should be true of pregnant women (and parents of any gender, but that's another rant).
Posted by mydriasis on October 13, 2012 at 7:06 AM · Report this
mydriasis 275
@ 269

That's not a person, it's a zygote.
That's not a person, it's an embryo.
That's not a person, it's a fetus.
That's not a person, it's a neonate.
That's not a person, it's an infant.
That's not a person, it's a toddler....

That's not a bird, it's a bluejay.

I'm sorry, but since we're on the topic of development I can't help but resist making the joke that you appear to be waiting on the concrete operational phase, where one gains "the ability to name and identify sets of objects according to appearance, size or other characteristic, including the idea that one set of objects can include another". If you're under 11 years old, don't be concerned. It'll come...
Posted by mydriasis on October 13, 2012 at 7:12 AM · Report this
276
Hey Dan, re the prochoice vs antiabortion couple, is this call your homage to the Packers for soldiering on despite the atrocious officiating that made a Packer interception in the end zone into a Seahawk touchdown? It seems your call is also widely unpopular with the fans.
"Tell him you're pregnant" is a call for a relationship neutron bomb.

It is strange how some people view a pro-life viewpoint as misogynistic. Remember that nearly half the fetuses aborted are female. (Somewhat more males are conceived, to compensate for the higher early mortality of male than of female fetuses and babies.) See also
http://www.aaplog.org/american-issues-2/… and http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and… and consider the availability of gender determination combined with preference for male children expressing itself in some societies (China for one) in higher rates of abortion for female first pregnancies, producing more male than female survivors of gestation there. (This if continued is ominous for twenty years from now, since societies with lots of young males with limited opportunities tend to start wars. Who wants a war with the most populous nation in the world and a powerful and rising economy?)
Abortion is not benign for the people I know who have had one. (None chose to repeat it.)

@104, tumors are not, after a suitable number of years of letting nature take its course, going to develop into little league players or Nobel prize winners or sex columnists or the discoverer of an effective vaccine against the common cold or AIDS or creation of a practical nanobot method of preserving or even restoring youthful health and vitality, or a great comedian or friend.

The unique genetic combination of the aborted fetus, which is mathematically calculable to not occur twice within the lifetime of the universe, may produce that individual that brings a particular medical or scientific advance into being, or is the next Maya Angelou. (Though, there's no guarantee against a bank robber or another Idi Amin-like individual.) The formation of that new combination from genetic material from two parents is the clearest line of creation of a new individual that the scientific evidence provides us. (While many of the possible combinations would not be viable, the human genetic material is about 3 billion base pairs per cell; each individual's set of genes is 3/4 of a gigabyte of data expressed in DNA. That provides room to express or encode one out of unimaginably more possible unique combinations than the total number of subatomic particles in the universe.)

The position of some that if it's to be considered human with rights it must be capable of shouldering responsibilities fails in lots of ways. One is a newborn is not viable on its own, as abandonments prove with appalling regularity. Heck, most 30 year olds are not viable in certain environments. (Drop one off near no assets in the middle of a large forest or desert or glacier or body of water and see how they fare. Thought experiment only!) My 95 year old father is in lockdown nursing home care for his own safety and not responsible for anything any more. Someone who tries to treat him like he's not human will meet with organized resistance. The argument of abortion being acceptable until the fetus is viable outside the womb occurs to me as logically similar to saying it isn't murder to throw someone out the airlock of the space station before she's finished putting on her space suit; she's viable where she is, but not in an environment for which she's not yet ready. One might argue that a viable new living individual deserving of some level of protection begins not at fertilization or delivery but at implantation (adhering to the uterine wall) which is typically days after ovum and sperm combine.

Darwin's theory of evolution provides an explanation for what we are seeing statistically. Over the past generation plus of legalized abortion, as some pro-choice abort some or all their own offspring, there is a slow shift in the population away from it. Pro-life are out-reproducing pro-choice. Pro-choice are deselecting their own genes and their partners'. The boyfriend may want to move on.

As much as I am glad to have had sisters, I have always felt the lack of a brother. It turns out there was a child aborted before my oldest sister was conceived. After her, a boy was born and quickly died of a fatal birth defect (microcephaly) years before I was born. It turns out that most of us siblings had some congenital defect. It turns out that there are a number of studies showing increased occurrence of some types of birth defects following abortion. "Researchers reviewing ten different studies found that some studies have found that abortion can increase the risk of 3 major causes of defects among newborns". http://afterabortion.blogspot.com/2004/1…
Our mother carried the secret of her abortion silently for many decades, until revealing it to us shortly before her death of old age. She seemed to be seeking acceptance and forgiveness, and got it. In the meantime it had brought her a lot of discomfort and guilt.

Here's a thought experiment. Put in the situation of the letter writer's boyfriend after being told the pregnancy alarm was a false alarm meant to convince me of the rightness of her intent to kill the new life, and the initial shock, stress of rethinking my life plan, then excitement was in response to a cruel fraud, I think my response would be something along the lines of the following. "What? Who are you? What are you? What sort of person are you that you would say you want to kill a baby, our baby, for your own financial or lifestyle convenience? To lie about the existence of a life to test me whether I'll go along with such a plan? On second thought, never mind, I don't need to ask which kind of person. You're an ex. We're done, NOW." Then I'd call the locksmith. Trust would be gone.

I have a son. The idea that if his mom and I had begun to have sufficiently severe relationship difficulties before he was born rather than a couple years later to result in the end of our marriage, that it would be only her choice whether to let that smart young man be born or to slice and dice him sickens me. Biology puts the blessing and burden of reproduction on women. Women in America and many other nations have reproductive choices; men have responsibilities. Until cloning is both perfected and allowed, a man can't have a child on his own. A woman can go to a bar for a sperm donor, lie about birth control, and then sue him for child support later. A woman needs only get along with a man for an hour for a child, or use a sperm bank. A man needs to be on the right side of a woman for a year or so. Biological difference between the genders makes equality of choice and consequences unattainable.

I think things were in some ways clearer in the old days. Women engaging in sex were in effect consenting to the risk of pregnancy and complications, and men were consenting to the shared responsibility, eg it would be said of some couples "they had to get married". And some lifelong high functioning marriages resulted.

But in the abstract, I can agree that there are some people who are so selfish they probably should not reproduce.

@113, the right of a draft age male to his body, freedom, and survival was subordinate to the desire of his nation's government to make war on others. That desire has no material substance of its own. The zygote is embodied in a discrete clump of living tissue, provably assuredly human, by dna test when it can afford the loss of a sufficient number of cells for the test. What it is not is an _adult_ human. Human is a species not an age or stage of maturation. On a developmental scale, one could make a case based on the completion of development all the way up to completion of brain development (currently considered to be around 25 years after birth). We have age requirements for major national office for good reason. Being an individual not mature enough yet for certain human roles does not make one subhuman or inhuman or not-human.

@159, either that's sarcasm or you can drive your car into a lake if you really mean it and want to act on the choice. I'd rather you didn't.

@182, you nailed it. In this area, women are not equal, women have significant advantage. In America at least.

@185, the liver analogy doesn't work. The uterus is not essential to the survival of the owner, and it is not in the normal course taken by the fetus, only inhabited for a while, by a natural outcome of an activity to which most likely there was informed consent.

I must say, with all the side effects and potential complications, I think it's an amazing act of courage for an intelligent informed woman to choose to become pregnant. Twenty nine years later, I still recall lots of details about when I heard her say, "Let's make a baby".

And 29 years later I'm still waiting for a men's rights movement to get traction to make things reasonably equitable for him and his male cousins and friends. As things stand now, even someone convicted of statutory rape gets child support--from the paternal grandparents, parents of the underage male, regardless of age of the mother or her incarceration!

@201, mostly bingo. Note though that there may be some men willing and able to be single parents.

I have a friend who had an abortion years ago, has no children and has been having second thoughts about her choice. To my knowledge no one is making her wrong for her choice, except possibly herself.

The whole topic is so much more complicated than simply "it's the woman's decision" versus "it's wrong".
More...
Posted by dadofone on October 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM · Report this
mydriasis 277
@dadofone

"Remember that nearly half the fetuses aborted are female."

Worldwide it's most certainly more than half considering the worlds two most populous countries practice sex selection.

"This if continued is ominous for twenty years from now"

It HAS been carried on for twenty years and there IS serious social problems in China because of it.

"A woman can go to a bar for a sperm donor, lie about birth control, and then sue him for child support later."

Any man (or woman) who has sex with a stranger without a condom is stupid/ignorant. Any man who goes "oh word, you're on the pill strange fucking woman I've never met who could be a sociopath who wants a baby and/or has HIV and/or has another STI or two or three? awesome, no condoms for us!". My sympathy is not with that stupid fucking man, it is for that poor baby who will be dumb as sand.

"the liver analogy doesn't work. The uterus is not essential to the survival of the owner, and it is not in the normal course taken by the fetus, only inhabited for a while, by a natural outcome of an activity to which most likely there was informed consent."

If you think the uterus is the only part of a woman's body that is "used"/effected during pregnancy you need to read a couple books then come back later. Also an organ donor has a surgery and recovery. This surgery and recovery does not last 9 months.

Finally, this:

"I think things were in some ways clearer in the old days. Women engaging in sex were in effect consenting to the risk of pregnancy and complications, and men were consenting to the shared responsibility, eg it would be said of some couples "they had to get married". And some lifelong high functioning marriages resulted."

Rewrite:

"I think things were in some ways clearer in the old days. Women engaging in sex were in effect consenting to the risk of pregnancy and complications, including death. Women who were raped or molested as young but pubescent girls were forced to endure the risks and complications of pregnancy including death.

Men were consenting to the shared responsibility, unless they were unknown to the woman such as a strange rapist may be, or if they were otherwise successfully able to shirk their responsibilities as a father which often happened especially with young men. It would be said of some couples "they had to get married". And some lifelong high functioning marriages resulted, as well as some extremely dysfunctional and life-destroying situations"

Now how it happens is that women are in effect consenting to the possibility they might get pregnant and therefore need to make a decision about what to do with her body. Whatever her choice, there may be a risk to her health but she is no longer forced to carry a pregnancy that will likely kill her.

Men are in effect consenting to the possibility that his partner may get pregnant and his ability to influence her decision is limited. (Though many women, myself included would weigh their boyfriend's/husband's desires heavily into her decision.)

Though neither situation is ideal, I'm appalled that you'd suggest the earlier one is better.

To simplify, let's compare the worst case scenarios.

The old worst case scenario: a 10 year old girl is raped by an older relative, forced to carry the baby despite the risk to her health, is retraumatized by the pregnancy, shamed and shunned by society for "having sex", and dies in childbirth.

The new worst case scenario: a man gets a woman pregant and

a. Wants to keep the baby but his girlfriend/wife/ONS aborts. This is emotionally upsetting (no doubt, I agree) but he is still capable of having the joy of building a family one day.

b. Doesn't want to keep the baby but she chooses to keep the baby. This is how things were in the "good old days" so I'm assuming this isn't the worst case scenario you envisioned.
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Posted by mydriasis on October 13, 2012 at 9:18 AM · Report this
278
Anyone else wondering what Dan was smoking/drinking while he was writing the responses to this week's letter writers?

Definitely not his best effort.
Posted by MD man on October 13, 2012 at 10:23 AM · Report this
279
@mydriasis:
No, new worst case scenario might be:
Raped 14 yo who wants to have the baby but is pressured into abortion by (maybe) well meaning relatives, and re-traumatised by this second negation of her bodily autonomy.
Posted by migrationist on October 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this
280
@ 267 - "Do they ? Source please.

Already in 1998, French doctors would recommand to "avoid alcohol as far as possible" during pregnancy. I know, I was pregnant at the time. I didn't touch the stuff. I already cared for my children.

As for toxoplasmosis, it's recommended for young girls to have cats, so that they get toxoplasmosis and have antibodies a long time before they're pregnant.

A woman who chooses to have a child has a responsability to do everything possible to be, yes, a proper incubator. A woman who doesn't want to take the pains to be a proper incubator, she should abort."

You want sources? Search: french doctors allow wine during pregnancy

First hit on google:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/29/dining…

Second hit on google:

http://www.vinography.com/archives/2006/…

Third hit on google:

http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/pregn…

Fourth hit on google:

http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/…

Now, regardng Toxoplasmosis: intentionally contractinng toxoplasmosis is self destructive in the extreme.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/scie…

"Women with Toxoplasma infections were 54% more likely to attempt suicide – and twice as likely to succeed. In particular, these women were more likely to attempt violent suicides (using a knife or gun, for example, instead of overdosing on pills). But even more disturbing: suicide attempt risk was positively correlated with the level of infection. Those with the highest levels of antibodies were 91% more likely to attempt suicide than uninfected women. The connection between parasite and suicide held even for women who had no history of mental illness: among them, infected women were 56% more likely to commit self-directed violence."

So parents should expose their little girls to toxoplasmosis to prepare them as incubators? Even though it means their little girls are then 50% more likely to blow their own brains out? Does that really seem even remotely okay to you?

And women should do everything possible? Everything? Really? So while you were pregnant, did you stay in a clean room throughout your pregnancy to make sure you didn't catch a virus and make your child around 500% more likely to develop schizophrenia? If not, you DID NOT do "everything possible" to protect your developing children. I guess you should have had an abortion, then, shouldn't you? Isn't that what you said?

Look, life happens. We have to live our lives, even while we are pregnant. Should we be careful? Of course. But it's sick and regressive to suggest that any woman who gives birth to a child with any sort of physical or mental problem should be viewed as "immoral." Instead of blaming and vilifying the mothers of special needs children, we should be helping them.
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Posted by MiscKitty on October 13, 2012 at 1:04 PM · Report this
281
@273: All of those birth control methods have failure rates. There are careful but unlucky people in this world, and some of them have gotten pregnant despite their IUDs, hormonal birth control, or partners' vasectomies. While I hate this line, the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy is to never have sex. I'm just glad that abortion is an option for us careful people who don't want children. It's not an ideal backup, but it is a backup.
Posted by alguna_rubia on October 13, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
282
@ mydriasis -

I'll admit I was floored when I read that post and saw that you made it. But take a peek back at it. You'll see why I interpreted it the way I did. And I agree that parents (not just women) need to go above and beyond (and not just during pregnancy).

BUT (I coulsn't agree with you completely. That wouldn't be any fun. ;) ) it's a balancing act. It has to be. To expect women to not only know everything that could possibly harm their children but to be able to act in their children's best interests 100% of the time is simply unrealistic and, quite frankly, cruel.

In the interest of honesty, though, since we were talking about tiny clusters of cells, here is my personal experience with it: When I found out I was pregnant, I had a breakdown in my OB's office. I hadn't really been trying to get pregnant yet and had only been off the pill for two months. I'd had two glasses of wine after he was conceived but before I knew I was carrying him (one in mid November and one on Thanksgiving - I had mistaken implantation bleeding for a light period so I thought I was sure that I wasn't pregnant). I was convinved I would either have to abort my baby or risk giving birth to a child who would suffer from profound disabilities throughout his (or her) entire life. My OB takled me down and reassured me that it was absolutely okay and there was a vanishingly slim chance that I had done even the slightest bit of damage. (She was right, of course.) But our society already moralizes about women who drink during pregnancy. The things I had heard were the refrain in my head. And in that moment I honstly believed I had done the most horrible thing I could imagine doing. And I believed I had done it to my baby. No woman should do something as innocuous as what I did and feel as horrible as I felt for having done it.

But like I said, it doesn't end when the baby is born. And of course it shouldn't. (If it does, then we're expecting a fetus to be treated with more care than a child and that's kinda messed up.)

When my son was about to turn one, he was quickly getting too big for his rear facing infant seat. I chatted with my mom about it and we were both excited to turn him to face forward. I started dinking around on the internet, reading car seat information. Three months before I began my research, the AAP released a statement saying that children should rear face until they are at least two. That really surprised me so I dug deeper. I ended up logging a total of around 60 hours of research and making heavy use of Google translate (so I could read information in four languages I do not speak) before spending $650 on a car seat that will allow my son to rear face until he is between four and five years old (children's vertebrae don't calcify until they turn four and prior to that forward facing greatly increases a child's risk of of internal decapitation in a head on collision at speeds of only 35 miles per hour).

Are women who don't have $650 to spend on a car seat immoral? Are women who could spend $650 on a car seat but do not immoral? Had my son been born four months earlier, I would have turned him to face forward when he turned one. I would have had no idea I was putting him at risk.

I'm neurotic as heck about product safety for my son and I could give you a dozen more similar examples. Sometimes I have gotten the information in time to make the right choice. Sometimes the information hasn't been available until I have already made the wrong choice. But to outright call this a moral issue seems very, very wrong to me.

That's why I reacted with the "incubator" argument. Sometimes you don't have the information. (I didn't know until a few months back that apple juice contains aresnic). Sometimes you have the information and your response is limited by other considerations. (I had my OB test me for toxo antibodies and I came back negative. We have cats. My husband cleaned their litter during most of my pregnancy. My husband can't cook. I wore latex gloves any time I handled raw meat while I was pregnant.) And sometimes you do have the information and there's not a damned thing you can do except cross your fingers and hope. (I knew that exposure to viruses would increase my child's chances of developing schizophrenia but I couldn't spend 40 weeks in a clean room).

We do the best we can. What that "best" is varies from woman to woman, but almost universally we do the best we can. Pregnancy is scary enough and being a mom is hard enough without the external moralizing from the peanut gallery.
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Posted by MiscKitty on October 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM · Report this
Warnis 283
Dan, I am so disappointed in this advice!!!! LIFE, DO NOT LISTEN TO DAN! Everyone (except for those people involved in the abortion debate, whose comments I naturally skipped) here who is telling you that lying about a pregnancy (!!!!) is a horrible thing to do is right. This is all repetition here, but I feel the need to say it again because I am so shocked by Dan's suggestion: not only is lying about being pregnant to your boyfriend a total DTMFA move, but he will never trust you again, and for GOOD REASON!! As others have pointed out, it will also make you look horrible, and he will likely hold this against you, which will ultimately lead to the end of your relationship anyway. Take the advice of those who suggested asking him whether or not he would support YOUR decision to have an abortion if HE EVER GOT YOU PREGNANT AND *YOU* DECIDED THAT YOU WANTED TO ABORT. I am actually stunned by Dan'd terrible advice. I've disagreed with minor things Dan has said in the past (but those are rare), but this is on a whole other level. I sincerely hope you've realized what terrible advice this was and refrained from telling such a relationship-breaking lie to your boyfriend!
Posted by Warnis on October 13, 2012 at 2:49 PM · Report this
mydriasis 284
@ MiscKitty

Your points are completely true, but of course we can easily go too far in the other direction. Some people say things like "if you don't have kids you can't say anything about how I raise mine" or even other parents can't comment.

I don't need to be a parent to know that if I see a parent beating the crap out of their kid, it's wrong. I don't need to be a parent to know that if your child accuses your boyfriend of sexual abuse, the right response isn't to punish her. And I don't need to be a parent to know that you shouldn't withhold food from your child as a punishment so often that her growth falls behind a healthy level for her age.

The problem, I think, is that a lot of people comment on parenting from a holier-than-thou standpoint. That's not how it should be. But the response to that is that everyone should just mind their own business. That's a very current-day-North-American-individualistic mindset but I don't think it's a good one. It takes a village to raise a child and everyone should care about the wellbeing of children.

To that end I'll come back to your question about parents who can't afford x or y thing. Are they worse parents? No. Are their children worse off in that specific way? Yes. There are a number of ways that money benefits children from safer cars to healthier food. But as the Beatles told us, money can't buy love. And having grown up in an especially affluent setting, I can tell you that the kids there are more fucked up than middle class kids by many many miles a lot of the time.
Posted by mydriasis on October 13, 2012 at 5:39 PM · Report this
mydriasis 285
@ migrationist

Umm... okay, so let's look at that.

1. In the current state of affairs, the girl can be pressured into a decision, but unlike before, she has the legally protected right to decide what to do with her body.

2. It's interesting that you suggested that the worst case scenario was one where she's pressured into having an abortion, and not pressured into having the baby.

It's plainly obvious to everyone that being legally forced into a reproducive decision is worse than being socially pressured (not to discount pressure, especially on young, dependent people), so if you're suggesting that the new worst case scenario is worse than the old worst case scenario then I can only conclude it's because you think an unwilling abortion is worse than an unwilling pregnancy/birth.

That's quite a claim to make without any evidence.
Posted by mydriasis on October 13, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
mydriasis 286
@ migrationist

Also, I agree that your worst case scenario is more apt, but the OP seemed to be suggesting that men now get the raw deal when it comes to reproductive rights. Your worst case scenario is way more accurate, but I meant to address the scenarios that seemed to be behind his wistfulness to the days of shotgun weddings.
Posted by mydriasis on October 13, 2012 at 6:00 PM · Report this
sissoucat 287
@280 It doesn't look too good to play the smug card "on French doctors allowing wine" when your sources are in fact :

1rst : an American newspaper article contemplating what happens now, quote, "If pregnant Frenchwomen are giving up wine completely ...",

2nd : comments on an American wine blog "I can tell you that - at least in the past - French doctors ...",

and 3rd : anonymous comments on an American parenting board...

... and I didn't bother to check your 4th source.

That's not what I call credible sources. Maybe you should have read them before linking.
Posted by sissoucat on October 13, 2012 at 7:43 PM · Report this
sissoucat 288
@280 "intentionally contractinng toxoplasmosis is self destructive in the extreme"

Your (credible for once) source is fairly recent research - of which I was not aware - mentioning mental problems, including an increase of 91% of suicide attempts for people who have the most antibodies. So, at worst, toxoplamosis causes roughly a doubling of the death by suicide risk.

Since the Wisqars study lists the death by suicide rate for American females, ages 18 to 85+, as 5.5 per 100,000 (1999-2007)- that means a suicide death risk of 0.011% instead of 0.0055%.

This doubling is a pretty strong effect alright, but it doesn't make intentionaly catching toxoplasmosis something "self destructive in the extreme".

In fact, it's about the same death risk as stepping outside your house : the American females, ages 18 to 85+, death by transportation rate is 11 per 100,000 (1999-2007, Wisqars again).

Smoking, now, that's something that's pretty self-destructive. Bath salts too.
Posted by sissoucat on October 13, 2012 at 8:26 PM · Report this
289
I usually love Dan's advice but I wouldn't fake a pregnancy. You are what you do, Dan, and dealing with a douche doesn't give you permission to be a douche. Being a douche just brings you down to their level.

You can however, talk to him. Bring up the points Dan made. And find out what he would want to do if you got pregnant. If abortion's not in the picture for him, you should probably move on and find someone else.
Posted by GG1000 on October 13, 2012 at 9:17 PM · Report this
290
@268: Amen, and bless you!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 13, 2012 at 11:45 PM · Report this
291
@mydriasis:
I didn't say that the "new" worst case scenario proposed by me is either better or worse than the "old" one proposed by you. I just disagreed with your comparing a child-abuse case to consenting sex between adults- like there is no child-abuse anymore today.

Personally, I don't dare judge what is more traumatising: forced to carry to term or pressured to have an abortion. I think it probably depends on each woman and situation.

Since abortion in Germany is not legal in all cases but tolerated in the first trimester (a weird result from reunification and unifying abortion law of East and West), I personally don't know of any women having been forced to carry a child to term, nor any women having had dangerous illegal abortions.
But I do know of some cases where there was pressure on a girl/ woman to have an abortion. In one particularly difficult case, the parents of the adult pregnant woman were well-meaning but managed to alienate their daughter and son-in-law instead of giving them the support they needed in a very difficult time.

Also, I am volunteering and work with teenagers from troubled backgrounds. In a lot of cases, teenage girls who were abused and ended up pregnant want to keep the baby. Pressure on them to abort the fetus is devastating to them, even though it is usually well-meant.
Posted by migrationist on October 14, 2012 at 12:07 AM · Report this
mydriasis 292
@ migrationist

See my second post at 286
Posted by mydriasis on October 14, 2012 at 7:08 AM · Report this
293
I think this is the first time I've disagreed with Dan Savage's usually outstanding advice. Dan, I think your laudable pro-choice position got the better of your common sense this time: you're telling this woman to become what you yourself would describe in any other relationship context as a manipulative lying SOS. Advising someone to lie about something as serious as a pregnancy to test their partner's belief is dishonest and dangerous; if my partner lied to me about something this grave, I'd seriously question whether I should be with her.

So sure, present it as a thought experiment. But don't manipulate emotions to prove a point - however valid that point may be.
Posted by Two hearts on October 14, 2012 at 8:04 AM · Report this
294
@262(Haley), I understand your viewpoint, and I agree to the extent that it is true that a time period for fathers to opt out of fatherhood would make the situation fair for both men and women. But there is one person in the story to whom this wouldn't be fair: the baby (who, by the way, may also be a man). I don't have statistics to back this up -- but the common wisdom seems to be that, under those circumstances, men would opt out of fatherhood much more often than not, so the final result would be a net increase in the number of single mothers. Now, without help from the father, many of these mothers would not be able to give their babies a reasonable standard of living -- which means that we either (a) don't care about that (so we let the baby suffer for something s/he did NOT have any power to influence?), (b) only allow women who have more than X dollars of stable income to become single mothers (and how could we do that? by making abortion obligatory if the mother is poor and the father opts out -- in which case we give up the woman's control over her body?), or (c) by pouring government money in the form of social security for poor single mothers -- i.e., burden the taxpayer (which, in the current political climate, would sound very bad indeed).

Burdening the father is the least bad option here. Yes, it is unfair to the father -- I agree 100%. But considering the other options, which are all even more unfair, I don't see how to avoid that.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 14, 2012 at 8:20 AM · Report this
295
@273, of course the argument fails to proceed if one does not assume the "miracle of life" has happened. Those cells were alive prior to conception, after all.

Here is the thing: this entire debate always hinges on what is ultimately a philosophical choice. When does the "miracle of life" happen? There are many answers to that question. (Mine: it never does; life is a process without beginning and end. But that's a long story...) If you insist on treating your opponents as if they had the same answer to this question as you do, yet for some evil reason failed to draw the same conclusion about abortion, then you are fooling yourself.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 14, 2012 at 8:39 AM · Report this
296
@mydriasis, your posts make me curious about your personal opinion on the "beginning of personhood" debate. Where do you draw the line, philosophically (if you do, at all)? Where do you think society should (pragmatically) draw the line?
Posted by ankylosaur on October 14, 2012 at 8:57 AM · Report this
mydriasis 297
@ 296

I don't think personhood is binary. Development is continuous, birth is continuous, death is continuous. None of it is discrete.

The closest I can come to drawing a line is conception, and the formation of a new genome. Once a new genome is formed, there is a living cell with a unique, homo sapien genome. It is a living creature that is genetically distinct from the mother. It's undoubtedly human. So as far as I'm concerned it's also person. Does that mean I'm "pro life"? Absolutely not. Many people have pointed out the flaws in the logic that just because someone is a "person" does not mean they are equivalent to the standard adult, mentally and physiologically competent "person". There are lots of people who's rights and responsibilies differ from such a person - that doesn't make them not people.

So to answer your question, I think a zygote is a person, sure. But because of that person's special circumstances (lack of a nervous system and ability to perceive suffering, dependence on another person's body for viability, etc) their treatment is of course different than someone else's.

I'm comfortable drawing the line at what I see as the cleanest break nature offers because I don't think the right to someone else's body follows naturally from personhood. If I did, I might be more inclined to draw the line somewhere in the fuzzy realm where consciousness and the ability to experience suffering arises. Or even birth, as some do.
Posted by mydriasis on October 14, 2012 at 9:27 AM · Report this
mydriasis 298
@ ankly

Oh, I totally missed your second question!!

As I said above, I'd prefer that society seperated "personhood" from the abortion debate, mainly because of the perils I mentioned of giving a pre-birth human NO rights.

In my ideal world parenthood would be legally (and socially) treated drastically different than it is in our current system where parenthood is treated as a birthright and not a privelege. As it stnads, any professional who has to deal with children is rigourously vetted, but parents, who have much greater ability to shape and harm children just need to have working reproductive systems - or date someone with a child. It's gut-wrenching.

Ideally sex ed would be excellent and thorough, birth control would be free, abortions would be safe, legal and rare (luckily where I live we're not TOO far off that goal). But if a woman chooses to keep her baby, that fetus has rights, since it will become a being we can all agree is a person. I'd be in favour of a parenting license system.

In short I want to see a shift of parenthood as a right to parenthood as a privelege and a change from quantitity to quality.
Posted by mydriasis on October 14, 2012 at 9:45 AM · Report this
299
"it isn’t life that’s sacred—the world is full of life, much of which Paul Ryan wants to cut down and exploit and eat done medium rare. It is conscious, thinking life that counts, and where and exactly how it begins (and ends) is so complex a judgment that wise men and women, including some on the Supreme Court, have decided that it is best left, at least at its moments of maximum ambiguity, to the individual conscience (and the individual conscience’s doctor). The cost of simplifying this truth is immense cruelty—cruelty to the bean when, truly developed, it becomes a frightened teen-ager who is to be compelled by law to carry her unwished-for pregnancy through with all the trauma that involves."

"A bean isn’t a baby; a baby was once a bean, and between those two truths it is, or ought to be, every woman for herself."

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/ne…"
Posted by susanned on October 14, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
300
"it isn’t life that’s sacred—the world is full of life, much of which Paul Ryan wants to cut down and exploit and eat done medium rare. It is conscious, thinking life that counts, and where and exactly how it begins (and ends) is so complex a judgment that wise men and women, including some on the Supreme Court, have decided that it is best left, at least at its moments of maximum ambiguity, to the individual conscience (and the individual conscience’s doctor). The cost of simplifying this truth is immense cruelty—cruelty to the bean when, truly developed, it becomes a frightened teen-ager who is to be compelled by law to carry her unwished-for pregnancy through with all the trauma that involves."

"A bean isn’t a baby; a baby was once a bean, and between those two truths it is, or ought to be, every woman for herself."

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/ne…"
Posted by susanned on October 14, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this
301
Lying about being pregnant is awful advice!! It's the surefire way to end the relationship, what if he's delighted?! Then you have to either fake a miscarriage or fess up about lying, for which he will probably dump you, and with good reason.
Frankly, for me it would be a deal breaker, but whether it is for you is something you have to think hard about, only you know the answer to that. But don't lie about being pregnant, that's some serious bunny boiler psycho shit!
Posted by lorelies on October 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM · Report this
302
@297, I think we're on the same page there, including the parenthood-as-privilege vs. parenthood-as-right question you mentioned.

I do think conception is a very important moment, but (precisely because I see personhood as a development) even there I don't see its inception. True, there is an independent DNA sequence there, but I don't equalte it with personhood. If we actually did, in a consequent way, I think there could be quite strange consequences.

A lawyer friend of mine once speculated about whether this would make it impossible for a person to be declared legally dead if s/he happened to have donated an organ -- say, a kidney -- to another person who was still alive. So, if my kidney -- with cells that have my DNA sequence -- is still alive in someone else's body, then I am still (legally) alive, and so my property cannot be passed on to my heirs... In order to avoid that, it would be necessary to define (legal) personhood as not equivalent to a single individual DNA sequence; something like having a full body, or having a mind, would have to be added to it.

Because personhood is a process, I can't see it being present at the point of conception yet (except in the diffuse way in which it was already present even in the pre-conception gametes -- you may not know what person or what DNA sequence a given human gamete will become, but you can be 100% sure that the only thing it can become is a human, not a dog or a bird). Personhood may well be an (almost) inevitable consequence of that moment, but the first step (if indeed it is the first) is not the same thing as the whole journey.

Maybe I could put it like this: to assign "full" personhood to a zygote is to me to somehow 'debase' the meaning of personhood, as commonly understood: to be a person.

But that's not what you're doing, and as I said it seems we're on the same page, the biggest difference being that I'm apparently a bit more of a gradualist than you are.
More...
Posted by ankylosaur on October 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM · Report this
303
@mydriasis, or to put it differently and more succinctly (albeit in an admitted exaggerated way, for contrast...): a gamete has (diffuse) personhood because it certainly is human (not a dog, not a bird), but its personality lacks individuality -- a specific DNA sequence. We know it's someone, but we don't -- can't -- know who it is (genetically) until conception.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 14, 2012 at 2:57 PM · Report this
304
@300, very beautifully put. Thank you for that.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 14, 2012 at 3:03 PM · Report this
mydriasis 305
"Maybe I could put it like this: to assign "full" personhood to a zygote is to me to somehow 'debase' the meaning of personhood, as commonly understood: to be a person."

I'm not concerned about debasing the meaning of personhood. :P

And that is perhaps the biggest difference between myself and other pro-choicers who define personhood differently.
Posted by mydriasis on October 14, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
306
@9 A brain makes a human being. That's why we take fully formed people without enough brain function left off life support.
Posted by Rori_72 on October 14, 2012 at 3:13 PM · Report this
mydriasis 307
@306

What is "enough" brain function?

Again, brain function (like all other biological properties) is continuous, not discrete.
Posted by mydriasis on October 14, 2012 at 4:43 PM · Report this
308
@300 & @304: I could not agree more! Kudos!!!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 14, 2012 at 7:14 PM · Report this
All Day I Have Opinions About Sex 309
So Dan, your method of deciding whether "personhood" begins at conception is to first decide whether you want it to, and then decide that since you don't because if it did then it would be bad for women, then it must not. Bad philosopher! Bad philosopher!

Also: dickish move going straight for "must want to control women's bodies" when the guy may just really think that zygotes must be human beings, and also really not like killing human beings. It is on the surface a very logical thing to believe. You and the letter writer are both being both unfair and oh so far up your own asses in your horror at this man. You may have to faint for good effect, to really drive the point home.

There are very good and logical reasons to not think personhood begins at conception. For example, the biggest one for me is that 25% of zygotes/embryos are spontaneously aborted within the first six weeks. Yet nobody really mourns them, not even those who are pro-life.

I've explained this in depth in a blog post: http://applebutterdreams.wordpress.com/2…

If pro-choicers cannot learn to talk to pro-lifers on their own terms they (pro-choice) are just going to be stuck shouting in their own echo chamber and patting each other on the back for being such good people. It's all very unseemly.
Posted by All Day I Have Opinions About Sex http://applebutterdreams.wordpress.com/ on October 14, 2012 at 8:37 PM · Report this
310
Dan-- Has it ever occurred to you that some people who believe life begins at conception also acknowledge that it's a personal belief. There's a reason we call it pro-CHOICE, rather than pro-ABORTION. You want my opinion? Did you ask for it? If so, hell, I'm against abortion. But if you don't ask, I'll shut the fuck up and let your own conscience guide you. But if you LIE TO ME, like you advised this woman to do, I will assume you are a decietful piece of shit!
Posted by My Name Is Al on October 14, 2012 at 9:04 PM · Report this
311
If you think the guy is not for you because of his beliefs, fine. Break up. But by lying to him you give up your personal integrity, and suck as a friend. If I were him, and you lied to me about something important just to test me, I would assume that is how you would deal with other issues in our relationship, and feel sorry for the next guy. If you can't be in a relationship with the guy, at least be a good friend, be honest, and let him move on to find someone with whom he shares the same values. There are all kinds of people in the world, and a lot of good people will disagree with you about something important. You can still stay friends, and be the kind of person whom they can respect in spite of their difference with you. But not if you lie about something important, and this is important. I normally like Dan's advice, but this is a big Fail.
Posted by Pmhayden on October 14, 2012 at 9:16 PM · Report this
312
306/307 What is enough brain function?

Well, if they're voting Republican, it's not enough.
Posted by Crinoline on October 15, 2012 at 5:07 AM · Report this
313
@ sissoucat 287 - I think you may have slightly misconstrued the point I was making. Ironically, the fourth link is discussing this series of studies:

http://www.bjog.org/details/news/2085661…

That link is to BJOG, an international journal of obstetrics and gynecology That's why I linked the fourth hit. The reason I linked the first three (and the reason I didn't link directly to French websites) was to show that what I posted was common knowledge. However, I do owe an amendment Thinking back on it, if I remember correctly, French doctors like Italian doctors only allow one glass of wine. It's been almost three years since I read the information so you'll have to forgive me for doubling the number. But hey, @ 288 you said that's not significant anyway. ;)

And please keep in mind that the person I was debating with stated that pregnant women should do everything -possible- to protect their not yet born children. I would say that there is a real problem when parents intentionally double their daughters' suicide rates in order to also protect their not yet conceived grandchildren. If an adult intentionally contracts toxo because she is concerned about the children she plans to have, more power to her. But isn't the whole point of being exceedingly careful about what you do while you are pregnant that you are protecting your child? If women should do everything -possible- to protect their kids before they get here, why would that change after they arrive?
Posted by MiscKitty on October 15, 2012 at 5:43 AM · Report this
314
"Most anti-choice-in-the-abstract men come to a very different conclusion about the importance of access to safe and legal abortion when an unplanned pregnancy impacts them directly."

Really? And what scientific empirical study is this observation based upon? Or you just know this because you know so much about straight men?

It's ok for someone to totally mind fuck a guy you're dating because of a legitimate political/moral disagreement? Really? Is it ok to tell your partner you tested positive for AIDS because you don't like how they think about that?

I'm straight and very pro-life, but I've also been the victim of a malicious paternity stunt. And your advice demonstrates the insensitivity of someone who is well on their way to becoming a zealot. Don't agree with Dan? Well you deserve what's coming to you then.

I used to read Savage Love because it was full of sensitive advice and it was funny.

These days it's neither.
Posted by radomyinzer on October 15, 2012 at 6:23 AM · Report this
315
"Most anti-choice-in-the-abstract men come to a very different conclusion about the importance of access to safe and legal abortion when an unplanned pregnancy impacts them directly."

Really? And what scientific empirical study is this observation based upon? Or you just know this because you know so much about straight men?

It's ok for someone to totally mind fuck a guy you're dating because of a legitimate political/moral disagreement? Really? Is it ok to tell your partner you tested positive for AIDS because you don't like how they think about that?

I'm straight and very pro-life, but I've also been the victim of a malicious paternity stunt. And your advice demonstrates the insensitivity of someone who is well on their way to becoming a zealot. Don't agree with Dan? Well you deserve what's coming to you then.

I used to read Savage Love because it was full of sensitive advice and it was funny.

These days it's neither.
Posted by radomyinzer on October 15, 2012 at 6:25 AM · Report this
316
sorry for the double-posted comment...it's the first time i have posted a comment after years of reading and i screwed it up... and also i meant to say i'm very PRO-CHOICE....i just think it's despicable to lie to someone about something so serious because you disagree with them.
Posted by radomyinzer on October 15, 2012 at 6:50 AM · Report this
317
@ mydriasis

Several months ago I had lasik. While I was required to keep my eyes closed, I listened to part of a newish book by Sam Harris called The Moral Landscape. In it, he suggests that morality is not subjective and that science can guide us in determining universal morality. I haven't bought non-audio copy of the book yet (I've been reading some other stuff) so I haven't finished it. I find I enjoy that sort of material more if I read it rather than listen to it. That said, please keep in mind that I have only listened to the first chunk of it so I am not painting a complete picture of his theory.

He suggests that morality ought to be viewed as the promotion of human well being. This can be achieved by adding positive stimuli and/or by removing negative stimuli. He says that there isn't likely to be only one way to successfully achieve the promotion of human well being and that we should instead consider morality as a sort of topographical map with several peaks and several valleys (valleys of course being human distress).

If we assume he is correct (and I believe he is) then we can determine if an action is moral through that lens without the fog of moral relativism. And for the sake of this line of thought, let's assume that we should view the well being of the unborn child as "human well being" and that it should be taken equally into consideration.

I'm going to borrow your "pregnant women drinking" example because I think it'll work well for this.

In the case of a pregnant woman drinking, let's first assume that she is doing it in moderation: say a half of a true serving of wine before bed. Even in the United States where we, I would argue, still have the post-prohibition jitters, some doctors will suggest that to pregnant women. From what I have read, they typically suggest it during the third trimester to women who are having a great deal of difficulty sleeping. And they suggest it in lieu of prescribing sleeping aids. Thanks to a recent series of studies in Denmark, we know that she will not be doing harm to her child by consuming 3.5 servings of wine per week (the study showed that the upper limit of non-harmful is eight servings). We can be further assured of this lack of harm because she is limiting her wine consumption to the third trimester of her pregnancy, when it is least likely to have any detrimental effect. Sleep deprivation is harmful. This is a scientific fact. And pharmaceuticals often carry a whole host of side effects that are more significant than the side effects of half of a glass of wine. So can we agree that the greatest degree of promotion of human well being is served by the pregnant woman drinking wine as a sleep aid, in this case?

Now let's assume that a pregnant woman is binge drinking and has given herself a mild case of alcohol poisoning. Let's also assume that she is in the middle of her second trimester so we can be fairly sure that she knows she is pregnant. If we assume that she only drinks on Friday and Saturday night and we assume that she has four and a half drinks per night, we can infer from those recent studies in Denmark that she is putting her unborn child at some degree of risk and thereby promoting human distress. She is also creating distress in herself (nausea, impending headache, etc..) We can assume that the early effects of the alcohol foster a perceived sense of human well being however, or she would not be drinking. I would suggest that we could honestly work out a mathematical equation to determine if what she is doing is moral. My first guess, however, would be that it is not. And I suspect the numbers would bear that out.

However, that doesn't mean that we should hold up the most extreme cases of anything as proof that it is inherently immoral. You can die from drinking too much water. You can also die from not drinking enough water. The former fact does not justify abstaining from water any more than the latter fact justifies binging on it. The fact is, circumstances and degrees play a huge part in everything we do. And the casual observer can't honestly expect to be aware of all of the facts.

With regards to parents responding badly to advice, I suspect that is in large part because we have created a negative feedback loop for ourselves around our children. In the United States, we make much of being individualistic and self-sufficient. Just look at all of the rhetoric not too long ago surrounding "self-made" billionaires. We like to think that we do everything for ourselves. Even parents who don't believe that they are the sole purveyor of all where their children are concerned can't help but feel the pressure from society. And when we make parenting an assessment of blame, is it any surprise that parents don't want to hear from anyone who has differing viewpoints? We need to come together as a society and do more to take care of the most vulnerable among us. Like you said, it takes a village to raise a child. But raising a child and casting stones at the child's parents aren't the same thing.

Honestly though, I agree with your sentiment. It annoys me to no end that some parents think that no one else could possibly offer advice on their children. I have a girl friend who worked as a nanny when she was in college and now works in a public school. I have a baby, she does not. I have more experience with -my- kid than she does but she has vastly more experience with -kids- than I do so when she gives me advice, I certainly think what she has to say is of value so I listen to her and weigh what she has said when I make my decision. And it makes very little sense to me when other people don't do the same. Sure I can empathize with what they might be feeling, but it just seems counterproductive to me to ignore advice. Good ideas can come from any source. And if the idea has merit, it would be silly to dismiss it because the person who thought of it approached the problem with a different set of experiences.
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Posted by MiscKitty on October 15, 2012 at 8:14 AM · Report this
318
"progressive in every other way"

I find that extremely doubtful.
Posted by he's not going to change his mind in event of accident on October 15, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
319
never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never
pretend to be pregnant.
never.
Posted by worst advice ever, dan. on October 15, 2012 at 11:13 AM · Report this
320
I can't believe you advised a woman to lie to her SO about being pregnant. You lost some respect points with me for that one. Lying about being pregnant is a repugnant act that no ethical woman should ever choose. Our ability to create a child within our bodies is a sacred trust, and it should not be used to mind fuck our partners.

Maybe you read a different letter from the one I read. I read that the boyfriend is against abortion; he believes the potential of the fetus is as important as the life of a baby. Lots of people believe that, even those of us who are pro choice. I did not read that he's against a woman's right to choose abortion. There's a big difference. Opinion vs legislation. Huge.

Let me make one thing clear: I am a pro-choice feminist, and I absolutely defend any woman's right to choose abortion. This is about intentional deception and emotional manipulation, not about abortion rights.

You fucked this one up so bad.
Posted by Reticula http://reticulatedwriter@blogspot.com on October 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
321
"Most anti-choice men come to a very different conclusion about access to safe legal abortion when it impacts them directly."

If you want any more direct evidence of how untrue this statement is, google on Scott DesJarlais in the Huffington Post. He's the Republican senator from Tennessee who urged the patient he was having an affair with when married to get an abortion, then continued to campaign on a pro-choice, family values platform. He was anti-choice in the abstract and remained anti-choice after the direct impact on him.

He's not here to speak for himself, but I bet that if he were, he'd maintain that he's the victim. He'd point out that he was the victim of a bad marriage and that his 1st wife's bad behavior forced him to become the serial cheater that he was. He was the victim of a woman who lied about her birth control which caused her to get pregnant in the first place. (Surely placing his penis in her vagina had nothing to do with it.) And he must be the victim of the lenient abortion laws because if abortion weren't legal, the transcript of his conversation urging the woman to get a safe legal abortion couldn't have been made public this close to the election. See how the liberal media is at fault?

It's hard for me to rein in my sarcasm, but I'll try. My point is that it's normal for humans to rationalize pretty much anything. One can condemn bad behavior in others, engage in that behavior oneself, and easily decide that one's own behavior was a special and excusable case. Or else people can benefit from a situation, then feel guilty and thus be alright with changing the rules for those that follow.
Posted by Crinoline on October 15, 2012 at 12:59 PM · Report this
322
I'm really surprised by how offensively off the mark Dan is in his advice to LIFE.

First of all, her boyfriend never said he was anti-choice or that he thinks abortion should be illegal. He said he believes life begins at conception, which is a perfectly reasonable position to hold. He believes that abortion is awful. This is not an uncommon position to have. I personally think that life begins at conception and that abortion is awful, and my personal choice is that I would never have an abortion unless my life were in immediate danger. However, I also think it's insane that my decision should be imposed on other people. That's why it's called pro-CHOICE not pro-abortion. Pro-choice advocates need to accept that people had differing viewpoints about life and about abortion, but that what they share is a belief that each woman has the right to make the choice for herself. These are not incompatible.

Second, lying is an awful way to make a point. If she lies and says she's pregnant in an effort to trap him into making political statements closer to her own, then he should dump her. He should dump her and never look back, because that is full on crazy behaviour and I can't believe Dan would advocate it.
Posted by Asiina on October 15, 2012 at 1:41 PM · Report this
323
321-- Aaugh. Typo when typing fast that destroyed the meaning of my whole post. He continued to campaign on a pro-life platform.

"Most anti-choice men come to a very different conclusion about access to safe legal abortion when it impacts them directly."

If you want any more direct evidence of how untrue this statement is, google on Scott DesJarlais in the Huffington Post. He's the Republican senator from Tennessee who urged the patient he was having an affair with when married to get an abortion, then continued to campaign on a pro-life, family values platform. He was anti-choice in the abstract and remained anti-choice after the direct impact on him.

He's not here to speak for himself, but I bet that if he were, he'd maintain that he's the victim. He'd point out that he was the victim of a bad marriage and that his 1st wife's bad behavior forced him to become the serial cheater that he was. He was the victim of a woman who lied about her birth control which caused her to get pregnant in the first place. (Surely placing his penis in her vagina had nothing to do with it.) And he must be the victim of the lenient abortion laws because if abortion weren't legal, the transcript of his conversation urging the woman to get a safe legal abortion couldn't have been made public this close to the election. See how the liberal media is at fault?

It's hard for me to rein in my sarcasm, but I'll try. My point is that it's normal for humans to rationalize pretty much anything. One can condemn bad behavior in others, engage in that behavior oneself, and easily decide that one's own behavior was a special and excusable case. Or else people can benefit from a situation, then feel guilty and thus be alright with changing the rules for those that follow.
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Posted by Crinoline on October 15, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
324
eric @33, yes. exactly so. dan has his head in a slightly bigoted place on this question. and the lying thing, while funny, is definitely not going to strengthen this relationship, whatever the outcome of the philosophical experiment.
Posted by ellarosa on October 15, 2012 at 2:44 PM · Report this
325
Deception about such a life-changing issue can only destroy their relationship, no matter how the boyfriend reacts. After all, he might be delighted and ask her to marry him. Dan should have advised her to DTMF. The only way this man might change his attitude is if he realizes that every woman he dates has left him because he is “strongly against abortion.”
Posted by Another County on October 15, 2012 at 3:13 PM · Report this
326
Dan, I couldn't agree with you more on your shedding light on the hypocrisy of being anti-abortion and then also being anti-birth control. But I feel like if LIFE's boyfriend/partner is supportive of keeping abortion legal and safe, no matter what his personal views on when life begins, that IS pro-choice. That would be the best issue for LIFE to explore right now. I cannot agree that flat out lying and manipulation are EVER a good solution. Certainly that would be instant demise of their relationship, and he would be absolutely justified in that case. The best way for LIFE to maintain her right to control her own reproductive destiny is to make sure she is using a reliable method of contraception with this guy and any others in the future!
Posted by guineapigmom on October 15, 2012 at 3:21 PM · Report this
327
@173 (and subsequent posts on the Thalidomide discussion): If a woman is going to carry through the production of a human being to its logical conclusion, then she owes the human being that results from that process a healthy existence. That means taking reasonable care to not do things that are known to be highly risky of damage to the fetus.

If the woman has no intention of carrying that pregnancy to full term, she has no duty of care to that other person, who does not yet exist and will never exist.

That is not at all the same thing as saying that it's fine to do any damn thing you want even if it damages the fetus because the fetus isn't a real person yet. Healthy living in order to protect the fetus is important if you intend to carry to term. If you intend to abort, healthy living in order to protect the fetus is oxymoronic.

Again, however, the word is reasonable. An occasional small glass of wine poses nowhere near the risk that a drunken binge does, let alone what shooting up with heroin does. Also important are the human rights of the mother. She does not forfeit her personhood for the duration of her employment as an incubator. If the safety of the baby is paramount and no rational evaluation of the actual risk matters, then women should be strapped into hospital beds lest they fall down the stairs at home. Obviously this is an unreasonable approach.
Posted by avast2006 on October 15, 2012 at 4:05 PM · Report this
328
@294: "But there is one person in the story to whom this wouldn't be fair: the baby (who, by the way, may also be a man)."

What baby? These decisions ideally would be made at the "clump of cells" stage.

It would be appropriate to limit the time a man could choose to opt out to be well shy of the point at which restrictions are placed on abortion. This would give the woman sufficient time to ponder her options and still be able to abort if necessary.

I disagree that the fact that some women would choose childbirth even if their own resources were insufficient is a reason to hold the man responsible for the bad decisions that the woman is making. That's casting men in a role with respect to women that makes them one part paternalistic daddy to her (him being responsible for her actions), one part her property.
Posted by avast2006 on October 15, 2012 at 4:29 PM · Report this
mydriasis 329
@ Misckitty

On point!

I agree with you pretty much across the board (I'm not familiar with the in depth science of how much alcohol is okay, etc, but I'm going assume you're correct).

@avast

Psychological health is health too (and strapping a woman to a bed is basically guaranteed to fucked up her baby's endocrine system).

Anyway, I agree with your logic, if a woman is planning on aborting, that's one thing, but if she is planning on keeping the baby, the fetus essentially should enjoy "rights" to a certain level of care by the mother.

Fun fact about shooting heroin though. A pregnant woman with a heroin addiction is better off continuing with her habit than cutting it off. Heroin withdrawl is more damaging to the fetus than heroin itself.

The more you know.

Posted by mydriasis on October 15, 2012 at 5:09 PM · Report this
330
That's true about heroin withdrawal (though I think methadone treatment is an option for pregnant women, and if so is presumably much safer than illegal drugs, which may be contaminated, injected with dirty needles, whatever).
Posted by Eirene on October 15, 2012 at 6:19 PM · Report this
mydriasis 331
@ Eirene

Yep, methadone would be a standard switch, I believe.
Posted by mydriasis on October 15, 2012 at 6:47 PM · Report this
332
There are plenty of differing issues that involve limiting choices beyond the abortion debate (I live in New York and will soon not be allowed to purchase large beverages to put in my body)...no differing political view gives you free reign to be an asshole just because you are so zealously right. Lying about being pregnant is being an asshole, grow up and have a conversation.
Posted by 2012isforgrownups on October 15, 2012 at 11:46 PM · Report this
333
Having read Mr. Savage's advice since the "Hey, Faggot" days, and having rarely missed a column since, I'd say his advice to LIFE is some of the best he's ever given. The number of readers who have missed his points is surprising, given that this is a site which caters to very liberal thinkers.

LIFE's boyfriend is clearly anti-choice. Speculation otherwise is not supported by LIFE's exact description:

"And while he won't go so far as to say abortion should be banned, he does believe in the whole "personhood" concept, i.e., that a fetus-from the moment of conception-is a person with the same rights as any other person."

The "life begins at conception" nonsense is pure political propaganda, with no basis in biology, medicine, or the law. (As most conceptions do not lead to pregnancy, this propaganda would have us believe that many 'human beings' never even made it INTO the womb, let alone out of it!) LIFE's boyfriend has revealed his subscription to a belief which was manufactured entirely to deny a woman like LIFE her right to control her own body. His shocking and appalling disrespect for her implies she should treat him likewise, by calling him out on his hypocrisy. This will bring a well-deserved end to their relationship, because persons who have no respect for the rights of others deserve no respect from the rest of us.

(For those naive folks who wonder if LIFE's boyfriend is a hypocrite: he's perfectly willing to respect her decision concerning her body -- when she decides to share her body with him. That he claims to have no respect for her decisions which may follow from that decision shows he does not deserve to share her body.)

Keep up the good work, Dan; you always tell it like it needs to be heard!
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Posted by tensor on October 16, 2012 at 12:04 AM · Report this
334
Dan,
I've agreed with almost everything you've ever said until you told that woman, "Lie to your boyfriend about being pregnant to determine his true feelings on the subject of abortion." What. The. Fuck. Why didn't you just tell her to lie about being on birth control, catch her man in a "pussy trap", and then see how he feels about it? That is the worst advice I have ever heard anybody give anyone. Ever.

No woman should ever, ever, ever lie about her pregnancy status or her birth control status. Really, should anyone lie to their significant other about anything? And something that personal and emotionally charged? Fake Jesus Christ, Dan.

She can ask him those questions without the emotional blackmail, you dumbass.
Posted by Teton Hottie on October 16, 2012 at 2:03 AM · Report this
335
Bullshit.

Dan, how could you advocate for a woman to lie about her pregnancy status to find out her boyfriend's true opinion on abortion? Maybe I should lie to my boyfriend about my birth control status to find out his opinion on fatherhood. That is terrible fucking advice. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Hey, maybe we should start lying to our lovers about our STI status to find out their true opinions of herpes! Or hell! We can just lie to them about everything to find out their true opinions of lying! Whee!

Lying is so fun. Especially when you're dealing with intimate, life-changing subjects! "Oh, by the way, 'Honey', I was just saying that to see what you would say!" Hahahah lolz!

For the first time in a decade of following you I want to say, "Screw you, Dan."
Posted by Teton Hottie on October 16, 2012 at 2:13 AM · Report this
336
Sorry for the double-up, wasn't sure my first one posted. Apparently I'm pissed enough to say it twice.
Posted by Teton Hottie on October 16, 2012 at 2:14 AM · Report this
337
You were fooling about the fake pregnancy bit, RIGHT DAN?!

I am generally impressed with your ability, as a gay male, to advise females. Not this time!

Posted by EastCoastDude on October 16, 2012 at 6:44 AM · Report this
338
Yeah, it wasn't too wise to suggest lying about being pregnant to test the guy's mettle.. Maybe Dan had a few cocktails in an airplane while he was writing his responses on his laptop. Who knows?

Life begins at conception: that's a bit like saying a dozen eggs in a carton at the market is a dozen full-fledged living chickens, when they're not. They're just eggs.

Eh, it's always something.
Posted by It's Always Something ;-)+~+ on October 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM · Report this
339
Hey LIFE -
I relate.
My boyfriend is libertarian/ right wing/ campaigned for Bush because he was the head of his college's Republican club in 2004, guy. My beliefs are slightly left of Jesus (i.e. way left). After 18 months, we've learned to navigate these differences sufficiently, and the relationship is solid.

To me, what makes the difference is that he is a reflective and value-oriented man, and his behavior is truly in line with his values, almost without exception. I don't mean like "family values" propaganda. His values are independence (above all), fairness, and freedom. His first priority in politics is to prevent intrusion or abuse of the government in his personal life. I'm not actually opposed to that- I just place that value much further down on my list of priorities. The same applies for how he sees my values- they're just further down on his list.

I would not tolerate a man who was just straight-up ignorant. I wouldn't tolerate a man whose basic values were direct conflict with mine. Also, I would not bother to deal with a Republican unless I actually really loved him. Ultimately, I appreciate that our relationship forces us both to critically evaluate our own beliefs. I end up seeing much more reason in his way of thinking than I would like to. It would be easier to write him off completely, but what would be the use?

We had a pregnancy scare early on, and that's when I learned that he didn't believe in abortion. So I said, will you drive me to Planned Parenthood though? As in "your opinion is irrelevant to this situation". And he quickly understood that he was not going to be the one to make that decision for me, and then we acquired the morning after pill. At this point, I don't know if he's changed his mind on abortion because it doesn't matter.

Overall it is alarming to me that almost all the men I've dated have been so dumb about women's issues. And I've done almost all my dating in Berkeley CA! It's frustrating, but I have decided that I will just teach him as we go along. Like- it's really shitty that the government is regulating women's health, etc. So far he has been malleable, as long as I make it clear that I do not think he is a bad person. This is critical! I act like he just doesn't know any better. And I'm very firm on women's rights issues- I don't back down.

I would say- maybe don't pretend you're really pregnant, but do bring up the what-if scenario. Practically, it's good for you to know how he'll react.
Also, I got an IUD so I basically don't have to deal with this contingency anymore with my Republican.

More...
Posted by firtsmae on October 16, 2012 at 11:40 AM · Report this
340
Hey LIFE -
I relate.
My boyfriend is libertarian/ right wing/ campaigned for Bush because he was the head of his college's Republican club in 2004, guy. My beliefs are slightly left of Jesus (i.e. way left). After 18 months, we've learned to navigate these differences sufficiently, and the relationship is solid.

To me, what makes the difference is that he is a reflective and value-oriented man, and his behavior is truly in line with his values, almost without exception. I don't mean like "family values" propaganda. His values are independence (above all), fairness, and freedom. His first priority in politics is to prevent intrusion or abuse of the government in his personal life. I'm not actually opposed to that- I just place that value much further down on my list of priorities. The same applies for how he sees my values- they're just further down on his list.

I would not tolerate a man who was just straight-up ignorant. I wouldn't tolerate a man whose basic values were direct conflict with mine. Also, I would not bother to deal with a Republican unless I actually really loved him. Ultimately, I appreciate that our relationship forces us both to critically evaluate our own beliefs. I end up seeing much more reason in his way of thinking than I would like to. It would be easier to write him off completely, but what would be the use?

We had a pregnancy scare early on, and that's when I learned that he didn't believe in abortion. So I said, will you drive me to Planned Parenthood though? As in "your opinion is irrelevant to this situation". And he quickly understood that he was not going to be the one to make that decision for me, and then we acquired the morning after pill. At this point, I don't know if he's changed his mind on abortion because it doesn't matter.

Overall it is alarming to me that almost all the men I've dated have been so dumb about women's issues. And I've done almost all my dating in Berkeley CA! It's frustrating, but I have decided that I will just teach him as we go along. Like- it's really shitty that the government is regulating women's health, etc. So far he has been malleable, as long as I make it clear that I do not think he is a bad person. This is critical! I act like he just doesn't know any better. And I'm very firm on women's rights issues- I don't back down.

I would say- maybe don't pretend you're really pregnant, but do bring up the what-if scenario. Practically, it's good for you to know how he'll react.
Also, I got an IUD so I basically don't have to deal with this contingency anymore with my Republican.
More...
Posted by firtsmae on October 16, 2012 at 11:42 AM · Report this
mydriasis 341
@ firtsmae

Two reasons for being a libertarian/repub/etc

1. Sociopathy (or near sociopathic lack of compassion)

2. True ignorance about human nature, typically based on outdated and debunked pyschology. Or other forms of ignorance: religious fundamentalism, racism, etc.

You claim he's not ignorant so...
Posted by mydriasis on October 16, 2012 at 2:23 PM · Report this
342
@ firtsmae

Nice argument style. Perhaps you might check into the whole concept of "lack of ability to hear viewpoints other than your own" as another indicator of ignorance/sociopathic behavior.

Actually, it's not so much an indicator as a hypocritical commonality for people who just don't want to hear anything and like to use labels to describe things instead of actually listening to the point of view of someone else.

No no, please go ahead and describe exactly how all Republicans are sociopaths, or ignorant. I'm sure many people who have lived through centuries of being told their sexuality, their faith, their political viewpoints, their race, their gender automatically made them either sociopaths or ignorant wretches to be pitied.

I'd love to see how you can argue that YOUR point of view has any validity when you're willing to slander anyone with a viewpoint opposing yours.

Go on. Let's see exactly HOW compassionate you are, shall we?
Posted by malachi on October 16, 2012 at 4:55 PM · Report this
mydriasis 343
@ malachi

I'm assuming you meant me?

Here's some "viewpoints" I don't want or need to hear.

Racism.
Anti-semitism.
Homophobia.
Transphobia.
Xenophobia.
Heck, really any "phobia" that's really hate.

If you think "slandering" people who don't believe in human rights means the person's argument loses validity, why are you reading Savage Love, he did it right above your face.

Also, being uninterested in hearing hateful, bigoted viewpoints is not a symptom of sociopathy. But nice try on pulling out of your ass.
Posted by mydriasis on October 16, 2012 at 6:41 PM · Report this
All Day I Have Opinions About Sex 344
@333 tensor,

“The "life begins at conception" nonsense is pure political propaganda, with no basis in biology, medicine, or the law. … LIFE's boyfriend has revealed his subscription to a belief which was manufactured entirely to deny a woman like LIFE her right to control her own body.”

You’re pretty much being a bigot here. You don’t really want to understand what motivates the pro-life position, but instead reach for the most emotionally satisfying conclusion that makes you a hero. And just like with people who are being sexist or racist, not wanting to admit you are being a bigot doesn’t make you not a bigot. (Dan and the original letter writer are also being bigots, by the way.)

I totally agree with you about the spontaneously aborted conceptions though. That is the best reason to be pro-choice. My post #309 explains this more, arguing with the pro-life position on its own terms. It would be awesome if more people who are pro-choice could learn to do this.
Posted by All Day I Have Opinions About Sex http://applebutterdreams.wordpress.com/ on October 16, 2012 at 7:33 PM · Report this
345
"You don’t really want to understand what motivates the pro-life position..."

A desire to control women's bodies motivates the "pro-life" position. Please learn to read.

"...but instead reach for the most emotionally satisfying conclusion that makes you a hero."

I didn't know that the bar for 'hero' had fallen all the way down to, "states the obvious from behind a pseudonym on the internet," but if you want to credit me with heroic aspirations, I guess I can't stop you.

"You’re pretty much being a bigot here."

Thank you for this pre-emptive admission of lacking an argument. It saves me from having to point out, in tedious detail, that you did nothing to counter any of my points.
Posted by tensor on October 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM · Report this
All Day I Have Opinions About Sex 346
@tensor

"you did nothing to counter any of my points"

It's in comment #309 above, and the blog post I linked to in that.
Posted by All Day I Have Opinions About Sex http://applebutterdreams.wordpress.com/ on October 16, 2012 at 8:46 PM · Report this
347
(1) Dude, it's over; Dan already printed the response from LIFE, where she dumped her misogynist boyfriend for disrespecting her. If you reside in Seattle, please go outside and enjoy the not-rainy weather tomorrow; it may be our last until July!

(2) Your post @309 accepts, if perhaps only for the sake of argument, the anti-choice equation of zygote with human -- even though you and I agree this is a false equivalence. FAIL.

(3) Dude, it's over. Go enjoy your life.
Posted by tensor on October 17, 2012 at 12:13 AM · Report this
348
So far, I have made it through about 200 comments, and here's mine. I don't see how guys who are against abortion have such a problem with their girlfriends exercising choice--after all, they have the ultimate choice how not to get them pregnant in the first place--get a vasectomy!

Everyone, do yourself a favor, and watch this:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mniw30c8Kj4
Then draw the line.
Posted by Wordwizard on October 17, 2012 at 7:10 AM · Report this
femwanderluster 349
So much long-winded blah blah blah. TLdidR, unfortunately.

@mydriasis and others re: that personhood business:

It's really quite easy:
A fetus is not a person.
A baby is person.
A fetus is not a baby, and thus not a person, until it is born and sustains separately from the mother.

Fuzziness? Gone. Any feelings you have about this are yours to have and mine not to care about because HUMAN RIGHTS.

RE: men's right to decide if they want a child or not is also not fuzzy: that decision is made when the man ejaculates. Ejaculate into, on, or near a woman's vagina and expect to be a father, unless the woman wishes differently. Don't wanna be a baby daddy? Ejaculate wisely. Done.

Also, @250 gets it. Can't not bring "corporations are people" into this because LOGIC.
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 3:13 PM · Report this
mydriasis 350
@349

Um, are you serious?
The fuzziness is called birth. So when the baby is halfway in, is it half of a person? Or is it not until the cord is cut? A premature baby, though developmentally indistinguishable from a fetus, is magically a person because of location?

Like, you have to not be stupid enough to realize how absurd that is.

I get that you were too lazy to see what we were actually talking about, but personhood does not determine whether or not someone is pro-choice. I'm pro-choice. That doesn't make me blind to reality.
Posted by mydriasis on October 17, 2012 at 7:39 PM · Report this
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I just viewed the Chinese version on the life of Confucius and wow! Morality and virtue took on new meaning and it was much better than anything I read. Anyway the point is there is no morality in abortion. No discipline and some of these kids get "bubble gum" abortions, they chew thru the procedure and run off to the mall for a new dress. No religion and I myself am an atheist but I am at least open minded enough to believe astronaut gods are probably responsible for all religions, which means they invented life after death which still means Jesus is the son of some guy that pretends to be god because he has something very valuable to give us-eternal life. My guess is they created organic computer chips like Hendrick Schoen tried to fake but they did it and turned us into the next stage of evolution. So in their perfected minds we are supposed to be civilized animals and we get life after death as a reward. Pavlov! Better to teach our children to fast and pray like the Muslims do and it must work for them as they are one billion strong and growing and a fearless lot as we commonly say Afghanistan will never change.
Posted by vanhellslinger on October 19, 2012 at 6:27 PM · Report this
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I've been reading the comments on MFKS's letter and had to speak up. You see, I'M the mom who found the violent porn my 15 year old son was looking at--no kinky. VIOLENT. In between all the "bad mom, you're wrong to be nosy" comments, something didn't get said--my son is Autistic. His mental/emotional age is about 7. He also has had problems with violence in the past and has a very hard time with the line between fantasy and reality. So yes, I was concerned that the very first porn he's ever seen was that. I think anyone else in my shoes would have been concerned too, or would be a terrible parent otherwise.

Dan's advice was actually exactly what I did. We had an honest talk about what he was looking at (on MY computer, mind--I didn't invade any of his privacy) and there was no punishment at all because at my house, curiosity is not a crime. I'm just a bit pissed about everyone jumping on "what a terrible mean prude of a mom" bandwagon without knowing the rest of the story. And also btw, both my friend who wrote and I are published erotic romance authors. You couldn't call either of us prudes about pretty much anything sexual. So please, people, quit shitting on me.

Mom of Kinky Kid
Posted by NotABadMom on October 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
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Mom of Kinky (autistic) Kid--

the fact that the child is autistic and functions at a mental/emotional age of 7--gee, do you think that may have been important information to impart in the initial inquiry?

So we have a 7 year old looking at extremely violent porn who has a history of violence and has a hard time between fantasy and reality. Jesus H Fuck--get a web filter. Block him from seeing that stuff. What is the matter with you?

"Violent in past". "Had problems with violence". "Hard time with the line between fantasy and reality".

The problem is not the kid. It's you. CUT OFF ACCESS to that shit. His brain is developing, slowly, and along different paths than "normal" people (let's not go down that road as to who is normal and who is not. Please...let's keep it focused on the autism.)

There are numerous studies on how porn affects the brain. Have you not looked into these?

How about you pop open a few beers and whiskeys for him while he surfs the net?
Posted by dad of special needs kid on November 4, 2012 at 3:14 PM · Report this
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NotABadMom,

hey, the rather important information that the child who is watching violent porn is autistic, has a HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and MENTAL / EMOTIONAL AGE OF 7 and INABILITY TO SEPARATE REALITY FROM FANTASY.....

Gee, do you think that is kind of important?

The problem is not the kid not bad mom, it's you. Jesus H Kink, put a content filter on your SHARED computer.

What will you do when he downloads something illegal on your dime?

What will you do when he hurts someone? Mental age 7, physical age 15--again I invoke Jesus, my gardener, and say: that is a really bad combination. That, and autism, exposure to violent porn (new ideas, anyone?), lack of impulse control, and a history of violence--

"The Rest Of The Story": the rest of the story makes this look even worse, it makes it look positively dangerous. I am ALL for consensual kink--involving adults. Not someone emotionally 7 years old.

Incidentally, there is LOT of research on how porn affects the brain--changes it. Google it. If violent porn is changing his brain, I really don't think it's for the better.

Put on a damned content filter. It's easy. And you'd better do it soon, before something bad happens.It may happen anyway, put at least it won't involve you allowing gasoline to be thrown on the fire.
Posted by dad of special needs kid on November 4, 2012 at 3:26 PM · Report this
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"Love is Finding Errors,"

IF YOU ARE WANTING A RELATIONSHIP WITH A MALE WHO IS "PRO-CHOICE," YOU ARE NOT MATURE ENOUGH FOR A RELATIONSHIP.

A MALE WITH CONSERVATIVE VALUES IS A "MAN." IN OTHER WORDS, HE WILL "TAKE CARE OF HIS BUSINESS" - WHICH INCLUDES, TAKING CARE OF YOU. HE WILL "KEEP A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD," MAKE SURE THE BILLS ARE PAID [ON TIME] AND SUPPORT A-L-L OF THE CHILDREN HE MAY GIVE YOU.

IN OUR CONTEMPORARY WORLD OF, "weak men," YOU SHOULD BE ON YOUR KNEES IN APPRECIATION OF THIS "MANLY GIFT" WHICH HAS COME YOUR WAY.

CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON
Posted by CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON on November 8, 2012 at 7:18 PM · Report this
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FEMALE COMMENTERS,

IF YOU THINK A MALE WHO WILL NOT TRY TO MAKE DECISIONS FOR YOU AND RESPECT YOUR BODY IS A MALE WHO LOVES YOU, I GUARANTEE, YOU WILL END UP BEING SIXTY-YEARS OLD, SHOWING WRINKLED CLEAVAGE, WEARING MINI-SKIRTS/STILETTOS AND
S-T-I-L-L TRYING "TO GET A MAN."

IF "CURLING-UP" IN YOUR BED AT NIGHT - ALONE - IS YOUR IDEA OF HAPPINESS, "HAVE AT IT!"

CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON
Posted by CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON on November 8, 2012 at 7:32 PM · Report this
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Being a right of the womb kinkster, I would have loved it if my parents left a kink book around the house for me to find. It will do three major things: establish you are kickass parents that can be opened up to, eliminate any chance of shame, and properly yet unawkwardly educate!
Posted by Wishful kinkster on November 25, 2012 at 6:19 PM · Report this
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I Am pro choice that doesn't mean I would have an abortion. I believe all life is scared, and have a Buddhist view on life and conception. 49 days is what we believe for a little one to have a "soul" but that doesn't mean I believe a woman's choice is void after that. We all should have the the ability to live our life's the way we see fit. I feel like if your boyfriend has the ability to respect you and your opinion you should give him the same respect. He doesn't sound like he would go out and picket at an abortion clinic but if his opinion is so deep rooted his perception of human rights is skewed dump him. I myself believe that life is sacred from the moment the cells split but I still believe in every woman's right to chose the way they live there life.
Posted by Anom on March 28, 2014 at 2:07 PM · Report this

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