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Pro-Lie?

October 17, 2012

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I'm pro-choice. The anti-choice position-particularly the contention that "personhood" begins when sperm hits egg-is illogical and unappealing. It's not the most unappealing quality I can think of in a partner, though-that would be dishonesty. Your advice last week to the woman who discovered that her boyfriend is anti-choice was terrible. You advised LIFE to tell her boyfriend that she's pregnant in order to see if that changes his position. If a woman told me she was against abortion, I would think twice about dating her. If she told me she was pregnant and asked me to support the child, and then told me that she was just seeing how I would react, I would dump her.

Vasectomy In Montana

Everyone on God's warming earth—pro-choice and anti-choice—thought my advice for LIFE sucked monkey ass. In my defense, I did give LIFE the option of discussing an unplanned pregnancy as a hypothetical. And even if LIFE did lie—my stated preference—I didn't intend for LIFE to drag the lie out for weeks. I was thinking 30 minutes tops. My fault for not including a clear </lie> in my response.

So what was I thinking?

Basically this: Conservatives tend to change their positions on specific "controversial" social issues when "it" happens to them. Nancy Reagan came out for stem-cell research after her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Rush Limbaugh came out for treatment over incarceration for drug offenders after he got caught with his hand in the OxyContin jar, Dick Cheney came out for marriage equality after his daughter came out. Likewise, a lot of conservatives—male and female—are anti-choice until "it," i.e., an unplanned pregnancy, happens to them. (Sometimes the cure doesn't stick. Scott DesJarlais, for example, is a rabidly pro-life member of Congress from Tennessee. But back in 2000, when he was a doctor, he pressured his mistress, who was also his patient, to get an abortion. As a member of Congress, DesJarlais opposes abortion in all cases, without exception... unless "it," i.e., an unplanned pregnancy, happens to him.)

This inability to empathize—this refusal to imagine what it might be like to have an ill relative or a drug problem or a gay child or an unplanned pregnancy—is a defining characteristic of modern conservatism. But my plan to instill a little empathy in LIFE's boyfriend was itself lacking in empathy. LIFE's boyfriend might have been traumatized by the lie—not just by the lie itself, but by the violation of trust. So my advice wasn't just bad, it was hypocritical. Mea culpa.


Would an anti-choice position still be a deal breaker for you, Dan, if you had the penis and your opposed-to-abortion partner had the vagina?

Pro-Choice Myself

The right to control your own body is a bedrock value for me—male, female, gay, straight, non-coerced sex workers, responsible drug users, etc.—but my hypothetical girlfriend's anti-abortion position would only be a deal breaker if she didn't support the right of other women to make their own choices.

Allow me to un-prettify that: If my hypothetical girlfriend believed that the state should have the power to force a woman to give birth against her will, if she wanted to see doctors thrown in prison for performing abortions, if she believed every miscarriage should be treated like potential homicide, that would be a deal breaker.

But I could see myself dating a woman who was personally but not politically opposed to abortion. I would only fuck her in the ass, however, to avoid becoming a father against my will.


Your response to LIFE was horrible. Flat-out lie and see what response you get? How about having a frank discussion to see how he really feels about abortion? I hope LIFE was smart enough to disregard your idiotic "advice."

Offended

You and everyone else who were worried that LIFE might actually take my idiotic advice will be delighted to hear that she did not...


I was happy to see my letter in your column. After I wrote you, I had a long conversation with my boyfriend. When I asked what we should do if I was pregnant—something all sexually active couples should talk about—he said he would want me to give it up for adoption or keep it, but that I could have an abortion since "the letter of the law was on my side" (we live in Canada, for which I am eternally grateful). After a couple days of thinking about it, I reopened the discussion. Even though he claimed he respected me, he admitted that he would ban abortion if he could, essentially arguing that I am less capable of understanding what pregnancy means and the effect it would have on my life than he is. I broke up with him. I'm writing to thank you for giving me the boost I needed and to calm the nerves of the commentators who really didn't like the lie-about-pregnancy suggestion.

Love Is Finding Errors

I'm glad your anti-choice boyfriend is now your anti-choice ex, LIFE, and your letter is a good reminder to everyone who reads my column or any other advice slinger's column: It's "advice," not "binding arbitration." The people who ask me for advice are free to make up their own minds. And I encourage everyone whose letter appears in the column to lurk in the comments and see what you have to say. Because sometimes your advice is better than mine.

Finally, a word to all the anti-choice men out there who were so hurt that I told their girlfriends—imaginary in many instances—to dump them: If you oppose abortion because you believe that "sexual choices should have consequences," as more than one of you stated (was there a form letter circulating?), then you should be able to wrap your heads around this: Political choices have consequences, too. You can choose to be anti-choice, and women can choose not to date you.

Consequences! They're not just for women anymore!


Your response to My Friend's Kinky Son last week struck a chord. When I was a kid, my next-door neighbor presented me with a magnificently illustrated Bible—which I still have. The only part that piqued my interest was a graphic image of the Israelites in bondage in Egypt: lots of sweat, whipping, and blood. I was excited by this image, Dan, and I was only 4 years old! By the time I was a teenager, I was collecting bondage porn (magazines back in those days). Inevitably, my prying mother found my kinky stash. Much shaming and lecturing ensued. It made no difference: I just got better at hiding my stash. Being berated for one's sexual preferences by your parents as a child is probably an inevitable part of having BDSM tastes, just as it is for a lot of gay people, but it can't "change" someone.

Likes Irregular Forms of Erotic Release

So not all my advice last week sucked monkey ass? Good to know. Thanks for sharing, LIFER.


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

mail@savagelove.net

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Comments (352) RSS

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1
Yeah, LIFE! Way to DTMFA!
Posted by apples on October 16, 2012 at 7:59 PM · Report this
2
Thank you, LIFE, for having the class to write in defense (sorry, 'defence') of Dan, and for acting on the intent of the advice Dan gave you:

"Even though he claimed he respected me, he admitted that he would ban abortion if he could, essentially arguing that I am less capable of understanding what pregnancy means and the effect it would have on my life than he is. I broke up with him."

Good for you, and I wish you all the best -- especially in finding a partner who is worthy of you. ("Letter of the law," wow!)
Posted by tensor on October 16, 2012 at 8:05 PM · Report this
mydriasis 3
Love it.
Posted by mydriasis on October 16, 2012 at 8:06 PM · Report this
4
We shouldn't feel too too bad for those anti-choice men who get dumped; I'm sure there are binders and binders full of women willing to date them.
Posted by Catastrophic Success on October 16, 2012 at 8:29 PM · Report this
5
"Consequences: not just for women anymore!"

FUCKING LOVE IT
Posted by Canadian eh? on October 16, 2012 at 8:42 PM · Report this
6
@4 Nice riff on the debate. That was an awkward little segment there for Romney tonight. A flock of sheep; a gaggle of geese; a binder of women?
Posted by Pablo Picasso on October 16, 2012 at 8:45 PM · Report this
7
@catastrophic success- that comment was perfection!
Posted by Washington Wannabe on October 16, 2012 at 8:46 PM · Report this
8
Dan. You are my hero for openly admitted you made a mistake.
Posted by ersatzjulian on October 16, 2012 at 8:48 PM · Report this
9
I'm glad there was a clarification from "doesn't think it should be banned" to "would ban it if he could", which I think is a sufficiently considerable moving of the goalposts. I wish LIFE luck, but, remembering *Rumpole and the Boat People*, advise her to be on the lookout to avoid the common propensity to end up with the same type of person, only progressively slightly worse.

For what it's worth, I called Mr Savage's advice clever, though I was not as purist about it as the other supportive poster (I only saw one other in favour) who later made it quite apparent that any eight-year-old who had not already independently seen through and condemned the patriarchal agenda of life-beginning-at-conception propaganda was doomed forever to remain unworthy of being designated human (I paraphrase slightly, but that's close to the flavour if not the actual line set out).

I forgot to welcome Mr Ank back - it's been so heterocentric here the last few weeks that I've hardly had anything to say.
Posted by vennominon on October 16, 2012 at 9:03 PM · Report this
10
It seems appropriate now to reopen my question from last week: When do you dump a man for being anti-choice? Do you interview him at the bar when you're picking him up for a one-night-stand? Do you make him sign a document after dating him but before having sex with him for the first time? Is it alright to have non-PIV sex with an anti-choice man? What about lesbians who can't get pregnant from each other but who might disagree on the subject? I'm pro-choice myself, so I wonder what the parameters of this anti-choice boycott are.
Posted by Crinoline on October 16, 2012 at 9:05 PM · Report this
All Day I Have Opinions About Sex 11
Deep down I knew Dan had a master plan for his terrible advice. That's why I keep coming back. "Inability to empathize" is one of the best observations on conservatism I've ever read, and I'm pretty centrist and find a lot of conservative-bashing misguided.
Posted by All Day I Have Opinions About Sex http://applebutterdreams.wordpress.com/ on October 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM · Report this
All Day I Have Opinions About Sex 12
I still think you should all read the brilliant things I've said about abortion though:

http://applebutterdreams.wordpress.com/2…
Posted by All Day I Have Opinions About Sex http://applebutterdreams.wordpress.com/ on October 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 13
GOOD SAVE DAN! & good on you for your no-BS owning of that advice. Phew, it stunk.

BETTER SAVE, LIFE! Right, *he* understood *better than you* how pregnancy would affect *you*. Right. *slow clap* Brava, bellisima. Move on & thanks so much for writing back. Better partners await you.

@ 10, Crinoline - I'd probably bring it up pre-sex, somehow. Whenever that turns out to be, 3rd date being the "norm" recently, I hear.

It's is 100% okay with me, if someone else whose position is pro-choice, sleeps with someone else whose position is anti-choice, as long as both agree on what the course of action will be.

*I*, would not do so. If we don't concur that ultimately, a decision about my body rests solely with me, then you don't get to play with/in said body. The end.

Maybe it's knee-jerk, but there it is. I also don't get with people who don't support equality 100%. Why should I, when so many hot, smart people do?

@9 - Mr. Venominon, granted, much of the topics here that tend to be discussed tend to be hetero-normative. But I bet if you took a role call every now & then you'd see plenty of "Savage Love" queer readers/Sloggers. (Said a bi woman.)
Posted by Eva Hopkins http://www.lunamusestudios.com on October 16, 2012 at 9:38 PM · Report this
14
Hell yes I would and have dumped men for being sexist, aka being anti-choice. How dare they think they know best! And if they Haven't thought about the issue like that, and still don't get it once you've discussed it, that sense of entitlement will always be their perspective. No fucking way.

Great Column Dan, love to love you babayyy.
Posted by Ms.11 on October 16, 2012 at 11:00 PM · Report this
15
@10, oops, read that wrong! When? Well, the moment it comes up I suppose and raises your red flags. With the election coming up, it's a great first date topic - how bout that Ryan huh? What a creep... and go. Converse, and act accordingly.
Posted by Ms.11 on October 16, 2012 at 11:08 PM · Report this
16
The abortion debate wastes so much energy, when both sides agree that fewer abortions would be preferable and could try to work together to reduce the *need*.(I refuse to believe even the most frevent pro-choice advocate thinks more abortions would benefit a woman)

Abstinence campaigns are laudable, but idealistic in the heat of the moment, and need to be rammed home with information about prevention.

Twenty years ago, I was in a debate at university over abortion, and my position then was 'A woman's (and man's) right to choose... once': rape or medical emergency excepted, consent to pregnancy-causing sex was an acceptance of prophylaxis failing etc.

But the major sides in that debate were so rabid and uncompromising, that they weren't worth talking to.

My position now, having experienced 'the heat of the moment', is that abstinance teaching is too draconian - it should focus on avoiding penis-in-vagina and not being promiscuous (how will someone learn without making safe mistakes?) and valuing someone enough not to take photos.

I'm still broadly opposed to abortion-for-convenience, but mostly because to me it represents a failure of society to tackle serious problems with efficatious solutions. Just now, my wife and I are at the opposite end of the problem, suffering miscarriages, which traumatise her. If we have a daughter, hopefully I'll be able to teach her that one of the many reasons low-pregnancy-risk sex needs to be approached carefully is because it can enflame higher risk sex, and abortion also needs to be approached as a bad and potentially damaging last resort.
Posted by sleekweasel on October 16, 2012 at 11:38 PM · Report this
17
@16 (me): The log-in process lost several edits: In particular, I corrected 'daughter' to 'child', and 'bad' to 'undesirable'.

Abstinence campaigns need to be leavened with practical advice and guidelines for those who don't make the fairly unrealistic goals, and a cut-off point for those thst do! - speaking as a former 37-ish year old virgin, who should have been experimenting carefully from... oh 30, at least! I didn't know that a woman being 'into' me, with pleasured moans while hugging, did not mean she was desperate! Sigh...
Posted by sleekweasel on October 16, 2012 at 11:58 PM · Report this
18
Abortion for convenience is a myth. An abortion takes a gigantic toll on a woman's body, not to mention being expensive and uncomfortable. Hormones go crazy, cramps, nausea, etc. No woman who has had one would blithely plan to have another as if it was no big deal (though it would certainly be her right if she did). Women who have more than one abortion do not consider it convenient.
Posted by smoakes on October 17, 2012 at 12:46 AM · Report this
19
Agree on dumping the boyfriend, but:

"Even though he claimed he respected me, he admitted that he would ban abortion if he could, essentially arguing that I am less capable of understanding what pregnancy means and the effect it would have on my life than he is."

If he actually SAID that she was "less capable of understanding", that sucks, but I get the feeling that I'm reading a slightly self-serving paraphrase that's been rephrased to make the boyfriend sound worse. Either that or you're saying "Because he would ban abortion, he's inevitably arguing that he's more capable than me", which is silly: if a woman votes to ban infant circumcision, she's not saying she's more capable than the parents, just that she thinks that what they're doing is wrong.
Posted by Gennine Z. on October 17, 2012 at 1:04 AM · Report this
20
Agree on dumping the boyfriend, but:

"Even though he claimed he respected me, he admitted that he would ban abortion if he could, essentially arguing that I am less capable of understanding what pregnancy means and the effect it would have on my life than he is."

If he actually SAID that she was "less capable of understanding", that sucks, but I get the feeling that I'm reading a slightly self-serving paraphrase that's been rephrased to make the boyfriend sound worse. I don't get the impression that the guy's an overt sexist, but are you retelling the story to make him sound like one so that you'll get a chorus of "You go, girl!" and other feminine platitudes?

(Either that or you're saying "Because he would ban abortion, he's inevitably arguing that he's more capable than me", which is silly: if a woman votes to ban circumcision of infant males, she's not saying she's more capable than the parents, just that she thinks that what they're doing is wrong.)
Posted by Gennine Z. on October 17, 2012 at 1:05 AM · Report this
21
@18:
A class-mate of mine decided she wasn't fertile because she had so often unprotected sex and never got pregnant. So she did not use any protection with her boyfriend. Surprise, she got pregnant. Of course, she had an abortion and thankfully got on hormonal birth control.

Three months later, she decided to get off the pill because she didn't like the increased hair growth on her legs. Her boyfriend didn't like condoms. (I know that there are other forms of BC but she found them all inconvenient.)

So, yes, I'd say, they considered abortion to be a convenient alternative to birth control.
Posted by migrationist on October 17, 2012 at 1:25 AM · Report this
22
@10 Crinoline:

I try to have a discussion on birth control and abortion before I have sex with someone new.

Because I am not on the pill and oppose abortion (disclaimer: being against abortion doesn't mean that I want to ban it), I feel that my sex partner has definitely the right to know that I wouldn't abort the baby in case of an accident.

Frankly, I don't understand why people don't seem to do that as a matter of principle (unless in the heat of the moment they get distracted).
Posted by migrationist on October 17, 2012 at 1:33 AM · Report this
23
@10: I'd say it's a good idea to make the decision before you do any of the following:

1. Engage in any activity that could make a baby

2. Seriously consider the person as a potential life partner (rather than just as a fun time)

3. Enter into any situation or arrangement where you need to be able to trust that he or she has compatible values and/or can be trusted (cohabitation, any kind of legal partnership, certain flavors of kinky activity...)

And the decision doesn't necessarily need to be a dump/don't dump one. If it is, for example, a casual relationship, you can decide "I will not tell him if I get pregnant, I will just take care of it on my own."
Posted by Melissa Trible on October 17, 2012 at 1:52 AM · Report this
24
@10 - I won't even go on a first date with a man who is anti-choice and/or Republican. If someone tries to set me up with a guy, I'll suss out the situation on a phone call ahead of time, and if they're Republican, I simply say "We're not compatible. Let's not waste each other's time." For me, having a Republican stance speaks to character and values, so it's a deal breaker from moment one.
Posted by Beth23 on October 17, 2012 at 4:35 AM · Report this
25
Ms Hopkins - Your being one of my favourites, may I ask you to post more often, if only to help improve the balance?

My apologies, by the way, over terminology. We really need a new term here. I quite often use "same-sex(er)" to avoid bi erasure, but for some reason "opposite-sex(er)" just doesn't seem to be working, and tacking on the "-centric" suffix just seemed unbearably clunky for a late Tuesday night.

Seriously, though, do you not think the overall tone has shifted? I have thought something of the sort for some little time. I did not grudge the straight (with a rounder or two included) women the week in which almost the entire conversation concerned their masturbatory habits as twelve-year-olds. Good for them, I thought. But it was right around then that the stretches began, or perhaps that was when I started to notice it, that I'd go longer and longer without having any pertinent sort of in to the general discussion. In the last month, for instance, I've have more to say that has had some substance for someone in feminist discussions than I've had here, which seems to be a significant inversion of the usual order. One wonders if it means something, or if I'm just being a little too Ladbrokes-inspired, as sometimes happens.

Even though I could easily go the rest of the week without having anything else to say, I shall not ramble on.
Posted by vennominon on October 17, 2012 at 5:26 AM · Report this
mydriasis 26
@ Crinoline

I don't even know where I'd find an anti-choice man, so I gottta tell you, it's not a big concern. I think most people when they're dating come around to talking politics at some point.

I think calling it an 'anti-choice boycott' is silly, it's more like "I don't want to date a shitbag".
Posted by mydriasis on October 17, 2012 at 6:45 AM · Report this
27
I am pro choice, but I find it shocking how many pregnancies end in abortion:

http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induce…

And no, Guttmacher is not some pro life shill; quite the opposite. Problem is, it's hard to focus on education and prevention when basic reproductive rights are under full scale attack. Parents, educate your children because the right is making damn sure they won't be, and woe unto us all if they win in November. "Safe, legal and rare" seems like a distnat dream.
Posted by gonzo on October 17, 2012 at 7:05 AM · Report this
28
Yep, conservatives change their minds when it's convenient for them, but so do liberals, anarchists, and suffragettes. I know two pro-choice couples who pressured their daughters not to have abortions because they wanted grandchildren. A super-liberal friend was firmly anti-military until his son joined the Marines, and now he thinks people in the service are pretty cool. Everybody has their opinions about what other people should or shouldn't do, and everybody also looks out for their own interests. Contradiction is the human condition.
Posted by Nestor on October 17, 2012 at 7:17 AM · Report this
29
Considering that 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in spontaneous abortions (SAB) or miscarriages, are the Republicans willing to paint those women as murderers?

As Smoakes @18 stated, the loss of a child, whether it is though termination (abortion) or miscarriage (spontaneous abortion), takes a large physical and emotional toll on the woman. Abortion is not a casual decision for the woman. The residual physical effects can last days to weeks. The emotional impact months to years.

There is an interesting article at Jezebel about miscarriages and the physical and emotion toll on the woman. The comments are illuminating. Maybe if more men had empathy, they would be more sympathetic and less rigid in their thinking.

http://jezebel.com/5951937/the-never+end…
Posted by albeit on October 17, 2012 at 7:24 AM · Report this
30
@27 Preview your comments! Leaving on the "http://" insures that the link is truncated.

Any man who is against his girlfriend's having an abortion can always exercise the ultimate choice--have a vasectomy!

Here is a link worth following:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mniw30c8Kj4
Then draw the line.
Posted by Wordwizard on October 17, 2012 at 7:26 AM · Report this
31
Ugh, the men who think "sexual choices should have consequences"--why is it that so many men are so he**-bent on punishing women for sex? Why? here we have a group of men who say that the women who are sleeping with them should "suffer the consequences"---wtf? And how twisted is it to consider pregnancy a punishment?

I wish none of these guys could date, but unfortunately many of them do.
Posted by tinderheart on October 17, 2012 at 7:26 AM · Report this
32
Dan:
I, too, was uncomfortable with your advising LIFE to lie to her BF. But I think you hit the more important nail on the head in saying that one bedrock characteristic of modern conservatism is an awe-inspiring lack of empathy. Not just that: a general intellectual immaturity, really. I, too, congratulate LIFE for D'ing the MFA. That lady will find the Right One soon enough, I am confident of it.
Posted by Derek in Iowa on October 17, 2012 at 7:35 AM · Report this
33
I'm glad this happened, because every once in a while people need to be reminded (either by Dan or by, well, anyone) that his advice is just that - advice. No one should take it if they disagree. He's human, which means he's sometimes stupid and wrong. I'm still reeling from his ridiculous claim a few weeks ago that "gay people make up 2-5% of the population."
Posted by wayne on October 17, 2012 at 7:42 AM · Report this
34
Good on Dan for owning up to bad advice, but I'm still not sure he really sees the full problem.

"I didn't intend for LIFE to drag the lie out for weeks. I was thinking 30 minutes tops."

WTF does the *duration* of the lie have to do with anything? (Or is it supposed to be understood that that's another part of his advice he'd like to retract? Doesn't read that way to me, but it's early morning.)
Posted by JGGuest on October 17, 2012 at 7:57 AM · Report this
35
Consequences! They're not just for women anymore!

I love you Dan!!!
Posted by greycmay on October 17, 2012 at 8:08 AM · Report this
36
Way to go, Dan, on hitting a direct bull's eye--"Consequences---they're not just for women, anymore!" Your comeback rocks the house (and I hope it continues to rock the House and Senate!)!!

LIFE----YAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!! Good for you for DTMFA!!!
If your ex-boyfriend STILL remains doggedly anti-choice, even after your long talk with him, then he doesn't deserve to get any from anyone at all.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 17, 2012 at 8:26 AM · Report this
37
"me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me,me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me" I am glad you broke up with your boyfriend too- hopefully now he can find a woman that wouldn't be willing to kill a baby to avoid discomfort
Posted by blah19999 on October 17, 2012 at 9:12 AM · Report this
38
@10 I agree that before you have sex is a good time to ask if one is antichoice.

@21 Perhaps your former class mate didn't want to discuss the real side effects that hormonal birth control had on her. Many women report depression, loss of sex drive and huge psychological issues with the pill. Perhaps she did not want to discuss such private things with you, especially because you obviously don't consider yourselves friends. I do think that forms of birth control like the IUD do not get offered enough by doctors, but that is a failing of education, not because people use abortions for convenience. Finally, if someone is going to reject birth control because it makes their leg hair grow, and who does not want a child is probably not a person that should be forced to have a child. Every child deserves to be loved and cared for and forcing women who don't want to bear a child or who are not in a circumstance to take care of a child is unfair to the child as well as the parent.
Posted by percysowner on October 17, 2012 at 9:28 AM · Report this
39
@10 and others-

I do not engage in any sexual or romantic activity with partners of any composition of man and lady bits if they do not believe in a woman's right to choose. Straight up.

You don't think I deserve agency over my body? Then you are coming NO WHERE NEAR IT.

This is a conversation I always have pre-sexy times.
Posted by RainCityGlasses on October 17, 2012 at 9:34 AM · Report this
40
I was a a job interview yesterday and claimed one of my assets was being able to recognize and admit when I make mistakes. (I got a call this morning for a second interview, so my nerves about saying that were relieved) Thanks, Dan, for coming out with a shining example of how to behave when we get it wrong. AND "Consequences! They're not just for women anymore!" is SPOT ON.
Posted by Suzy Greenberg on October 17, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Report this
Auragasm 41
@16 "I'm still broadly opposed to abortion-for-convenience, but mostly because to me it represents a failure of society to tackle serious problems with efficatious solutions"

Y'know what the solution is, right? MORE CONTRACEPTION for everyone! YAY Obama!
I'm very sorry for the recurring losses you and your wife experience, but your envy shouldn't allow you to dictate what goes on in other wombs around the country. Abortion is never convenient.

Inversely, Dan, I'll always be staunchly pro-choice, but if I became unexpectedly pregnant, I might find that I'm not pro-abortion when it comes to my own body. Who knows what those child-bearing hormones might do to my brains.

But I don't worry much because I'm on the pill and I prohibit my husband from coming inside me until we're ready for baby. I'm of the mind that it's less "degrading" (as some women call it) to have semen ON me than IN me, because I'm against reproducing at the moment.
Posted by Auragasm on October 17, 2012 at 9:57 AM · Report this
42
Here's an informative editorial from NY Times regarding Roe v Wade and how it ties into our current election. As always, the comments are revealing, especially the anti-choice ones.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/opinio…
Posted by albeit on October 17, 2012 at 9:58 AM · Report this
43
@19 and 20

If you think what a parent does is wrong for their own infant, you are indeed thinking you know better than they/more capable of understanding the issue at hand.

It's kind of impossible to tell someone else they're doing something morally wrong without thinking that your own thinking on this issue is better than theirs.
Posted by tal on October 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM · Report this
44
Men shouldn't even have a say in the whole Pro-choice-Pro-Life debate.
Posted by BabyJoe on October 17, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
45
@LIFER, thanks for bringing that image back to mind. I was around the same age, and I agree -- hot!
Posted by EricaP on October 17, 2012 at 10:30 AM · Report this
46
I know you were joking, of course, but some people might take your joke about not getting pregnant from anal sex seriously. Might want to mention it was a joke for those low-information gullible readers out there.
Posted by Marrena on October 17, 2012 at 10:38 AM · Report this
47
I generally think those that are anti-choice simply see women as inferior, at least to the potential baby they may carry. Where in this society do we force people to sacrifice to such a large degree for another?

Generally, as a society, we prize autonomy and individual choice. We don't say, hey, this guy is homeless, so you're FORCED to offer him your guest room. Pretty much anyone would be outraged if the govt. FORCED you to open up you home to an unwelcome person. That such a requirement would be egregious and violate the homeowners right to privacy, safety and having his/her home to him/herself.

However, when it comes to women, apparently requiring the same of her BODY is no big deal. It's just a minor inconvenience. Oh, pregnancy, that minor inconvenience...as if it were a headcold or something.

Why do we prize someone's home more than her body? Oh, yeah, because she's a woman and not quite a full fledged person, in some people's minds...

Posted by KL on October 17, 2012 at 10:51 AM · Report this
Holmes 48
@22: That's why I carry a wallet full of condoms. I always appreciate the heads-up. And the opportunity to step up and take responsibility. Not that I'm adverse to whipping one out should some random opportunity arise for STD purposes, alternate birth control in place or not.

It shocks me how little some people bother to communicate prior to commencing either recreational sex or a LTR. Some time ago, I was told by a potential bed-mate that, "I think too much". I guess she was hoping for a more spontaneous romp in the sack and I was asking too many questions about what, where, and other preparations. I asked her if she would be as happy should her 19 year old jock son (and Big Man on campus) should come home to inform her of her impending grandmother-hood with some cheerleader.

Her eyes got as big around as dinner plates and I hope she has a (belated) talk with him about college vs a job at the local car parts store.
Posted by Holmes on October 17, 2012 at 11:07 AM · Report this
Holmes 49
@46: I thought that's where lawyers came from (ducking and running).
Posted by Holmes on October 17, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
50
Consequences! They're not just for women anymore!

This should be on a t-shirt.
Posted by jack chandelier on October 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM · Report this
51
@10: You dump the person when the deal-breaker comes up naturally during the course of the relationship and it becomes apparent that it is irreconcilable. Literally anything can represent a deal-breaker to a particular person. Some of them you don't even know are deal-breakers until you are confronted with them for the first time.

But I'll tell you this: if you tried to interview me for acceptable responses to your known list of deal-breakers on a first date, my reaction to that would be "This one is way, wayyyy too high-maintenance," and to climb out the restaurant bathroom window if necessary.
Posted by avast2006 on October 17, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
52
Maybe I am misremembering that question from last week, as being about doing due diligence for deal-breakers in general? Slightly less global version of the same thing: If you wanted to ask me my views on abortion before leaving the bar for a pick-up, I would probably say "Thanks, but never mind."
Posted by avast2006 on October 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Report this
53
I like Dan, in general. Glad he acknowleged his advice was poor. I am pro-choice, but that is not the same as being pro-abortion (duh!).

By the way, Dan, and everyone who thinks that man have not historically had to face consequences. My favorite line from Parenthood is that women have choices and men have responsibilities. If LIFE decides - completely without the man's input - on whether to keep a fetus/pregnancy/baby, can the man decide whether or not he has to face 18 years of child support payments for her choice? Or is this just a "the woman decides and the man pays" kind of deal?

Oh, that's right. Thinking such thoughts makes me an untouchable. Mea culpa!
Posted by Miss Ann Drist on October 17, 2012 at 11:43 AM · Report this
54
Your still one of the best Dan & human too. Imagine that!!! Don't berate yourself too much. We have all had situations where we thought we should "go there" where ever that is, and upon later review decided there may be a better way of handling a situation. What this shows is that you are a man who can empathize with others and is willing to listen, even if others wish to take you down a notch. In my opinion this only raises my respect for your commentary. Hey Dan, your not perfect & neither am I. Thanks for being you.
Posted by Bondsman51 on October 17, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
55
"Consequences -- not just for women anymore."

Right, because a couple of hundred grand in child support and college fund, not to mention at least two decades of actually being there for the kid if you take on the role of father, rather than just writing a check every month and otherwise ignoring the situation ... nahhh, that's nothing much, really. Hardly worth even considering.
Posted by avast2006 on October 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 56
@33- What's ridiculous about the facts? 2-5% are the current figures of OUT GLBT folks; can't speak for the closet cases. What's your beef?
@53- Yes, the woman decides and the man lives with it. Tough breaks, but it's her body, not his. AND- maybe men will think a bit more before they shoot their load in there. Doubtful, but maybe.
As Dan so aptly puts it- "Consequences! They're not just for women anymore!" Get used to it.
Posted by OutInBumF on October 17, 2012 at 12:34 PM · Report this
57
Miss Ann Drist/53 and Avast2006/55 -- yes, it's great to see more men taking on the responsibility that their choices in part brought about -- i.e. children.

But, let's not for a second think that it's not the responsibility of raising kids has not historically and for the most part still happens today falls on the shoulders of women. Is it getting better? Yes. But it's no where near equal.

For the vast majority, child support doesn't begin to even pay for the cost of raising a child, not even close to 50-50. And men have historically been able to abandon their children without a second thought if they chose to do so -- that was a very rare case for a woman. Not to mention that historically, it was a huge social blow to a woman -- to have a child out of wedlock -- made her a pyriah in many places (and in other parts of the world, she can still be put to death for such things, even if the child is a result of rape).

SO, yeah, things are getting better and more men are being forced to be responsible. But, it's still not even close to the responsibility born by women, physically, emotionally, psychologically or economically in having and raising kids. NOT EVEN CLOSE.
Posted by KL on October 17, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
58
One of my pet peeves is childless women who insist they are somehow "more" qualified to have an opinion on abortion rights than men are. A childless man is every bit as capable of hypothesizing the consequences of becoming pregnant as a woman who has never been pregnant. Their experiences in that regard are equal.
Posted by biggie on October 17, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
59
KL: "Why do we prize someone's home more than her body? Oh, yeah, because she's a woman and not quite a full fledged person, in some people's minds..."

Did you register for the draft at 18? Men still do. Their bodies can be conscripted at any time.

And, re 57, it ain't a competition to see who has it harder. As I said, women have choices and men have responsibilities. For men the choice is this: she chooses and you suck it up buddy. It may be harder for a woman, but she still got her "second chance" to choose. The man has no "second chance" choice, because, let's face it, they both choose to blow it (or not) on their first chance (and blowing it would have solved the problem, instead of creating it).

I like your story about how men can choose to walk away without consequences, other than jail time and being stigmatized as a dead beat dad.



Posted by Miss Ann Drist on October 17, 2012 at 1:08 PM · Report this
60
Are all of these people dumb enough to actually think Dan's advice last week was serious? It was dripping in sarcasm mocking the question and LIFE's boyfriend. He was just having fun with the answer and obviously didn't expect LIFE to follow it literally.
Posted by ThatDumb? on October 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM · Report this
61
Ya know, we all have secret opinions about knowing more about something, or what is best for our partner than they do. that is life. Live with it. so the guy is pro life. If he believes life begins at conception, that is fair. There is no proof because "life" is a construct anyway with no real meaning but what we give it. And if he is pro life, it seems reasonable that he would believe it is of value to protect that life. I am pro choice because it is most convenient to be. But I am not going to tar and feather anyone who is pro life. Many of them make decent arguments, very different from the political bullshit that is intent on controlling women's bodies. There are some people who sincerely believe life begins at an earlier point than my position of convenience. And their opinions about abortion grow from that.

Now, the ones I like best are the ones who say, well, the law allows it and it may be just as well. But if it were up to me, and I could do so without oppressing other people, I would somehow prevent any abortions from ever taking place. I find that a pretty legit position.

Now, if you are concerned about what would happen if you got pregnant, that is a legit concern.

But to break up with someone just because he sees the world a little different than you and has an opinion about it he is foolish enough to share, then he is well rid of you.

Don't get me wrong. I am pretty liberal and democratic, and I would have a hard time dating someone who was a conservative. One of those reasons is they are too damn dogmatic and close minded.

I am no more willing to date a dogmatic close minded liberal. I think you did him a favor.
Posted by rp on October 17, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this
62
Miss Ann Drist: I'm not saying everything in this world is equal. Women have a biological reality of having to bear the kids -- it's just the way it is. Comparing pregnancy to combat isn't a fair comparison in any way, shape or form. It's not like the draft is a common occurrence. Women, generally, can't be rapists whereas men are, who's victims the vast majority of time are women. Should we make that comparison as well?

Sure, today, we as a society are holding men more responsible for fathering children -- both socially and legally. But, frankly, this is something they should have been doing for a long, long time. But, because of the biological reality of not having to actually birth a child, many were able to avoid this very thing whereas until fairly recently women weren't able to make the same decision nearly as easily. And even when a woman chooses to terminate, she still bears far more of the consequences of that decision, physically, emotionally and psychologically.

Not everything in this world is identical or exactly equal, but it doesn't mean that we shouldn't value things equally or respect them equally.

Let's face it, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be about as controversial as kittens.
Posted by KL on October 17, 2012 at 2:24 PM · Report this
63
At the end of the day, I don't think it comes down to personhood (the abortion debate). Because even if you think the baby/fetus is a person, so is the woman? When does one person's right to life trump another's to bodily integrity?

Do we force people to donate kidneys? Lungs? Bone marrow? Some of those things are far less invasive than pregnancy and could save someone's life, but we don't require people to donate bone marrow or any other part of their body.

Except if the person in question is a woman -- than it's perfectly acceptable for some to say that she should donate her entire body for 9 months, irrevocably change it and even risk her own life for another "person".

This would never fly in any other scenario on the conservative ticket -- the same people that are pro-life would be up in arms if you required such things -- claiming it impinged their freedom, individual choice, etc.

I personally don't care whether you consider the fetus a child or not. There is no doubt that the woman is a person and if she doesn't want another life form growing inside her, that should be her choice. Period.
Posted by KL on October 17, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
64
@38:
At that time, we were friends. And she shared all kinds of personal stuff, like when she got very upset because an almost-boyfriend didn't want to have condomless sex with her without an STI-screening first.

I think she would have been a dreadful mother. And even though I think it would be better if more women would give up their babies for adoption instead of aborting them, I do understand why that wasn't possible for her. What upset me was that she and her boyfriend weren't even bothered enough by that unwanted pregnancy to try to find a birth control method that worked for them both.
For them, abortion was a convenient method of birth control.
Posted by migrationist on October 17, 2012 at 3:04 PM · Report this
65
Miss Ann Drist/53 and Avast2006/55 You are both acting like women drop the kid in a field and walk off leaving the rest of the responsibility to the poor put upon father. The fact is feeding, clothing, educating and raising the child is the responsibility of BOTH parents.

The choice about aborting or not rests with the woman because she is the one who will gain the weight. She is the one who will bear the risks of being pregnant, including a 10% chance she will die. It is her body, not the guys. The right to make this decision rests with the one bearing the consequences of pregnancy.

Once the child is born he/she deserves to have a good life provided by both their parents. The right to support belongs to the child and is SHARED between BOTH parents.

I realize that you 2 apparently only care about the man's financial security. Society and decency says otherwise.
Posted by percysowner on October 17, 2012 at 3:14 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 66
Abortion is awesome.

@16
"The abortion debate wastes so much energy, when both sides agree that fewer abortions would be preferable and could try to work together to reduce the *need*.(I refuse to believe even the most frevent [sic] pro-choice advocate thinks more abortions would benefit a woman)"

Why does abortion HAVE to have a pall of awful attached to it? The way the world works right now for women in countries where abortion is illegal, I would say: Yes, please, more abortions! MORE ABORTIONS! No contest. I would also say: more contraceptive access! more reproductive planning and education access!

I had an abortion when I was 22 and I was happy to have it and I felt lucky I was privileged enough to have safe access to that abortion and I couldn't be more thrilled that I had the abortion. That's not to say I was happy that I NEEDED to have the abortion--on the contrary, I was quite freaked out by the possibility of having to bring the pregnancy to term (oh, by the way, you abort a PREGNANCY not a BABY)-- particularly because I was taking the pill and taking it correctly (same time, every morning, never missed one)--but I am in no way SAD or traumatized for having had an abortion. It has been only beneficial in all aspects.

I find abortion to be quite life affirming and a GOOD thing in that it gives women the ability to plan their life in a way that best suits them and their pre-existing families, whether they have kids already, never want children, or simply can't afford to be a mother. Again, abortion is not just a women's issue, but a socio-economic one.

The reason a woman chooses an abortion is of no consequence.

Let's repeat that:
The reason a woman chooses an abortion is of no consequence.

You either think that abortion should be legal or you don't. If you think that an abortion for this reason is okay but that an abortion for this other reason is not okay, you are completely missing the forest for the trees.

What is of consequence is a woman's right to an abortion and the right not to be discriminated against for making that choice: i.e., legal obstacles (here's looking at you, Mississippi, et. al.) that restrict her lawful access.

I find the "exceptions," in the case of incest, or rape, or that the pregnancy threatens the mother's life, to be completely arbitrary and infantilizing to women. If you say that an incest or rape victim MUST be forced to carry her pregnancy to term, I don't have to ask to know that you do not think women are humans (here's the kicker, you don't have to be a man to think this way). If the life of the mother isn't important to you, then forget it. This really illuminates the who's who of modern misogyny.

I would not have sex with anyone who is pro-life/anti-choice/forced-birther.
More...
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 3:59 PM · Report this
67
There's something that I've been wanting to share for quite some time now, and the subject of abortion is actually quite relevant to it. I've been a fan of Dan and his column (and the comments) for quite some time now. Although the personal questions about crazy things happening in the bedroom are nice, I find it even more intriguing to read about more 'politically relevant' questions. That is mostly because I'm Dutch. It is simply unbelieveable how different things are on the two sides of the ocean. Especially with things like abortion. For me it is so strange that you would have to discuss BC or abortion when you're dating someone, because almost everyone in the Netherlands is fully supportive of women's rights when it comes to their health and sex life - the extremely religious excepted of course.

Even though we are undoubtedly one of the world's most 'pro'-abortion countries, the funny thing is that we also have very, very little teenage pregnancies and abortions (in general, not just with teenagers). That is most propably due to our pragmatic approach of problems. For example, we dont have abstinence education. We have sex eduction that already starts at primary school. Our children do not only learn how to practice safe sex (we're proud to practice 'Double Dutch: the pill+condom) but we also learn girls to respect their bodies, to not give in to peer pressure and to not be ashamed of being a sexual being. BC pills are widely available, the government has their 'I do it safe or don't do it at all' campaign directed at teenagers, school doctors are not forbidden but rather encouraged to talk to pupils about (safe) sex, etc...

I could say so much more about all of these things, but I just wanted to share what an enormous joy it is to read Dan's columns (and the comments!) and in that way to get a very nice and informative look into the public debate that goes on at the other side of the ocean. I hope to be reading more of it for many many years.
More...
Posted by Catpants on October 17, 2012 at 4:14 PM · Report this
68
@65: No, that is not my point. My point is that bearing to term is elective on the part of the woman. Nobody is making her have the kid. If she is undergoing all the weight gain, all the pain, all the risk of dying of complications or during delivery, it is because she CHOSE to.

If you think I only care about finances for the man, you need to work on your reading comprehension. If a woman thinks she cannot afford a child, and aborts, she is seen as exercising autonomy and empowerment. If a man thinks he cannot afford a child, he is a deadbeat bastard. Your crack about society and decency rings particularly hollow in light of such a blatant double standard.

If women expect the right to not be coerced into parenthood unwilling, they have no business expecting to coerce men into parenthood unwilling. A woman should not be bringing a child into the world under circumstances that force another person to be a parent, when she would never stand for being forced to be a parent herself.

As far as the rights of the child go, these are decisions and arrangements that should be made long before there is an actual child (a fetus is not an actual child, only a potential one) who has actual rights that need to be considered.
Posted by avast2006 on October 17, 2012 at 4:16 PM · Report this
69
There's something that I've been wanting to share for quite some time now, and the subject of abortion is actually quite relevant to it. I've been a fan of Dan and his column (and the comments) for quite some time now. Although the personal questions about crazy things happening in the bedroom are nice, I find it even more intriguing to read about more 'politically relevant' questions. That is mostly because I'm Dutch. It is simply unbelieveable how different things are on the two sides of the ocean. Especially with things like abortion. For me it is so strange that you would have to discuss BC or abortion when you're dating someone, because almost everyone in the Netherlands is fully supportive of women's rights when it comes to their health and sex life - the extremely religious excepted of course.

Even though we are undoubtedly one of the world's most 'pro'-abortion countries, the funny thing is that we also have very, very little teenage pregnancies and abortions (in general, not just with teenagers). That is most propably due to our pragmatic approach of problems. For example, we dont have abstinence education. We have sex eduction that already starts at primary school. Our children do not only learn how to practice safe sex (we're proud to practice 'Double Dutch: the pill+condom) but we also learn girls to respect their bodies, to not give in to peer pressure and to not be ashamed of being a sexual being. BC pills are widely available, the government has their 'I do it safe or don't do it at all' campaign directed at teenagers, school doctors are not forbidden but rather encouraged to talk to pupils about (safe) sex, etc...

I could say so much more about all of these things, but I just wanted to share what an enormous joy it is to read Dan's columns (and the comments!) and in that way to get a very nice and informative look into the public debate that goes on at the other side of the ocean. I hope to be reading more of it for many many years.
More...
Posted by Catpants on October 17, 2012 at 4:17 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 70
@68 Blah blah wah wah what about teh menz?

Well teh menz can direct their ejaculate in such a way that supports their willingness to be a father or not. The point of ejaculation IS WHEN MEN MAKE THEIR CHOICE.

Done.
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 4:20 PM · Report this
71
I appreciate that Dan reminded letter writers to read the comments, not just Dan's answer.
Dan published a letter from someone i know a few months back and she didn't even realize there were comments. She had never seen/read them!
Posted by tantragal on October 17, 2012 at 4:28 PM · Report this
72
@57: You can't compare the burden borne by the woman who raises a child to the burden borne by the man who walks away from the job. That's the wrong comparison.

Compare the burden borne by the woman who sticks around to the burden borne by the man who sticks around. If you do that, I'm reasonably confident that you won't continue to imply that several hundred thousand dollars and two or more decades of active involvement as a father are so insignificant as to not even qualify as "consequences" for men.
Posted by avast2006 on October 17, 2012 at 4:32 PM · Report this
73
@70: "If she didn't want to be a mother, she should have kept her legs closed."

Enjoy your double standards.
Posted by avast2006 on October 17, 2012 at 4:34 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 74
@73 "Consequences! They're not just for women anymore!"

What's that about double standards?
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 4:36 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 75
also @73, see @66
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 4:38 PM · Report this
76
@74: You really do have difficulty keeping different concepts sorted out, don't you? Go back and read the thread. It will come to you eventually.

"Consequences! They're not just for women anymore!" implies that men face no consequences as a result of a pregnancy being carried to term, which is, of course, complete bullshit. That isn't about double standards at all.

If you need double standards explained, here, I'll bring the relevant quotes all in one place.

"Well teh menz can direct their ejaculate in such a way that supports their willingness to be a father or not. The point of ejaculation IS WHEN MEN MAKE THEIR CHOICE"

contrasted with

"If she didn't want to be a mother, she should have kept her legs closed."

People will happily make the former argument while jumping down the throat of someone who dares to make the latter. (I hope it was clear that I wasn't actually making that argument.) That is the double standard I was referring to.
Posted by avast2006 on October 17, 2012 at 5:14 PM · Report this
77
Avast2006 -- if you don't want to be a father or a man that has sex with a woman to be a father, then take care of the birth control on the man's end!

You've got a few options -- condoms (not perfect, but better than anything), ejaculating other than inside a woman's babymaking areas (if with a condom on, pretty darn foolproof) or getting a vasectomy. Sure, it's permanent or nearly so, but those are options. Oh, and there is always abstinence.

No one forces men to take these risks. Men may not be able to have abortions, but they have other options. Take a little responsibility for your own (or men's generally) reproductive choices!
Posted by KL on October 17, 2012 at 5:16 PM · Report this
78
@75: Yes, #66, actually quite relevant.

(And thank you for not continuing with "blah blah blah," the universal signal for "mouth in gear, brain in neutral." If my arguments are so easily refuted, then refute them. Gibbering at me merely looks like you can't muster an actual argument.)

Quote from #66: "The reason a woman chooses an abortion is of no consequence."

I agree wholeheartedly. A woman can choose to abort for any reason whatsoever. That is her right, and I support it.

If a woman says "I don't want to be a mother right now," that's a perfectly good reason, and everyone will support her. If a man says "I don't want to be a father" it's completely unreasonable of him, and all he gets is vilification.

If a woman says "I can't afford a child" and aborts, she receives only praise for exercising autonomy and empowerment. If a man says "I can't afford a child" he instantly becomes an arch villain, loser, deadbeat dad.

Women have the right and the ability to not bring a child into the world in a way that conscripts the resources of an unwilling participant. When they are the ones who don't want their own resources conscripted to the benefit of the child-to-be, then the pregnancy goes out the window, no questions asked. But they feel free to commandeer another person in a way that they would never stand for being commandeered themselves. This is unreasonable and wrong. Either A) secure the willing participation of your partner, B) elect to go it alone, or C) terminate the pregnancy because the situation does not suit you, the same way you would if it didn't suit you for other reasons. All three of these choices are womens' prerogative.
Posted by avast2006 on October 17, 2012 at 5:28 PM · Report this
79
@77: Condoms break. (I've broken a few myself, back when my wife was off The Pill because it was messing with her cycles.) The Pill sometimes fails. Hell, even vasectomies sometimes fail. (Mine hasn't, thank FSM.)

"Oh, and there is always abstinence" is the same things as "If she didn't want to be a mommy she should have kept her legs closed." Thank you for illustrating my point.
Posted by avast2006 on October 17, 2012 at 5:35 PM · Report this
80
@66 femwanderluster, You are the best! I love that post, I agree with you completely! I married an awesome lady who has made choices just like you have when she was in her late 20's. I'd be more explicit here but my spouse would like me to respect her body, privacy. Because of her decision we're living in a small, paid for home, we built ourselves. And that is freedom of choice!
Posted by scorpio of Id. on October 17, 2012 at 5:40 PM · Report this
81
Avast2006 -- I'm not saying that the choices are perfect. I imagine they could probably develop a hormonal birth control that could kill a man's sperm count but it wouldn't be popular unless they could alter other side effects (like not have it affect testosterone production). Also, I'm not sure how many women would take the risk of the guy being in charge of birth control -- I know I wouldn't. I'd protect myself.

But there are choices. Yes, men don't have the later choice of an abortion like women do, but they do have choices beforehand -- ones that they can effect themselves (condoms, vasectomies, etc.) or ones that they can effect through their partners (i.e. find a woman that's trustworthy and trust her to take care of the birth control).

Not perfect choices, but choices. They simply can't be employed after a pregnancy has occurred, like the choice of abortion can be for a woman (if that's something she is personally open to -- and not all).

When you choose to have sex, then you bear the consequence of a pregnancy, and that includes how the woman you had sex with views her options -- from adoption, to keeping the kid, to abortion.

A woman cannot bear a child to term and terminate her parental rights unless she's able to find another step into her shoes through adoption or otherwise. If she has the kid and the father takes custody, she's on the hook for child support just as much as if the roles were reversed. You guys are both equal in that. She can simply choose not to bring the kid to term if she's open to abortion.
Posted by KL on October 17, 2012 at 5:47 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 82
Er...avast2006.

Dan's saying: "Consequences! They're not just for women anymore!" is ALL about double standards and how women have borne (snickersob) the brunt of them re: babies and sex for forever. Thus it's ZING quality. It's funny because it's true.

Congratulations on your condescension. Seems you're the one who doesn't understand double standards.

Your quote or phrase or whatever it is/wherever this came from (the ether? conservatives? religion? the 20th century and before?):

"If she didn't want to be a mother, she should have kept her legs closed."

Is not equivalent to my saying that the man's reproductive choice rests at and before ejaculation because in my quote or phrase or whatever, no one is being slut-shamed and the man is still able to participate in recreational sex.

In your quote or phrase or whatever, the woman's only choice is never to have sex or she's a dirty whore who deserves to be punished with a pregnancy, which, if brought to term, will punish her with a baby. Oh and the man is also punished (if he sticks around, etc). What?! Pregnancy is not a punishment. It's a biological result of sexual actions that may or may not have involved safe sex/contraceptives.

Hmm...whose world-view here is realistic and nuanced and accounts for responsibility on the part of both the woman AND the man and whose world-view is crying foul where there is no foul because, again, you seem to want to ignore the man's responsibility and role in regard to consensual sex that results in pregnancy. The double standard here is expecting the woman to do all of the birth control planning and then complaining when you find out you've fathered a child because you didn't do ANY birth control planning.

Sure, it's not fun to have to support a life you never wanted to support. Godparents, anyone? Again, take action when it's actionable. Those moments for men are not the same moments for women (at least, post ejaculation). That's not fair, sure, but neither is biology, which has made reproduction unfair particularly for women humans.

Also, what @77 said.

Before I posted this, I checked for updates to the comments. I admit I am snarky in the above, but I do not apologize for that. I will say that you seem more even in your @78 response, but I take issue with this:

"When [women] are the ones who don't want their own resources conscripted to the benefit of the child-to-be, then the pregnancy goes out the window, no questions asked. But they feel free to commandeer another person in a way that they would never stand for being commandeered themselves."

So, basically, you (I'm assuming you're a guy here) are concerned that you (or men) might be accidentally or maliciously conscripted into being financially accountable for a child (note I didn't say "father" because this issue for you seems purely financial/based on confiscation of resources for your child's welfare). Fair concern. Except, again:

"Take action when it's actionable. Those moments for men are not the same moments for women (at least, post ejaculation). That's not fair, sure, but neither is biology, which has made reproduction unfair particularly for women humans." It's quite simple. To quote KL: "Take a little responsibility for your own (or men's generally) reproductive choices!"

Curious, are you an MRA? Getting hints of that from your posts.

Stop being a victim of someone else's choices. Make your own. Fuck knows that's what women have fought for and are still fighting for the world over re:reproductive rights, let alone reproductive choices.
More...
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 5:59 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 83
@80 I want to hug you and your wife and your awesome home! Freedom of choice, indeed.
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 6:04 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 84
@81 YES!
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 6:07 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 85
@66 - "Abortion is awesome"

You win the thread for being a caricature of the radical left that I thought only existed in the imagination of the radical right.
Posted by Tim Horton on October 17, 2012 at 6:24 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 86
@85, what? It IS awesome. Empowering, even. And I'm not a caricature, I'm quite real.

Yup, just pinched myself. Still here.

Care to elaborate, Tim?
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 6:32 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 87
also @72, the point is that the man can run. The woman is stuck with the kid because it came out of her attached to an umbilical cord. No such cord ties the father to the child, if he is so desperate not to be a father.

If the guy steps up to support his child, then...what is your argument? He CHOSE to step up. Why whine about that later? Seems the guy is always a victim to the woman and the baby in your scenarios and you don't allow for real life situations, like, plenty of fathers and even some mothers simply fuck off and leave the kid with the other parent. If the problem is you don't wanna feel like a total douchebag for abandoning your half of the responsibility, then, I have nothing for you except to say: don't ejaculate into vaginas.
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 6:54 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 88
@86. I am pro-choice. If you had said "The right to an abortion is awesome" I would have agreed with you, although I probably would have chosen a different description.

I am also adamant in defense of free speech. I think the right to call someone a nigger is important, but I don't think calling someone a nigger is itself is awesome.

I assume your choice of words was intentional, especially given your earlier statement in @66 that the reason for an abortion is of no consequence. If I have correctly read your post, you see:

No difference between an abortion at 12 weeks because birth control failed and one at 39 weeks because - hey, it's bikini season and I am sick of being pregnant.

No difference between a parent coming to the decision to abort a fetus with a rare and deadly medical condition and a parent aborting a child that shows genetic traits thought to be consistent with homosexuality (they will likely be able to screen for this in the future).

No difference between the ultrasound of the 26 week old fetus that is celebrated on the fridge and the other of the 26 week old fetus that is about to have it's life terminated.

Most of all, I don't think you even believe what you write. You are saying this to be controvesial and spark a debate. Others call this trolling.
Posted by Tim Horton on October 17, 2012 at 7:01 PM · Report this
89
Tim -- I personally don't care for the idea that abortion is awesome, at least not as a concept, but I do think the choice to have an abortion is awesome.

People make poor choices all the time. Just like you say with free speech -- protecting such things includes those that want to use such a freedom in an ugly, bigoted or foolish way. I'm not thrilled with the KKK, but I will defend their freedom to express their views.

Same with abortion -- and that's the point I think of a lot of what 86 is saying. It's a freedom of CHOICE, and that includes those individuals that are shallow, unfeeling, foolish, selfish, etc. and will make poor choices. And as distasteful as I personally think abortion as a form of birth control is, I think it's all the better that those that feel that way don't have kids because I can guarantee you such selfish, callous people would be the WORST parents ever.
Posted by KL on October 17, 2012 at 7:22 PM · Report this
mydriasis 90
@ KL

Bingo.
Posted by mydriasis on October 17, 2012 at 8:23 PM · Report this
91
@66: If you could go back in time, wave a magic wand, and never have had the pregnancy you terminated, would you do so? I'm betting the answer is yes.

And that is (probably) pretty much what whoever said "we all want fewer abortions" meant. Not fewer abortions because women are forced not to have them; fewer abortions because women don't *need* them... fewer abortions because there are fewer unwanted pregnancies. You agree with that concept, right?

and, @58: I may never have had a pregnancy, unwanted or otherwise, but "What if I got pregnant?" is *always* going to be a purely academic question for men (barring significant advances in medical technology), whereas for a woman, it's something that, unless she knows she's medically incapable of conceiving, is always a possibility.
Posted by Melissa Trible on October 17, 2012 at 8:24 PM · Report this
92
@58 Nice try, but there are lots of childless women who have been pregnant. And unless they told you, you'd probably never know.
Posted by Zer0 on October 17, 2012 at 8:24 PM · Report this
93
I'm pro choice and yet I feel that the debate about abortion masks an equally important issue. The prosperity of the USA is such that we can have this conversation (medical care making abortions available, a life style to pursue and protect, etc.) And yet what is lacking and given the level of prosperity of this society should not be, is a guarantee of dignity for all. If the right wants to even begin having a moral ground to stand on in this argument then as a society we must inusre that a child is not a financial curse. the consequences of exercising humanity, and sexuality is humanity, should not be punished by subjugating parents and child in the servitude of the more fortunate. Until the right put their money where their mouth is there should not even be a debate. And if they ever did, I doubt the numbers of abortions still taking place would nessecite one.
Posted by za on October 17, 2012 at 8:28 PM · Report this
94
I'm pro choice and yet I feel that the debate about abortion masks an equally important issue. The prosperity of the USA is such that we can have this conversation (medical care making abortions available, a life style to pursue and protect, etc.) And yet what is lacking and given the level of prosperity of this society should not be, is a guarantee of dignity for all. If the right wants to even begin having a moral ground to stand on in this argument then as a society we must inusre that a child is not a financial curse. the consequences of exercising humanity, and sexuality is humanity, should not be punished by subjugating parents and child in the servitude of the more fortunate. Until the right put their money where their mouth is there should not even be a debate. And if they ever did, I doubt the numbers of abortions still taking place would nessecite one.
Posted by za on October 17, 2012 at 8:32 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 95
@88 "Most of all, I don't think you even believe what you write. You are saying this to be controvesial and spark a debate. Others call this trolling."

Um, wow. I'm Norwegian, so to be called a troll is always a bit silly, but I understand what you mean in this context.

NO. I am not trolling. I think it's telling that you think I AM trolling. Apparently, "abortion is awesome" is controversial...who knew? Oh, wait, I know. I do, honestly, 100% believe what I have written in this thread. To me, the importance of reproductive rights and choice for women is of THE UTMOST. If there is one thing in this world that I do not take lightly it's women's rights = human rights and reproductive rights = human rights. Though, I won't lie and say I don't relish making people THINK about why they think abortion is bad or wrong or what have you. Seriously think. Please.

Abortion is awesome. Yes, "awesome" in the parlance of the day means "totally cool" but it also has an older meaning that I think blends with the modern one in this context. It is fucking radically awesome that women can decide when, if and how reproduction plays a part in their lives and how they use their resources. That, sir, is RADICAL. That is AWESOME. AWE-inspiring. It would be even more radically awesome if women all over the world had unadulterated access to family planning options including contraception, std testing and treatment, as well as abortion, but we're probably at least 50 years out on that one. AT LEAST. Now, who's trolling, sir?

I can tell from your comment that you DO make distinctions based on the reason a woman might choose to abort her pregnancy.

Why?

What is the difference in the end?

So you can tell someone else how to live their life? So you can judge someone else and feel superior that your life and your life choices are better than theirs? Or do you think women who have sex are somehow bad? Does it matter if they used protection/bc and it failed or... where's the distinction?

No, really, why? What IS the difference between a woman who aborts for aesthetic reasons (won't put my body through that! where's my surrogate?) and a woman who aborts for health reasons? Or that she was raped? Or that she can't afford her life and another?

Really, what is the end difference there? A (safe and legal) abortion is a (safe and legal) abortion is a (safe and legal) abortion, no matter what choices led the woman to that decision. Except that it was HER DECISION.

It's telling that your go-to first choice was "bikini season" babe which, sure, if that's a woman's reason to choose abortion, that's her life, not mine. Go ahead, bikini season woman. Honestly, no judgement. However, I will say that that's quite flippant on your part and belies a thought on your part that women take abortion lightly. That it's easy. Studies show differently, specifically that it's MOTHERS with children ALREADY who undergo the majority of abortions. Still, be a woman a mother of 10 or a mother of none but a food baby, the most important part? ABORTION IS LEGAL. The constitution does not say it has to be for NOBLE reasons. It just says it's legal. And you have NO say in a woman's choice there, random guy on the internet, and thank fuck for that.

From your reaction to my "abortion is awesome" post, I take it you think I think abortion is FUN, even. That is the mistake of people who would read my post @66 and see: she thinks abortion is entertaining and fun and I bet she does it every month. If you read my whole post @66, you would understand that the reason I think abortion is awesome, because it is, is that, at it's most basic, it is an amazing resource that gives women the ability to plan their lives and care for their pre-existing children, if they have them, or simply to care for themselves with a chance at financial independence; they do not have to shape their lives to fit a man's because they had his kid. It all comes back to autonomy. Which, oh, right, WOMEN'S autonomy is under fire right now. Can you tell me, Tim, when has a MAN'S autonomy ever been in question? It's quite simply unthinkable in our culture/society.

The litmus test for human rights is whether or not you think a woman's right to an abortion is her own, a decision she makes herself, no questions asked. If you think otherwise, you are wasting time trying to dictate other people's lives and the reason they live them the way they do. I am not kidding. Abortion IS black and white. You are either for it or against it. Everything in between is waffling: she is a human being with human rights or she is not.

It's like marriage equality, quite frankly. Two men or two women marrying each other does not impact your ability to marry a partner of your choosing (unless it's someone of your sex, then we need to look at which state/country you're living in and whether or not you'd have to move somewhere that recognizes gay/lesbian marriage).

My abortion has nothing to do with you or your life. Does it? Maybe it did and I forgot to ask, stupid selfish slut that I am: Tim, did my abortion 6 years ago adversely affect your life? Does the reason I had the abortion adversely affect your life?

Hmm. Trolling, yup. I am SO TOTALLY trolling, what with all these reasoned, engaging and thought-out responses. Wish I could say the jokes on you, but the yolk ends up all over women and their reproductive anatomy. Wait, was that an egg joke? Ovaries! No, no: the internet, it's a series of FALLOPIAN TUBES! Phew, but does this shit get old.

Cut and dry. And move on.
More...
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 8:34 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 96
@91 NO. You are wrong. I wouldn't change a thing.

I did everything right and still got pregnant. Now I have actually had the experience that so many people would dictate for others and I can say OH HELL NO BACK THE FUCK UP.

My abortion was my choice. It was right for me. I am glad I went through that. Because now, more than ever, it is VALID oh how VALID that choice is now. Have you ever had an abortion, @91? Have one, don't have one: it's YOUR decision to make for YOURSELF. Not me, not anyone else. DO NOT presume to tell me what I think or want or would have preferred. I can make own decisions, thanks, though.

And you did READ my post @66?:
"I would also say: more contraceptive access! more reproductive planning and education access!"

I'm all for preventative measures FIRST, having used them myself, but they aren't always effective. Me: case in point.

Abortion is still awesome.

This BS people pull: "rare abortions" is just to placate the religious extremists who would dictate reproductive choice for all women, blind of any circumstances unique to a particular woman or the environment in which she lives, for the further goal of getting those women contraception access. That said, I would obviously rather women did not end up pregnant in the first place, unless they want that. And abortion is still awesome.

I am a radical fucking feminist who wants everyone to have European style comprehensive sex ed from primary school up and I want government to provide free birth control for all women, no matter the option they choose. And that includes abortion.

Which, is still awesome.
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 8:47 PM · Report this
97
Femwanderluster -- thank you so much for your posts. I think the abortion debate in the US highlights how rampant misogyny and sexual shame (especially of women) is alive and well. That when it comes to women especially, we're just not smart enough to understand our choices. Silly us. That we need a big, strong man to explain them to us and make them for us because our widdle feather brains just would be so taxed...

And sadly many of these values are highlighted in Christian and Muslim religious systems. Sure, Christianity has come much further in the way it's practiced in a lot of the world than a lot of places that practice Islam, but the practice of both has always had a very strong streak of misogyny running through their core. The religions themselves don't necessarily have to be that way, but the way they've been practiced from for the last 1500-2000 years has unfortunately shown that. And, shockingly, the folks have been in control of those systems have been men. Hmmmm...
Posted by KL on October 17, 2012 at 9:02 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 98
KL

Your posts have been a relief to read. Sense! Logic! You're even nicer about it all than I can manage to be (rageLOLsob) and you still come off as thoughtful and balanced and not a shit-taker.

And I agree with you @97. It's the systems and institutions, not the ideas themselves, that are effed up and patriarchal.
Posted by femwanderluster on October 17, 2012 at 9:09 PM · Report this
99
avast@76
"Consequences! They're not just for women anymore!" implies that men face no consequences"

I think Dan meant by "anymore" that in the past men faced no consequences, but now, due to DNA testing and the subsequent ramping up of child-support laws and wage garnishing, now men do face consequences, just as women have always done.

Posted by EricaP on October 17, 2012 at 9:45 PM · Report this
100
@76, also new consequences: women might not want to date them if they act like troglodytes.
Posted by EricaP on October 17, 2012 at 9:47 PM · Report this
101
http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-ta…

this is an interesting look at abortion among the anti-choice crowd.

Posted by TMD on October 17, 2012 at 9:49 PM · Report this
102
Tijuana's a pretty violent city, will your drug users be taking responsibility for it?
Posted by Cody Gaines on October 17, 2012 at 10:07 PM · Report this
103
Why lie this way, tell the guys about this >> FACT << and they'll freak out being a single.

Posted by judithlaw on October 17, 2012 at 10:07 PM · Report this
104
Why lie this way, tell the guys about this >> FACT << and they'll freak out being a single.
Posted by judylaw on October 17, 2012 at 10:17 PM · Report this
105
I see the question of abortion as a balancing act between the rights of the woman and the rights of the fetus. At some point between conception and birth, the fetus goes from a blob of cells with no rights to a human being that it would unquestionably be murder to kill.

I agree that at the beginning of the pregnancy, the rights of the mother unquestionably take precedence. At that point, the fetus is a blob of cells, and even if it was a person, the woman should have a chance to decide if she's willing to let her body be hijacked to support another human for 9 months.

And I suspect you would agree that, at 8 1/2 months, someone having an abortion for anything other than the most dire medical reasons is basically committing infanticide. There are babies who were *delivered* earlier than that who survived.

So, the question is what to do with the middle range. When it's definitely more than just a blob of cells, but arguably not entirely a person yet. And that's where I think the mother's motive for the abortion is relevant.

At the beginning of the pregnancy, I agree that a woman should have every right to have an abortion for any reason she wants. If she's having an abortion for a trivial reason (eg. "bikini season" woman) I may disagree with her choice, but I agree that she has every right to make it.

But, mid-pregnancy, it becomes a little more complicated. Unless you have an unusual pregnancy complication of some sort, you knew more or less what you were getting in for at that point. And we're no longer talking about something that can reasonably be considered *just* a blob of cells. At that point--mid second trimester or so--I think it's reasonable to require more justification than just "because I feel like it", morally if not legally.
More...
Posted by Melissa Trible on October 17, 2012 at 10:34 PM · Report this
Greenman Wood 106
I am against abortion personally, not politically. I am glad for this, because when "it" happened to my wife and I, neither of us were interested in changing our positions just because it was happening to us. I was, however, the quintessentially reluctant parent-to-be. Privately, I raged at my misfortune, my inadequacy in taking precautions against pregnancy. But, looking back at that moment, now nine years on, it was the single best decision I've ever participated in. My daughter is the love of my life, and cliche though it may sound, I cannot imagine my life without her. I can imagine all I would have missed had I flip-flopped that day; it's a thought that borders on the unbearable. No illusion of some great parable here; just one person's story for you to ponder, thrown into the mix.
Posted by Greenman Wood http://www.voicewood.net on October 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM · Report this
107
Melissa -- And I think that's also why most areas try to draw the line at viability. When the fetus is viable outside of the womb (and I think this is 27 weeks or so), the abortion isn't legal -- an imperfect rule, but likely as good as we'll get to splitting that baby.

But this also comes with some big caveats -- that abortions are legal and reasonably easy for any pregnant woman to get. Late term abortions are not the ideal, but many that get them are the women that need them the most -- that they either didn't learn of their pregnancy until later (usually because they're very young or some other societal pressure that results in denial) or they're essentially denied access in a reasonable fashion (require consent, poor and don't have access to facilities, live in rural areas where it isn't easy to get to a place, etc.).

Then there are places the actively seek to subvert women. Places that advertise as abortion clinics with the primary purpose of preventing abortions -- by either trying to convince the women not to get them through any coercive means possible or by "delaying" their appt due to false reasons (high temperature, scheduling errors, etc.) until it's too late for the woman to legally get one. We need to crack down on these places as well as places that are making it more difficult (hello, vaginal ultrasound laws and requiring women to listen to the heartbeat -- two things that are completely unnecessary and only meant to guilt or coerce women into changing their mind on getting an abortion). Such places and laws are atrocious!
Posted by KL on October 17, 2012 at 10:52 PM · Report this
108
Greenman -- I too am actually against abortion personally. I don't think I could bring myself to do it myself, but that's also a large part of the reason I've been so rabid about prevention because that was one situation that I know I never wanted to end up in (and, luckily, I haven't either).

And that's fine for you to feel that way. However, it's a very different thing for a person to insist that another feel the same way. And that's why the CHOICE is so important -- because two people can have very different, but equally valid opinions on what would work best for him/her.

Just as I'm sure you or anyone else doesn't want others, let alone the govt., making important decisions on your health care. Women are just asking for the same right -- to make their own decisions about their own bodies.
Posted by KL on October 17, 2012 at 10:56 PM · Report this
109
The issue is actually quite simple, Dan. If a girl would write to you saying that her boyfriend was totally down with her right to choose but he says he does not want to have any children right now. So if she should get pregnant and she wanted to keep the child he would pay child support because that is what the letter of the law says but if he could change the law he would.

What would you tell her?

That's easy though you would say it in more elaborate words: DTMF

So if we take these two DTMFs together it really becomes clear. It has never been about pro-choice or not. It is about making somebody else pay for your (the woman's) choice.
Posted by anon103 on October 17, 2012 at 11:03 PM · Report this
110
@99 EricaP: There have been shotgun weddings since long, long before there were shotguns.
Posted by avast2006 on October 17, 2012 at 11:12 PM · Report this
111
Anon103 -- if he doesn't want to have kids, then maybe he should do something about that. Instead of putting it all on the woman and her "choice". Last time I checked, it took two people to make a baby. And there are birth control measures available to men (condoms, spermacide, not coming inside a woman's baby making areas, vasectomy).

Oh, but then he'd actually have to take some responsibility for his reproductive choices. So much easier to make the woman do all the work and then complain when she doesn't agree with you. What a joke!

If you're not ready or willing to deal with the potential consequences of your sexual activity -- including having a kid -- then do something about it. Protect yourself. Don't bitch about how it's someone else's responsibility to do your work for you by having an abortion.
Posted by KL on October 17, 2012 at 11:23 PM · Report this
112
@81: "A woman cannot bear a child to term and terminate her parental rights unless she's able to find another step into her shoes through adoption or otherwise."

That is a statement that carries the remarkable virtues of being simultaneously completely true and completely meaningless. There is ALWAYS another to step into her shoes. Have you never heard of orphanages? How about safe surrender sites. To hear you talk, she has to handle the adoption procedure herself and pick the parents as if she were subleasing an apartment.

"If she has the kid and the father takes custody, she's on the hook for child support just as much as if the roles were reversed."

If that scenario isn't to her liking, nobody is requiring her to have the kid against her wishes.

"She can simply choose not to bring the kid to term if she's open to abortion."

Hey how about that, we are converging on the same facts. None of what you say here is contradictory to what I have stated, which is that carrying to term is entirely elective on the part of a woman, but the man is held responsible for a choice that he didn't get to make.

Find me a feminist woman who will agree that consent to sex is consent to parenthood. Certainly not for a woman. But it absolutely is for a man.
Posted by avast2006 on October 17, 2012 at 11:51 PM · Report this
113
@82: Actually, Dan's comment was in response to a bunch of MRAs and/or conservatives who claim that "sex should have consequences", and saying that in that case a good set of consequences would be for those particular guys to never get laid. I happen to agree with him on that.

I don't consider myself an MRA. I certainly don't think a man has any claim on a pregnancy that a woman wants to terminate. To me it's a clump of cells. (Yes, eventually making a transition to being a viable person, but not for a long time.) I don't know what the other issues are that MRA's take up, but I suspect they are off-topic, so I don't intend to go down that rat-hole.

"The double standard here is expecting the woman to do all of the birth control planning and then complaining when you find out you've fathered a child because you didn't do ANY birth control planning."

Massive overstatement of the case. Like I said above, using myself as an example, WE chose condoms together because we were concerned about how The Pill was messing with her cycles. And over the course of several years, we managed to break a condom maybe five times. None of them resulted in pregnancy, thankfully. Other couples could choose together to use The Pill, or a diaphragm with spermicide, or any of the other methods, and have any of them fail. To hear you talk, if they opted for anything other than condoms, he wasn't even a participant in the conversation.

So, basically...this issue for you seems purely financial/based on confiscation of resources for your child's welfare)."

If you can't figure out what twenty-plus years spent being a father means other than writing a monthly check, the failure of imagination is yours, not mine. I've been a dad now (by enthusiastic choice and careful planning) for over fifteen years, and it's a huge fucking deal. I doubt that Dan, if he stopped to think about it, would care to characterize his own parenting of his own child as being of no consequence.

"Oh and the man is also punished (if he sticks around, etc). What?! Pregnancy is not a punishment."

What do you call it when it's a woman undergoing it against her will?

"Stop being a victim of someone else's choices. Make your own."

Yes, but the only choice left is, if you don't want to be a parent, don't have sex. And that is a choice that people (myself included, and you too, if I read you right) are outraged when it is asked of women. But you continue to blithely make my point for me, which is basically saying if she owns your ejaculate, she owns you, and the world is perfectly fine with that.
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Posted by avast2006 on October 18, 2012 at 12:28 AM · Report this
114
@87: No the man most certainly cannot run. He might try, but the law will be out after him. That hardly qualifies as a viable option. You might as well say that he could always knock over a bank in order to support the child.

What makes you think I object in any way whatsoever to the case where the guy CHOSE to step up to the obligation? On what planet would that be remotely logical?
Posted by avast2006 on October 18, 2012 at 12:33 AM · Report this
115
@95: I agree with you, abortion is awesome, especially depending on the circumstances. It is awesome to not have to suffer through an entire pregnancy and the trauma of delivery only to deliver a fatally misdeveloped child that will die in your arms within minutes post-partum. It is awesome to not have to quit school and go work in some minimum wage job because there's a baby that needs supporting. It is awesome to be able to expel the hateful product of a rape.

No, "awesome" really isn't a bad word for it at all.
Posted by avast2006 on October 18, 2012 at 12:49 AM · Report this
116
@Mr Ven, thanks. I am sorry to hear about the local heteronormativity, and humbly suggest that it may have a bright side -- lots of hetero support for homo issues. (Also, Dan has been choosing to answer straight letters more often than gay ones; it looks like part of his moving away from the old "perversion-of-the-month" column style to his new "proposing-a-comprehensive-sexual/relationship-ethics" preference.

Both men and women have always faced consequences, though not for the same things, and not to the same degree. Equalizing the game sounds OK to me.

I disagree that coming out as anti-choicer will have such terrible consequences on your dating pool -- after all, there are many anti-choice women (who, by the way, may very well not date a pro-choice man -- there are consequences here, too).

There are differences of opinion that may never allow relationships to flourish. It is a good thing, though, to be able to evaluate every situation by itself and come to a conclusion. Sometimes it's not so much what the opinion is, but how strongly the person commits to it, that makes the relationship impossible. Even a trivial opinion -- liking wine more than beer, say -- can poison a relationship if it is too enthuasistic and uncompromising.

That abortion has become such an issue is, I think, a feature of current American culture. Would different opinions on the healthcare issue also have similar consequences? I'll bet at least in some cases it would.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 18, 2012 at 2:37 AM · Report this
117
@avast6, who wrote:
Hey how about that, we are converging on the same facts. None of what you say here is contradictory to what I have stated, which is that carrying to term is entirely elective on the part of a woman, but the man is held responsible for a choice that he didn't get to make.


That is true, avast2006, but it doesn't address the question about there being three people involved, including the baby. The fact that the woman has the choice is not a conspiracy, but a consequence of the principle of bodily autonomy plus the fact that women have wombs and men don't. After the baby is born (who, I insist, may also be a man), shouldn't his interests be taken into account? After all, he's had even fewer choices in the matter than his father, who could in principle not have had sex. Doesn't it seem to you that child support is the lesser evil here? Yes, the father has fewer choices, but all other options look to me worse than that.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 18, 2012 at 2:47 AM · Report this
118
@Melissa Tribble, femwanderlust -- I think your disagreement illustrates an interesting aspect of the abortion debate as it is currently held in America.

I don't think the two of you disagree at all in the details. Both of you are for contraception first, both of you agree that it's better not to have an unwanted pregnancy if possible (after all, abortion is a surgery, and a surgery implies risk).

But you disagree on what you think stands behind theses opinions. Femwanderlust, it seems you think that anyone saying "as few abortions as possible" is just someone trying to control other people's choices. Which -- if it weren't for the current intensity of the debate in American politics -- would be like claiming that anyone who hopes traffic accidents will be as few as possible is secretly just trying to control other people's driving habits.

Surgeries are awesome, because they solve problems. If an abortion doesn't solve a problem, then it's not awesome, just as an apedicectomy wouldn't be if you already don't have an appendix or if it is not posing any health risks. Both are invasive procedures that are not meant to be awesome. What is awesome is that you can have appendicectomies -- or abortions -- if you need to.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 18, 2012 at 2:56 AM · Report this
sissoucat 119
@22 and 48

I also delay sex until after we've communicated on hot topics like "let's get both HIV tested and agree on condoms whatever the results" and "you know I'll expect oral activities on my pussy, if it grosses you out, let's not do this".

But since using condoms is a given, I usually don't talk beforehand about other birth control forms, nor about abortion.

I don't want to scare away prospective lovers by telling them that if the condom breaks (actually, slips ; I've never seen a condom break), I will ask them to go and buy a morning-after pill in a hurry - and if I indeed get pregnant after that, all bets are off on whether I will or won't abort.

In truth I'm not interested in having another child. But I'm good at raising children and I could afford raising one more. I know I will not want to live with a male only because we happen to have a child in common. Still it would pain me to say "no" to the possibility of another child of mine, since I'm very proud of being mother to my already there ones. And someone whom I'm really impressed with, and who has no children of his own, my primitive brain takes over and tells me "let's give a descendency to this amazing human, who is a gift to the entire human race, shall we ?".

Do you think I should consider telling all that to a prospective lover, or leave it unsaid until there's a condom accident ?
Posted by sissoucat on October 18, 2012 at 3:07 AM · Report this
sissoucat 120
femwanderluster - thanks for you vocal posts.
Posted by sissoucat on October 18, 2012 at 3:18 AM · Report this
121
Life,

That was easy.
Posted by Hunter78 on October 18, 2012 at 4:17 AM · Report this
mydriasis 122
@ avast

What about the mens?

Weren't you just last week arguing the massive difference between a clump of cells and a fully formed human? Choosing not to support the former (woman having an abortion) is not the same as choosing not to support the latter (man choosing to offer NO monetary assistance to support his child, to say nothing of the much more important kinds of assistance).

My understanding of child support is that it's not a flat amount, it's proportional to income. Is that not the case?

I am sympathetic* to a man who has casual sex with a woman, uses contraception correctly, and then gets surprised with a baby later on - I am. But I do find something disturbing about someone who has absolutely no regard for their own child, and feels no inclination to provide for them. And to sit there and whine about how they are the one being wronged.

Frankly, my sympathies lie with the child (as usual).

* I am NOT sympathetic to "she said she was on the pill"
Posted by mydriasis on October 18, 2012 at 6:18 AM · Report this
123
A happy ending!

The LW is Canadian? Between that and all the "aboot"s on the podcast it seems Dan Savage has quite an audience in Canada.
Posted by repete on October 18, 2012 at 7:04 AM · Report this
mydriasis 124
^

Americans say about with a drawl. Like "ab-OW-t". We say "about", you just can't pronounce the dipthong so you say "aboot" which isn't even close.
Posted by mydriasis on October 18, 2012 at 7:13 AM · Report this
125
@avast, ankylosaur and mydriasis:

The involvement of the father (personally and financially) is not about the father's rights, nor about the mother's rights but completely about the child's rights.

According to the wikipedia article "The Convention on the Rights of the Child", "The Convention acknowledges that every child has certain basic rights, including the right to life, his or her own name and identity, to be raised by his or her parents within a family or cultural grouping, and to have a relationship with both parents, even if they are separated."

So even if the mother or the father does not want it, every child has the right to know who his/her father is and to have contact with him.

(This has become a problem for the fertility industry and formerly anonymous sperm donors.)
Posted by migrationist on October 18, 2012 at 7:42 AM · Report this
126
avast@110, shotgun weddings have always existed, but if you impregnated a slut, you were likely safe; if you impregnated someone vulnerable and threatened to hurt her if she told anyone your name, you were likely safe.

On the other hand, syphilis is curable now.
Posted by EricaP on October 18, 2012 at 7:48 AM · Report this
sonic_reducer 127
:D awesome, as always Dan. I appreciate reading your thoughts and views always. Thank you, thank you for shining so much light into the confusing world of sexuality and just plain being a decent human being on this warming planet.

Many thanks, please keep up the great work :D

Posted by sonic_reducer on October 18, 2012 at 8:20 AM · Report this
128
@101 TMD.

Thank you that great link.

I'm always dumbfounded by the hypocrisy, misogyny and slut-shaming that women direct at other women. Often, women do it to a greater degree than men do.

That's just sad.
Posted by albeit on October 18, 2012 at 8:56 AM · Report this
129
@118: Exactly!
Posted by Melissa Trible on October 18, 2012 at 9:39 AM · Report this
130
@10: You dump an anti-choice man at the point at which you would feel bad not telling him about the pregnancy. If I got pregnant after a one-night stand, I would just have the abortion and not tell the guy. With a boyfriend, I try to figure out their position before I get too far into it. To put it simply, I don't want to get pregnant and THEN find out that my boyfriend is going to hate me if I abort the fetus. I don't want a boyfriend who'd do anything but support the reproductive choices I want to make.

Talking to your fuckbuddies is kind of a gray area.
Posted by alguna_rubia on October 18, 2012 at 9:46 AM · Report this
131
Avast2006 -- Parenthood is as much of a risk/choice for the woman as it is for the man. The only difference is if the woman is open to abortion, and there are many women that are pro-choice but wouldn't have an abortion themselves so they're in the same boat as a man with an unplanned pregnancy.

Both take the risk of that resulting when having sex. Both should take some responsibility for their own reproductive choices. It just astounds me that you advocate so little responsibility for the man's choices -- that he rolls the dice and chooses not to protect himself at all and if he ends up with a woman that won't abort, he's somehow wronged by the whole situation.

As we've talked about several times, there are several different ways men can greatly reduce their risks -- including only having sex with women that would abort in the case of accidental pregnancy. Take a little frickin' responsibility for your own reproductive choices and risks and stop blaming others for your actions (or men's actions, or lack thereof).

If you don't want the risk, protect yourself. If you take the risk, accept the consequences.
Posted by KL on October 18, 2012 at 9:48 AM · Report this
132
Avast2006 -- I'd say that when anyone chooses to have sex, they're making the choice that a pregnancy may result. You act like sex and pregnancy are totally unrelated and if a woman gets accidentally pregnant and carries the child to term, that the man didn't consent to parenthood.

He may have not actively chosen it, but he did engage in the act that had a possibility of that resulting -- that's his choice.

If he wants to lessen the risk by doing certain things (condoms, spermacide, vasectomy, not ejaculating in the baby making areas, finding a woman that's on the pil/IUD and can be trusted to follow through on her different choices, finding a woman that will abort an unwanted pregnancy, etc.). Those are all choices he has.

If he CHOOSES to do none of the following, ends up with an unplanned pregnancy that the woman for whatever reason wants to carry to term, then those are the consequences he CHOSE. You act like men have no choices and it's all on the woman and he's just an unwitting bystander. Talk about a double standard.
Posted by KL on October 18, 2012 at 9:59 AM · Report this
John Horstman 133
@125: Wow, framing those as rights is fucking absurd, as a right is a positive guarantee of something. A right to family? So... if someone's parents are killed, other people should be conscripted into raising that child because the child has a right to parents? Patently absurd. Guaranteeing children a right to material and social support is a good idea, but to family or parents is ridiculous, as the implementation of any program to actualize those rights is even more problematic, by far.

I'm in favor of the child support system, but ONLY because 1) many women still do not functionally have the ability to decide whether to procreate or not, and 2) because our infrastructure for supporting young children who are not supported by one or more parents sucks. The second every woman actually has the ability to control reproduction, women also assume all of the responsibility for doing so responsibly. If men are not to have any say in whether the child is to exist (and I don't think they should), then they CANNOT ethically be saddled with responsibility for the consequences of that choice. (We all know "don't have sex" is not an option here - it doesn't work for women or men.)
Posted by John Horstman on October 18, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Report this
Tim Horton 134
@95 - I was wrong. You obviously believe what you say.

I am with Melissa Tribe @105 on this question. I see value in the life of the fetus, which at some point on the pregnancy spectrum is medically and scientifically viable person.

I cited the example of the 39 week abortion during bikini season as the extreme for a reason. Of course its rare. I was curious if even in this circumstance you would adhere to your hard line "radical" position – not just of judgment-free female autonomy to the end – but of calling the termination of a viable life “awesome.” You have been very clear that you see abortion as black and white, as awesome under any circumstances, at any time, for any reason, to be void of outside judgment.

We can agree to disagree.

One point you raise is interesting. "What does it matter?"

I had a friend who hated cats. He worked at the shelter and mocked the felines before he euthanized them. Used to give them a treat, call them by their name and laugh during the injection. I am sure he thought it was awesome, regardless of whether the cat was ill, or merely abandoned by its owner for lifestyle reasons. I am a meat eater but it turns my stomach to see the Humane society videos of the farm workers cruelly taunting their prey as they prod them towards the kill floor. To hear the butcher describe his job as awesome would be unsettling. I have the same reaction when you call aborting a human fetus an awesome event.

Matthew Sheppard. Does it bother you that he was killed because he was gay versus it being a random act of violence? Does it matter that his murder was an avoidable callous act versus if he was hit by a drunk driver? Same result. He is dead.

To the Jew walking to the gas chamber if his German guard was merely following orders versus enjoying the genocide, it doesn’t really matter in the end.

Ultimately, to the clump of cells/fetus/neonate/viable-human, mom's motives in terminating their existence probably doesn't matter any more than it did to the cat. But you will have a hard time convincing society that the motives behind the act should be devoid of judgment.
More...
Posted by Tim Horton on October 18, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Report this
John Horstman 135
@118: Somebody who wants as few traffic accidents as possible IS trying to control other people's driving habits. It's just that forcing people to drive responsibly is a good idea, because traffic accidents are always bad. Abortions are almost never bad; if a woman wants to use abortion as her only means of birth control (expensive!) because she decides the risks are more favorable than those of something like hormonal contraceptives, I see no problem with that. Saying there SHOULD be as few abortions as possible is problematic because it frames abortion as universally a less-favorable or less-desirable option that preventing a pregnancy, when in fact it may not be for all women. Even if it's true for the overwhelming majority of women, it's not true for all.
Posted by John Horstman on October 18, 2012 at 10:11 AM · Report this
136
@117: "That is true, avast2006, but it doesn't address the question about there being three people involved, including the baby."

My opinion is that these decisions should be made as early in the pregnancy as possible, well before there is an actual baby with actual rights that need to be taken into account. A fetus is not an actual baby, only a potential one. To treat the baby as an equal in the equation within approximately the first two trimesters is to put the rights of an actual person subservient to the rights of a potential person. In most discussions about abortion, this reference to the actual person would refer to the mother; in this case it refers to the father.

As development progresses and the fetus approaches viability, the rights of the fetus take on more significance and eventually reach parity with the adults. It is a continuum. But I have trouble believing that the single fertilized egg cell at the extreme end of that continuum should have the same rights as a fully formed human being.

Further regarding timing: if a system were to be adopted that allows a man to disavow paternity in the early stages of pregnancy, it would be appropriate to limit the window for him to do that, so that the woman can still have enough time to exercise her full range of options during the period in which there are no fetus' rights that need to be taken into account.

@122: does the above answer your question about clumps of cells?
Posted by avast2006 on October 18, 2012 at 10:13 AM · Report this
137
Great topic of conversation! What I think people sometime tend to confuse is that pro-choice and pro-abortion are NOT necessarily synonymous. For me personally, if I were ever pregnant (straight female speaking here), I could never see myself electing to abort the child and would likewise be discouraged if my partner were in favor of my having an abortion (in essence, one could label this as an anti-abortion stance). However, I see that as MY CHOICE to do what is best for me and my body. I am in a financial, mental and emotional place where, though I may not WANT a child, I could fully healthily and lovingly support a child.

That said, I recognize that this is not true of all people. If a woman/couple does not feel like she/they are in a place where they can have, love and support a child, then they have NO business bringing a child into the world. I think the debate needs to focus on the core issue at hand - women's rights and a female's right to choose what is best for her health, life and mental and emotional state. A woman needs to have the option available to her, in the event that life, safety, etc. warrants it.
Posted by JLM20170 on October 18, 2012 at 10:15 AM · Report this
138
@122, continued: (sorry, trying to keep answers short and disentangled, with so many topics to address):

Regarding callous, heartless, men with no interest in their own child: men donate sperm to a sperm bank all the time, with no wish to know the child that results, let alone be a father to them. These are even men who happily consent to the idea of their sperm being used to conceive. Should a man whose sperm was used to bring a child to term against his will be held to a higher standard of softheartedness for the resulting child than the man who agreed to it but still is uninterested in the child?

Also, women are allowed to want to have no contact with their offspring. It's called closed adoption. I don't hear you calling their intentions or their potential sociopathy into question.
Posted by avast2006 on October 18, 2012 at 10:17 AM · Report this
139
@133:

This is the text of the UN convention.

I disagree with you about "a right is a positive guarantee of something". Human rights are universal to all human beings- no matter if they live in a country where these rights are enforced or not.
Posted by migrationist on October 18, 2012 at 10:19 AM · Report this
140
@50: I second that!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 18, 2012 at 10:24 AM · Report this
141
@131: "there are many women that are pro-choice but wouldn't have an abortion themselves so they're in the same boat as a man with an unplanned pregnancy."

No, they are not. Having a choice and opting not to use it is simply not the same thing as having no choice.

"If you don't want the risk, protect yourself. If you take the risk, accept the consequences."

There's that word again, consequences. Which is exactly my point. Several people have been arguing for several thousand words in support of the position that "sexual activities have consequences, get over it" -- identical in outcomes, if not necessarily in underlying attitude, to what the MRAs that Dan alluded to were emailing him. But only if you are male.
Posted by avast2006 on October 18, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
142
Avast2006 -- if a father chooses to take custody of the kid, the woman has to pay child support. There is not an option to walk away. And if she chooses to adopt out, the father also has to consent to terminate his rights. If he wants his rights, the child can't be adopted.

The whole point is that like sex, it is in some parts a joint decision. The choices aren't exactly the same as a man doesn't have the ability to choose abortion, but he does have the ability to make other choices that affect his reproductive choices.

I just don't know how you don't get this. You think the man should take not responsibility to guard his own sperm but it's the woman's "choice" to have a kid. For women that don't believe in abortion personally (and many pro-choice women fall into this category), she has no personal choice either given her beliefs. She's in the exact same boat is the man.

Your view on this is so immature -- like a kid that wants what he wants but doesn't want to pay the costs of his desires. Wants to be a doctor, but doesn't want to go to medical school. Wants a Mercedes, but doesn't want to earn the money to buy one. Basic cause and effect. If he doesn't want to be a father, then practice measures that will lessen that risk. But you don't get to have sex without accepting that risk and the potential consequences, including your partner's choices -- if you don't like her choices, then don't have sex with her and find a woman that is more aligned with your views. Really, it is that simple.
Posted by KL on October 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM · Report this
143
@avast: I don't think that it's really "right" that a guy pretty much has no say in whether a fetus he had a hand in making goes to term, but really, what are the alternatives? A pre-pregnancy agreement, saying that the woman will abort the fetus and if she doesn't, he's off the hook?

I think that women who say "oh, well if a man's not ready to be a parent, he can use contraception or keep his legs closed" are employing a stupid argument, even if they are not stupid. I do think that it is just as much the guy's responsibility to have that conversation about "what happens if you get pregnant" as it is the woman's. It's unfortunately not ideal; obviously, the woman can change her mind once she's pregnant, but even in that case, I don't see a good outcome in doing anything differently than we do now. If a woman feels that she can't abort her pregnancy, even if she told him she was going to before she got pregnant, forcing her to do so cannot be the correct option. Unless we seriously want to restructure how children get financial support in this country, I don't see the father being able to opt out of financial support to be a good one. Not unless we decided to tax the hell out of ourselves for a single-parents fund or something (which I wouldn't be against, but I can't imagine it happening).

I guess my point is that I see the unfairness- men can never know for sure that their sex partners will do what they say they're going to do in the event of a pregnancy. And if the woman changes her mind and decides to keep the baby, he's on the hook. It's true, that's unfair. But I think it's the least bad of the available unfair options, you know?

Also, shotgun weddings? I mean, sure they happened, but only to the "nice" guys. Irresponsible guys could just leave town or face social disapproval.
More...
Posted by alguna_rubia on October 18, 2012 at 10:32 AM · Report this
144
Really? Women have no consequences of sex? Seriously, you can say that with a straight face?

Women have bee bearing the consequences of sex for millennia, and to a gross disproportion. They deal with hormonal birth control (if they opt for that), they undergo annual exams to make sure things are all working right, and they bear the burden of an unplanned pregnancy -- whether that's to carry the child to term or abort. All HUGE consequences.

Guys get to screw around and leave the vast majority of the consequences to women. Both are impacted equally from STDs, except for those that affect a woman more -- like HPV and asymptomatic for men (and the basis of our annual exams). Is there even an STD that affects a man more but doesn't a woman? I'm not sure, but I don't think so.

And you have the gall to bitch that all of the choices aren't equal. Yeah, well, welcome to the world of grown-ups, where life isn't fair. I'm sure there are tons of women that would prefer their male partners deal with pregnancy and bearing the children. But we don't have that choice -- biology has given us different choices. You're truly unbelievable in your tunnel vision.
Posted by KL on October 18, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
145
@avast:
I think I understand your point:
Both partners use contraception, something goes wrong, the woman gets pregnant.
If the man wants the child but the mother wants to terminate the pregnancy: it's her choice. If the man doesn't want the kid, he still has to pay child support if the woman chooses to keep the baby.

I feel very bad for the father in the first case, and would ask the woman to at least think about having the baby and letting the father raise it. But it is her body, so her rights supersede those of the baby (and of the father)- at least until the fetus is viable*.
As soon as there is a living baby, the rights of the baby are equal to or supersede the rights of both parents.

* I feel very uncomfortable that on one hand prematurely born babies can be kept alive at a gestational age of 23 weeks, while on the other hand late-term abortions of viable babies are legal. There's a disconnect for me.
Posted by migrationist on October 18, 2012 at 10:44 AM · Report this
146
@132: Two things:

1) You are presuming that all men who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy ended up there because they didn't choose any of the options you list. Your argument is one part straw man, one part begging the question. Again, condoms break, Pills fail, diaphragms leak, IUDs slip, even vasectomies on rare occasions re-canalize.

2) Are you saying that if he _did_ choose to do one of the things you listed, but something went wrong, then he should have enhanced privileges to opt out? I doubt you would agree to that, but it seems to be implied by your argument. If you aren't making that exemption, then talking about men failing to make plans is irrelevant to your argument and disingenuous to bring it up. The truth is, it doesn't matter how much advance planning and care he put into place before having sex, if something went wrong and a pregnancy results, he is up shit creek without a paddle.

I also don't see you excoriating women for failing to use a diaphragm, sponge, female condom, IUD, etc. In your world, the couple could have sex that is completely unprotected by either person, but when a pregnancy results, it is entirely the man's fault. Once again, the double standard is yours.
Posted by avast2006 on October 18, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
147
@avast: And now I realize you DID suggest that men should be able to opt-out early term. Well, I'll explain my problem with that.

You're framing abortion as if it's an easy choice to make, like an "erase fetus" button or something. The reasons women who did not want to be pregnant choose not to have abortions are elusive to me and probably to you as well, but they exist and I cannot say they are not valid. Neither you nor I have ever been pregnant, but often, women feel differently about abortion in their specific case when the real choice to go through with it or not comes up. What if the woman really can't afford the baby without the man, but she has these feelings, feelings that she'll be forever traumatized if she has an abortion? Again, I realize that it's an inherently unfair situation- it's not his fault that her feelings on the matter have changed. Maybe you don't agree, but I kind of think that letting the guy abandon both her and their future child is a horrible solution to that situation.

If abortion were an "erase fetus" button, I would agree with your suggestion. But it seems much more complicated than that for pregnant women.
Posted by alguna_rubia on October 18, 2012 at 10:47 AM · Report this
148
Dan you are awesome, and don't worry about people who don't understand your advice. I agree that lying to your boyfriend about being preggers isn't a good idea, but then again, neither is telling a woman you are dating that she doesn't have the right to decide what to do with the hypothetical embryo in her womb. Love you Dan!
Posted by Midwestwoman on October 18, 2012 at 10:47 AM · Report this
149
"So my advice wasn't just bad, it was hypocritical. Mea culpa."

Thanks Dan. Perfect. Here's what I really like about this:

1) Human being makes a mistake. (OMFG! No, wait, it happens sometimes.)

2) He takes shit for the mistake. (It happens a lot.)

3) He doesn't become defensive and hostile, but instead considers said shit.

4) He explains the thought process used to arrive at the mistake, explains what was wrong in that process, and admits it was in fact a mistake. He takes responsibility.

5) Most of us survive the horrific experience, barely.

I wish we could have a little (no, a LOT) more of this these days, and a whole lot less finger pointing and blame shifting.
Posted by Marley on October 18, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
150
@144: I'm not sure who you are talking to, but I will respond.

I have never said women face NO consequences of sex. All I have ever said is that to the extent that this particular consequence (parenthood) has been made optional by medical science, and to the extent that no woman would be happy having this particular consequence forced on her unwilling, conscience dictates that she likewise not force it on someone else.

Your argument seems to be that a woman forcing unwanted parenthood on a man is a way of evening the score for HPV. I'll just let that one speak for itself.
Posted by avast2006 on October 18, 2012 at 10:58 AM · Report this
151
I cited the example of the 39 week abortion during bikini season as the extreme for a reason. Of course its rare.

It's not rare. It DOESN'T EXIST. I suppose some small proportion of unnecessary inductions and C-sections are requested by women who are "tired of being pregnant," and I suppose it's vanishingly possible that some of those women thought they could look good in a bikini directly afterward. (In a still smaller number of cases, they may even have been right -- it's amazing how fast some women's bellies recover.) But no one in the world has ever terminated that late because of wanting to wear a bikini. Certainly not anyone who had kept the pregnancy going up until then because they in fact wanted a baby.
Posted by Eirene on October 18, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
152
Avast2006 -- nothing in life is foolproof. Even with all the precautions in the world, sometimes things don't work. That's a crappy situation to be in for either the man or the woman. But it's also the risk they both accepted when having sex.

The part that blows my mind is that because women have an additional option of abortion, at least theoretically, that somehow that should erase the risk to the man in having kid. Part of that risk is knowing your partner's choices, and even then, realizing that she may change her mind on terminating. That's a risk a man takes simply because of the difference in biology. Just like a woman has to accept the decision to abort or not abort -- it isn't truly a joint decision. It's hers. So she faces the consequences of that. How many men are traumatized by the choice to abort? Not many. But many women are really torn by this issue and have to make the hard decision.
Posted by KL on October 18, 2012 at 11:09 AM · Report this
153
Dan, could you please stop saying things like "I would only fuck her if..."? Really. I like and respect you and your work--I heard you speak about It Gets Better at a local college and brought my 13-year-old daughter and she adores you and your cause there--but I think speaking this way about sex is just degrading and demeaning whether it's in reference to men or women, straights or gays. We could liken this switch in you to the change in Oprah (okay, not a great analogy but bear with me). When she was new to her talk show she used to be very sensationalistic and bring on all sorts of strange guests just to get ratings. Later on she did less of that and got more serious in the way she addressed topics. What I'm saying is that I think you similarly have increased credibility and could get your message across more effectively if you toned it down a bit. Call me old school, but I'd love to see you put forth your amazing ideas in a way that need not offend anyone.
Posted by Mary28 on October 18, 2012 at 11:48 AM · Report this
154
"I'd love to see you put forth your amazing ideas in a way that need not offend anyone."

lol
Posted by EricaP on October 18, 2012 at 12:20 PM · Report this
155
@152: I dare to hope we might be in agreement with the principle "Don't fuck someone who doesn't place your interests on par with his/her own."

Beyond that, we seem to have gotten about as eye to eye as we are going to, which isn't very close.

"The part that blows my mind is that because women have an additional option of abortion, at least theoretically, that somehow that should erase the risk to the man in having kid."

Seriously, "blows your mind?" It's called the Golden Rule. Don't do to another person what you would not want done to you. This is not rocket science.
Posted by avast2006 on October 18, 2012 at 1:17 PM · Report this
156
Avast2006 -- Golden Rule -- terrible frickin' analogy. Seriously, I think I may have lost IQ points for just reading such stupidity.

Due to biology, the choices aren't the same. That's like saying, hey, don't impregnate a woman unless you're willing to be impregnated yourself. Oh, but you can't because you're a man. Ridiculous!

I don't think a woman wants an unplanned pregnancy either. But it's a situation that happens sometimes and she deals with it. Doesn't rail against the man and be like "oh, that damn man, he impregnated me!" If she does, then she's equally immature as your viewpoint and incapable of taking responsibility for her end of the equation -- for her choices to take the risk that she did.

Just as you are equally immature by thinking that a woman should HAVE to have an abortion or raise a child alone if she chooses to keep the baby and the guy doesn't want to be a father. If he doesn't want to be a father, then he should have protected himself or made sure, to the extent possible, that his partner sees things similarly. Or get a vasectomy. You want to the benefits of sex but none of the responsibility of your choices. Life just doesn't work that way. Welcome to grown-up land where we don't always get what we want.
Posted by KL on October 18, 2012 at 1:24 PM · Report this
157
Women get to choose what to do about a *pregnancy*
Neither men nor women get to choose to abandon responsibility to a *child*. Whether that be to place for adoption or raise the child. Stop confusing pregnancy with actual living children. If you are a man who WOULD choose to have an abortion should you impregnate someone, you need to use a condom, your own condom that you bring and know the status of, every single time.

Rather than bitching they want the right to abandon an actual living breathing human, men would be better served demanding effective birth control options for themselves. The fact there are so many for women is simply a hold over from the societal expectation that a pregnancy was our problem, not his.

And for the record, if the mother remarries, her new partner can adopt the child (although personally I strongly advise against anyone ever allowing a non-biological partner to adopt their child... Way too many people out there who did and lost their custody rights when the divorce came later) if the father (or mother actually, in the case the dad has custody) signs away his rights.

As for not fucking people due to politcs... I don't even want to be friends (as in beyond common courteous superficial discourse) with people who hold certain political opinions, why would I fuck them?
Posted by wendykh on October 18, 2012 at 1:47 PM · Report this
GymGoth 158
So LIFE, your boyfriend responded to your hypothetical "what to do if I became pregnant" and he said that his preference was that you give the baby up for adoption or keep it. But he went further and acknowledged that you had the legal right to get an abortion.

The question is purely hypothetical because you are not pregant and I am assuming you are using birth control. But you still can't stand the fact that politically he supports restricting abortion? I say he is a VERY lucky man to get rid of you sooner rather than later. What if the next man doesn't hold your political view on global warming, school vouchers, or taxes? Are you going to dump him too?

Opposition to abortion now polls even or ahead of the "pro-choice" side. So what's good for the goose is good for the gander and maybe the plenty of men who are pro-life will rethink their pro-choice girlfriends too.
Posted by GymGoth on October 18, 2012 at 2:38 PM · Report this
159
GymGoth -- well, I suppose it's good that the Founding Fathers were wise enough to recognize the fickleness of public opinion and majority rules at all costs approach. Why they instituted higher standards to effect certain laws and amend the Constitution.

Until the "popularity" is enough to amend the Constitution, who cares?

And, yeah, when your core values conflict with someone you're dating, better to recognize it earlier and go your separate ways, letting both people find those that are more suitable for them. Both LIFE and her boyfriend were in this situation.
Posted by KL on October 18, 2012 at 2:49 PM · Report this
160
@Erica, Well okay, I should have said "in a less offensive way." I'm sure Dan will always offend certain people and I'm fine with that. But it's hard to offend me and this phrasing did just that and I feel it also detracts from his message.
Posted by Mary28 on October 18, 2012 at 3:16 PM · Report this
161
The religious wars are still being fought. Abortion. Child care.

I don't see why we can't be more dualistic about where personhood exists. Women have a much closer and stronger relationship to their fetuses than even the state and the masses do. Let her decide. If she doesn't want to deal with having a child at this point-- the state should not involve. If she gets beaten and the fetus dies, she could seek punishment for this little homicide.

Child support? It's fair. The guy can avoid impregnation, he's taking a gamble. As a brief gf once said, "What's sex without gonads?"

Posted by Hunter78 on October 18, 2012 at 3:35 PM · Report this
162
Does the law go after unmarried men for child support as a matter of course, or is that done if the mother chooses to pursue that option? I'm sincerely asking. Because as a woman who has never wanted kids and who takes all reasonable precautions to ensure that an unplanned pregnancy won't occur, here's what I think I'd do if I were faced with an unplanned pregnancy and for whatever reason I didn't want an abortion (reasonably certain I would terminate, but who knows). Talk to the dad. If he's in and I'm in for keeping it/ adoption, great. If I'm in and he's not, then I consider whether I could raise the child on my own. If not, I would not keep the baby and would revisit the abortion decision and seriously consider adoption. Because the thing is, we both had the sex, we both went into it with the same knowledge of risk (we're using contraception, but hey, nothing's foolproof). I simply cannot fathom asking a man who didn't want a child to commit to one anyway. I won't go so far as to say it's *wrong* for other women to go after that child support; I just simply cannot imagine doing that, because at the time of conception, we both made the same choice. But now, with an unplanned pregnancy, I do get one extra choice that he doesn't get. It's an inequity that must exist because of biology, but its still an inequity. So if I'm broke/ill-equipped but still reeeeally want a baby and the guy reeeeally doesn't, seems to me that's a moment where I probably need to be an adult and make a decision based on what's best for the situation.

I really can't imagine I'm the only one who feels this way.
Posted by smidgebean on October 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
163
I had a very Catholic boyfriend. We broke up because I wouldn't say I would NEVER have an abortion. We both agreed that if we got pregnant we'd keep the baby. But I couldn't envision being raped, and therefore couldn't predict how I might feel then. So I felt I could not sign up to Never with intellectual honesty.

His position was that it was better to say Never - because saying it has a sort of deterrent effect -- and then change your mind if outlier circumstances arose. I thought that was ludicrous logic. End of story.
Posted by JillK on October 18, 2012 at 4:05 PM · Report this
164
Smidgebean -- it's a nice idea, but the one thing you're missing is that child support isn't the mother or father's right -- it's the right of the child. The child has the right to be supported by both of his/her parents.

Now, you can't legislate a lot of morality, decency or love -- you can't make a mother or father want to be emotionally involved with and love their children. However, we as a society, at least say that both the mother and father owe some sort of material support at the very least. So, unless one parent is independently wealthy where the other parent's support isn't necessary (i.e. waive away child support), it's not about the mother or father's commitment or desire to commit.

And I can relate to what you're saying, but also because a parent doesn't like the other doesn't give them the right to deny that other parent access to their child and the right to have a relationship with that child. In the end, it's not about the parents and their feelings, but what is best for the CHILD.

Posted by KL on October 18, 2012 at 4:15 PM · Report this
165
@164: that was almost exactly my point. If the child couldn't be well cared for in a way that I was comfortable with, then I'd have to make the choice to adopt out or terminate. Because I personally wouldn't be comfortable putting someone else in the position of committing, if only monetarily, to a child he didn't want. If I could give a child everything she/he needed, what would be the point of going after more? If there's enough, why does it matter who's paying? And if I couldn't, well then maybe what I want isn't the most important thing here. Maybe a compromise is in order that tries to be cool to everyone, including the child. As you say, it's about the child's needs. It's more my idea of course correcting for that one extra choice that's just mine.

I agree that kids should ideally be supported by both parents. And I'm not advocating any get out of jail free cards for men either. I'm reasonably sure that holding men accountable financially and legally in these situations is the law's way of trying to even out the disproportionate burden women bore before Roe gave us that extra choice. Just trying to game out what course I, as one person, would likely take.

I don't get your last paragraph. I never said anything about the parents not liking each other; it has nothing to do with that and frankly that didn't enter my mind. My scenario was one in which the father wasn't interested in having a child, not one partner trying to deny access to a parent who actually wanted access.
Posted by smidgebean on October 18, 2012 at 4:52 PM · Report this
166
Smidgebean -- I was just making the point that just as it's not the right of the parent to dictate the child's relationship with the other parent -- the child has a right to have a relationship with that parent -- it's not the parent's right to give up his/her financial support because it's a right of the child.

I totally hear ya on where you're coming from. I just find it a stark difference in the views between women and some men on this thread. That views like Avast's are totally centric to him or the man, without taking into much account of the woman or the child and whereas others tend to be trying to find the best solution that takes into account all three for a difficult, unpleasant circumstance.
Posted by KL on October 18, 2012 at 5:02 PM · Report this
167
@53: Total agreement. To those who say that, "Yep, woman chooses, man lives with it," that is horrible reasoning. Both parties consented to sex, right? And the man has absolutely no right to decide for the woman what to do with her body. Then on what grounds does the woman also get to choose for the man the arc of the rest of his life? That position is just as twisted as the pro-life, "She had a choice...once. But she chose to have sex. And now she must become a parent. "
Posted by larrychoiceman on October 18, 2012 at 5:13 PM · Report this
168
@162, to my knowledge, the law goes after the dad when the mom is broke and tries to access some kind of benefits, whether housing or health care or free lunch at school, possibly scholarships for college too.
Posted by EricaP on October 18, 2012 at 5:43 PM · Report this
169
(I shouldn't have said 'broke.' Many non-broke people get benefits of some kind or another. It's hard to be sure ahead of time that your kid won't ever have that kind of need.)
Posted by EricaP on October 18, 2012 at 5:45 PM · Report this
170
@migrationist - 21 and 22 -
the cavalier attitude of your friends leads me to believe that an abortion is still the best option for her because if she can't manage safe sex, how is she going to handle having a child(ren) for the rest of her life? Someone that dumb should not be procreating and inflicting a lifetime of horror onto a child or dumping the child into an orphanage. there are tons of unwanted kids out there already, we don't need to add any more!

please don't think this is coming from a snarky place - i got pregnant at age 17 - my son is now almost 16. in my mid-20s the condom slipped during a period between birth control pill prescriptions and i got pregnant again. looking at my life - working 50 hours a week and my husband working 70 just to barely eek out a living made me go and exercise my rights - purely out of economic necessity. many people consider themselves to be anti-abortion in principle because it sounds so sad - and it is sad - but sometimes life is sad but you do the best you can to get through. this economic decision has benefitted my life in so many ways. we now have better jobs, we even consider our son's hockey tournaments to be vacations - since we've never actually had a vacation. controlling your body means controlling your destiny, finances, etc., as much as we can control anything in this life!
Posted by Binder Woman on October 18, 2012 at 6:13 PM · Report this
171
Mr Ank - I said heterocentric, not heteronormative. Actually, I think one really is just a light version of the other, but therefore feel entitled to go with the term taken as more serious.

All that supposed support hardly stays pole-firm at the polls. Breathe on it wrong and it deflates in an instant.

Of course Mr Savage has every right to do whatever he wishes, and one only hopes he's well compensated. HE will be all right under the next administration - assuming he's banked enough, and I shouldn't have it otherwise. Not all of us will be so fortunate - and I shall grant that Mr Savage would have that otherwise.

I have had one or two entertaining theories during the last two-three months, particularly during the podcast of doom (which I found quite diverting), but I've been too polite to voice them.
Posted by vennominon on October 18, 2012 at 6:49 PM · Report this
172
For all this talk of broken condoms (or slipped) and the failure of the Pill leading to unwanted pregnancies, why haven't more women mentioned the IUD?

I ask this as a woman who has had an IUD for many years. And who has never had a scare, pregnancy or problem with my IUD(s). I tried 3 different BC pills when I was a college freshman and realized synthetic hormones completely screwed with my body. So I did some research at the library (pre-Interwebs) and decided the IUD was the best for me: low maintenance, no hormones, lowest failure rate. I went to Planned Parenthood and they took care of me.

Best decision I ever made.
Posted by albeit on October 18, 2012 at 6:58 PM · Report this
173
@166: Already covered that. Unless you are clueless enough to completely miss that there is something amiss in your reproductive cycle for six months, there is no child there whose rights need consideration.

Funny how when the woman doesn't want it, it's a clump of cells, but when the man doesn't want it, it's a baby. There needs to be a much more rational and consistent standard than how the woman is feeling about it.

I want a consistent standard, and one that preserves options equally, to the maximum extent that is possible given the fact that men cannot be pregnant but can still be fathers. You are the one who wants a standard that is always subjective, and always in favor of the woman.
Posted by avast2006 on October 18, 2012 at 7:17 PM · Report this
174
There are so many bossy butts here in the comments section. Here's the deal, your body, your choice. Her body, her choice!

When contraceptives are widely available, unplanned pregnancies go down. I echo another poster discussing empathy. Empathy is the bedrock of anyone who is pro-choice because we're talking about a choice.

Tebow's mom made a choice. Gloria Steinem made a choice. Your parents made choices. They vary and they're personal and specific.

I, for one, may not have multiple abortions but strongly support abortion being accessible to anyone, at any time, for any reason. Because as individuals, we make our own choices. I trust women.

The end.
Posted by Ms.11 on October 18, 2012 at 7:22 PM · Report this
175
Avast, you have to realize that you, quite simply, do have the power to decide. It is not a man who carries a child, it's a woman. And because it is literally her body, it is she who makes the ultimate decision. Otherwise, it's forced pregnancy. Men have the incredible ability to pick their partners, and hopefully, find one that aligns with their own feelings, and partners that respect their wishes and feelings when it comes to unplanned pregnancies.
Posted by Ms.11 on October 18, 2012 at 7:24 PM · Report this
176
@165: "I'm reasonably sure that holding men accountable financially and legally in these situations is the law's way of trying to even out the disproportionate burden women bore before Roe gave us that extra choice."

No offense, but that is hardly just. It's fine for the law to level the present playing field, but to force one person to be a parent against their will today because someone was forced to be a parent against their will a generation ago is just compounding the injustice, not solving it.

My impression is that it is a holdover from the days when safe abortion was not available, let alone a right. When biology dictates that a baby is all but guaranteed, it makes sense to mandate that there are people to provide for it. Under those circumstances, "you made it, you pay for it" makes total sense, because that baby is coming, like it or not.

The law has not caught up to the fact that conception -> pregnancy-> delivery is no longer a fait accompli, but is by technology and law elective by the woman.
Posted by avast2006 on October 18, 2012 at 7:29 PM · Report this
177
I love you Dan! And how I wish I had your responses at the tip of my tongue when talking with the republicans in my family!
Posted by jello on October 18, 2012 at 8:01 PM · Report this
178
avast@173: "There needs to be a much more rational and consistent standard than how the woman is feeling about it."

If your body started growing something inside you, don't you think you would feel you get to decide whether that thing was a clump of cells or a precious baby?

If the clump of cells was growing in an incubator, then sure, both contributors should get an equal say as to whether it's a baby or not. But remember --
It's. In. Your. Body.  

If men want to keep their options open, they should freeze some sperm and get a vasectomy. Then it's not up to the woman.
Posted by EricaP on October 18, 2012 at 9:08 PM · Report this
179
@176. You do see that I'm not in total disagreement, unlike many others in this thread. I may take exception to your tone, but I, in the scenario I laid out, would allow the guy to be off the hook. Why are you arguing with that, when it seems to be what you want?
Posted by smidgebean on October 18, 2012 at 9:09 PM · Report this
seandr 180
@70: "what about teh menz?"

@122: "What about the mens?"

What's up with this "what about the mens" thing? Is this what they teach you to say in Womyn's Studies whenever someone asks you to consider the male perspective? Don't you think the male perspective has a place in discussions of how men and women interact with each other, politically, economically, legally, and otherwise?
Posted by seandr on October 18, 2012 at 9:47 PM · Report this
181
@144 KL: You completely nailed the #1 reason why I'm so fucking glad I'm single!!! Spot on and kudos!!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 18, 2012 at 10:34 PM · Report this
182
@170:
I didn't describe my former friend's attitude to say she should have had the baby.
It was to illustrate that some women do have an abortion as a convenient method of birth control.

@172:
IUDs are not 100 % safe, either. A friend of my sister had an IUD placed after her 1st baby was born. Shortly after she was pregnant, with the IUD still in the uterus. Apparently, that made the pregnancy quite dangerous.

@174:
Yes, I agree, good sex ed plus easily available birth control reduce the number of abortions.
Posted by migrationist on October 18, 2012 at 10:36 PM · Report this
hexalm 183
Avast, so you think there's an imbalance or unfairness with respect to power over pregnancy. Let's take that as a given, as it seems inevitable that with pregnancy, one way or another, something is unfair. (Abortion aside, it's unfair for a hormonal teenage tryst by kids who hardly know how to cope with their feelings to result in a potentially life-altering pregnancy--for example.)

What I want to know is, what would resolve this unfairness to men, in your mind? Is there some solution you have in mind that wouldn't simply favor the man unfairly over the women? I ask because the back and forth has become kind of obnoxious and I didn't see any posts that got beyond the details of the question and into what you think would be fair.

To me it seems like any resolution, legislative or otherwise, would be either tailor-made and complex, or unfair to someone (if not a parent, then the child, as someone up the thread mentioned).

Just wondering.
Posted by hexalm on October 18, 2012 at 10:46 PM · Report this
184
Yay! A follow-up with the original letter writer! I love an epilogue.

It's not easy to break up with someone... attachment can be a strong feeling that keeps unsuitable partners together too long. I admire LIFE for making a difficult decision. Respect is essential.
Posted by lurkylurky on October 18, 2012 at 11:09 PM · Report this
seandr 185
@183: what would resolve this unfairness to men?

Simple. During the period of pregnancy when a woman can legally choose to abort, the man should be given the choice of opting out of paternal responsibilities (and privileges). Once that period is over, he can no longer opt out if he hasn't already.

Women would remain free to choose to have the kid or not, but their decision wouldn't place a legal, lifelong obligation on men who don't want to be fathers.

As for guys who want to have the kid when the mother does not, they would remain shit out of luck.
Posted by seandr on October 19, 2012 at 12:03 AM · Report this
186
@179: I'm not arguing with your scenario or your choice of outcome. I do indeed see that you lay out a very reasonable description of your thought process should you find yourself in that situation. I also see that your thought process takes into account the interests of all parties much more thoroughly than those who insist that the fact that it's her body doing the gestating means that she simply makes all the decisions and he simply copes with them as best he can manage.

A few other people have mentioned the idea of the current arrangements being fine because this levels the playing field, compared to the burdens that women face in child-rearing, particularly in the past. I mistook your second paragraph as heading in that same direction.
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 12:31 AM · Report this
187
@185: Thanks, that's a very close approximation to what I was going to suggest. I would add that the man's window of opportunity to opt out would need to be shorter than the woman's, to allow her a reasonable time to reassess her options and still be able to abort within the legal period, should she come to the decision that abortion is her best option.

hexalm @183, does that proposal sound like it unfairly favors the man over the woman? Does it unfairly disfavor the (potential) child?
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 12:46 AM · Report this
188
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lynn-parra…

www.huffingtonpost.com/lynn-parramore/an…

huffingtonpost.com/lynn-parramore/anothe…

"Even hypocrisy is in the conservative view preferable to a denial of standards because such denial leads to moral chaos or nihilism."

I've been having trouble articulating my thoughts on why I think it's more than just a lack of empathy that fuels the far right's bizarre views on abortion, gay marriage, etc., and I think the above statement is getting close. It's a matter of thinking about what world you want to live in. (I'm trying to sum up views that I don't agree with, so bear with me. This is hard.)

Try this for an analogy. Let's say my life is being made miserable by one particular bully, a guy that no one likes and that others would benefit if he just disappeared. Let's say it would be terrific for me if I were just able to murder the jerk and get away with it. Let's say I do it and that I'm not caught until the end of my life. At that point, I say that I'm truly sorry and that I still believe that murder is wrong.

Obviously that's hypocritical. I've benefited from the murder, yet I'm saying that murder is wrong for everyone else. And yet there's a certain amount of sense to it. I benefit from a society where I'm able to get away with murder but where I also am able to walk around pretty much unafraid of being murdered myself.

I believe that's the way the far right hypocrites see the issues that Dan mentions: stem cell research, treatment for drug addicts, marriage equality, and abortion. They want to live in a world where they can benefit now and then by being the exception but where the surrounding society is still stable by outlawing the particular activity they enjoy.

To bring this back to abortion, it's what the discussion on this group has been circling around. The hypocrites want to live in a world like DesJarlais's where they can demand that their mistresses get an abortion when it's convenient but still know that men in general can't go around impregnating women and then shrug when asked to pay child support. The men want to be able to walk away too.
More...
Posted by Crinoline on October 19, 2012 at 5:25 AM · Report this
189
@avast:

I am not for outlawing abortion, because that will only make women have illegal abortions, endangering their lives.

But personally I am opposed to abortion. It is not a choice for me. So I tell men before I have protected sex with them that abortion is not on the table if there should be an unplanned pregnancy. If a guy then decides that this is too risky for him and he doesn't want to have sex with me: fine, it is his decision.

But if we have sex, then he has to accept the possible consequences.

Posted by migrationist on October 19, 2012 at 6:07 AM · Report this
190
@182 migrationist

You are right that no form of birth control is 100% safe nor 100% effective.

According to a recent poll at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), female gynecologist personally use IUDs three times more than the general public. Personally, I would take a recommendation from a trained medical professional and their knowledge of working in women's reproductive health.

http://news.yahoo.com/iud-gynecologists-…

I'm sorry to hear your friend becoming pregnant with and IUD. That's unfortunate. But according to the Planned Parenthood site:

Effectiveness is an important and common concern when choosing a birth control method. IUDs are one of the most effective forms of birth control available. Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they use the ParaGard or the Mirena IUD.

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-…

Posted by albeit on October 19, 2012 at 9:33 AM · Report this
191
By the way, femwanderluster, I wasn't saying (or at least wasn't intending to say) "do you think you did anything wrong by getting pregnant as you did", I said "If you could wave a magic wand and have never gotten pregnant, would you?"...

or, to put it another way, if we had genuinely 100% reliable, fool-proof birth control with no side effects, and you could go back in time and give that to your pre-pregnancy self, so you'd never have gotten pregnant in the first place (assume paradoxes are resolved harmlessly), would you?

And, if you had to chose one or the other, would you rather women with unintended pregnancies had free and adequate access to abortion, or would you rather they had free and adequate access to that 100% reliable birth control so they'd never get pregnant in the first place?
Posted by Melissa Trible on October 19, 2012 at 10:26 AM · Report this
192
@189: That is a very good stance and approach. Good for you. (Honestly. I don't mean that sarcastically.) Given the current rules, it's good of you to give him fair warning.

Nonetheless, the law gives you that full set of options for opting out. The fact that you personally feel you could never take that option does not change the fact that legally, you _can_. I have difficulty with the law saying that since you choose not to take advantage of the rights that you possess, therefore the other party should not have those rights.

There was a sexual encounter. Two people participated in it and thereby consented to the sex itself. By participating, one person, the woman, consented to _nothing_ beyond the encounter itself: no consent to pregnancy, no consent to parenthood, no consent to anything beyond the sex itself. The other person in that encounter, the man, apparently consented to absolutely everything that could potentially follow on. That does not strike me as equal protection under the law.

It is illogical to claim that men should enjoy lesser rights because BIOLOGY! Biology has been soundly trumped by choice. Once it becomes possible for the woman to have full control over whether to carry to term, it becomes illogical to tell the man, "You made it, you pay for it." He didn't make that baby. He made at most a fertilized ovum. If it was only ever a fertilized ovum at the point where a woman elects to abort, then it was only ever a fertilized ovum at the point where the man's involvement became irrelevant. No baby there yet. You can't have it both ways. Everything that follows from there forward is at the prerogative of the woman. Therefore, he didn't make that baby, she did. Again, if you want to argue biology, you can't have it both ways. (Well, apparently you _can_ have it both ways -- but the current legal landscape defies logic.)
More...
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
193
@191: "And, if you had to chose one or the other, would you rather women with unintended pregnancies had free and adequate access to abortion, or would you rather they had free and adequate access to that 100% reliable birth control so they'd never get pregnant in the first place?"

Sorry to butt in, but I am having difficulty understanding the point of proposing this as a "choose-one" dichotomy. I don't see this as an either/or situation. Women should have full, unfettered access to the most reliable contraception available.* AND women should have full, unfettered access to the best technology for terminating unwanted pregnancies, because even the best contraceptive technology fails on occasion.

(*And so should men, of course. If there was, say, a way to arrange a vasectomy with a little valve, rather than just a snip, that would be ideal. Turn everyone off shortly before puberty, then let them wave a little magnetic wand the day they and their partner decide it's time to conceive. Condoms, too, of course, for STD protection. But people do eventually get into situations where STDs aren't a concern but pregnancy still is.)
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 11:34 AM · Report this
194
First off, I'm pro choice. I think the idea of a human life beginning at conception is absurd. Science doesn't support this, and neither does any major religious literature (not that religious literature has any place in law anyway). There are very few cases where I think any law should prevent someone from doing what they want with their body-- and then only in the case that it harms another human.

But the idea that human life doesn't begin until after birth is equally absurd. There is a point, within a very grey area, at which a fetus becomes a human. At this point, which no one can define precisely, that human has rights. This point is well past when any normal woman would realize she is pregnant. And I think it is up to her to abort, if she wants to, before this occurs. Our laws should say as much: define a point at which a fetus is certainly a human life, and make it unlawful to have an abortion past that point, excepting rare situations, such as when the mother's life is in danger. Let scientists (not theologians) define that point.

The other issue that bugs me, that is tied to the abortion issue, is that most pro-choice people believe that men should have no voice in any part of the decision. I agree that a man should have no say in whether or not the abortion takes place, but when abortion is freely available, I believe a man should be able to sign his rights to the child away, and offer to pay for an abortion. If the female chooses not to have one, he should not be financially responsible for that child. If you give the man no choice in the matter, why should he be forever penalized for having sex one time, especially in cases of failed birth control? Isn't that an awful lot like saying women should simply accept the consequences for having sex (i.e. you potentially get pregnant and that leads to babies)?
More...
Posted by DoogieHowserMD on October 19, 2012 at 11:46 AM · Report this
195
First off, I'm pro choice. I think the idea of a human life beginning at conception is absurd. Science doesn't support this, and neither does any major religious literature (not that religious literature has any place in law anyway). There are very few cases where I think any law should prevent someone from doing what they want with their body-- and then only in the case that it harms another human.

But the idea that human life doesn't begin until after birth is equally absurd. There is a point, within a very grey area, at which a fetus becomes a human. At this point, which no one can define precisely, that human has rights. This point is well past when any normal woman would realize she is pregnant. And I think it is up to her to abort, if she wants to, before this occurs. Our laws should say as much: define a point at which a fetus is certainly a human life, and make it unlawful to have an abortion past that point, excepting rare situations, such as when the mother's life is in danger. Let scientists (not theologians) define that point.

The other issue that bugs me, that is tied to the abortion issue, is that most pro-choice people believe that men should have no voice in any part of the decision. I agree that a man should have no say in whether or not the abortion takes place, but when abortion is freely available, I believe a man should be able to sign his rights to the child away, and offer to pay for an abortion. If the female chooses not to have one, he should not be financially responsible for that child. If you give the man no choice in the matter, why should he be forever penalized for having sex one time, especially in cases of failed birth control? Isn't that an awful lot like saying women should simply accept the consequences for having sex (i.e. you potentially get pregnant and that leads to babies)?
More...
Posted by DoogieHowserMD on October 19, 2012 at 11:48 AM · Report this
seandr 196
@migrationist: But if we have sex, then he has to accept the possible consequences.

Why should he have to accept the consequences of your choice not to have an abortion? Given that the choice is yours and yours alone to make, the consequences of that choice should also be yours.
Posted by seandr on October 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 197
Avast and others - I applaud you for drawing out the hypocrisy of the "If he didn't want to be a father he should have kept it in his pants" crowd.

But....

I don't see how you reconcile allowing men to opt out of fatherhood without depriving a child of the necessary financial resources that dual incomes can provide. And if you accept the fact that someone needs to devote a ton of time in the early months to the infant, how on earth is a woman supposed to do something so time intensive as raising an infant and earn a living?

So that is the problem with your proposal. Force a woman to have an abortion violates her autonomy. Let a man opt out and the child suffers AND you burden society to pick up the slack. So you are asking me to unburden the man and shift the burden to the child and society at large. How is that fair?

Look, I totally agree with you that there is an unequal balance of choices between men and women with regard to when someone can opt out of parenthood. But your proposed solution merely shifts the burden of parenthood from a partially responsible party (dad) to two completely innocent parties (child and society). How is that fair?
Posted by Tim Horton on October 19, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
198
"sexual choices should have consequences"

This reminds me of my abusive boyfriend who was venomously pro-life, or better put anti-choice. "If those bloody straights are so stupid to fuck without contraceptives, they should bear the consequences".
Posted by Tetsuo on October 19, 2012 at 1:45 PM · Report this
199
@197: Women decide all the time that they cannot afford a child at this point in their life, and choose to abort. And "cannot afford" can mean a lot of things other than just money: interference with being able to complete a degree, a career, not wanting to be tied to a particular man for the rest of her life, just not wanting to be a parent right now.

Telling her this decision-making process does not include the ability to conscript the participation and resources of another unwilling person does not violate her personal autonomy at all, especially considering that she cannot be similarly conscripted herself. If she looks at the overall situation and decides that abortion is the best option, that's using the same freedom to abort that she has right now and can use for considerably more frivolous reasons.

Again, what child? If it's just a clump of cells for the one who wants to abort in order to not be tied to her one-night stand, then it's just a clump of cells for the one who wants to abort because she cannot garnish her boyfriend's wages. It's the same biologically in either case.

Carrying to term is the irresponsible decision. Either you burden an unwilling father, or you burden an unwilling society, or you deprive the child of half its allotment of resources. I note, however, that women feel perfectly free to choose the latter when they go to the sperm bank and become single mothers by choice, which is also their prerogative, and is an increasing trend among professional women. Evidently these women look at their situation and decide that what they have to give the child is sufficient. Apparently having access to the resources of both parents is absolutely critical to the well-being of the child, except when the mother says it isn't.

So, in order of responsible-ness, the choices should be:
1) secure the willing cooperation of your partner;
2) have the kid yourself, because you've decided you can afford it;
3) abort because you've decided you can't afford it;
4) burden an unwilling man and/or society with a child who exists solely because of your decision to carry to term.

It is surprising to me that people are arguing so vociferously for women to be able to choose the least responsible of those options, all the while excoriating men to step up and be responsible.

I'm not saying men shouldn't have to pay at all, ever ("pay" meaning not only money, but all the other stuff that goes into being a father). I'm saying they should have the same right to pay or not that women do.
More...
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 2:42 PM · Report this
200
Avast -- The flaw with your argument is the idea that just because there is a legal possibility for abortion that should grant the man the right to opt out post-conception for the same reason. But what if it's not a choice for an individual woman? What if she doesn't consider abortion to be an option for her? So that if she does get accidentally pregnant, then she's carrying the baby to term.

It seems like your situation only works when the woman is equally open to abortion, morally, psychologically, emotionally, etc.

I'd argue that a man has just as much choice in how he chooses his partners. If he wants to be able to opt out, then he needs to find a partner that agrees to that same idea -- that if she found herself accidentally pregnant, and she chooses to carry the child to term, then it's wholly on her alone.

However to make that standard simply because abortion is legally available is not fair either, not to those women that wouldn't opt for the legal option personally for moral, personal, psychological, emotional, etc. reasons. If you a want a woman that will abort in the case of accidental pregnancy, find one. But don't force your views on everyone else. Exercise your freedom of choice and take responsibility for your choices as well.
Posted by KL on October 19, 2012 at 2:55 PM · Report this
201
Avast -- you want to separate out sex from the possibility of parenthood, and it's just not that way. They are linked. When you choose to engage in sex (in a procreative way), then you accept the risk of an unwanted pregnancy -- you give your consent to that possible consequence at that point.

If you don't want to consent at that point to that possibility, then do one of the many things that would prevent or greatly reduce that possibility (condoms, vasectomy, choose a partner that agrees to your world view and will abort an unwanted pregnancy, etc.).

But you look at abortion as a separate bite of the apple. Simply because that's a choice for a woman, it should also be a choice for a man -- and it's not, because it's not HIS body.

You're a classic case of wanting to have one's cake and eat it to. You want all the fun of sex and none of the risk of parenthood. I'd like to be paid $200k/year and not have to work. But the world doesn't work that way. Cause and effect. Choice and consequence. It's hard to believe that you're a grown man because usually after 22 or so, if not younger, we all realize that life is full of inequalities and unfairness. That we're not all dealt the same cards or given the same talents, but that doesn't excuse us generally for accepting reality or the consequences of our actions.
Posted by KL on October 19, 2012 at 3:08 PM · Report this
202
Re: 199: I probably should clarify that of those four choices, for me #2 and #3 really are pretty much tied for second place. I'm not saying that aborting because you decided you can't afford it is less responsible than raising the child alone because you decided you can afford it.

Some might argue that stepping up and paying for the child yourself is more responsible than aborting. I can see how they might think that, seeing as that's exactly what they are asking men to do. But I'm not saying that. At seven-billion-plus humans on the planet, I don't believe that adding another one is necessarily more responsible than declining to.
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 3:08 PM · Report this
203
This is boring.
Posted by Hunter78 on October 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM · Report this
204
@200: "But what if it's not a choice for an individual woman? What if she doesn't consider abortion to be an option for her?"

Sorry, no. What you just described is indeed a choice, despite your refusal to see it that way. Did you miss the word "consider" in your description? "Consider" means she is making an assessment and a decision. That means it's a choice.
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 3:20 PM · Report this
hexalm 205
@Avast - thanks for outlining your idea. I'm not sure how it would play out, but it is interesting, in any case. If nothing else it clarifies things a bit.
Posted by hexalm on October 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM · Report this
206
Avast2006 -- that's a foolish idea; non-sequitor. Then everything is a choice, regardless of the legality. That you have a choice to beat her to a pulp to force an abortion against her will. Is that a choice too? So if you choose not to do that, then you're consenting to parenthood?

At best, you're pitting the consequences of a woman's decision to abort against the consequences of a man fathering a child. In your world, you don't take into account the effect of abortion on women, especially those that oppose it personally. She has to suffer the emotional, physical, psychological, etc. consequences (and these could be considerable if she's personally opposed to abortion) and the guy has none in your world. But somehow that's fair? Oh, yeah...

You do have a choice not to consent to parenthood -- don't have sex with women that won't abort. But you don't like that choice, so you want to make EVERY woman conform to your choices. If she fails to abort, then you want to opt because of "fairness".

Not to mention that you haven't once addressed the very good point Tim Horton makes about shifting the responsibility of consensual sex when a child is conceived from the father to the child/society. How is that fair? It's not.

And that's the whole point of this discussion. Men and women don't have the same choices -- they aren't identical. They have different bits, that result in different consequences and different choices. You just don't want to acknowledge that reality. You just want what you want and to hell with everyone else. Oh, yeah, that's fair.
Posted by KL on October 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM · Report this
seandr 207
@201: you want to separate out sex from the possibility of parenthood, and it's just not that way.

It is that way now. Birth control and the availability of safe inexpensive abortions have already decoupled sex and parenthood (hooray!), and with the inevitable advances in birth control, sex will eventually be decoupled from conception altogether.

Embrace these changes, they are for the better! Parenthood is an enormous responsibility that should be taken on deliberately, not as the side effect of a fun night. As for sex, it's just too good of a thing to be ruined by such a disastrous consequence. It's a brave new world.
Posted by seandr on October 19, 2012 at 3:51 PM · Report this
208
Seandr -- without permanent infertility (vasectomy, tubes tied, hystorectomy, etc.), it isn't uncoupled completely.

Yes, you can greatly reduce the possibility/risk, but you can't foolproof it. You always have the risk of pregnancy. And, yes, you can terminate, but that pre-supposes that is an option for everyone -- and it's not. It's a legal option, yes, but not necessarily a meaningful choice.

Just like having your leg voluntarily amputated is an option technically from a legal standpoint, but not a meaningful choice for many (as most don't want to lose their legs). So for some women, it's not a meaningful option because they are morally opposed to it and could never bring themselves to do it -- for them, if they get pregnant, they're carrying the child.

So abortion has done a good deal to further uncouple sex and parenthood, but it's not quite 100% there yet.

Posted by KL on October 19, 2012 at 4:03 PM · Report this
209
I think men should have to pay a tax that subsidizes half the cost of my menstrual supplies because I have to buy them and men don't and it's not fair.
Posted by random_lez on October 19, 2012 at 4:10 PM · Report this
210
I mean, as long as we're being idiots about biological reality.
Posted by random_lez on October 19, 2012 at 4:11 PM · Report this
211
random_lez -- too funny!
Posted by KL on October 19, 2012 at 4:15 PM · Report this
212
"essentially arguing that I am less capable of understanding what pregnancy means and the effect it would have on my life than he is."

The "choice" framing of the abortion issue now comes full circle. If you think that anti-abortion advocates only care about the effect on YOUR life, you are fucking delusional.

If you can't even acknowledge how one could arrive at the conclusion that abortion is the moral equivalent of murder, or if you think the issue can be reduced in a single stroke to a woman's choice of "what to do with her body," as if abortion carries all the moral gravity of getting one's ears pierced, you are not ready for an adult discussion on this topic.

I have yet to hear anyone actually go through the uncomfortable process of explaining why the cutting of the umbilical cord is the single most meaningful event in the right of human society writ large to regulate the killing of members of the species.
Posted by jay5 on October 19, 2012 at 6:39 PM · Report this
213
@206: (eyeroll) Last time I checked, "beating her to a pulp" is a felony. So, no, not beating her wouldn't be a "choice" in the sense that not getting an abortion is a choice. (Why do I get the feeling we're going to hear an accusation that I secretly would like to beat a pregnant woman to a pulp within a post or two? Your version of logic is getting progressively more bizarre. I suggest you take the weekend off, as this is obviously upsetting you so much that you are losing your ability to think clearly.)

The only time not having an abortion would not be by choice is if she was legally restrained from it, physically restrained from it by someone else (which is completely illegal), or if she is has some medical condition that would make it too dangerous to attempt an abortion (I've never heard of such a thing, but I have heard of several that make carrying to term too dangerous to attempt)

If the option is legally available to her and she does not avail herself of it, then she has done that by choice. To hear you talk, your pastor has inserted electrodes in your brain and is controlling you. It's _your_ moral conviction, and it's your decision that you won't ever abort. Own it.
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 7:38 PM · Report this
214
@212: Where would you draw the line?
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 7:45 PM · Report this
shw3nn 215
@200 It isn't a flaw. A woman who doesn't have the resources to raise a child but is fundamentally opposed to abortion can give her child up for adoption.

Posted by shw3nn on October 19, 2012 at 8:11 PM · Report this
216
Pro Choice Argument: A Woman has a right to decide what to do with her body. What about the unborn life inside her body, what right does it have? A child is born, totally helpless, dependent on it's mother for survival. If she left it in a room and let it die, she would be charged with murder. But if she decides to terminate it before birth, that OK? Where do we draw the line? The answer is not so simple. I choose Pro Life because I don't know where to draw that line. It's not about religious beliefs, it's about the sanctity of life. Does an unplanned pregnancy bring harship? Well sure it does. A lot of things do, like my neighbor sues me because he doesn't like the addition he put on house. Doesn't give me the right to kill him, even thought it might solve my problem.
Posted by banshee9982 on October 19, 2012 at 8:20 PM · Report this
217
Avast2006 -- You're essentially saying that your choice in parenthood (after a child is conceived -- as if there is some simple undo button) is more important than a woman's choice of what to do with her body and her own moral qualms about her belief in abortion. Your view on parenthood trumps her views on abortion.

Sex is a mutually consensual act. If you don't like the terms or potential consequences of it with a specific partner, then choose differently -- choose a partner that views things the same way you do, so that if something does goes awry, there won't be any conflicting issues. But it's not right to impose your views on your partner. Her views are just a valid as yours are -- her desire to not want to have an abortion is just as valid as your view to not want to be a parent. What I find offensive is that in your world only your desires matter.

You seem to have taken the position that because abortion is available legally that alleviates men from having to take any responsibility for their own reproductive choices. The SOLE responsibility of preventing pregnancy is on women -- so we better prevent it, be willing to have an abortion or raise a child alone --- those are the only choices for women in your world. And for me, that's a disgusting point of view.

I think there are multiple factors and choices, one of which is abortion. But I also realize that there is quite a spectrum among those personal choices -- whereas abortion may be an acceptable form of birth control for some folks, it certainly isn't for others. For some it's the best choice when all the choices are bad when an unplanned pregnancy occurs -- a lesser of evils. And yet for others, it's never a personal option due to their own views on it. That's why it's called pro-choice --- because you should have the choice. But as far as your concerned, your desires on parenthood are more important than your partner's view on abortion or her own bodily integrity.

For you to put all of that responsibility of preventing pregnancy on women is just as sexist and misogynistic as the old regime -- the regime that all of us women have lived with for millennia because of the biological inequality of pregnancy. It's just a lot worse because you've actually legitimized the deadbeat mentality --- that by simply being a man, you're entitled to enjoy sex, take absolutely no responsibility for your own reproductive choices and can walk away from a child that results from having sex with a partner that views pregnancy differently -- that your partner's views don't have to be considered at all because she COULD have an abortion -- that's your entire rationale. It's reprehensible and an extremely juvenile, immature view point.

Only children want the benefits without the costs and responsibility of their choices. Adults understand they come hand-in-hand and act accordingly. If you're not willing to accept the risk of the possible consequences of a decision, then choose differently -- choose a partner that believes as you do. But, apparently, in your world that shouldn't be required. Considering your partner's views on such things is immaterial because YOUR decision on parenthood is all that matters.
More...
Posted by KL on October 19, 2012 at 8:33 PM · Report this
218
Ahahaha. I guess I'm one of the few people who liked Dan's answer to LIFE.
Posted by hates coming up with non-registered names on October 19, 2012 at 8:37 PM · Report this
shw3nn 219
@217 "The SOLE responsibility of preventing pregnancy is on women -- so we better prevent it, be willing to have an abortion or raise a child alone --- those are the only choices for women in your world. And for me, that's a disgusting point of view."

Again...adoption.
Posted by shw3nn on October 19, 2012 at 8:39 PM · Report this
220
Banshee -- I think you've hit the nail on the head. The abortion debate pit two irreconciable issues against one another -- the right of bodily integrity of the mother/woman against the life or potential life of a child/potential child. In your world, the child is more important. In my world, the mother is more important as she's actually a full-fledged person.

In my world, every person is entitled to bodily sanctity and autonomy. Just as a person gets to decide who comes into his/her house, a person gets to decide what to do with his/her body. Unfortunately, in the case of pregnancy, the child/fetus cannot live independently of the mother. That's an unfortunate reality. We don't lay eggs. We gestate. I just don't think anyone should have to have any living organism with in her against her will.

In our society we don't force people to donate kidneys, lungs or even things less invasive like bone marrow. Without such donations, people that need them will die. But we draw the line at bodily integrity -- we say, even after death, you have the choice to decide what to do with your own body. No other person can force you to give that up, even when the person on the other side will die without your donation of tissue, organ, bone marrow, etc. (just like a fetus that is terminated).

If you believe in the sanctity of life to rationalize the forced pregnancy of a woman, why don't you do the same for forced donations of tissue, organs, bone marrow, etc.?

Why is okay to "allow" someone that is sick and needs a donation of a kidney, liver, lung, bone marrow, etc. to die but not a fetus?
Posted by KL on October 19, 2012 at 8:42 PM · Report this
221
Shw3nn -- sure adoption is another option. But for some women that would be very hard to do as well, to give up a child. So although it's good to have another option, it doesn't solve the whole problem or alleviate men for taking responsibility for their own reproductive choices.
Posted by KL on October 19, 2012 at 8:53 PM · Report this
222
@217: See #215.
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 9:00 PM · Report this
223
@201: "You're a classic case of wanting to have one's cake and eat it to."

Let's review:
-- Men want the ability to opt out of parenthood from an unwanted pregnancy.
-- Women HAVE the ability to opt out of parenthood from an unwanted pregnancy, and also to make an unwilling partner pay for parenthood when they do want to be a parent.

If that means that men want to have their cake and eat it too, then it follows that women want to have their cake and eat someone else's.
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 9:11 PM · Report this
shw3nn 224
@221 I'm sorry, this is where I feel we are right now. You want men to have no say after conception over whether or not they become parents because there could be women who risk pregnancy, don't have the resources to raise a child, are opposed to abortion and would find giving the child up for adoption too hard. This has gotten unreal to me, especially when you follow that up with a proclamation about men having to take responsibility.

Also, when you talk about taking responsibility, you are suddenly adopting the battle cry of the Pro-Lifer.
Posted by shw3nn on October 19, 2012 at 9:18 PM · Report this
225
Avast2006 -- You either just don't get it or your hell bent on being intentionally obtuse. I'm just glad that society disagrees with you and is able to see the parts of the equation to which you're willfully blind.

And I hope you only sleep with women that view these issues similarly. Because I can't imagine a worse parent than one that is unwilling, unempathetic and narcissistic.
Posted by KL on October 19, 2012 at 9:23 PM · Report this
226
Shw3 -- I think it's sad that you think only Pro-Lifers think people should take responsibility. Personally, I think having to choose is a great responsibility. Pro-lifer and Pro-Choice people simply differ on what they think should be available choices for such responsibility (the former don't want abortion as an option and the latter do).

I just think that there are a lot of possibilities on how things can go down and it takes two people to decide things -- just as it takes two people to decide to have sex. Now, it's not equal the whole time because of the biological inequality of pregnancy. I'm sure there are plenty of women that would LOVE to have their male partners bear the children instead of them, but that's not an option. And I think everyone owes it to himself and herself to protect themselves and take responsibility for their own choices, even those that aren't all equal.

I think if you don't want to deal with potential issues around an unplanned pregnancy, then it's both the responsibility of the man and woman to ensure that -- either by implementing their own birth control options (condoms, the pill, vasectomy, etc.), engaging in forms of sex that won't result in pregnancy, or choosing partners that believe the same that they do so that if something unplanned occurs, things will go down how they'd like them to -- their views on such things as abortion, adoption, raising kids, etc. align.

I realize plenty of people don't do this, but then I say that they choose to take the risks -- the risks that an unplanned pregnancy will occur and that their partner feels differently about abortion or all the available option. I just don't think that just because abortion is an option that erases the option of choosing to have a kid and expecting the other half of the equation to have to help support that child too as he helped make that kid too (even if unintentionally). People have car collisions all the time, but it doesn't mean that just because the collision wasn't intentional and was an accident that you don't have to pay for the damages and take responsibility for the part you played in the accident.

I just don't have any sympathy for men like Avast who don't do any of this -- who fail to protect themselves and then want to place the burden of the unplanned pregnancy on a woman, by either forcing her to have an abortion, put the kid up for adoption or raising it alone. There is a fourth option -- choosing to keep the kid and have both the parents support it. And I think that's a legitimate choice too. If you don't want that as a man, then make sure you choose a partner that feels similarly -- use birth control and make sure she either will abort or put the kid up for adoption. Don't wait until after the fact, when an unplanned pregnancy has to occurred to then complain about your lack of planning and failure to make wise decisions. To such men like Avast, I say, grow up.
More...
Posted by KL on October 19, 2012 at 9:47 PM · Report this
227
Shwn 3 -- Also, after an unplanned pregnancy has occurred, the man's and woman's choices aren't equal -- they're not on an equal playing ground because of the biological reality of our reproductive lives.

The men don't have as much choice and we deem that proper since it is not their body -- that is where, as a society, we've drawn the line. It's not perfect, but probably the best that can be done in that circumstance.

But the woman HAS to make a choice, and it's a choice that many woman don't want to make. They don't have the easy opt out version that Avast proposes (unless she take abortion pretty lightly -- and even then, she still has to deal with the physical aspects of what her body is going through). She doesn't get to just walk away and never think about the "problem" again. She has to decide to keep the baby, abort, possibly adopt or raise the kid with a potentially unwilling partner. Unless he's thrilled about the baby and they both want to be parents, all the choices are less than ideal.

So, it's not a "fair" situation to either of them. In my opinion, Avast's idea of "fair" is just greatly skewed. IT takes in the unwilling father's perspective but none of these other issues. There is no "fair" choice. It just is what it is. So, I think you need to be aware of the whole spectrum and do as much preventative measures as possible to avoid the situations you find the least desirable.
Posted by KL on October 19, 2012 at 10:00 PM · Report this
shw3nn 228
KL -- "I just think that there are a lot of possibilities on how things can go down and it takes two people to decide things"

This is not at all what you've been advocating.

The biological reality prevents a man from being able to choose to be a father if the mother chooses to abort. Since nobody is advocating forcing a woman to carry a child to term against her will, I fail to see how the biology informs this discussion.

See, even if we grant men the right to opt out of parenthood, the woman will still have more control over the situation. And there are actually men who feel great pain when his baby is aborted against his wishes.

"I just don't think that just because abortion (AND ADOPTION, you keep forgetting about adoption) is an option that erases the option of choosing to have a kid and expecting the other half of the equation to have to help support that child too as he helped make that kid too (even if unintentionally)."

I read that as, just because nobody can force a woman to be a mother doesn't mean a woman shouldn't be able to force a man to be a father. I find that callous, sexist and entitled.

"Personally, I think having to choose is a great responsibility."

A man who chooses not to be a father is also making a decision. It is highly sexist to think that a man choosing not to be a father is always some deadbeat who'll skip away, penis in hand, and never give it a second thought.

I mean, I have just seen avast's posts here but I don't easily imagine him responding that way to an unplanned pregnancy.
Posted by shw3nn on October 19, 2012 at 10:35 PM · Report this
229
@196 seandr:

Yes, as I outlined in that post of mine, I am open about contraception and my personal opposition to abortion before having sex with a new partner.

Therefore, the man has the choice: accept the consequences in case an accident happens, or decline sex with me.

You don't think that's fair?
Posted by migrationist on October 19, 2012 at 11:27 PM · Report this
seandr 230
@KL: If a woman chooses to have a child she can not support based on moral opposition to abortion, she has still made a "meaningful choice".

Personally, I believe having a kid you aren't emotionally or financially fit to raise is immoral, and I don't think our legal system should encourage that kind of poor judgment by obliging the man who happened to fuck her to sacrifice his future in support of her moral code or her unrealistic fantasies of parenthood. I think paternity laws should, for the greater good, be designed to encourage unfit mothers to abort.

Personally, I've never been in a relationship with a woman who would force me to support a child I didn't want, or who would throw away hers and my potential because of some moral opposition to abortion. So, whatever unfairness there might be in paternity laws, it is mitigated by the fact that their are plenty of reasonable, thoughtful, and loving women who would voluntarily consider a man's perspective on her pregnancy, and who would have an abortion before fucking up his and her life. This makes me think it's really not a men vs women issue - it's really more a question of men like me avoiding women like you.
Posted by seandr on October 19, 2012 at 11:35 PM · Report this
231
Some women will experience great personal pain from making the decision to abort. Others will feel a great sense of relief. ALL of them will have the same freedom to do this, regardless of whether they personally are happy or unhappy as a result.

Some men will feel great pain when they are hoping to become a father and have that taken from them. Others feel a great relief. Some men will feel great personal anguish at being made to be a parent against their wishes. NONE of them have any choice in the matter whatsoever.

Your argument boils down to "I haz a sad, so you iz a dad." Sorry, but personal emotional experience is a perfectly lousy basis for legislating someone else's rights away, particularly while you insist on retaining that same right for yourself. Again, some women are only too happy to have that burden taken away. Why shouldn't their viewpoint be the prevailing one? If abortion makes you so unhappy, then don't have one.
Posted by avast2006 on October 19, 2012 at 11:43 PM · Report this
232
@avast and seandr:

What you fail to address is that a child has rights independent of the choices the parents make.

During pregnancy, the fetus doesn't have these rights because the mother's physical autonomy would be directly affected.

Once the baby is born, though, it is not anymore about what the parents want, it is about what is best for the child because s/he has independent of those of the parents.

And your argument about how women who cannot afford to raise a child should have an abortion? It conjures a picture in my mind of families below a certain income or on welfare being forced to have abortions by the government.- I don't think that's what you want but I think your argument is the first step in that direction.
Posted by migrationist on October 19, 2012 at 11:46 PM · Report this
seandr 233
@229: Yes, your approach is definitely fair. I think most women in my demographic would take a fair-minded approach to this issue. Hard for me to imagine them forcing a guy to support a child he didn't want. As I said in @230, I've never been in a relationship with a woman who didn't approach this issue with a genuine concern for my interests as well as hers, and in all cases, I knew upfront that our interests were aligned.

Still, that doesn't make paternity laws in general fair, because not all women are as open, honest, and thoughtful as you are.
Posted by seandr on October 19, 2012 at 11:52 PM · Report this
234
@228: "I mean, I have just seen avast's posts here but I don't easily imagine him responding that way to an unplanned pregnancy."

Thank you, shw3nn.

For the record:
-- I have had no sex that resulted in unintended pregnancies. None. Zero scares, zero abortions, zero anything.
-- When my wife was having trouble with her cycles on The Pill, we switched to condoms for several years.
-- My wife and I decided TOGETHER when to stop using contraception and try for a child.
-- After having two, both of which were carefully planned for and are cherished, we were done, at which point I got a vasectomy. Didn't make her get the surgery, I got it.

I have no reason to believe that I am some sort of freak of nature for exercising that level of care. There are millions of men who care about their wives' reproductive health, who use condoms, who get vasectomies, who consult their wives on the best methods of birth control for the family, who are, in short, every bit as interested and proactive and responsible for the family planning as their female partners are. KL's repeated straw-man characterization of the male of the species as being an uncaring brute who sprays sperm at every available orifice with no thought whatsoever to anything other than his next orgasm and how to get out of his responsibilities is more than offensive, it's just stupid.

KL, you have a good deal to learn yet about what sexism really is. Kindly grow up.
Posted by avast2006 on October 20, 2012 at 12:04 AM · Report this
seandr 235
@232: It conjures a picture in my mind of families below a certain income or on welfare being forced to have abortions by the government.

No, I think a woman's right to choose is absolute.

However, I believe paternity laws that obligate fathers to support children they don't want actually encourage women in this position to choose to have the child rather than abort. These laws transform the child they aren't ready to have into a paycheck.

I believe that's wrong.
Posted by seandr on October 20, 2012 at 12:10 AM · Report this
236
Jesus. Sucks being a pro-life functional socialist in this place. Ugh, even Christopher Hitchens thought abortion was pretty messed up and that'd we'd regret it. I'm not defending the antics, misogyny, and venom of most pro-lifers. I'm not even a Christian. But it's disappointing that so many libs have outlawed any discussion over it. Check out the precautionary principle--we should be very, very, very careful before we make decisions about things like end of life for being that are, at the very least, potentially fully human, barring intervention. Yet here, unfortunately, discussion is not permitted. Deal breaker. Not dating. No talking. No caution at all. Thank god it wasn't a deal breaker for my spouse. Oh, and by the way, I did have kid before I was ready. I was faced with the choices Dan lays out. I gave that child up for adoption because convictions begin at home. When I see pictures of that child--no longer mine--its clear that my decision was one between life and non-life for him; in other words, life and death. Look, when you have an abortion you might not be killing a human. You might be right about that--maybe not. I can't claim to have the metaphysics dialed in. But you're preventing a human--someone who would, otherwise, run around like you and me--from existing with that ability. That requires extreme caution and should a topic of open discussion.
Posted by Precautionary Principle? on October 20, 2012 at 12:13 AM · Report this
237
It's easy to advise somebody to DTMFA, but it's not necessarily so easy to find another boy/girlfriend! I'm not sure you realize, Dan, what not-so-attractive types have to put up with in order to get laid at all. Political opinions? Please.
Posted by Vi on October 20, 2012 at 1:17 AM · Report this
238
It's easy to tell people to DTMFA but it's not necessarily so easy to find another boyfriend/girlfriend! I'm not sure Dan and a lot of you folks realize that those of us on the not-so-attractive side have to put up with a lot if we ever want to get laid at all. I mean, political opinions? A deal-breaker? Please.
Posted by Vi on October 20, 2012 at 1:28 AM · Report this
239
@232: I thought it had already been laid out clearly. The decision whether to sign on or opt out would be carried out well before viability. By the time the child is born, this would all have long been settled.

A child born of a sperm donor does not have rights to that man as a resource. Women can go to the sperm bank and become single mothers by choice. So it is indeed possible to sign away that child's right to a second parent while still having the child.

Also, some mothers elect to forgo child support in order to not have to deal with the father long-term. For instance, if her one-night stand pays child support he may demand proportional custody in return, and she doesn't want to deal with that. The claim that it's all about the baby's rights rings kind of hollow in light of that. In practice, the child's access to the father as a resource is signed away more often than your argument would tend to indicate -- at the option of (surprise, surprise) the mother. As usual, she is the one making the decisions in order to best suit herself, and the rights of the other party (in this case, the child) get scant attention when it's not what Mom wants.

"And your argument about how women who cannot afford to raise a child should have an abortion? It conjures a picture in my mind of families below a certain income or on welfare being forced to have abortions by the government.- I don't think that's what you want but I think your argument is the first step in that direction."

If saying that something is the most responsible choice is the first step to the government forcing it on us, we are all on a slippery slope to being force-fed the USDA dietary pyramid. I hope you like carrots.

More important, forcing a woman to abort would be as much a violation of her bodily autonomy as forcing her to carry to term.

Requiring a woman to realize that she cannot afford to raise the child on her own and that she does not get to commandeer the man into unwilling parenthood in order to afford it is not the same thing as forcing her to abort. Again, a lot of women figure out how to make ends meet when it's the woman who would prefer to not involve the man. She still owns all of her options. She simply doesn't own the dad's options in addition to her own.
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Posted by avast2006 on October 20, 2012 at 1:41 AM · Report this
240
@239:
"The decision whether to sign on or opt out would be carried out well before viability. By the time the child is born, this would all have long been settled."

What I am trying to tell you is that the rights of the child once it is born supersede any agreements of the parents before the child was born.
This is an elementary right of the child- just as a child's right to his/her father is violated by mothers every day, as your examples in the third paragraph highlight. And that it is a human right of the child doesn't mean it is enforced or even enforceable.

And yes, these children rights clash with the practice of sperm donation and closed adoptions.
Posted by migrationist on October 20, 2012 at 1:57 AM · Report this
241
@226: "I just don't have any sympathy for men like Avast who don't do any of this -- who fail to protect themselves and then want to place the burden of the unplanned pregnancy on a woman"

Did you in fact read message #79? How about #146? Are you in fact capable of reading for comprehension?

Here you are at message #226 still claiming that I personally and anyone like me take absolutely zero responsibility for contraception. That any man who finds himself faced with an unwanted pregnancy could only possibly have gotten there because he had taken not the slightest interest in precautions.

Try message #234 if you haven't managed to figure it out yet.

Apology accepted.
Posted by avast2006 on October 20, 2012 at 2:52 AM · Report this
mydriasis 242
@ Vi

I think Dan advises (not in these words) that people be mindful of the league they're in. So if you're an average looking dude who only wants to date supermodels, that's fine, but it's absurd for you to bitch and moan that none of them want to date you and how shallow that is.

I think he's vaguely of the opinion that people go for others that are approximately as attractive as they are - not compromise themselves and put up with bullshit so they can get someone they otherwise wouldn't.

Dan's a fairly average looking dude, who's also gay so I don't think he's coming down from any ivory tower with that, either.
Posted by mydriasis on October 20, 2012 at 7:55 AM · Report this
243
@240: "What I am trying to tell you is that the rights of the child once it is born supersede any agreements of the parents before the child was born."

Yes, I understand that. My point was that the way the system is currently set up, enforcement of all the supposed rights of the supposed child are skewed not toward the needs of the child, where they belong, but to the benefit of the mother, where they get enforced so ridiculously selectively that it becomes one long exercise in hypocrisy to cite them.

"And that it is a human right of the child doesn't mean it is enforced or even enforceable."

That strikes me as a somewhat less emphatic way of saying the same thing.

There remains the fact that a woman has no business bringing a child into a situation where they need to be so selectively enforced in the first place. Again, none of those rights of the child even come into play until there is an actual child, and if things were handled in the most responsible manner during the first trimester, this whole discussion on the rights of the child would be moot.

And I don't buy KL's justification for it, which basically boils down to "But the woman will be so sad if you make her play fair, so she shouldn't have to." There have been multiple posts in this thread that have told men to step up and be more responsible while telling women they should feel free to choose the least responsible choice in the same breath.
Posted by avast2006 on October 20, 2012 at 9:23 AM · Report this
244
Suggested compromise...

A legally binding document allowing men to opt out of all rights and responsibilities of parenthood, that must be signed by *both* parties.

It can be obtained pre-conception (though with a finite window, you can't use one that was signed 20 years ago or something), or post-conception.

If you want to do someone who you suspect or know won't abort if she gets pregnant, then you can get her to sign one of those before you do anything potentially baby-making.

And, that way, the woman knows, before *she* does anything potentially baby-making, that the guy she's with will not be stepping up if a baby is made.

It allows the men who legitimately are doing everything they can to avoid unwanted fatherhood to formally, legally opt out, without giving a free pass to, for example, the male half of condomless drunken hookups.

And it would also provide legal protection for cases where, essentially, women who want kids are using men as a free one-man sperm bank--he will not suddenly find himself on the hook for progeny that the mother *swore* he wouldn't have to raise...
Posted by Melissa Trible on October 20, 2012 at 9:46 AM · Report this
seandr 245
@migrationist: "What I am trying to tell you is that the rights of the child once it is born supersede any agreements of the parents before the child was born."

I can't imagine how you could possibly arrive at this conclusion. Is this a religious belief?

It certainly can't be motivated by a concern for the well being of children - it says (in effect) that children from donated sperm have no right to exist, and it denies children a right to a better life through adoption. Obviously, your point of view is bad news for gays and lesbians who wish to be parents. Or perhaps that's the whole point?
Posted by seandr on October 20, 2012 at 9:49 AM · Report this
246
@avast:
I think we do agree on most but on the one point if a first-trimester abortion is the epitome of responsible behaviour.

@seandr:
No, I am referring to the UN convention on the rights of children.

Regarding sperm donation and adoption: of course, both are possible, but at a certain age the children have the right to know whose sperm and egg it was.

I know that these rights are rather theoretical, and that both of you seem to look for a pragmatic solution to an ethical problem. But your suggestions for this might be the most ethical solution for some cases, as legislation for lots of individual situations they would be highly unethical in my opinion.

I guess this is the point where it's best to agree that we disagree.
Posted by migrationist on October 20, 2012 at 10:08 AM · Report this
seandr 247
@246: both of you seem to look for a pragmatic solution to an ethical problem

That's definitely true of me. I'd add that in my view, if a solution is not concerned with the pragmatics of improving people's lives, then by definition it is not an ethical solution.
Posted by seandr on October 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM · Report this
248
@seandr @247:

It's mean to take that partial sentence out of context. :-) The sentence after is certainly important to why I think this is not enough.

Posted by migrationist on October 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
249
Those of us in the USA are apparently not bound by the UN Convention on the Rights of Children since it was never ratified (the CAT also proves we only selectively enforce even ratified treaties). Frankly, some inalienable right to know your biological parents seems absurd to me.
Posted by DrVanNostrand on October 20, 2012 at 2:57 PM · Report this
seandr 250
@248: Sorry, wasn't trying to be mean, just embracing your comment about me seeking pragmatic solutions.

I still don't understand why children's rights should trump all agreements made by the parents, or why a child conceived through a sperm donor has a "right" to know who his/her biological father is. Seems to me the UN hasn't really thought things through, but whatever, I guess we just disagree.

These aren't entirely theoretical questions - I donated sperm back in my 20's and would never have done so if the kids had a "right" to know who I was, or to claim me as a financial provider. After seeing The Kids Are Alright, I entered my info in the sibling donor registry, but so far no one has claimed me as their biological father.
Posted by seandr on October 20, 2012 at 9:50 PM · Report this
251
@238, vi: The problem is not that you should stay in your own league in order to get laid. (There is something deeply cynical about putting it that way, especially coming from someone who considers herself hot shit, and who actually considers it an insult that particular sorts of men would dare to believe she might actually go for them enough to actually ask. (Meaningful eyebrow arch cast in the general direction of myd.) )

No, the problem is that you need to stop limiting yourself to the people that you find hottest. If you only ever go after a particular type of partner, you are dismissing the possibility that someone of another sort might have something wonderful to offer you. The problem is not that you are constantly getting rejected, it's that you are the one doing the pre-rejecting of the vast majority of candidates.

It's the same basic problem as the woman who insists that her man has to be at least 6'1", and then complains that she can't find anybody decent. Well, duh, maybe it's because by limiting herself to 6'1" and over, she has eliminated 90% of the male dating pool right off the bat. Her perfect guy might be out there waiting for her, if only she could get past him being 5'11."

Mydriasis is saying "Stay in your own league" (which really means "Stay in your own league, you loser; who else but a loser like you would ever go for a loser like you.") I'm saying "Broaden your horizons." Not the same thing at all.

"Stay in your own league" has to do with how you assess yourself, and whether you think you have a "right" to dare to approach people hotter than yourself. "Broaden your horizons has to do with how you assess the rest of the world, and whether you are the one who is limiting your own success.
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Posted by avast2006 on October 21, 2012 at 1:01 AM · Report this
mydriasis 252
@ avast

Oh for fucks sake,

First of all, you don't have to be 'hot shit' to experience that feeling. Average looking is more than enough.

I don't think people should "stay in their league", (in fact that wasn't even the phrase I used, and the phrase I used was critcally different) I was describing what appeared to be Dan's opinion - not my own opinion. Not that you care to know my opinion because you clearly have quite the opinion of me, but it's nothing like "stay in your league".
Posted by mydriasis on October 21, 2012 at 6:03 AM · Report this
mydriasis 253
* Also, she's eliminating closer to 85%.
Posted by mydriasis on October 21, 2012 at 6:31 AM · Report this
254
Ms Driasis did, as she claimed, paraphrase what she took to be Mr Savage's position. Speaking of "leagues" is perhaps unfortunate phrasing that evokes traces of Heather Chandler's Guide to Life. Off the top of my head, one might say that:

Demanding a particular standard one can neither meet nor match will come across as overreaching.

I have some vague recollection of a statement about people ending up with those close to them, though I'm not sure I'd have attributed that to Mr Savage had I been pressed. Personally I've known a good number of bookend couples (mainly FF), but it's trickier with people who look for a complementary partner instead of subscribing to the precept of being or becoming who they want.

I do think Mr Avast misrepresents on the question of undesirable approaches. What I recall of Ms Driasis' statements on that subject did, if I'm not confusing her with anybody else, remind me a little of Emma's internal reaction to Mr Elton's claiming that she had encouraged him. It is, I grant, disconcerting when, to use the terms of Jinny in The Waves, somebody insists on interpreting one's black "No" as one's golden "Come".

Had Mr Avast been a doer of men, we might have enjoyed a lengthy discussion of where Mr Savage would have ranked in Broadway Damage's Hierarchy of Beauty; I can't recall seeing anyone else's expressed opinion that wasn't at least somewhat more positive than Ms Driasis' (I recuse myself due to an admitted prejudice against those whose exercise comes from gymnasia rather than athletics). The only part of post 242 that rouses my internal cross-examiner is tucked away in the concluding sentence. Why would Mr Savage's being gay have anything to do with whether or not his opinion had been dispensed from an ivory tower?

Well, being slightly cheered up that I was able to invoke both Miss Austen and Mrs Woolf during a second week of discussion of abortion (a topic that even Mr Ank trying with both hands could not deny being heterocentric; it might have been kinder to have delayed this week's column rather than maintain that particular centre of the conversation a second week running), I am now off to play tennis, where I hope I shall not be distracted by thoughts of Mr Savage lifting massive weights or doing inexplicable things on those little machines, as that would not be good for my inside-out backhand, which has been flourishing the last month or two.
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Posted by vennominon on October 21, 2012 at 1:04 PM · Report this
mydriasis 255
@ ven

The ivory tower reference was meant to refer to the (fictional) class of person who has their pick of the litter. Being gay limits you to pick from a much smaller group so that even the most attractive gay man still has (at best) only 10% of men to choose from.
Posted by mydriasis on October 21, 2012 at 2:21 PM · Report this
256
Ms Driasis - Okay, a valid way of looking at it, though too bisupremacist for my tastes. We differ as to the constitution of the ivory tower. You base yours on number of potential suitors and I mine on how the occupant would be widely viewed to reject so high a proportion of however many suitors there were, the number not impacting the quality.
Posted by vennominon on October 21, 2012 at 8:04 PM · Report this
257
Response to comment #220: I'm not choosing the unborn life over women, I'm saying the pro choice argument gives no recognition whatsoever to that unborn life. Most pregnancies, planned or unplanned, go to term and a baby is born with no harm to the mother. Why can't mother and fetus have a right to life? A person who needs an organ can't force a donation from another person, so why can a woman force termination on the unborn life? Just because pregnancy is inconvenient? And I'm not forcing pregnancy on anyone, the woman did that with the help of her male partner.
Posted by banshee9982 on October 21, 2012 at 8:40 PM · Report this
mydriasis 258
@venom

Makes sense, although the only reason I even mentioned the concept is because I was addressing someone else's worldview:

It's easy to tell people to DTMFA but it's not necessarily so easy to find another boyfriend/girlfriend! I'm not sure Dan and a lot of you folks realize that those of us on the not-so-attractive side have to put up with a lot if we ever want to get laid at all. I mean, political opinions? A deal-breaker? Please.

It seemed to me that the poster was divvying the world up into people like Dan "you folks", and people like him (her?) "those of us on the not so attractive side" (who "have to put up with a lot if we ever want to get laid at all")

But even if we disgregard orientation, Dan is no stunner. I'd imagine he's pretty middle of the road, and would be insensitive to the plight of "those on the not so attractive side" whether or not such a discrete group exists.

Posted by mydriasis on October 21, 2012 at 8:51 PM · Report this
All Day I Have Opinions About Sex 259
@236, brilliant! I'm neither a socialist nor pro-life (see post #12 for an explanation of that, and what I think is wrong with so much of the pro-choice rhetoric), but you nailed it. So many pro-choice people have outlawed the discussion, because they have decided that the only possible motivation for being pro-life is subjugation of women.

I would be amazed at the audacity of so many people thinking they have the cognitive capacity to so easily comprehend the minds of people they disagree with, but I can't really be amazed, because then I remember just as quickly how many, for example, anti-feminists so quickly dismiss feminism based on some half-assed trumped up motivations they attribute to feminists.
Posted by All Day I Have Opinions About Sex http://applebutterdreams.wordpress.com/ on October 21, 2012 at 9:07 PM · Report this
260
@188 Crinoline

As the discussion has become a to and fro about consequences (men or women?) and the to and fro about life (conception v. viable?), I think the bigger question is: Why do the GOP hate Women so much?

I have always thought the Republicans were like children: 'ME ME ME', I want THIS NOW. I don't care what your need are. I want mine NOW. Myopic in view.

And the Democrats were the adults / parents: looking at the bigger picture. What is not only good for them (as caretaker), but also the child and the community.

But when Dan touched on the topic of lack of Empathy, I think this is the crux of the debate. Children are not born with Empathy, but develop empathy from their parents as the move out of their teenage years. Children do not have empathy (the ability to imagine / feel someone else's feeling / emotions). Children are only able to think about their needs, wants and satisfactions, to the exclusion of all others.

This lack of Empathy is difference between the Republicans and the Democrats in the US. This misogyny (hatred and fear of Women) and lack of Empathy is what is propelling this current GOP leadership. Men are not able to imagine our feelings (empathic or not), because they do not have the hormones (oxytocin) than bonds us with other people.

But the straw man of 'personhood' is really the undoing of Women in the US. This is more about Civil Liberties than it is about 'personhood'. At one time slaves were thought to be 3/4 a person. Is that the free country we live in that Women don't have autonomy? That we are not 100% human; that our decisions are not right for us? We are thought of 'less than'. We are paid 'less than' our male peers. We are seen as 'less than' by the men that surround us. Are those 'less than' men the ones you want regulating your bodies, even when they call for Smaller Government?

Why is that?

Why can't we decide what is best for us?
Our circumstances?
Our lives?
And our bodies?

If you have any doubts, please refer to the compilation of anti-choice amendments:

http://jezebel.com/5906797/a-state+by+st…



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Posted by albeit on October 21, 2012 at 9:19 PM · Report this
261
@257

'Most pregnancies, planned or unplanned, go to term and a baby is born with no harm to the mother.'

Not so. Consult the following link...

http://www.hopexchange.com/Statistics.ht…
Posted by albeit on October 21, 2012 at 9:32 PM · Report this
What It Feels Like For A Boy 262
@238, I agree that a lot of advice and discussion here and about stuff like this assumes a pretty high level of dating fluidity. I think being attractive or charming or likable or whatever is a kind of privilege. As in all cases of privilege, most people who have it don't notice, and go through life judging things as though their experience is the standard, and those less privileged than themselves are invisible, to be dismissed, or to be blamed for their problems so that the privileged don't have to worry about them or examine their assumptions.

I'm not objecting to people being privileged. That's just the way it is. But people should recognize when their privilege allows them freedoms others don't have, and try to understand all experiences, not just their own and better.
Posted by What It Feels Like For A Boy http://foraboy.wordpress.com/ on October 21, 2012 at 10:15 PM · Report this
263
@252/253: Well, you are correct that I misremembered the statistic on height distributions. (You are right, she is sweeping away 85%, not 90. [only 85%, lol. Thank goodness we cleared that up!] ) Perhaps I also misremembered you being one of a few who recently commented on feeling "insulted" upon being hit on by an old guy, as if it implied something horrible about you that he would even dare to think you might go for it when asked by someone like him.

If Dan said it exactly the way you did, I would chide him too.

I agree that if you are consistently choosing people who treat you badly, you need to take a hard look at a) why you go for that type, and b) why you stay with them when they mistreat you. If your reason for doing either is because you think they are hot, stop that; it's kind of shallow, and it's getting you hurt. But even if your reason doesn't turn out to be about hotness, stop it anyway. You are making choices that are getting you hurt.

I disagree with the part about making a point of being aware of your own league and not dating up rather than keep trying to date up and being misused. Again, expand your horizons, by all means. You might find someone perfectly wonderful whom you have been overlooking. But it isn't -- it shouldn't be -- because you are dating out of your league. If they are indeed mistreating you, especially if they keep doing it specifically because they know you will put up with it because they know you think you aren't in their league, it doesn't matter whether they are hot or not. What matters is that they are assholes, and you need to go look elsewhere.

Saying you should try lowering your sights to your own level rather than hang around and keep getting abused also kind of implies that you can expect to be treated badly by hotties if you are uglier than them. How very bleak. Are people who are out of your league just naturally mean? (Maybe they do it because they feel insulted by your attentions.)
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Posted by avast2006 on October 22, 2012 at 12:54 AM · Report this
264
@259: "because they have decided that the only possible motivation for being pro-life is subjugation of women. "

The motivation may or may not be expressly to subjugate women, but the implementation inescapably is.
Posted by avast2006 on October 22, 2012 at 12:58 AM · Report this
265
@263... I think at least part of why it's a good idea to date (at least roughly) "in your league" is that, well, the good ones are usually taken quickly. An attractive *nice* person will often have his or her pick of potential partners among existing friends and associates.

So, that means the majority of the attractive people who are actually available for dating strangers have something wrong with them personality-wise. Maybe they're assholes. Maybe they're cripplingly insecure. Maybe they're cheaters. Maybe they have the social skills of a potted fern. Maybe they're literally insane. But, one way or another, they are rarely the cream of the crop in terms of anything besides physical attractiveness.

But if you're looking at people who are similarly unattractive (or at least average-looking), you're more likely to find people who are single only because no one looked past the zits or the crooked nose or whatever to see the wonderful person within.

Well, and also, to some extent, beauty is a skill (knowing what to wear, how to put on makeup properly, and so on). The kinds of people who develop those skills are disproportionately (not always, but disproportionately) about as deep as a puddle in the summer sun...
Posted by Melissa Trible on October 22, 2012 at 2:15 AM · Report this
sissoucat 266
@seandr

I think that if a guy foregoes using a condom during sex, he loses any right of complaining if the lady gets pregnant, doesn't want to abort and then asks for financial support.

A male friend, who really didn't want children, told me he always used his own condoms - no way he was going to be tricked into becoming a father by a lady who would provide pin-punctured condoms. There's a man acting with responsability.

Besides, men should know that bringing a child into the world is never a walk in the park for a woman. Our body pays a heavy toll.

Don't flatter yourselves into thinking that we're gold-digging on you when we have your baby despite you. If you're not part of the 1%, you're not rich enough to make such a scheme interesting. Were we females only interested in your sacro-sanct money, we would choose an easier way to get at it, don't you think ? Being a stripper is far easier than raising a child !

Step out of your male privilege. There's nothing easy in being pregnant, delivering and nurturing a baby. If you didn't put a condom on it, you tacitly agreed to support any subsequent baby. Consequences : face them already.
Posted by sissoucat on October 22, 2012 at 2:22 AM · Report this
267
WOW WOW lot of wind on this subject.
Posted by flipx on October 22, 2012 at 6:36 AM · Report this
268
Ms Driasis - Yes, explaining A's viewpoint to address B's concerns does get rather knotty.

I did think that there was a consensus around here that Mr Savage would rate at least Hot For His Age or able to be still competitive in the open division. I'm sure I recall at least half a dozen compliments on his person in the not-very-distant past.

In the present, though, surely Mr Savage, were he suddenly single or feeling more ishy than monogam, would have no particular trouble finding, as Miss Scarlet might put it, the company of a young gentleman for a short time (gratis, as Miss Scarlet would definitely NOT put it). Celebrity can match Beauty. If your point was that perhaps he might recall from Before Superstardom how difficult it might be for those unable to Get Anybody They Want (or even Somebody) - well, that's plausible enough, if we assume, going by your standards, that age has not been disproportionately unkind to him.
Posted by vennominon on October 22, 2012 at 8:54 AM · Report this
269
ahh. the old monkey sphincter. piquant.
Posted by jigglypuff on October 22, 2012 at 9:14 AM · Report this
270
Dan, I love your response to LIFE both last week and this week. Way to call out bullshit on people. Your readers to need nut and ovary up and not be such babies.
Posted by cosmosfactory on October 22, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
271
@262: So.....in your experience, all boys are studly, lookist assholes who should be universally worshipped?
AIIIIIIIINNNNNG! Don't think so!

Please read posts @144 and @181.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 22, 2012 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Tim Horton 272
At the risk of re-igniting the debate about letting men opt out of financially supporting their offspring....

Avast and others - If I understand your argument, you advocate for allowing a man to disavow paternity and financial obligation so long as it’s done in roughly the first trimester, i.e. the window where most women could technically abort and therefore absolve themselves of the same maternity and financial obligations. Question - would you extend this to married men? Would I be permitted to tell Mrs. Horton at the 10 week mark of her G4P3 pregnancy that I am simply not willing to be a father a fourth time? Them Mrs. Horton has the Hobson’s choice of abortion or raising the child without my financial support?

If that makes you uncomfortable, then what? Have a judge decide whether the child was conceived via one night stand vs. steady relationship vs. marriage?

Listen, on some level I get your argument. I am very sympathetic to it when it comes to one night stands, where your sperm donor analogy works well. I was 17 and my girlfriend's period was very late (in hindsight, probably miscarried) and it would have seriously fucked up my life trajectory (and hers) if she would have kept the baby (and she probably would have).

But if I apply your opt-out rule to something other than a one night stand or casual relationship, e.g. married couples, long term committed relationships, it seems grossly unfair.
Posted by Tim Horton on October 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
273
Tim -- Avast isn't interested in "fairness" across the board, only fairness to men that don't want to be fathers after discovering an unplanned pregnancy.

It's not "fair" that when an unplanned pregnancy occurs, a woman has to make a difficult choice (or at least a choice that is difficult for many women) -- abort, keep the child, carry to term but give up for adoption. If it's an unplanned pregnancy, more than likely she doesn't want to be in that position at all -- there is nothing "fair" about it. But it's life. It's what happens sometimes, even despite the best precautions (obviously, if no precautions, then much more likely).

Welcome to life -- it's not always fair. Sometimes, you just do the best with what you get. In Avast's world, that only impacts women -- men have no such consequences, so that it's "fair" to them. Who cares about the woman or possibly the child -- they're not important, only what's "fair" to the men.
Posted by KL on October 22, 2012 at 1:11 PM · Report this
274
@272: Your hypothetical husband does indeed have the right to at least discuss this with his wife. Said discussion happens all the time in existing, intact families: "Hon, we really can't afford another child right now."

How fair would it be, in such a situation, for the wife to say, "I don't care, I want six children and by God I am going to have six children, and if you have to go find a third job to support us, that's your problem." Frankly, I think he would be in his rights at that point to divorce her and treat the fetus the same as the one-night stand situation. Being married is not a license to work your spouse to death so that you can have things your own way.

Short of divorce, I don't see how there is any practical way for him to withhold financial support from this child while still providing for the rest of the brood. I do think that the needs of the actual children should take precedence over the potential children. Are we remembering to make sure Mom takes them into account? Failing to do so is pretty piss-poor parenting.
Posted by avast2006 on October 22, 2012 at 2:26 PM · Report this
275
@272, continued: If it isn't a case of oversubscribed, limited resources, then I would expect any reasonable husband to make accommodations for the situation. It isn't reasonable to claim that four kids are completely unfeasible where three kids are currently being managed just fine with a decent margin of error on family resources.

There is a tendency to view these things in stark shades of black and white, and go for absolutist interpretations an d iron-clad rules. Real life seldom fits the unyielding molds that sort of deliberation tends to produce.
Posted by avast2006 on October 22, 2012 at 2:38 PM · Report this
276
@273: Thank you for your application to be my spokesperson. Unfortunately that position is filled at present. If in future there is a need for someone other than me to explain to the world what I think and what I am interested in, I will keep your resume on file.
Posted by avast2006 on October 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM · Report this
277
Okay -- Avast -- then how do you reconcile the unfairness on the other end of the equation? Because, I along with others including Tim Horton, have proposed just this concept to you several times. And, so far, from what I can tell, you just wholly dismiss and ignore the inequality on the other side, as if the choice to have an abortion is as easy as simply "opting out" for the men in your world.

I can understand men not wanting to be fathers and finding themselves in a situation where an unplanned pregnancy occurs and the woman decides to keep the kid and so he's on the hook for child support at bare minimum. That sucks. But, your proposal otherwise seems to be a worse choice for women, children and society at large.

Just like many women don't want to find themselves in similar situations, especially since the hard choice of keep the kid with an unwilling/unintentional partner, abortion or adoption are all bad choices. If they could simply "opt out" as easily as men, I'm sure just as many would do so. But, women don't have such an "opt out" choice because of the biological reality and inequality of pregnancy. And that's not "fair" either -- but it's life.

So, I'd counsel such women to do what they can preventatively, choose their partners wisely and accept the consequences for those choices. Just as I'd counsel men to do the same. That's all I'm asking for -- a little equality in an inherently unequal situation.
Posted by KL on October 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
278
Wealth/Power/Celebrity are potent attractors of women toward men, and pretty worthless the other way around. If Dan were straight, he'd have zero problems bedding women.

I'll pass on what attracts gays.
Posted by Hunter78 on October 22, 2012 at 3:27 PM · Report this
279
@Tim

"No difference between an abortion at 12 weeks because birth control failed and one at 39 weeks because - hey, it's bikini season and I am sick of being pregnant."

I wouldn't want someone like this to be a parent anyway.

"No difference between a parent coming to the decision to abort a fetus with a rare and deadly medical condition and a parent aborting a child that shows genetic traits thought to be consistent with homosexuality (they will likely be able to screen for this in the future)."

Again, wouldn't want someone like this to be a parent anyway.

No difference between the ultrasound of the 26 week old fetus that is celebrated on the fridge and the other of the 26 week old fetus that is about to have it's life terminated.

There is a difference. One has a chance of becoming an actual child. So what?
Posted by CrystalS on October 22, 2012 at 4:59 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 280
@279 - there are lots of unfit parents out there, but we usually do not advocate killing the child as a solution to the problem.

Look, I seriously think the abortion debate is useless. If you are in the minority that sees life at conception, then abortion is murder and choice is a non-starter. If you are in the other minority that gives no consideration to a viable fetus until it passes the vaginal canal - or even describes said abortions as "awesome" -then any restrictions are inherently in conflict with the absolute rights of women.

Most of us in the middle recognize there is a sliding scale in the ethics of early versus late term abortions. If you don't share that value, I am certainly not going to convince you otherwise in an internet comment.
Posted by Tim Horton on October 22, 2012 at 7:01 PM · Report this
281
@ avast2006 re men's choices and consequences:

Gosh I'm joining this one late. Okay! I think that you make a valid point even though I don't exactly agree with you.

You're right that it's not fair that women have abortion as an option and men don't. But honestly, it extends beyond that. Women, who are fertile for only a very small window each cycle, have a wide range of contraceptive options. Men, who are always fertile, have very few.

If you don't mind, for the sake of this discussion, let's just look at contraception rather than STI prevention since this is an abortion discussion. For argument's sake, I am excluding abstaining (in the absolute sense) from sex as a form of birth control because it is no more birth control than abstaining (in the absolute sense) from eating is a form of dieting. Additionally, I am including abortion as a form of birth control even though it is not really contraception.

-Men have the following options-

Condoms: kinda inconvenient

Pulling out: kinda inconvenient and less effective than most methods

Vasectomy: hematoma inside the scrotum; fluid buildup in the testicle; chronic pain

-Women have the following options-

Female condoms: a bit more inconvenient than male condoms because they tend to cover the clitoris

Cervical caps: cause cervical abnormalities

Contraceptive sponge: can lead to infections

Diaphragms: require spermicide to be effective which can burn like hell if you have any abrasions; increased risk of recurrent UTIs

The Pill: increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, mood swings, nausea, weight gain, etc.

The morning after pill: same risks as the pill

Neuvaring (hormonal contraceptive that is vaginally inserted): same risks as the pill

Paraguard (copper IUD): painful insertion; heavy, painful periods; possible permanent infertility; "lost" IUDs can cause perforation of the bladder and/or small bowel which can lead to death

Mirena (plastic hormonal IUD): same risks as Paraguard and the pill

Implanon - same risks as the pill; possible permanent infertility

Essure (nickel-plated metal spring implanted into the Fallopian tubes intended to cause scarring sufficient to prevent the passage of the egg): infection; chronic pain; perforation of the uterus or Fallopian tubes which can lead to death

Tubal Ligation: fluid buildup in the Fallopian tubes; damage to the bowel, bladder, or major blood vessels; infection; chronic pain; death (usually from an adverse reaction to anesthesia)

Abortion: pain; cramping; nausea; vomiting; sepsis; cervical damage; permanent infertility; uterine scarring; perforation of the uterus; damage to other organs; death

Like I mentioned earlier, women have more contraceptive options. And women, especially in long term relationships, often bear the primary responsibility for the couple's contraception. The side effects of those contraceptive methods range from inconvenient to fatal. Men should ABSOLUTELY have more contraceptive options. (In fact, they are working on a nifty injection that acts like an IUD for men but without the risk of perforation of internal organs! It's super cool.) Providing men with more options would enable them to better protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy. But it would also make the risk assumed by the partner responsible for contraception one that men could share more equitably with their partners. And as far as I am concerned, that is a very good thing.

However! When it comes to the matter of child support, I don't think you are looking at it in the right light. Child support isn't about punishing men for their sexuality. Child support is about giving that child the best possible chance in life. BOTH parents absolutely SHOULD be on the hook for a child that they chose to have. And if more reliable birth control options become available to men, it will become a much more equitable matter of choice for both partners. And not using reliable, effective birth control, if it is available, is indeed choosing to potentially have a child.

Just on a personal note: when someone says "he should have watched where he pointed that thing when he got off," that's not the same thing as saying "she should have kept her legs closed." The distinction is that in the former case an individual is suggesting that a man should ejaculate (as a result of his orgasm-from-partnered-sex) in a place that is less likely to cause an unwanted pregnancy. In the latter case, someone is saying that a woman should not have partnered sex. Not quite the same thing, right? ;)
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Posted by MiscKitty on October 22, 2012 at 7:54 PM · Report this
What It Feels Like For A Boy 282
@271, what gave you the impression I was talking only about boys?
Posted by What It Feels Like For A Boy http://foraboy.wordpress.com/ on October 22, 2012 at 8:58 PM · Report this
seandr 283
@sissoucat: Step out of your male privilege

That is just lame.

If you didn't put a condom on it, you tacitly agreed to support any subsequent baby.

I assume you are you referring to the man? Where's the woman in this scenario, lying meekly on the bed with her eyes closed wondering what the big strong man is planning to do to her?

Never mind - it's a moot point given that we all agree the responsibility for aborting the unwanted fetus lies with the woman.

There's nothing easy in being pregnant, delivering and nurturing a baby.

Right, which is why no one should have parenthood forced upon them. And for the record, pregnancy is a cakewalk compared to the 18 years that follow.
Posted by seandr on October 22, 2012 at 11:17 PM · Report this
284
@277: "...then how do you reconcile the unfairness on the other end of the equation? ...as if the choice to have an abortion is as easy as simply "opting out" for the men in your world."

The big-picture version of your argument is that women have a bunch of choices and men have none, but since the women's options are unpleasant (to you, anyway), that makes the balance still somehow unfairly skewed against women. Having no options at all is less unfair than having a bunch of options. Since you personally don't like all the options that you have, they don't count. Never mind that plenty of other women are clamoring for those options, are only too happy to use them when they appear to be the right choice, and are fighting tooth and nail to retain the right to access them, those women don't count either, and all those options don't count for a blob of spit in tallying up fairness, because you personally don't happen to like 'em.

"That's all I'm asking for -- a little equality in an inherently unequal situation."

Guffaw. Irony meter is a melted, smoking ruin. Your logic would be right at home in Alice's Wonderland.
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2012 at 1:11 AM · Report this
285
@283, seandr: The real reason it's a moot point is that it ultimately doesn't matter whether a guy put on a condom or not, in determining his culpability. It's not like he gets a free pass for at least trying. If there is a pregnancy for any reason (say, the condom broke), the guy is equally on the hook, whether he didn't bother with contraception at all or whether he did his due diligence but something went wrong.

Same thing if the couple decided together to use The Pill as their contraception of choice. If something went wrong, it's his fault, period.
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2012 at 1:18 AM · Report this
286
Avast2006 -- What a crock of bullshit. Men have choices. Sure, they don't have all the same choices as women have, but they surely have choices. The difference is that all of their choices have to be exercised in mostly a preventative manner -- they don't have the choice of abortion after an unplanned pregnancy occurred.

To sum up, men have the following choices to avoid unwanted parenthood, or at least greatly reduce the risk of it occurring:

1) Condoms
2) Non-vaginal sex (coming on stomach, anal, blow jobs and a whole host of others)
3) Vasectomy
4) Choosing a partner that feels the same way they do about unplanned pregnancy and will abort if it occurs

Those aren't choices? Yeah, sure, men can't choose to have an abortion or force a pregnancy -- those are for women only. But they have options to avoid getting themselves into a situation where an unplanned pregnancy occurs -- either completely by having a vasectomy, non-vaginal sex or a partner that will abort or greatly reducing the possibility by using condoms.

Those may not be all the choices you want -- as you obviously want one where the woman decides to carry the child to term and you opt out of all parenthood responsibilities -- but there certainly are choices and most of them are pretty decent. And for women that don't personally believe in abortion (and there are many of us, even those of us that are pro-choice), you have the same choices.
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 9:22 AM · Report this
seandr 287
@285: Right.

Returning to the issue of whether unconditional male paternal culpability is fair - I'd say that is would be fair if medical science came up with an inexpensive, safe, non-permanent, reasonably foolproof male contraceptive that doesn't have serious side effects and doesn't involve wrapping your dick in latex or animal guts. Give me that option, and I'll happily accept the consequences of not using it.
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2012 at 9:37 AM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 288
@avaast2006 (throughout the comments)

Wow! There's something to be said for sitting back and reading nearly a week's worth of comments.

Here are a couple of things that neither you nor anyone else has addressed regarding any sort of opt-out clause:

1* If men were permitted to opt out, that presumes that there would be no obstacles - no intrusive government delays (ultrasounds anyone?) no shortage of doctors willing and able to perform abortions, no inability to pay hardships - to prevent a woman from then deciding to terminate should her partner opt out. In practical terms, opting out can NOT be an option if the resources aren't already in place. And we know that they aren't ... in the US if not in many other countries.

2* Okay, this is where I have absolutely NO relevant experience (having never been pregnant) buuuuuut aren't there several hormones released in a pregnancy? If a man decides to opt out, how does a woman manage to make a clear decision about her options, especially if she's been anticipating no reluctance on the part of her partner regarding impending fatherhood for several weeks already? I've read enough about women grieving after they've lost a welcomed pregnancy through a miscarriage. I'm not saying that women are incapable of making any such decisions during a pregnancy, but that their reactions to their partner's opting out (unless it's been a part of an ongoing discussion ever since the pregnancy was diagnosed) are going to be affected severely from the feeling of betrayal and abandonment. Thanks to Tim Horton who made the distinction between a casual relationship (or mere hookup) and a marriage. Though, really, if two people get married unaware that one of them is pretty dead set on having six kids (whether it's the man OR woman), without establishing that as a shared goal, I'd call that a huge deal- AND marriage-breaker.

Relative to the previous paragraph, I've always been fascinated to read about the tendency (no, I have no corroborating data) of women who have negative, especially hostile, reactions to a pregnancy to experience a natural abortion via a miscarriage – as if to imply that the fetus knew it was not wanted. I read this years ago, so don't know if there were any studies done, especially as I can see that asking a woman post miscarriage if she'd welcomed the pregnancy to be harsh and grossly unsympathetic behaviour. But I thought I'd just throw it in. If anyone does have any studies to share, please do.
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Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on October 23, 2012 at 9:49 AM · Report this
289
@287/Seandr -- perhaps now that men are being held more accountable for their children, there will be a demand for a safe, effective form of male birth control. But you have to keep in mind that this is a relatively new development -- in the last 50 years or so, and the legalization of abortion even more recently -- though we obviously have difficulty in fully implementing either one as there are still plenty of obstacles to women in many areas of this country in getting a safe abortion (hello, vaginal ultrasound requirements and heartbeat requirements) as well as plenty of men evading their child support requirements.

Traditionally, men have been able to walk away pretty easily and so it was women that were demanding the need for birth control because the burden of an unplanned pregnancy historically fell mostly on her shoulders. As Dan so aptly stated -- consequences, not just for women anymore!
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 9:57 AM · Report this
seandr 290
@286:
1) Condoms
That fact that condoms are the best choice men have proves that medical science hates men.

2) Non-vaginal sex (coming on stomach, anal, blow jobs and a whole host of others)
No pussy? That's a punishment, not a choice.

3) Vasectomy
Not a choice if you want to have kids in the future or you don't have a lot of money or you are terrified of having a surgeon take a scalpel to your balls.

4) Choosing a partner that feels the same way they do about unplanned pregnancy and will abort if it occurs
Given that women typically have something to say about which men they fuck, this choice amounts to hoping you get lucky.
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2012 at 9:59 AM · Report this
291
Seandr --- Really?

Condoms aren't the greatest. I don't think a lot of women like them either, but they're pretty darn important if you're going to be having casual sex, for disease protection as well as pregnancy prevention. And if it's not casual, then talk about what's the best prevention for you as a couple (and it's almost surely going to fall on the woman to maintain because we don't have as many male contraceptives available).

I know plenty of men that like blow jobs and anal and certainly wouldn't call it a punishment. But once again, choices!

Vasectomy is a permanent solution, just as tubal ligation is for women.

Choosing a like-minded partner. Yes, I realize that means that you actually have to talk to the woman and see if she agrees with you. What a novel idea.

There are so few male contraceptives because historically men had no consequences for an unplanned pregnancy -- there was no need for male contraceptives. He just walked away. It was the woman that was shun, had to deal with termination/child out of wedlock, etc.

Society is slowly changing that by making men responsible too. And it's so sad to hear men like you and Avast instead of being pleased that deadbeat men are being forced to act like MEN, not little boys that run away from their responsibilities and lobbying for more male contraceptives, instead advocating for the good ol' days where guys can just walk away -- and simply because abortion is now an option.

Once again, consequences -- not just for women anymore!
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 10:21 AM · Report this
seandr 292
@289: As Dan so aptly stated -- consequences, not just for women anymore!

Yes, I get it. Historically, the deck has been stacked heavily against women when it comes to reproductive issues. Well, at least women from powerless families.

However, I've observed that, due to this history (and the fact that it still exists in many parts of the world), liberals can be completely dismissive of the perspective of their own men (e.g., "what about the menz?", "step out of your male privilege").

Really, I'm just looking for a form of feminism that is more than just a defensive reaction to that history, that isn't afraid of self-critique, that reflects the nuanced world most of us on SLOG live in, and that can acknowledge that the asymmetries of gender don't always work in the man's favor.

@291: FWIW, condoms are a regular part of my sex life. They are also the product of a vast and diabolical medical conspiracy against men. You'll never convince me otherwise.
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM · Report this
293
@ 290

seandr, I've already posted this but I'm going to post it again just for you:

-Men have the following options-

Condoms: Yep, they're kinda inconvenient. But proof that medical science hates men? Seems like a stretch to me.

Pulling out: Pulling out doesn't mean no pussy. Pulling out means no pussy after you have reached the point of no return.

Vasectomy: hematoma inside the scrotum; fluid buildup in the testicle; chronic pain

-Women have the following options-

Female condoms: a bit more inconvenient than male condoms because they tend to cover the clitoris

Cervical caps: cervical abnormalities

Contraceptive sponge: infections

Diaphragms: require spermicide to be effective which can burn like hell if you have any abrasions; recurrent UTIs

The Pill: heart attack, stroke, blood clots, mood swings, nausea, vomiting, loss of sex drive, weight gain, etc.

The morning after pill: same major risks as the pill

Neuvaring (hormonal contraceptive that is vaginally inserted): same risks as the pill

Paraguard (copper IUD): painful insertion; heavy, painful periods; permanent infertility; "lost" IUDs can cause perforation of the bladder and/or small bowel which can lead to death

Mirena (plastic hormonal IUD): same risks as Paraguard -and- the pill

Implanon: same risks as the pill; possible permanent infertility

Essure (nickel-plated metal spring implanted into the Fallopian tubes intended to cause scarring sufficient to prevent the passage of the egg): infection; chronic pain; perforation of the uterus or Fallopian tubes which can lead to death

Tubal Ligation: fluid buildup in the Fallopian tubes; damage to the bowel, bladder, or major blood vessels; infection; chronic pain; death (usually from an adverse reaction to anesthesia)

Abortion: pain; cramping; nausea; vomiting; sepsis; cervical damage; permanent infertility; uterine scarring; perforation of the uterus; damage to other organs; death

--

Those are the options that exist right now. All things considered, is wrapping your dick in latex really that bad?
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Posted by MiscKitty on October 23, 2012 at 10:46 AM · Report this
294
@288: Thanks for the rational discussion.

Re point #1, I agree, fully. The situation where men can opt out is currently hypothetical, but implementing it would (similarly hypothetically ) require that all the roadblocks you refer to be removed. I don't think it would be practical to say men don't get the choice at all until _all_ the infrastructure is in place (how many abortion clinics per capita would be the threshold?), but it would be fair to legislate all of the related items at once into a comprehensive policy, like removing all the waiting periods, ultrasounds, etcetera; making it a misdemeanor to harrass patients, and an enhanced felony to bomb clinics or kill doctors; and so forth. Currently the legal infrastructure just barely tolerates abortion, and the social environment is subject to huge pressure from whackos. There would need to be substantial legal reform to support a culture of true pro-choice.

I fully support the idea that women should have maximum freedom to control their own reproductive destinies. We should set up our laws and infrastructure to support that. But the flip side of that is that it makes parenthood 100% elective on the part of the woman.

Re point #2: Some women will grieve not being able to carry to term. Some other women are only too happy to abort, and feel nothing but relief. I can't see the fact that some women will be sad as sufficient justification to deprive all men of that option. Do you think maybe the men will be more than a little dismayed by being forced to be a parent against their will? Wouldn't you be?

And again, if she is sufficiently saddened by the prospect of aborting, nobody is making her do it.
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
295
@282: I think your mustache is slipping.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 23, 2012 at 11:06 AM · Report this
296
@286: You keep making the argument that men have all these contraceptive options. That's fine as far as it goes, but there are two problems with the way you are arguing it:

1) You continually imply the only reason men could be faced with an unwanted pregnancy is because they didn't bother with any of these.

2) It doesn't matter whether he took advantage of any of the above. If he did and something went wrong, he is as much on the hook as if he didn't bother at all.

Women have equal opportunity to not bother, by the way, and I don't hear you saying they are irresponsible shits who deserve what's coming to them when it's them who didn't put in the female condom, took her Pill erratically, etc.

"Those may not be all the choices you want -- as you obviously want one where the woman decides to carry the child to term and you opt out of all parenthood responsibilities"

Emphasis on it being _her_ decision, nobody is forcing her to go it alone, but yes...

"but there certainly are choices and most of them are pretty decent."

Except of course when they fail, at which point they are entirely irrelevant, if you are a man. If you are a woman and they fail, you continue to keep all your options.

"And for women that don't personally believe in abortion (and there are many of us, even those of us that are pro-choice), you have the same choices. "

There you go again with that whole idea of: I can't see myself taking that choice, therefore it doesn't count as a choice for me, and therefore shouldn't count in terms of setting up equivalent choices for men in general.
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM · Report this
297
Avast/294 -- if the whole point of your perspective is the argument that once an unplanned pregnancy occurs, then men have no choices as to whether the pregnancy is carried to term or not, then I'll grant you that. I don't think anyone would dispute otherwise -- that because it's a woman's body, she gets to decide what is done and both the man and woman bear the consequences of her decision. It's a biological inequality and we as a society have said that's the most "fair" option available to all involved for an inherently disparate biological reality.

But that's a far cry to say men have no choice about parenthood. They have plenty of choices -- they just don't have a choice after an unplanned pregnancy occurs. Just like a woman doesn't have an *undo* button neither does a man. She HAS to make a decision regardless of whether she wants to or not and he gets no choice in that ultimate decision. And that's why BOTH the man and the woman should do their utmost to avoid getting themselves into such a situation in the first place.

But, sometimes shit just happens and that's how it is. Not everything in life is 100 fair all the time. But men do have choices, they just don't have all the choices all of the time.
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 11:46 AM · Report this
298
Avast2006---To be a true choice, it has to be meaningful. Just because abortion is legal doesn't make it a meaningful choice for everyone. For those that feel it's murder and would go against their conscience, it's not a meaningful choice -- any more than it would be for you to kill the mother carrying your unwanted child. Sure, with the abortion situation, the woman won't face criminal charges but that's the only difference. Legality and morality aren't always the same, but for a choice to be meaningful for a person, both have to align.

I'm not saying that shit doesn't happen. That despite the best prevention by men and women, contraceptives still sometimes fail. And that stinks for all involved. But men still have the option of only have sex with women that feel similarly to them about abortion so that if despite their best efforts, prevention fails, she'll terminate.

What I'm saying are that there are consequences for both men and women for having sex -- one of which is potential pregnancy. Most women don't want to be in the situation of an unplanned pregnancy either, especially if she doesn't view abortion as a meaningful choice personally. But there is no "opt out" for such women (and even when she believes in abortion, there are still consequences for that decision -- physically at the very least if not also emotionally and psychologically).

And that's part of being an adult -- taking responsibility for your choices and also dealing with realities that turned out other than you wanted them to or diligently planned for. So, when people choose to have sex, understand these potential consequences and plan accordingly and accept the risks. If you can't do that, then choose not to participate or participate differently where the risks are eliminated or greatly reduced.

But just because women have the option of abortion doesn't mean that men should have an "opt out" choice -- that would not result in greater equity across the board. It may seem more fair to men or to you, but someone else is going to pay -- and that's going to be the woman, the child and/or society. That sort of inequity isn't preferable either.
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Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
299
@KL:
An unplanned pregnancy means that BOTH partners are equally responsible - or neither is. Contraception is a joint effort. (And most of the birth control methods you suggest for men: nice for a change, but not for always.)

@Helenka:
Voice of reason! I think you shouldn't only look at studies regarding miscarriages in women who didn't want to be pregnant, but also at surrogates. Women who agree to be surrogates because they need the money sometimes want to keep the baby, even though they can hardly feed their "own" family. Before the pregnancy they are able to look at it "economically", but during the pregnancy biology takes over. I'd be interested to know in how many cases that is true.

@seandr and avast:
I think where I disagree with you (apart from that you disregard the rights of the child once it is born) is that you seem to regard abortion as just another form of birth control and an inconvenience. For me, abortion is an emergency measure (I do accept that other people view situations as an emergency which I wouldn't).
But I think your point on the unfairness about the options for men is interesting. Up until now I had only encountered couples where the woman had an abortion while the man wanted to have the baby. And I always felt that was very unfair.
Posted by migrationist on October 23, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
300
Migrationist -- I agree that an unplanned pregnancy means that BOTH partners are equally responsible --that's what I've been advocating from the very beginning, that men take responsibility for their own reproductive choices and part of the equation.

It just seems that women have historically been the only ones to actually be responsible as they've disproportionately born the consequences of things going awry, and which is also why women have been the ones to take the lead on birth control.

So, as a man, if you're worried about the woman you're with as being irresponsible about the birth control, don't leave it in her hands. Take control of your own reproductive choices. When you rely on the partner to be responsible or share your views, then you run the risk that you're wrong about her and all the consequences that come with that (or just things not working out despite the best of intentions).
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
301
@299: I do regard abortion as an emergency solution, not as routine contraception. For starters, an abortion is almost always going to be harder on a woman than other forms of contraception (assuming normal situations without additional medical complications).

Emergency or not, the point is that the procedure is done or not done entirely at the discretion of the woman, but the man is made responsible for the outcome, even though he had no say in the decision.

"Up until now I had only encountered couples where the woman had an abortion while the man wanted to have the baby. And I always felt that was very unfair."

Interesting. That's exactly the case where I think it's fine that the man is simply out of luck, because the alternative would be to conscript her body to bear that child against her will. Sure, he has the right to discuss the options with her -- I can't imagine two people being willing to fuck but unwilling to talk -- but the final decision must rest solely with her.

Note, however, that her refusal to bear that child doesn't put the man on the hook for additional responsibilities as a result of her choice. She is not making him responsible for her decision to abort. By contrast, she is conscripting him and making him responsible for her decision to carry to term.

This particular responsibility (to parent a child unwillingly) is one that women exempt themselves from, but expect to be able to hold men to.
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
seandr 302
@MiscKitty: Female condoms

Female condoms are just salt in the wounds. I can just imagine what the inventor was thinking when he/she came up with idea: "So you don't like wrapping your dick in a latex balloon? Well perhaps you'd prefer fucking a garbage bag, you ungrateful little shits!"

And for the record, there is an option you missed - the rhythm method, or whatever people are calling it these days. Pretty safe when practiced conservatively.
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2012 at 1:55 PM · Report this
303
@298: "To be a true choice, it has to be meaningful."

The choice is available to everyone. Some women choose to take it. Are you going to claim that it wasn't a meaningful choice for THEM?

"Just because abortion is legal doesn't make it a meaningful choice for everyone."

Bullshit. I daresay you attach one hell of a lot of meaning to your commitment to not ever abort. You are indeed making a choice, all the while trying to claim that no, you are being somehow coerced by your own moral compass. This is another example of your Alice In Wonderland logic.
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2012 at 1:55 PM · Report this
304
Avast -- "This particular responsibility (to parent a child unwillingly) is one that women exempt themselves from, but expect to be able to hold men to."

What else is the solution then? If the woman decides to carry to term, then how is the child not deprived or society impacted so that the man can not be bothered? You're essentially pitting a man's desire to not parent (at least by paying child support) against a child's welfare, society's wallet or a woman's bodily integrity. If he doesn't pay child support, then the kid only gets supported by one parent? Or society picks up the slack? And that's a fair solution to you?

I understand you saying that he didn't want this happen -- he just wanted to have sex, not become a parent. And society's response is, well, that's the risk you take when you decide to have sex. The woman takes the risk that she'll have to make a decision about an unplanned pregnancy and the man takes the risk of having to live with the consequences of her decision on that. It's better that the man accept that risk and bear the consequences than a wholly innocent child or society as he made the choice to have sex whereas neither society nor the child were included in that initial decision.

And if the woman does not want to parent but decides to carry to term, she is on the hook for child support too. Unless BOTH she and the father decide to give up for adoption and then they're BOTH off the hook. But if he decides to parent the kid, then she pays child support too -- she doesn't get to opt out of being a parent either.

So, yes, men don't have a choice about whether the child is carried to term or aborted -- but that's a direct result of the inequalities of the biological reality. You also get the advantage of this same biological reality of being able to be a parent but never having to bear a child -- pretty big bonus! I'm sure there are plenty of women that would rather their male partner bore the children but you don't see us ranting about how unfair that is -- that men get to be parents without having to deal with pregnancy!

Not everything is 50-50. Sometimes you get the long end of the stick in certain situations, but other times you get the short end. It just amazes me that one of the few times you get the short end, you have the audacity to bitch about it so much when women have been getting the short end on many man-woman issues for a long, long time. I think that's what one of the other commenters meant when he/she talked about stepping out of your male privilege. The one time it doesn't go your way, it's just so darn unfair! Even though you have oodles of advantage in so many other contexts!

More...
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this
305
@303 @298: "The choice is available to everyone. Some women choose to take it. Are you going to claim that it wasn't a meaningful choice for THEM?"

Legally, the choice is available to everyone. Morally, it is not because people have different moral views on abortion, which is why it's such a hot button topic. So, it's a meaningful choice to some (those that don't morally oppose it) but not for all (those that do morally oppose it).

And, yes, I know that kills your "its her CHOICE" argument, but that doesn't make it any less true, let alone illogical.
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM · Report this
306
This particular responsibility (to parent a child unwillingly) is one that women exempt themselves from

I think all of human history just fell on your head.
Posted by Eirene on October 23, 2012 at 2:03 PM · Report this
307
@306: Today isn't all of human history, Eirene. In case you haven't noticed, these days women don't have to become parents when they don't want to.
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM · Report this
308
"@306: Today isn't all of human history, Eirene. In case you haven't noticed, these days women don't have to become parents when they don't want to."

And neither do men, Avast. They just have to take different precautions...
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 2:40 PM · Report this
mydriasis 309
@avast

Are you white?
Posted by mydriasis on October 23, 2012 at 2:41 PM · Report this
seandr 310
@migrationist: you seem to regard abortion as just another form of birth control and an inconvenience.

To be honest, I don't see abortion that way. It's definitely not fair that women can opt out of parenthood but men can not. Replacing that with a system that requires women to have an abortion to opt out whereas men can simply wave "bye bye" isn't exactly fair either (although one might argue it's less unjust, and would produce fewer neglected children, than the current system).

But given the limited options available, I can live with current paternity laws, unfair though they may be. What bothers me are my fellow liberals who simply won't consider men's interests, and refuse to see their own hypocrisy, on issues like this - e.g., staunchly pro-choice women who, without any hint of irony, tell men if they don't want to be parents, they should keep their legs, oops I mean zippers shut. Even if, as a woman, you are unwilling to give up your legal advantage on this, at the very least you could acknowledge that you have an advantage rather than parroting pro-life arguments when they suddenly serve your interests.

Obviously, you and lot of others on this thread aren't in that category, so thanks!
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2012 at 2:49 PM · Report this
311
@309: Why? Are we discussing reproductive rights in Afghanistan?
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2012 at 2:55 PM · Report this
312
Seandr -- do you think it's hypocritical for staunchly pro-choice women to insist that men guard their productive choices and take just as much responsibility for birth control as women do/should? Is that hypocritical?
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM · Report this
313
@308: The precautions that men have to take currently (the effective ones, anyway, because any failure in outcome renders the whole question moot, for men) are the same precautions that used to be in effect for women, are the same ones that no longer apply to women, are the same ones that women erupt in anger when they are even mentioned as possibly applying to women.

These very precautions that women roundly reject for themselves are deemed, by the same women who reject them, perfectly acceptable for men. Yeah, I'd call that hypocritical.
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
314
Avast2006 -- wow, you're a piece of work. Condoms are equal for both and I'm sure tons of women would love for men to make an annual visit to the male equivalent of a gyno, go on hormonal birth control so his own testosterone and hormonal levels are altered so as to make him temporarily infertile or have mental and other devices inserted into to render the same thing. So he can deal with all the side effects of having his natural hormonal balance tampered with, gain weight, change your skin/hair texture, bleed irregularly, terrible cramps, risk infertility and increase your risk for things like heart attacks and embolisms. Yeah, I guess that is hypocritical.

Another thing that women bear for the sake of birth control and men just enjoy the sex. Yeah, hypocritical indeed.
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 3:33 PM · Report this
315
I think it is hugely misleading to equate pregnancy with financial responsibility for a child.

Honestly, I find it a little unsettling to compare the two and to act like abortion is some sort of extra special "opt out" right women have, when in reality they just have the right to their own bodies. Which men don't have to worry about in this situation because they can't get pregnant.
Posted by JAL on October 23, 2012 at 3:47 PM · Report this
seandr 316
@KL: Are we talking about women politicizing birth control by making demands of men in general? For example, Inga Muscio, who says "Men who refuse to use condoms do not deserve to be fucked by anyone..."? If so, I think that point of view is every bit as dickish and douchebaggy as the idea that women who aren't on the pill do not deserve to be fucked. And yes, Inga is a shameless hypocrite.

Personally, I don't see birth control as a political issue, I think it's something each couple should negotiate on their own. Some couples may decide to put the burden on the man, others on the woman, others may require multiple forms of birth control that put the burden on both, and still others say "fuck birth control, let's live for today!" In my 20 year relationship, the burden has switched over time.

I have no problem with women who insist on condoms with their partners, or men who insist on bareback with their partners. If the other party doesn't like it, they can always just walk away. As far as I'm concerned, it's no one else's business besides the man and woman in question.
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2012 at 4:04 PM · Report this
mydriasis 317
@ avast

No, but this whole conversation is starting to remind me of how angry white dudes talk about how now minorities have advantages over them and it's no far and doesn't anyone know that racism is over and it's unfair to punish them for blah blah blah.

The fact that you evaded my question kind of says enough though.
Posted by mydriasis on October 23, 2012 at 4:13 PM · Report this
mydriasis 318
@ seandr

Do you... not understand the EXTREMELY LARGE difference between condoms and birth control? Seriously? I weep for public health.
Posted by mydriasis on October 23, 2012 at 4:14 PM · Report this
319
Seandr -- I agree with you on the vast majority of that last statement. I think it always comes down to a personal choice -- as to birth control, disease prevention, etc. I think Inga Muscio's statement is ludicrous.

I take umbrage with the fact that Avast seems to equate the fact that women have abortion as an option as the same thing as men being able to just "opt out" of an unplanned pregnancy. I think that's completely unbalanced and very myopic.

I think every person, man and woman, has the responsibility for his or her choices -- including knowing what your partner wants or would do in an unplanned pregnancy. That both have to realize that due to the biological reality of the difference between the sexes that's going to result in different choices in protecting oneself.

From Avast's position, with his "opt out" idea it seems like men literally could take no responsibility for birth control whatsoever because if an unplanned pregnancy occurs he can just "opt out" -- and then has the audacity to call that fair, especially when the child rearing, birthing and birth control have historically and continues to be largely a burden carried by women. There seems to be very little empathy from him for women that have been shouldering the bulk of this burden for a long time or the sacrifices and hardships we endure for the sake of birth control and/or pregnancy.
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 4:22 PM · Report this
seandr 320
@mydriasis:
Do you really not understand the GIGANTICALLY ENORMOUS difference between couples and random hookups?

Anyway, go ahead and weep, but not for me - I'm disease free.
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2012 at 4:33 PM · Report this
321
Seandr -- I don't really see the difference between random hook-ups and a couple. In either case, you're taking a risk and can be deceived -- one by someone you know and hopefully love and one by a virtually random stranger. But it's not like you didn't know that going in. If you're stupid enough to indulge in random hook-ups without protection, own that risk.

I personally am not a fan of most version of protected sex, so I choose celibacy in between relationships. Yeah, it sucks, but the hook-ups just aren't worth the risk to me, either in disease, birth control or the increased likelihood of having a much less satisfying sexual experience. Another thing we men and women differ on, at least as far as sweeping generalizations go. And, goddamn it, it's not fair that we women don't orgasm as easily as you guys do! Not fair!
Posted by KL on October 23, 2012 at 4:42 PM · Report this
mydriasis 322
@seandr

First of all, go on tempting fate.
Second of all, unless you're suggesting that everyone be abstinent until far into their monogamous relationships, then your distinction is irrelevent.
Posted by mydriasis on October 23, 2012 at 5:13 PM · Report this
323
As a man, I'm embarrassed by what some guys have said here.
Posted by Hunter78 on October 23, 2012 at 6:08 PM · Report this
seandr 324
@322: First of all, go on tempting fate.

Thanks, I will. I've taken much bigger risks in the name of fun (e.g., heli-boarding in Alaska, cliff diving, parachuting) than fucking without a rubber. And you are welcome to slog through your life according to the actuarial tables, if actually living it isn't your thing.

then your distinction is irrelevent

Practically speaking, you tend to know the risk, if any, with a long term partner, but not so much with a random, so the distinction is definitely relevant to my personal decisions. Still, I'd say the decision to risk disease, like pregnancy, is ultimately up to the two who are pairing off.
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2012 at 6:44 PM · Report this
325
@ 302

seandr,

I actually laughed out loud at your assessment of female condoms. And you're right, I did skip FAM. I also skipped depo provera.

My husband and I actually use FAM (the new version of the rhythm method) so I skipped it intentionally. The reason I skipped it is that it requires a secondary form of birth control and of course I covered the alternative methods people who practice FAM have to rely on already.

I skipped depo provera because I forgot it existed. Go me. =D
Posted by MiscKitty on October 23, 2012 at 7:03 PM · Report this
mydriasis 326
@324

You clearly missed the point of what I'm saying.

1. I don't slog through life with tables but I don't go around pretending that being in a monogamous relationship makes it impossible to get an STI, although I worry more at work than anywhere else.

2. You THINK you know the risk. But they can cheat on you. That's what I and others were alluding to. Hence tempting fate.

Few people go through their whole lives only in monogamous relationships, and it's actually serially monogamous people who never use condoms (because hey, we're a COUPLE and that's SOOO different than a random hookup) that are at especially high risk for STIs. Higher than promiscious people.

Out of men who "refuse" to use condoms it's only a small minority who happily forgo sex until well into the relationship, so all in all, guys who refuse to use barrier protection to protect their partners (by and large) don't deserve to be fucked in my opinion.
Posted by mydriasis on October 23, 2012 at 7:11 PM · Report this
327
@321: "I personally am not a fan of most version of protected sex, so I choose celibacy in between relationships. Yeah, it sucks, but the hook-ups just aren't worth the risk to me, either in disease, birth control or the increased likelihood of having a much less satisfying sexual experience"

Wait...did you just say that you personally don't like condoms? All ten thousand words you just wrote hollering that men could just use condoms and everything would be hunky-dory -- except you don't like them and don't use them yourself when you are in relationship with a guy?
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2012 at 11:38 PM · Report this
seandr 328
@mydriasis:
Look, if you need the risk of catching an STD to be absolutely positively zero in order to have natural sex, that's your call. Frankly, I'd take that as a sign that you have an anxiety disorder, not to mention serious trust issues.

My approach (based in part on the fact that I've had graduate level training in probability theory) is that I estimate the probabilities of contracting various diseases from a given woman, multiply those probabilities by the severity of consequences of each disease, add those values up, and then compare the sum with upside of unprotected sex. If the number is negative, I put a condom on, but if it's positive? Party time!
Posted by seandr on October 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM · Report this
seandr 329
@325: Fertility Awareness Method! Thanks, I can never remember that. Ironically, we didn't learn this method until trying to have a kid.

We now practice a lazy version of FAM, which means the window of opportunity is brief. But, hey, at least there's a window. I will say, the one drawback with this method is that you can't "strike while the iron is hot" so to speak, or more literally, you can't have unprotected sex when your woman is at the horniest point in her cycle.
Posted by seandr on October 24, 2012 at 12:16 AM · Report this
330
@seandr @329:
Depends on the woman. Some are horniest just before their period.

@mydriasis @326:
You have a very bleak look at your partners, it seems.
Yes, lots of people in LTRs cheat. But if I am in a LTR, I am there because I trust that person. If I don't trust him, there's no point for me to stay in that relationship. And yes, trust is sometimes unfounded but that is part of life. And that small risk is a risk worth taking.
Posted by migrationist on October 24, 2012 at 1:11 AM · Report this
mydriasis 331
@ seandr/migrationist

You're clearly not getting my point.

I'm just saying that a lifelong policy of never using condoms is extremely limiting if you also want to be reasonably safe. Most people want to be able to have sex in the context of maybe casual sex sometimes when they're single or have sex with new boyfriends or girlfriends before the relationship has entered a really LTR/monogamous/trust level.

"I estimate the probabilities of contracting various diseases from a given woman, multiply those probabilities by the severity of consequences of each disease, add those values up, and then compare the sum with upside of unprotected sex. If the number is negative, I put a condom on, but if it's positive? Party time!"

Exactly, you put a condom on. And if you were in such a situation where you calculated the number as negative and that person vehemently refused to wear a condom (or let you wear one, as the case may be) would you fuck them?

Exactly.

Finally, as to the personal digs, I don't have trust issues, the fact that I said I'm more worried about getting an STI at work should have made that clear to anyone who has any sense of logic, let alone someone who studied probability.
Posted by mydriasis on October 24, 2012 at 6:11 AM · Report this
seandr 332
@mydriasis:
I apologize for not getting your point, but believe me, it isn't for lack of trying. I've reread your post, and it seems like you're saying couples in LTRs should always wear condoms because people cheat, which I assume you agree is a bit crazy? Anyway, thanks for the clarification. Not sure why you are arguing with me - doesn't seem like we disagree.

As for getting an STI at work, the only way I can make sense of that comment is by assuming you are a sex worker. Is that what you are saying? Apologies in advance if I'm missing something.
Posted by seandr on October 24, 2012 at 8:31 AM · Report this
333
Consequences not just for women!

THIS is why I love you, Dan Savage!
Posted by Already DTMF on October 24, 2012 at 8:39 AM · Report this
334
Avast2006 -- I don't like condoms. They're better than nothing and I tend to use the in the beginning of a relationship for disease protection, but I'm very happy when they're no longer needed. But I also take my pregnancy prevention uber seriously. In my 15+ years of having a lot of sex, I've never had a scare. Perhaps I'm infertile and the joke will be on me, but that's been my situation.

I understand that men don't have the same birth control options as we women do, but I still employ the ones at my disposal. It's not fun to have your natural hormones screwed up or deal with side effects -- I'm just thankful that I didn't have as bad of side effects as I know other women have had -- but it's still way better than having to worry about getting pregnant.

So, I can understand you being bummed that there isn't as much options for men for birth control. And if that's your deal, then lobby for better birth control for men --- I'd love for my partner to deal with it instead of me, but practically it hasn't been much of an option and even then I'm not sure I'd trust him not to miss a pill. I'd probably still take it myself because it is that big of a deal to me. But the solution isn't to have an "opt out" -- the man gets to do nothing to prevent pregnancy and just walks away. That's ludicrous.

So, yes, condoms aren't ideal. If there were no other birth control methods, I'd use them religiously. But, there are other options for women so I use other options. But I'd never not use any and then just get an abortion or "opt out" if that were possible for women.

I'm just glad that there are men out there like Hunter78 that is embarrassed as a man at what some of you guys have said. I know the men in my life -- from partners, to brothers to father -- would feel the same way and would think you're just a douchebag, not a man.
More...
Posted by KL on October 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM · Report this
335
Thanks for clarifying that. Let's review:

You think that if men would just use condoms, everything would be fine for them, that condoms are more than sufficient option for the man to take his share of preventing pregnancy, and guys that don't use them aren't entitled to any consideration when a pregnancy occurs. (For that matter, guys that DO use them aren't entitled to any consideration when a pregnancy occurs, either; because, hey, biology!) But then you yourself don't like them, and you don't use them with your guy. Apparently it's fine for _you_ to tell him, "Honey, I hate condoms, let's just rely on the Pill," but when any other couple does that, that can only be an example of the man taking no responsibility for contraception.

Congratulations, your hypocrisy is complete.

Between that and your inability/refusal to see the difference between a choice that you refuse to take even though it's available and legal, and a felony that will get you thrown in jail if you do, it's quite clear that you're a complete nutter.

As for your argumentum ad populem, there are people in my family -- my wife, for example, whose reproductive freedom and health I take very seriously, which you would know if you had been reading what I wrote instead of thumping your straw man -- who think your position is that of a complete nutter, too.

Clearly, we are done here.
Posted by avast2006 on October 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
336
I'm about to have a whole bunch of people come down on me, but that's fine. I'm a woman who's going to agree with the few men who were brave enough to state their opinion on this topic.

From all the posts I've read, I don't think any of them are stating that they don't believe abortion should be safe and legal. Quite the opposite. They're not condemning abortion, or trying to take away a woman's right to have it.

All that they are saying is, a woman has a choice after pregnancy occurs. A man does not. If a man would like to keep the child, but the woman doesn't want to, he doesn't get to. If a man does not want to be a parent, but the woman has decided to keep the pregnancy, he is required to be a parent, even if that is just financial.

I think, from what I've read of their posts that they would also agree that it will NEVER be 100% fair. It can't be, as women can be pregnant and men can't. However, it's not unreasonable to request that things be as fair as possible.

Truthfully, I don't have a problem with giving a man a window of opportunity to opt out, while still within a time frame for the woman to make her decision based on the complete information.
I do see a flaw in that in some cases. Mainly that some people really DON'T know they're pregnant within that time frame. It makes it tougher, but typically takes her choices away as well as his.

I apologize if my post is somewhat disjointed as I am at work and distracted a bit.
Posted by KateRose on October 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM · Report this
337
KateRose--I think you can feel that way personally. Given your post, it seems like abortion is a legit option for you -- a way to end an unplanned pregnancy -- so you have no problem extending the same choice to men.

But what if that's not the case for another individual woman? For whatever reason, she wouldn't feel right aborting -- what's the result then?

That a child grow up without a father? And if he's not doing the bear minimum of paying support, that society help make up the difference (to some extent) or the child go with less? I mean, if the woman is independently wealthy and the support wouldn't make any difference in the child's life, okay. But for the vast majority of women (and men), that's not the case. So the child would suffer more. Or society would be impacted more.

I just think we have to take those things into account too -- the woman, the resulting child, society -- and not just look at what's "fairest" to the man. Because what's "fairest" to him is going to be grossly unfair to others.

Like most things in life, rarely is something 100% fair. But you find the "fairest" solution. If you're a man that wants to avoid being a parent, then do the utmost in your power to accomplish that, but also realize that you may get bad luck despite the best precautions (she said she'd abort but then changed her mind and we were using very effective birth control and it still failed -- this has to be like in 0.1% of the population as the pill is 99.9% effective if taken correctly).

I just find it particularly distasteful that men like Avast want a 100% solution for them when there isn't that for everyone else necessarily. And the lack of empathy for the others in the equation -- women, children and society -- is repugnant.
More...
Posted by KL on October 24, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Report this
338
Avast/335 -- you're utterly ridiculous. I can just see greater perspective than either you're willing to admit or see yourself. I can see where your "opt out" rule would be an okay solution, but I can also see where it could be grossly unfair to everyone else than the man -- the woman, the resulting child and society at large. So, yeah, I have no problem saying that's a totally horrible idea. Especially when there are other options to avoid the very situation you want to "opt out" of.

Newsflash for Avast: the universe doesn't revolve around you (or men in general). There are others to considers, others have go to great lengths to avoid unplanned pregnancies (i.e. the great lengths that many women do to avoid just that situation with no effort on their partners' part), others that are greatly impacted by unplanned pregnancies (i.e. women and children). Join us. Take some responsibility for your own choices, for men's options (as imperfect as they may be). Welcome to the world of grown-ups and what we women have been dealing with from the dawn of time --- an imperfect world with imperfect options where we do the best we can given that reality and our individual consciences.

As Dan said -- consequences, not just for women anymore!
Posted by KL on October 24, 2012 at 12:58 PM · Report this
339
*Disclaimer, for some reason I am unable to click "more" when posts get beyond a certain length, so I may not be able to address everything*
Actually, I AM one of those women who doesn't consider abortion to be a legit option for me. I think it's important that it remain safe, legal and available for other women, but I personally would feel like I were aborting my child, not a fetus.
If placed in that situation, I would be willing to have the father sign over rights and figure it out on my own. I would rather do that than force my child to deal with a parent that doesn't want them. I understand that in some circumstances that puts a bigger burden on society. However what if the "father" has no significant income. Same result. And if you go after this man for child support, he'll go to jail because he can't pay, and that will cost society even more.
What I'm getting at is that there are no perfect answers to this issue. Men and women have the EXACT SAME options prior to conceiving. Once conception happens, the woman gets to decide for all three. Yes, it's her body, and she can't be told what to do with it. But lets at least acknowledge that it IS unfair to some extent.
Posted by KateRose on October 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM · Report this
340
KateRose -- Yeah, I agree that's unequal. Just like it's "unfair" to some extent that women have to bear the children and men don't -- it's just the biological reality. But, I'd say the same thing to a woman bitching about how "unfair" it is that if she wants to be a parent, she has to bear a child (other than surrocacy). Yeah, it is unfair. Welcome to life. There are plenty of inequalities, but that doesn't mean we should be dumping resources into figuring out for medical science to make men pregnant so it can all be "fair". That would be equally ludicrous in the name of "fairness".

I can see your perspective on having to go it alone, especially if the man is unwilling. You can't force a man to be a father anymore than you can force a woman to be a mother, but you can enforce them to be fiscally responsible -- at least to the extent possible. And if they're broke or it becomes to cost prohibitive to do so, it may be better to just not bother (like suing someone that can't pay a judgment -- it may not be worth it pragmatically to pursue your claim, but it doesn't make it okay for them to get off scott fee either).

I feel very much the same way as you do personally and if it were just about me, I'd do the same -- but, I also realize that when a child is born, it's not just about me and the father anymore. It's also about that child. And child support is the right of the child, not the custodial parent. I'd also try to facilitate a good relationship with the father, for the sake of our child together, regardless of my personal feelings for him.

I realize a lot of people don't do this -- they let their feelings of hurt, pride, whatever get in the way. But unless the other parent is unfit or dangerous for other reasons, I'd do my best to facilitate a relationship because the child does have a mother AND a father, even if the mother or father is a shitty human being.
More...
Posted by KL on October 24, 2012 at 2:28 PM · Report this
mydriasis 341
@ seandr

I work in health.
Posted by mydriasis on October 24, 2012 at 8:03 PM · Report this
342
@340 KL (re: your response to KateRose): What about adoption?
Who said all parented kids had to be bio? I'm just saying.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 25, 2012 at 11:26 PM · Report this
343
@341 mydriasis: So---what's your job in healthcare?
I'm just curious. By the way, I truly envy your affordable
healthcare situation in Canada! American doctors, their
pharmacist pals, and insurance companies are greedy,
bloodsucking pigs.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 25, 2012 at 11:30 PM · Report this
344
Btw... there's one possible future development that would render about 90% of this conversation completely moot.

If and when we develop artificial uterine replicators, then it will be possible to terminate a pregnancy at any point without actually killing the fetus...

that will allow men who want the unplanned child to *take* it, without having to conscript the mother's resources for 9 months...

that will let people who object to abortion put their money where their mouths are and adopt unwanted fetuses as soon as the mothers decide they don't want them...
Posted by Melissa Trible on November 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM · Report this
345
@KL

I often hear these naturalistic arguments about what choices men and women should get, as though it's of our hands because biology. This is the Naturalistic Fallacy--the same fallacy a lot of people use to oppose abortion and birth control in general.

As to children being affected, I don't think anyone here is saying men should get the opt-out choice longer than women get the abortion choice. My personal thought is that men should get somewhat less time to opt out than women, so that the woman has enough time to make the decision knowing she won't be getting that support if she keeps the child.
Posted by Faradn on November 2, 2012 at 2:47 PM · Report this
346
Dan Savage,

I was wondering what your thoughts are about this article:

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jennifer-…

Thanks!
Posted by ricky2718 on November 3, 2012 at 9:58 PM · Report this
347
Dan Savage,

I was wondering what your thoughts are about this article:

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jennifer-…

Thanks!
Posted by ricky2718 on November 3, 2012 at 10:01 PM · Report this
348
Oops. Sorry for posting that twice. I thought I had to click 'post' again after registering for your site.
Posted by ricky2718 on November 3, 2012 at 10:03 PM · Report this
349
"Don't have the money to raise a child? Don't think your boyfriend would be a good father? Don't feel ready to be a mother? Women were never encouraged to consider these factors before they had sex; only before they had a baby."

Wow! What do you guys think?

And here's another cool article. What do you think, Dan?

http://www.newstatesman.com/lifestyle/li…
Posted by ricky2718 on November 3, 2012 at 10:09 PM · Report this
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@ricky2718

Your wide-eyed 1950's writing voice is only believable in that your views are better suited to the 1950's. This is the most passively aggressive trolling comment I have seen in some time. Wow, golly gee!
Posted by Faradn on November 5, 2012 at 12:50 PM · Report this
351
@344: Full term artificial incubators are a potentially interesting development. I'm not so sure it will render as much of the discussion moot as you think, however.

In that scenario, say the woman just wants the pregnancy over, and the man says, "That's fine, I'll take care of incubating it." At the end of the artificial incubation period, should the woman be held liable for child support for the next 18 years?

Also, should incubators cause the state to assert full humanity/personhood rights at conception? The zygote is now technically fully viable from the moment of conception, without being physically dependent on another person's body and biological systems.

Same worms, different can.
Posted by avast2006 on November 8, 2012 at 12:13 AM · Report this
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WORD Dan- just dumped a dude when I found out not only was he a republican (which I can live with if you are well educated and socially liberal) BUT he votes primarily on the belief that gay couples shouldn't be able to raise kids. WTF?!?! He firmly stands behind the autonomy of gender roles being fostered through hetero couples nurturing kids. I can't believe this ahole is a college grad! After screaming in my face for 38mins, refusing to accept any validity on my belief (as a psychologist working with severely emotionaly disturbed youth- caused by years of abuse and neglect, I've got plenty of beliefs on a loving, supportive parental system), and calling me an idiot- THEN PROPOSING. I promptly dumped his ass. Value systems are non-negotiable. I want someone who sees the world my way.
Posted by Lizzybabyak on April 1, 2013 at 5:25 PM · Report this

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