The Modern Attack on Reproductive Rights

The religious Right’s position on reproductive rights rests on unprovable theories of personhood. Jay Bodzin proposes a secular test.

The past year has seen an immense and almost unprecedented attack on the reproductive rights of women in the public sphere. The Republican Presidential primary has turned into a competition among the candidates to see who can most aggressively oppose women’s reproductive health. Republicans oppose a rule proposed by the Obama administration that would require employer-provided health insurance to cover birth control, on the grounds that this would interfere with the religious liberty of the employers—the  “liberty,” of course, to refuse their employees access to contraception.

State legislatures have gotten into the act, with several bills passed to severely punish women for seeking abortion, requiring them to submit to invasive and unnecessary ultrasonic probes. A federal judge ruled North Carolina’s version of this law to be unconstitutional on March 27th, but a similar law in Texas has been upheld. Other bills have allowed employers the freedom to demand information from their female employees about their use of contraception, and to fire them for using it. The State of Texas also cut all of its funding for Planned Parenthood because that organization offers abortion as one of its services. Federal law required the U.S. government to suspend funding for the state’s entire reproductive health service in response, cutting 90% of the budget for women’s health programs in the Lone Star State.

This is a grotesque invasion of the rights and dignity of women. It’s terrible for men as well: not only because men may want the women in their lives to have access to health care and reproductive freedom for its own sake; but because men need women to have these things, if men want to have sexual relationships with them. Who opposes that?

The Opposition to Reproductive Rights
The Republican assault on choice isn’t as simple as old white men trying to oppress women. Many of the proponents of these anti-women’s-health laws in state legislatures are women themselves. The issue is not men versus women; rather, it represents a particular conservative vision of family life and social order, attacking a modern society that increasingly departs from that vision. In this vision, everyone is heterosexual, has sex only for procreation, and respects the authority of their parents, their pastors, and their leaders. It follows in the conservative tradition of denying the interests of individuals, in exchange for—not the whole, for the whole is nothing but the sum of its parts—but rather, for the status quo and the existing power structure.

This vision is Puritanical, heteronormative, fragile, and fundamentally false. We never really lived in the utopian, castrated, “Leave It To Beaver” world that the Right so desperately harkens back towards; but the idea of it is enough.

Opposition to abortion, and to all manner of sexual liberty, has shaped the modern Conservative movement more than any other force. The opposition to abortion, mind you, has never been entirely about abortion. If the main goal of conservatives was to prevent abortions from happening, then they should support contraception, safe-sex education, and so on, even as they also try to limit abortion rights. They do not. Because the real objective is not (or is not just) to stop the destruction of fetuses; it’s to limit the freedom of women and men to depart from that Puritanical vision of what society should look like. Sex that is intended for something other than procreation (especially the sex that women have) is contrary to this ideal.

This motive is shown in, among other things, the willingness of some abortion opponents to allow the procedure in cases of rape or incest. If abortion really were murderous, then it logically should be prohibited even in such cases—as Rick Santorum recently stated. But not all “pro-life” advocates share that view. And the reason is this: the conservative imperative, the demand of that Puritanical vision, is that no one should have sex except for procreation. The woman who has suffered from rape or incest hasn’t intentionally done that, so she gets a pass. But a woman who seeks abortion for any other reason—she clearly had sex for fun, so she should be forced to have a child. Because that’s what sex is for, or what women are for. Rick Santorum is, perhaps, more sincere in his conviction that opposition to abortion is about fetal life; or perhaps, he simply believes that women who were raped are really sluts too.

However, the argument against abortion has always been phrased in terms of the rights of the fetus. Many conservatives no doubt sincerely believe that their concern is to stop the murder of babies. This argument may not be consistent with the rest of the pro-life movement’s policies, but it deserves a serious response.

Why Abortion Is Not Murder
If you sincerely believe that a developing fetus, however unformed, is a person, and entitled to full human rights, then prohibiting abortion makes perfect sense. So to that extent, any argument for abortion rights has to include an argument that blastocysts and fetuses aren’t people. This requires a comprehensive theory of what it is that makes an entity a person, entitled to human rights.

The Left is handicapped in this by a critically divided ideology: it at once attempts to subscribe to scientific rationalism, and yet to placate religion, and it isn’t willing to alienate adherents of either worldview. This gives the Right a huge advantage, because the Right couches all moral questions in religious terms, and cheerfully contradicts anything it can label as science.

If opponents of abortion argue that a fetus is a person because God says so and don’t ask questions, then the counterargument must either advance a different theological claim, which says that fetuses aren’t people—and at that point, who’s to say which is right?—or, it must say, no, we reject that kind of argument entirely, and instead will decide what constitutes a person based on empirical evidence, not spiritual claims.  But most people on the Left are very afraid of saying that, and of alienating people who still find theological arguments to be compelling.

So I will say it. What makes an entity entitled to human rights is whether it is sapient: whether it can feel and understand and experience fear and suffering. The best evidence seems to suggest that this ability is created in some way by the immensely complex architecture of the brain. Newly gestating embryos lack that cognitive architecture. It is exceedingly doubtful that they experience anything at all; and we need feel no moral revulsion at destroying them before they do. Nothing in this argument needs to deny free will or the soul or even God, if you believe in one; but whatever else you believe, the connection between the nervous system and consciousness is well-developed, and is a reasonable basis for moral choices.

There is no basis, besides religious decree, to believe that a brand-new embryo is “human” in any ethical sense. The fact that it is “a human cell” is not dispositive: your fingernails and scabs are human cells, and you destroy them with nary a care. The fact that it could, potentially, develop into a human, given the right conditions, is not dispositive; the same could be said of an unfertilized egg, or, with the right advances in science, of any cell in your body. The argument that an early embryo is human is wholly dependent upon religion, upon claims about the nature of the soul that are impossible to disprove or to test.

One of the major schisms in modern American politics is the degree to which religious belief ought to factor into political decisions. One’s beliefs cannot possibly be kept out of politics, because they inform our understanding of the physical world. The devout cannot accept the argument that “you believe this, but that’s a religious belief, so the state won’t act on it.” The counterargument cannot compartmentalize religious belief; it must contradict it. We must be able to say that some people’s beliefs are just not true, even if they are religiously motivated.

For fetuses at later stages of development, the question becomes harder. It is no coincidence that courts have consistently held that fetuses may enjoy more legal protection at later stages of development—though it is not clear whether this is due to a comprehensive epistemology on the parts of the judges, or just a general sense that older fetuses look more “human.”

Gender Inequality in Abortion Decisions
The abortion decision is, of course, not nearly as personal for men as it is for women. Men face the prospect of becoming parents, with all the overwhelming responsibility that entails, the same as women; but women face the additional risk and personal invasion of carrying that pregnancy in their own bodies. The danger and difficulty they face are far beyond what men endure. It’s an inequality inherent in nature.

And for that reason, men—at least, liberal and enlightened men who want to support the feminist project—face a daunting paradox when confronted (or when their female partners are confronted) with this choice. Every decent man today knows that, if his partner is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, his only response must be “Whatever you want to do, I’ll support you.” He cannot ethically try to compel his partner to end the pregnancy; but neither can he shirk his responsibilities as a parent if she chooses to go forward and have the child.

For this reason, it’s incredibly important for any person to not have a potentially-pregnancy-inducing sexual relationship with anyone else, unless they’re prepared, as a couple, to either a) choose abortion if a pregnancy results, or b) to have a child with that person. This burden inevitably falls most heavily on women, but we should all share it. Contraception is good but imperfect, so any couple may find themselves presented with this choice. And, while every child is a new being of incalculable value, an unplanned child is also a potential disaster, for itself and for its parents.

I speak in this as a domestic relations lawyer. Many of my clients have been people who failed to make this calculus, and found themselves with a child they couldn’t support, shared with a partner they found that they didn’t like or couldn’t communicate with. They weren’t all necessarily irresponsible; sometimes, you do everything right, and these things still happen. (And even if they were irresponsible—so what? Does that justify ruining three lives? The idea that anyone who makes a mistake deserves all the consequences of that mistake is another hallmark of modern conservatism, but it is cruel and false.)

♦◊♦

Opposition to abortion is founded on both a moral claim—society should look like a Normal Rockwell painting forever—and on an epistemological claim—a fetus is a person from the moment of conception. Neither claim can be disproved, to someone who truly believes it – but neither claim deserves our unquestioning deference. None of this is intended to trivialize the dilemma, at times agonizing, that a woman must face when presented with that choice. But the dilemma need not be seen as one that calls for murder. Men who care about women should emphasize that point. And women should recognize that men too have an interest in that decision, even if not as visceral and urgent as the woman’s interest, and should communicate clearly where they stand.

 

—Photo janineomg/Flickr

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About Jay Bodzin

Jay Bodzin is an attorney in private practice in Portland, Oregon. He specializes in domestic relations issues.

Comments

  1. “And for that reason, men—at least, liberal and enlightened men who want to support the feminist project—face a daunting paradox when confronted (or when their female partners are confronted) with this choice. Every decent man today knows that, if his partner is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, his only response must be “Whatever you want to do, I’ll support you.” He cannot ethically try to compel his partner to end the pregnancy; but neither can he shirk his responsibilities as a parent if she chooses to go forward and have the child.”

    Legally she quite a bit of power over him, her choice can either ensure there is no child or ensure the parenthood status remains. She can shirk her responsibilities as a parent if she chooses but he has zero, I repeat, zero choice in the matter. So naturally she has more reproductive rights than he does. The only choice he has to avoid parenthood is celibacy (100%), vasectomy or condoms.

    I hope all people keep this in mind when we talk about this issue as an attack on women because it’s an attack on everyone. Child support and responsibilities aren’t easy, they can still inflict quite a bit of pain and whilst women do have more risk due to pregnancy the burden a man faces is no small thing. Only one gender has the right to opt out of parenthood.

    That said abortion should be legal with the right support, top-notch medical help available whilst we also work towards better contraceptive methods. I’d also bring in male-abortion, the ability to opt out of parenthood and it’s responsibilities. But I think it’s also extremely important to increase sex education to try avoid these issues entirely, abstinence only education should be banned…you can teach abstinence after an extremely indepth sex-ed class if the parents choose, but ensure everyone knows about contraceptives, STI’s, general sexual health, and the very important gender-neutral teaching of respecting your partner, educating about peoples rights to say no or yes, body-image/self-esteem issues (many people are insecure about their “bits”).

    But seriously, why on Earth should an employer know about someones health? There are only a few jobs where it would be an issue (military, police, places with bio-hazards) and contraception shouldn’t at all be a concern. I could understand something like AIDS risk and measures being taken to ensure the risk of infection to others is low, but why contraceptive use?

    • . She can shirk her responsibilities as a parent if she chooses but he has zero, I repeat, zero choice in the matter. So naturally she has more reproductive rights than he does.

      Legally speaking, this is not true, at least not in Oregon where I practice. Women have equal parenting responsibilities to men; both are subject to termination of parental rights for abuse or neglect; neither gender is preferred in the case of custody disputes. It is true that women have more rights over abortion decisions; but as I said, that’s reasonable and inevitable, given that it’s the woman’s body that carries the child.

      I’d also bring in male-abortion, the ability to opt out of parenthood and it’s responsibilities.

      I don’t know what this means, but I think most women would rightly recoil at the notion that men should be able to tell them that they had to abort. The law doesn’t allow one to ‘opt out of’ parenting responsibilities, on the theory that what matters most is the welfare of the child. If we allow one or both parents to ‘opt out’, then the price of that liberty for them may be the survival of the child. The law rightly regards the parent’s liberty as secondary to that.

      Otherwise, I quite agree: the best way to avoid all these dilemmas is to empower both men and women to prevent unwanted pregnancies – without giving up a positive sex life – so that every child is a wanted child.

      • The male abortion referred to would be a financial severing “opt out” for men who do not want to pay child support. Would that we lived in a more progressive nation with subsidized child care and health insurance for all (and protections in the workplace for parental leave) I’d be ok with that. What I’m told is that even if a woman and man agree on him severing his paternal rights, if she applies for medicaid and he is named as the father, the government will approach him for payment prior to them paying. What do you know about the issues there?

        • I’m only licensed to practice law in Oregon, so I can’t say what happens in other states or countries. But in Oregon, yes, it’s quite right that parents (regardless of gender) can’t ‘opt out’ of parenting rights in order to avoid paying child support. It’s also true that if a parent applies for state assistance, and is not living with the other parent, the state is likely to pursue the other parent for support, to help remunerate those costs. The rationale is that parents should be responsible for caring for their children – whether they had intended to reproduce or not; whether they take part in their children’s lives, or not. Some of this may be based upon archaic notions of parenthood – but it’s also based on the notion that we should all be responsible for our own actions, and our own children. The fact is, we don’t live in a society where the costs of raising children are evenly distributed; the parents bear the majority of those costs. To that extent, it makes sense to share those costs between both parents.

          This can impact men and women both. I’ve represented fathers in child custody cases, where the childrens’ mothers ran off and deserted their families, for drugs or the desire for freedom or whatever other reason. Our clients got custody, and the mothers were ordered to pay support.

          • Women opt out by aborting. Men should have reproductive rights by opting out during the same first 20 weeks, giving her time to abort if she chooses to. Note: there is no child at that point. So, he is aborting (in essence) his connection to a fetus, not a child. Just as she can do via abortion if she wishes.

            If she chooses to bring child into the world, that is her choice alone and should be her responsiblity alone. THAT is what reproductive rights are about. Choice. For women AND men, not just women.

            Opposition to this is opposition to male reproductive rights. There are many who claim that there is a war on women who themselves continue to wage war on men. It well past time for equality, time for men to have equal reproductive rights. Please end the war.

            • “Opposition to this is opposition to male reproductive rights. There are many who claim that there is a war on women who themselves continue to wage war on men. It well past time for equality, time for men to have equal reproductive rights. Please end the war.”

              My earlier post proves they were even opposed to the male pill. .

            • The reason we don’t allow that is the following, entirely plausible, scenario:

              Man and women have sex. Woman discovers that she’s pregnant. Maybe they were stupid and didn’t use contraception; maybe they did everything right, and the contraception failed, as it does on rare occasion. The woman, for whatever spiritual, visceral, or other reason, doesn’t want to abort. She implores the man for assistance with the tremendous responsibility she’s about to face… what then?

              If we allow men to ‘opt out,’ then the woman in this scenario is going to be without any help or support at all. And it’s not just her who will suffer: so too will her child.

              Advocates of abortion rights (of whom I surely count myself) speak in terms of choice. For that choice to be meaningful, both options need to be available: to carry a pregnancy as well as to abort it. If the man can choose to blow off all his responsibility for the consequences of his actions – and pregnancy is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of sex – then the woman’s choice is that much more restricted. And there are plenty of men who would do this without compunction. (Women’s ability to blow off this responsibility is somewhat reduced – especially in the absence of abortion rights, of course.)

              None of this is ideal, of course. You can do everything right and still be stuck with an unwanted pregnancy. Accidents happen. That risk is part of having a sex life. Part of being mature enough for sex, is being able to deal with these issues. And an essential element of a good partner, is someone you can trust to deal with these issues with you. Sex, like marriage, entails responsibilities as well as risks.

            • My stance has always been preventative.
              Hard core education, ample, low cost access to BC, communication out the wazzoo. Willingness to do other things than PIV and to wear condoms even if she’s on the pill.

              And I still think that if our country was like northern Europe in terms of its services, that woman wouldn’t be going it alone nearly so much. I do believe that women can bear and raise children alone, and I think that might be preferable to raising one with a man who hates you and feels deep resentment about the child he’s compelled to provide support for.

              That’s the thing that gets me. If I were pregnant and he was “hell no, I am not doing this.” I can’t imagine wanting to be any more connected to him than possible for my own sake.

              But we don’t live in a country with subsidized child care, or global health insurance, or consistently fair minded employers about leave time. We live in a country that is very much bottom line, money based, figure it out on your own, don’t tread on me kind of country.

              So I’d tell all my friends? Do your damned best not to get pregnant in the first place. Have sex with people you really like and who really like you, even if it means less sex. Talk about what would happen if there was a pregnancy before you have sex.

              You know, act like adults.

            • Mark Neil says:

              “Talk about what would happen if there was a pregnancy before you have sex.

              You know, act like adults.”

              Adults lie. Furthermore, google :”it’s a woman’s prerogative” and tell me if the most comment result you’ll find might have any impact on your suggestion.

            • Mark Neil says:

              most common

            • You know Mark, is there anything I could say that would agree with (given that I’m pro additional birth controls for men, etc etc etc), extraordinarily sympathetic to men’s issues and offer openings for conversations and want to seek solutions?

              Or is it because I’m even writing here you feel the need to shoot down any and all suggestions I offer. Cause I,and other women writing here, are on the side of figuring this out and promoting more protection for men.

              I’m not stupid Mark, I know adults lie. I’d go so far to say that lying means they are acting like children personally, but aside from that…. Currently, with all the laws and bc dynamics we’ve determined are present issues, you, as one member of that dyad, have to make the most informed choice possible with your sexual partner. You have to discuss your needs/wants, you have choose to wear a condom, not have PIV intercourse etc etc, wait for sex until you have a decent trust level established with your partner.

              Is it a biologically imperfect system for modern society? Yeah, sperm enters vagina at the right time, it can meet egg and then the fetus is in the woman. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a non toxic way to kill the sperm? Yes! Doing ample personal research on it and all the issues surrounding it (RISUG). Until then isn’t it good that we have condoms? Or female condoms? Which adults should use and discuss and require of each other on casual encounters and when used with spermacides have a very good rate of stopping pregnancies? It is a good thing!

              Anyone not willing to use a condom, or talk about using them, or using a female condom if the male has a hard time with a male condom needs to get a grip. This is part of the “act like adults” responsibility of sex.

              And yes, then we all work to figure out how to create more equitable systems for unwanted pregnancies and births. Messy? Yes it’s gonna be messy, but there are people here who are listening. Why keep shooting them down?

            • Mark Neil says:

              “You know Mark, is there anything I could say that would agree with …

              Or is it because I’m even writing here you feel the need to shoot down any and all suggestions I offer…”

              I was under the impression that making comments so personal was frowned upon. I believe I’ve been warned for such in the past. That said, while you may be sympathetic to men’s issues, your solutions, to this point, have been, in my opinion, impractical. Largely because they generally ignore human nature and equality, instead leaning towards the fluffy rainbow dreamworld of shouldLand. Keep this in mind with the bellow comments.

              “I’m not stupid Mark, I know adults lie.”

              And yet, you feel trusting people is the solution to men’s reproductive inequality? Acting like adaults? Do you honestly feel it’s a better, more practical solution to men’s issues to say “act like adaults” than to give men a legal choice that can protect their interests? Because, when you say “under the current system, I don’t agree with male abortion. I’d rather people just act like adaults and trust each other”, that is effectively what you’re saying.

              “Currently, with all the laws and bc dynamics we’ve determined are present issues, you, as one member of that dyad, have to make the most informed choice possible with your sexual partner.”

              But it an informed choice out of an extremely limited number of choices (3 in fact. Abstinence, condom, vasectomy). We are discussing giving men more options, and that discussion is getting resistance because it’s end result would put the burden of responsability for a woman’s decesion entirely on the woman making that decision, and that’s just unacceptable.

              “You have to discuss your needs/wants, you have choose to wear a condom, not have PIV intercourse etc etc, wait for sex until you have a decent trust level established with your partner.”

              By “you” you mean men and men only, because this doesn’t apply to women. Women have a plethora of choices, even after sex, to manage the consequences of her choices, so these precautions don’t apply to her. And you don’t seem to have a problem putting the expectations for “trust” and “discussion” and “risk” on that man alone, despite the fact you know “adaults lie” and that people change their minds (it’s a woman’s perogative after all) so any discussion beforehand means little (after all, if they do discuss it and agree on know baby, what option does a man have when the condom breaks and she changes her mind? he has none, and you seem reluctant to give him any in favour of more of the same we already have… which is bugger all).

              “Is it a biologically imperfect system for modern society?”

              Biology has nothing to do with this, as parenthood is an attribute both genders share, and it is the attribute being discussed when talking about male reproductive rights.

              “Yes! Doing ample personal research on it and all the issues surrounding it (RISUG).”

              Have you read this article or the ones it links to? http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/2011/12/02/risug-trials-beginning-in-the-united-states/

              “Until then isn’t it good that we have condoms? ”

              Are condoms good enough as the only option for women? If so, why all the hoopla over abortion rights and birth control being paid for? If not, then why do you expect it should be good enough as the only option for men? So yes, it’s good we have condoms, but in this day, equality dictates it’s not enough. When the risks of sex are felt only by one gender, there is a problem. And despite feminists insisting they are about equality, this gender inequity seems not to matter, and suspect that that is because the solution would put more responsability on women for their own choices, and remove a level of control over men (no more trapping a man into a relationship, of which I know (at least) two women who have done this)

              “This is part of the “act like adults” responsibility of sex.”

              It’s also a maintenance of the status quo. When has that ever been an acceptable solution to inequality?

              Are you aware women have more options POST accedent as men have in total? If a condom breaks (and all your condoms are great and the solution to all men’s problems speach ignores this factor), men have bugger all for options, a woman has the morning after solution, abortion, adoption and abandonment. Four options after the condom breaks, while the condom is only one of three options a man will ever have, one of two if he still wants to have a relationship (or are you going to suggest women in this day and age are willing to have a relationship with a man who refuses to have sex unless it’s with the intention of having a baby? Husbands have actually been successfully sued for doing just that)

              So pretend all you want that I’m refusing to accept your support of men’s rights, but I will never agree with you that maintaining the status quo, particularly with regards to LEGAL options, will ever be a solution to inequity.

            • I do not want to maintain the status quo, Mark. If that’s all you’ve taken from any of my comments, then I don’t suppose I can say anything else here.

            • Acting like adults to me means two things here Mark. Dealing with reality as it stands. Making that reality better for all concerned. 1) dealing with the reality that there are indeed inequities and since those are current, it’s even more beholden on couples who can get pregnant to be equally aware of those inequities, decide how to deal with the present current reality as to not get pregnant.
              2) Act to push for a new state of affairs.

              If there are people in the world having sexual intercourse without availing themselves of their words, their minds and the access (though limited admittedly) to whatever means to avoid disease and pregnancy exist, then they may well find themselves in situations that are quite difficult. They still might even if they do and I recognize that.

              If there are people in the world who don’t read, write, research, act to better their situations and the issues for others, then I think that’s short sighted.

              I’m discussing both-the now which is not ideal at all, and how to get to the future.

              That’s what I see adults doing.

            • “I was under the impression that making comments so personal was frowned upon. I believe I’ve been warned for such in the past. That said, while you may be sympathetic to men’s issues, your solutions, to this point, have been, in my opinion, impractical. Largely because they generally ignore human nature and equality, instead leaning towards the fluffy rainbow dreamworld of shouldLand. Keep this in mind with the bellow comments.”

              K I’m just replying to this bit. So I don’t know what comments of yours you’ve been warned about…but generally…saying “you are saying something/doing something to me” is acceptable, meanwhile actually doing something snarky toward another commenter is not. It’s the difference between saying “why do you hate me,” and saying, “I hate you.” If you see what I’m saying. Personal is fine…personal attacks are not.

              As to the rest of it, I think it’s just a matter of having different world views, and different personalities. Julie seems to be of the more future-oriented, optimistic, reach for the stars type of personality. I tend to be along that line too…if we have perhaps unrealistic goals, it’s because we think it’s important to always strive to achieve them…and then whatever we do achieve along the way will be going toward those lofty goals.

              Just from other conversations with you, it seems to me you’re a little more focused on the specific details of the problems and perhaps a bit more pessimistic about the outcome and about human nature, in general. Which, fair enough…but yeah, I just think it’s about different personalities. We approach problems differently, which is something to keep in mind.

            • And I do see people in the real world doing work in real time, slow and deliberate and difficult work, all the time. Dealing with policies around sex ed in schools let’s say. Which is a part of a system currently that keeps kids from accurate info about their bodies, collectively. Kids have to take Driver’s Ed. They should have to take sex ed. They should have access to condoms and bc.

              Working towards this means a generation of kids with more skills (perhaps) to do that communication. It takes time. So I work personally with adults. I talk, speak, write, and perform on the topic of communication, access, information. I’m consciously doing the work NOW to help the FUTURE.

              I was lucky that I had parents who were focused on prevention and ethics around sex. Never in a million years would it have occurred to me to use someone for a child. Other’s don’t have that background. So how do we, little by little, change it.

              Every little bit counts. Cause if it doesn’t, why try at all?

            • Mark Neil says:

              “I do not want to maintain the status quo, Mark. If that’s all you’ve taken from any of my comments, then I don’t suppose I can say anything else here.”

              What LEGAL changes have you proposed to protect men’s reproductive rights? Discussion and trust, that’s all you’ve offered. You have openly stated you do not agree with the opt out option for men because of the financial pressure it would put on the woman to provide for the child. If this isn’t advocating for more of the same, what do you think is different now that what you suggest?

              “Dealing with reality as it stands.”

              AKA accepting the status quo.

              “2) Act to push for a new state of affairs.”

              Which is what we’re doing with male reproductive rights (opting out), which you have openly opposed, at least until such time as the government is fully willing to replace the father, as if women aren’t capable on their own.

            • I seriously think you are misinterpreting or misunderstanding me, Mark.

              Right now there is no law to oppose. It is an idea, yes, opt out? Are there bills currently being proposed in state legislatures? I am most certainly not marching down streets waving signs that say, “Don’t vote for the bill!” I’m also not writing anti-opt out letters to congresspeople. So, talking here isn’t opposing anything and even if it was, it would have no effect on an actual bill.

              So I don’t really see that my agreement with the idea, or my agreement with additional support is opposition in a protest, court of law, or legislative session. It’s not. It’s discussion with you.

              The “opt out” idea is one that lawyers and politicians and all kinds of people will have a say in as it moves towards a bill, or a law, or a fact in reality. I do not oppose the idea of men opting out. I’ve said that in many places. I would prefer to see a world where opting out is made much easier for any parent keeping that child (male or female) due to a societal shift that proves it supports families. Both are future based ideas, and I am commenting on them as such. I am not a lawyer. I am not a politician. My focus personally? Is prevention, which I think is a good thing to work on.

              I see big issues like this as a huge jigsaw puzzle. There are many moving parts, and some look similar but don’t fit. Some are easy to work on (the edge pieces). We need lots of different people with different skills to work together to make the picture actually come together. So, in this case of sexual rights overall there are-therapists, sex educators, advocates, researchers, lawyers, politicians, organizers, doctors, writers, speakers, artists and more who all as members of a system are working alongside each other (hopefully in concert, but as often as not, people feel isolated) to put this jigsaw puzzle together.

              Occasionally there will be fights! I’ll think my piece fits that piece but man, it doesn’t and then we have to unravel and figure it out again.

              Me personally? I’m an artist and writer, a theater producer and a speaker. I create arenas for conversations and action. I work alongside sex educators (for adults and also those in schools). I place work in magazines like this or my own blog, or Good Vibrations Magazine, or other places. I organize. I co-produce a monthly series that keeps conversations going around adult sexuality and the rights connected to it and always advocates for male perspectives (in fact we are focusing on issues of consent this month and will be discussing males and the underserving of them in terms of victim’s rights). I listen and compile information and share it. I argue with other feminists in real time. I talk to lawyers and legistators when session is happening about things equality and sexual. I raise boys and I advocate for them in my school. I am married to a man, and I seek his advice and knowledge on things male. I ask and talk to my male friends.

              Also? I see where my pieces of those jigsaws connect to others and I work as collaboratively as I can with those people.

              I am not a lawyer nor can I push a bill connected to victims rights, etc etc all the topics. BUT Should those appear in Texas (and our sessions are every two years), I’ll educate myself thoroughly about it and use the skills and networking access I have to support human sexuality, reproductive health etc. THat’s what I do.

              I do a lot for my corner of the jigsaw puzzle.

              You are working on parts of the puzzle too, I take it. I’d prefer to work with you and others than just alone on my pieces, but it appears you don’t even think I am working at all.

              Everyone has to do what they know how to do, in coordination with others who have other skills and resources. The ability to ally with each other, even if we don’t like each other, knowing we want something better, seems key to me.

              I feel good about that personally, my work, my expertise, my abilities. And I feel good about the people I know in the world who have other skills. I can see that big picture and I’m happy to keep working my part as part of it.

            • Mark Neil says:

              “Julie seems to be of the more future-oriented, optimistic, reach for the stars type of personality.”

              I wouldn’t really call “Dealing with reality as it stands.” as future oriented, optimistic or reach for the stars. Seems more status quo to me. More suck it up buttercup, man up and deal with your responsibilities, it’s your own damn fault. Though I will agree it’s different worldviews and personalities.

              “if we have perhaps unrealistic goals”

              There are unrealistic goals, there are unachievable goals, and there are red hearings. Telling people they should “discuss more” is not a solution to a legal inequity, it is a red hearing, and it is utterly unachievable because it would require a level of social engineering and thought control that is, not only impossible (especially without some kind of legal support/protections) but also unethical.

              “a bit more pessimistic about the outcome and about human nature, in general.”

              Seems to me you are attributing negative aspects to myself and positive to Julie. And I’m not sure I’d call it pessimistic to say, on occasion, people aren’t good, and we need legal protections for those times… that’s just realistic. That said, I’m very optimistic about the outcome an opt out option would have. It would improve men’s rights, it would improve men’s relationships with women (as they could trust in women again, knowing they have a legal protection in case that trust is misplaced) and it would improve the lot for many children (as now they would have fathers who CHOOSE to be their fathers, who wanted those children, and know they did because they had a choice). I’m not optimistic about the outcome of maintaining the status quo will have, as it’s currently resulting in an ugly trend of fatherless children and men going their own way (with our without knowledge of the men’s rights movement). But if that’s the world you and Julie see with your positive, future oriented optimism …

            • Oh for goodness gracious…I was not associating negative with you and positive with Julie. Instead of pessimistic, perhaps I should have said pragmatic, or something. I wasn’t placing value on one or the other…just saying what I observe.

              And I don’t see Julie as saying “suck it up.” In fact that’s the exact opposite of what she’s doing…she’s saying, hey let’s talk about this and figure out how to fix the problem.

            • ” More suck it up buttercup, man up and deal with your responsibilities, it’s your own damn fault.”

              No, this is not at all what I said or what I mean. There is pragmatism and there is optimism and there is realizing the problem is huge and we have to figure out what parts we can address, work damn hard to address them, and try to support each other in the process while realizing that yes, there are bad people out there.

              I’m probably the least blaming, suck it up person I know… Though I want all adults to deal with their responsibilities AND their rights. And without looking forward, how do we get there, Mark? Magic?

            • Mark Neil says:

              “If we allow men to ‘opt out,’ then the woman in this scenario is going to be without any help or support at all. ”

              And she will know this before she ever gives birth. She is more than cappable of making an informed decision, and many woman already do, having a child and never telling the father she was pregnant (unless something comes up and suddenly she needs those years upon years of backpay, which, in the US, she’ll get, despite it being her own choice to go it solo AND the fact the child was already supported for those years gone by.), or getting invetro or adopting while single. To suggest a woman is incappable of having a child on her own is actually rather misogynistic.

              ” then the woman’s choice is that much more restricted.”

              I wouldn’t say it’s more “restricted”, but rather, one option comes with less assurances than they currently do. But are you seriously going to suggest that reducing the benefits of one option is too high a price to pay for giving men any choice at all? That a man should suffer without any say in the matter so that a woman can choose iresponsably and not suffer any? And you point to the fact children would suffer too, yet we do nothing for all the children who currently suffer, even when they are living in squallor with a mother (getting her child support and welfare check) while a father lives a healty life and tries to get custody for the benefit of the child. Statistic show that a single mother is more likely to fall into poverty than a single father, yet still, only 7% of fathers in Canada get sole custody, while mothers are sitting well above 50% (can’t remember if it’s 63% or 77%).

              I’d also recommend you do a google search to get a better understanding of what people are talking about with the male abortion (I hate that term, I see it closer to adoption than abortion, but it’s not my idea so I didn’t get to name it). Restrictions are placed on it (often it’s suggested a timeframe from being notified to opt out, so no going back latter after you’ve accepted)

              “Part of being mature enough for sex, is being able to deal with these issues.”

              Is that a reasonable argument when used against abortions? If you’re mature enough to have sex, you’re mature enough to suffer the consequences? Or are you going to suggest women are too prescious or incompetent to have to endure such responsability? Or do you have some other excuse for the double standard?

            • So basically we tell men, keep it in your pants otherwise tough shit yet women we say that’s fine, it’s your body, your choice, you can stop the pregnancy if you wish but you also have the power to continue this pregnancy against the wishes of the man.

              Women’s ability to blow it off is lowered how? You have the morning after pill, multiple forms of birth control, multiple forms of abortion, the ONLY CHOICE to keep or end a pregnancy.

              It’s funny listening to the reasons against giving men the choice to opt out as it’s always about her hardship, and the childs hardship. Simply you want men to have more responsibility without choice, as soon as he ejaculates his entire choice to whether a child will be born is gone yet as said before there are plenty of choices for the woman. How about the hardship he faces knowing his opinion is meaningless? How about the fact he’ll be hit with child support and may not afford it, thus giving him major financial difficulty. If he was a she…she could abort the child and goodbye financial burdens, but what does he get? Nadda, zip, zilch.

              The arguments will come in saying how it’s bad that he can just walk away and not pay, she’ll be left with the cost of raising the child alone but hang on, SHE has the choice to opt out as well, she can abort and goodbye financial hardship. So I’m sorry but your argument is terribly flawed.

              “If the man can choose to blow off all his responsibility for the consequences of his actions – and pregnancy is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of sex – then the woman’s choice is that much more restricted. And there are plenty of men who would do this without compunction. (Women’s ability to blow off this responsibility is somewhat reduced – especially in the absence of abortion rights, of course.)”

              A quick google suggests in the U.S.A up to half of pregnancies are unplanned and 22% of pregnancies end in abortion (not including miscarriage), so obviously there are plenty of women willing to blow off their responsibility for whatever reason. The argument “pregnancy is a reasonably forseeable consequence of sex” is one commonly said by anti-abortionists, so what is the meaning you are using here? To me it looks like you’re putting more responsibility on the male to keep it in his pants?

              “Man and women have sex. Woman discovers that she’s pregnant. Maybe they were stupid and didn’t use contraception; maybe they did everything right, and the contraception failed, as it does on rare occasion. The woman, for whatever spiritual, visceral, or other reason, doesn’t want to abort. She implores the man for assistance with the tremendous responsibility she’s about to face… what then? ”

              You mean she ignores the man’s desire to NOT have children, so automatically she should bear the full weight of the pregnancy. The option exists where she can end the pregnancy, ONLY SHE HAS IT, the way it’s setup his desires are completely 100% ignored by law and she has 100% power over the pregnancy after conception. That means it’s her choice to have a child, which can be against his wishes thus forcing him into a decision he does not want to make. And you want to talk to me about the hardship she faces? Seriously?

              Let’s try these scenarios. Man shows no desire to be a father, man has little to no money, talks about it with his partner and she ignores his desires and has the child. Who had the power to stop the pregnancy? Who’s ultimate decision is it to have a child? Who has no say and is forced into the matter?

              Now this man has to pay a certain amount from his income for child support, he might have very little cash and this extra struggle is putting him into major financial hardship. Do we ignore him because the child is more important? Why can’t the state intervene and provide support?

              None of these scenarios gives men any option except to never impregnate in the first place, all of the scenarios ignore the man’s wishes should she choose to, none afford him any SAY in the matter. He hasn’t got a legal leg to stand on.

              Quite frankly I think it’s sickening to force men into this situation whilst abortion is a valid and regularly used option in avoiding a child being born. Women are afforded a privilege that men do not get, their desires supersede the mans, and whilst it’s necessary for body autonomy, it’s also a huge amount of power over the male part of reproduction. Only one gender can opt-out of parenthood, that is not equality, that is a privilege pure n simple.

            • Mark Neil says:

              “and the childs hardship”

              Child’s hardships rarely actually comes up. Only when the gynocentrism angle starts to fall apart, then the ever reliable “best interests of the child(‘s mother)” comes into play.

              “Women are afforded a privilege that men do not get,”

              Not just “a privilege, but multiple. Adoption does not require a man’s approval, it just requires a lack of a man’s opposition. Abandonment is available in some states (Jay isn’t sure about Oregon, but it could be there too)

            • Abortion is a red herring. It’s completely irrelevent to the debate on “father’s choice”

              What is relevent is adoption and safe haven laws. People ask “where would choice for men leave women?” The answer is: In the exact same spot she is now. With full ability to not parent a child if she so chose. if the man opts out and she decides she can’t handle it? She can place the baby up for adoption… or, you know, abandon it.

            • John Schtoll says:

              Jay: I am not sure where you logic is in this with regards to choice.

              When a woman is pregnant, she has 2 choices, Abort or Carry to term. Those are her choices, They don’t change if the father ‘opts out’. They might more difficult but the choice doesn’t change.

              1) Abort: A woman will decide to abort if she feels that she can’t handle the pregnancy (physically), if she can’t handle the baby financially OR if she simply doesn’t want a baby at this time. A man opting out might make some of those decisions harder but they don’t remove the choice.

              2) Carry to term: A woman will carry to term if she wants the child, can’t abort for personal reasons. This doesn’t change if a man opts out.

              Quite frankly I see you stance and a very cold and indifferent one towards the man. You might not think it is but you are basically saying to the man “Sit down and STFU”.

            • “The woman, for whatever spiritual, visceral, or other reason, doesn’t want to abort.”

              Her body, her choic. She made the choice unilaterally (in this instance) and should accept the responsiblity. By contrast, today, men have no choice. She STILL has 100% legal choice in the matter.

              “She implores the man for assistance with the tremendous responsibility she’s about to face… what then?”

              What if he implores her not to abort his child, but she wishes to anyway? What then? It’s still her choice, isn’t it? They each must have reproductive rights, whether the other party agrees or not, unless we are going to continue this war on men’s rights.

              “Advocates of abortion rights (of whom I surely count myself) speak in terms of choice.”

              Wrong. Most abortion rights people are, in fact, are ANTII-choice, as proven by their denial of men’s reproductive choice. This discussion illustrates that fact.

              “For that choice to be meaningful, both options need to be available: to carry a pregnancy as well as to abort it.”

              True. Both options are still legally available. To women. Men don’t have both of those choices, do they? Nor do you want them to have such choices, do you?

              ” If the man can choose to blow off all his responsibility for the consequences of his actions”

              Do you consider abortion “blowing off HER responsiblity for the consequences of her actions?” It’s the same decision, made at the same time. This double-standard misandry must end. This is part of the reason we have so many social problems. We need to end it.

              “then the woman’s choice is that much more restricted.”

              Wrong again. She still has the choice to abort or give birth. There would still be 0% legal restrictions on those choices.

              “And there are plenty of men who would do this without compunction.”

              And there are many women who would abort without compunction. Same thing.

              “Women’s ability to blow off this responsibility is somewhat reduced – especially in the absence of abortion rights, of course.”

              I’m in the US. Abortion rights exist here. What are absent are men’s reproductive rights. Please tell the abortion rights movement to stop fighting choice for men.

            • Chicago-JSO says:

              @Jay I don’t think your getting it, you write: “Man and women have sex. Woman discovers that she’s pregnant. … The woman, for whatever spiritual, visceral, or other reason, doesn’t want to abort. She implores the man for assistance with the tremendous responsibility she’s about to face… what then?”

              The answer to what then, if man in a relationship decides that he doesn’t want to take responsibility for the child but the woman refuses to abort the child then the woman must take 100% responsibility for the child and absolve the man of any financial burden, that is the only option that is morally and ethically correct and non-oppressive to men.

              I realize from your statement that you see a man as having some obligation to a woman whom becomes pregnant by him, but what you fail to realize is that the woman have no such obligation, contrary to your remark if a woman has an abortion she is legally absolving herself of the various responsibilities of caring for a child.

              We must give men the same right, therefore we must move past the notion that men have these various medieval obligations to care for, fight and die for women. This is because they are not only bad for men, saddling men with a large amount of undue responsibility but also because it belittles women and puts them in the place of perpetual children which is equally bad.

            • You don’t make any sense. Women can also drop children off at a hospital after birth or unilaterally give up a child for adoption. Both options of “opting out” of parental rights.

              Also, women can go to donor banks and have a child on their own, thus raising the child alone – their choice. If she chooses to keep an unwanted child, knowing it to be such, it is her choice and her responsibility.

            • the problem is that she can choose ether way regardless of his opinion he dose not have that same right for example she can have an abortion against his religious beliefs or his feeling on wanting a child or have a child knowing he is not emotionally or financially ready or willing. that is the definition of unfair.

            • Copyleft says:

              Very well said, Eric. I’d love to see anyone attempt to counter this argument with a straight face.

      • Yeah I meant abortion as “shirking”, well, having the ability to opt out of parenthood by ending the cause of parenthood in that instance (I really don’t know how to word that sentence better). Guess I should have said some ways of shirking responsibility early on?

        On paternal-abortion, basically a period of time after being informed where he can say no and immediately his rights to the child are removed, no financial responsibility/no child support and basically can walk away with no responsibility. Probably a good idea though to ensure he has to still help pay for abortion if she chooses, and also to record at least him being the father somewhere secure and unavailable to the public for medical reasons so if the child becomes sick he may be asked if he’d like to help if he is a donor match for instance, and also medical history of his family could be useful.

        No way whatsoever should he be allowed to force her into abortion, or keeping the child since it’s still her body of course.

      • Mark Neil says:

        ” If we allow one or both parents to ‘opt out’, then the price of that liberty for them may be the survival of the child.”

        So in Oregon, where you practice, it is illegal for a woman to give her baby up for adoption? Does she require the fathers consent to do so, or just the absence of a legally recognized fathers opposition? Is it also illegal for a woman to abandon her child at designated locations like hospitals and fire/police stations? Or is it safe to say that a woman actually IS allowed to “opt out”, regardless of the price of that liberty?

        • It is legal in Oregon for a woman to give a child up for adoption; however, the father’s consent is required so long as he is on the birth certificate or paternity has been established in another way. A father can seek to have paternity established at birth or thereafter. No parent can terminate another parent’s rights without giving that parent notice and due process.

          I don’t believe Oregon law allows mothers to abandon their children at ‘designated locations.’ Those laws were unique to Nebraska and maybe one or two other states, and they had consequences that legislators did not anticipate (turning the state into a drop-off site for unwanted children).

          Nothing here is intended to constitute legal advice or to form an attorney/client relationship. You should speak to a lawyer if you have questions about your own situation.

          • Mark Neil says:

            “It is legal in Oregon for a woman to give a child up for adoption; ”

            So then, it is legal for a woman to opt out, does a mother who adopts out her child still need to pay child support? Or re you willing to admit that you were incorrect in your assertion that “parents (regardless of gender) can’t ‘opt out’ of parenting rights in order to avoid paying child support”?

            Furthermore, you noted a father needs to be put on the birth certificate (and a hospital won’t do that without the mothers consent) or else he needs to establish paternity some other way. I’m not sure about Oregon, but MANY state’s father registries (especially Ohio’s) require actions that need the mothers consent, such as bringing the child into your home or paying for the mothers medical expenses. What actions are required in Oregon (you don’t need to answer that, but do consider just how difficult those requirements would be for a father, if the mother wanted to keep him out of the loop). Also, you say it needs to be established after the child is born, but adoptions can happen within days of giving birth, and the father need not be informed when the mother goes to the hospital. In many states, getting acknowledged as the father is a struggle that more often than not, requires that the father already be married to the mother, or else have the mother co-operation. and given that no real effort needs to be made to attain the fathers consent, (while no consent is needed to keep the child and demand support, nor abort the child in the pregnancy stage), it really is hard to make an argument that fathers should not be entitled to SOME decision making options along the way, without looking like a complete hypocrite, or female chauvinist intent on promoting double standards. Though I’d be interested to see you try.

            No worries. I have no threats of impending babies on the way, and I live in Canada, so it doesn’t help anyways, though I understand you need to include the disclaimer to cover your interests. A shame a man can’t sign such a disclaimer prior to having sex that would absolve him of any legal responsibilities should pregnancy occur. But seems that’s too unfair to women ether :/

      • @Jay

        http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/safehaven.cfm#backnotethree

        Oregon according to this does in fact allow Safe Haven.

        • Most, if not all, states do. What’s rare is the ability for fathers to track down their abandoned children (only 4 states have anything close to the ability to do this, IIRC)

          Safe Haven wasn’t some failed pilot program that only a handful of states tried

      • John Schtoll says:

        Actually Jay, she can shirk her responsibilities as a parent, by unilaterally getting an abortion, by unilaterally putting the child up for adoption and by unilaterally using a safe haven. Those are 3 ways she can legally shirk her parental responsibilities.

        • Okay, yes, and men need an equivalent. I’ll say it one more time, men need an equivalent. Men should be able to opt out or parental rights and responsibilities. Coupled with this we should have greater societal support for single parents, mothers and fathers. But yes, men should be able to opt out within a certain period.

          Alright with that out of the way, I would like to say that often when I hear people discuss abortion, it is treated as if it’s this simple answer. As if a woman says – oh what I was pregnant? Abort! – without any problems. Which, most women I know, even pro-choice women, would have a really difficult time deciding whether to abort an unwanted pregnancy. So yes women do have that choice, and yes men should have an equivalent choice. But I also think it’s important to remember it’s not as if society has given women an easy choice…which is sometimes how the discussion is framed.

          Mind you, I’m not saying we should have an easy choice…I’m just saying, when discussing abortion, it’d be great if we could all remember how difficult a decision it is. (And similarly, when men get an ‘opt out’ option, it’ll be important to remember how difficult a decision that is too).

          • “Mind you, I’m not saying we should have an easy choice…I’m just saying, when discussing abortion, it’d be great if we could all remember how difficult a decision it is. (And similarly, when men get an ‘opt out’ option, it’ll be important to remember how difficult a decision that is too).”

            Word on this. This shouldn’t be an easy decision. But the acts we all take now to prevent pregnancies shouldn’t be as hard as they are.

          • John Schtoll says:

            I sure never said or implied they are easy choices. I know they aren’t. But if they are very hard, damn near impossible OR easy, it doesn’t matter , at least women have the choice. Remember heather, I am not speaking to you directly per se, but rather to the OP who essentially says that men should just “Sit down and STFU” and that when a man does “Sit down and STFU”, that man is now called enlightened. Could the OP be anymore condescending.

            • I wasn’t exactly speaking to you directly either, which I guess I wasn’t clear about. I was just talking about the general “women have abortion as a choice” discussion and what I see in the discussions around it.

          • “As if a woman says – oh what I was pregnant? Abort! – without any problems. Which, most women I know, even pro-choice women, would have a really difficult time deciding whether to abort an unwanted pregnancy.”

            …er, you might want to have a chat with some members of the Feminist Collective (;)) about that one, because to hear them tell it any recounting of having an abortion that doesn’t amount to “Had an abortion today, might go for chinese food for lunch.” amounts to, for lack of a better term, emotional manipulation from the Pro-Life side.

            • I have nothing good to say about any pov that cites that abortions are akin to going out to lunch no matter who they blame for it. This to me, is the weakness of the left on abortion issues (for women). Ending a pregnancy is not like deciding to go out to lunch. We’ve sold ourselves out if those are the tactics we use.

  2. Maybe if we had the male pill we wouldn’t be having this discussion. You would opposition form the religious right but..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JymN5yu-K_o

    “Dr. Elsimar Coutinho is a Brazilian endocrinologist and a human reproduction scientist. In this interview, he tells about the development of male contraceptive pill, how it works and why we don’t have it.

    In this interview he tells how and why feminists, leaded by Betty Friedan, boycotted his male birth control pill presentation, in the World Population Congress. Male birth control pill, unlike the female pill we use till now work, are much more profitable for laboratories, but have side effects on women and strips men of the reproductive right of his own birth control”

    • There is ample evidence that the pill, gossypol proved toxic and caused complete sterility in enough cases that FDAs in China didn’t utilize it.

      I think the biggest issue is pharma, personally. They’ve got a solid market in women who have to take the pill every day. They’ve got dollars invested in a produce women want en masse, to the point of politics.

      I think when men and women push hard enough for male pills and RISUG (which believe me I am 100% for) then we’ll see them figure out how to make a mint on it.

      • Mark Neil says:

        Except our own governments are making life difficult for RISUG. Canada refused to allow it to enter testing, and the US said it needed to start from square one, and all the years of testing in India counted for nothing. And all those tests cost big money, and the US government would rather hand that over to big pharma through enforced coverage of birth control pills, and to VAWA recipients without any accountability.

        • Question. Do any drugs developed in other countries get approved without
          Testing here first. I’d be surprised but I don’t know.

          • Mark Neil says:

            Testing in other countries often countries will often provide some credit towards the end result. Extensive testing will be reviewed and credit given towards some of the earlier requirements. Approval in some countries can even result in a bare minimum of top end testing being required to pass. It’s my understanding anything passed in Canada is on the short track to getting approval in the US (Canada has higher standards, so the other way takes a little more effort, but still gets a fast track compared to starting from scratch).

  3. Mark Neil says:

    “the ”liberty,” of course, to refuse their employees access to contraception.”

    First lie. Nobody is refusing “ACCESS” to contraception. I refuse to pay for your lifestyle does not deny you the ability to pay for your own lifestyle. The repeated effort to make this claim demonstrates the sense of entitlement and selfishness of the left. And it dumbfounds me how people, anyone, could make the connection between “I won’t pay for your choices” to “you’re not allowed to have contraception of any kind”.

    “with several bills passed to severely punish women for seeking abortion,”

    Lie number two. Ultrasounds are not “punishment”, let alone “severe” punishment.

    “Other bills have allowed employers the freedom to demand information from their female employees about their use of contraception, and to fire them for using it.”

    Source. You provided so many other sources this paragraph, why not one for this. I suspect this will turn out to be another lie, but I’ll reserve judgment.

    “The State of Texas also cut all of its funding for Planned Parenthood because that organization offers abortion as one of its services. ”

    Which is in direct violation of the agreed upon conditions for getting that moeny in the first place. A broken contract incurs penalties. If they wanted that money for abortions, they should have renegotiated. That’s how business works. If you don’t like it, turn to planned parenthood, who broke their contract.

    I notice in your third paragraph, you never once mention that men might actually need those health benefits too… I guess men’s health doesn’t matter when what women want isn’t being satisfied, right?

    “Opposition to abortion, and to all manner of sexual liberty, has shaped the modern Conservative movement more than any other force.”

    Lie number three. It only appears to be such a driving force because that’s what the left wants to focus on. This whole branding of the right as waging a “war on women” is a political smear campaign, attempting to fool people into thinking the left are misogynists. But as you yourself have noted, women are involved too, it isn’t a war on women and contraceptive access is not being challenged, only who’s required to pay.

    And abortion isn’t a man vs woman issue, but one of ethical consideration of when a person becomes a person. But heaven forbid people ever dare to think of the children before the desires of a woman, as we see daily in family courts as children get torn away from fathers that love them, and those fathers get enslaved to the abusive child support system. Or our feminised school systems detrimental impact on boys and their education, where we need to have all the pictures that depict a person in a successful position be a woman, and no more male role models exist, ether as teachers themselves, fathers within the homes, or even pictures in our textbooks. Hell, even the men on TV aren’t allowed to be the sole successes, but must always ether share with a woman, or else defer to her. Then of course, there is VAWA, and it’s ever expanding definitions that even makes everyday interactions abusive, and is more effective as a weapon against men than an aid for actual victims. But we hear nothing about “the war against men”, because again, men don’t seem to matter so long as women have a desire that hasn’t yet been met.

    I skipped a large portion of this leftist political propaganda peice, till I got to here:

    ” but women face the additional risk and personal invasion of carrying that pregnancy in their own bodies.”

    Any woman who has carried a child says it is a joy and an experience they would never give up, even if the choice was made available (such as artificial wombs). Read the comments here :

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/brave-new-world-uk-ethicist-wants-women-to-abandon-motherhood-use-artificia

    “but neither can he shirk his responsibilities as a parent ”

    Why not? women do it often enough when they give a child up for adoption. Women are able to adopt a child on their own, and are able to get invetro without a partner. Women are just as cappable of providing for a child as anyone else is, and, should men be given the option to opt out, women going forward would know any child they choose to have may be in their hands alone, given the choice to have it is also in their hands alone. But of course, this would likely decrease the number of custody battles, as more and more people would be having children that BOTH parents wanted from the start, and a decrease in domestic relations cases mean …

    “I speak in this as a domestic relations lawyer.”

    That explains a lot. It makes sence that someone whose made a living off the feminist industries would jump on the “war on women” smear campaign, given the right’s challenging those industries, particularly with their opposition of VAWA. Not that I’m saying this is what you’re doing, but it would make sense.

    “Many of my clients have been people who failed to make this calculus, and found themselves with a child they couldn’t support, shared with a partner they found that they didn’t like or couldn’t communicate with.”

    Found themselves with a child … this tells me your clientel is larely, if not exclusively women, since we all know how often men get custody. And your claiming it is the partner they don’t like or couldn’t communicate with seems to be placing the blame on the man for the relationship failure (and for the inability to support that child?)

    • Copyleft says:

      ““Opposition to abortion, and to all manner of sexual liberty, has shaped the modern Conservative movement more than any other force.”

      I’ll agree that this is incorrect. The modern conservative movement in the U.S. has been shaped primarily by blind, reflexive market-worship and greed. It only panders to sexual intimidation to win over the religious ‘base,’ but it’s far from the driving force of American conservatism, as evidenced by what priorities the far right displays once they’re in offce.

      “Any woman who has carried a child says it is a joy and an experience they would never give up”

      I see you’ve never talked to any rape victims, Mark.

      • Mark Neil says:

        “I see you’ve never talked to any rape victims, Mark.”

        Seriously? The assertion was made that a pregnancy is seen as a personal invasion. The implication being that pregnancy is some kind of undesirable hardship women are forced to endure. Are you seriously going to try and counter my point against this assertion by crying rape? Are you seriously that callous, that ignorant? Are you seriously so desperate to ensure pregnancy is seen as some godforsaken burden women must endure, that you would stand on the backs of victims, and use their ordeal as if it was an example of what all women feel? Are you seriously going to trivialize them that way? Of course I wasn’t taking about rape victims, any more than the original comment was, so your choice to bring it up, especially given how rare it is for a rape victim to be forced to endure a pregnancy she did not wish to endure, is dishonest, offensive, and annoys the hell out of me.

        • You know what’s a good way to avoid that? Stop making blanket generalizations like “all women love pregnancy.”

  4. Krishnabrodhi says:

    I would love to see an end to this bullshit hairsplitting about when a fetus is considered a human with rights. Just cut out all the argument all together and say that it is a human at conception and make an exception to the rules as to it being ok to end it’s life. At that point you can add it to the existing list we have, such as in cases of capital punishment, self defense, war and so on.

  5. I can’t believe that you are a domestic relations lawyer and didn’t know about the safe haven laws in your own state. That is very sad I am sorry to say

  6. http://safehavenlaws.uslegal.com/oregon-safe-haven-laws/

    Another link to Oregon safe haven laws.

    Now, if you want to talk about reality. Do you know what happens when a MAN drops off a child at a safe haven vs what happens when a woman does.

    You ought to look it up, the reaction to the drop off is quite different in most areas for the two genders.

    • You wouldn’t happen to have a link for that? I suspect I already know the answer to what happens when I man drops a baby off, it would be interesting to read nonetheless

  7. John Schtoll says:

    @Jay:

    I can’t believe some of the things you are saying “AS A LAWYER”. It kinda scares me actually. And you are supposed to be a domestic relations lawyer to boot. Of course a woman can give a child up for adoption without the fathers consent, it is quite simple, all she has to say is “I am sorry I had a one night stand and I don’t know who the father is and am willing to sign a piece of paper to that effect”. Voila, adoption will go forward.

    Others have mentioned Putative Father registries.

    I would be very interesting for people to look those up and how they “REALLY work.

    They were supposed to be designed to protect the fathers rights but in reality they are used to make it easier to get around the father. In a nutshell here is how they work

    When you have sex (as a man) , you have to go to the government and register that sex act with them and state that you want to be informed on any child that results.

    When a child is born the adoption agency checks to see if the fathers name (who the mother gives them) is on the registry , if it is not, it becomes a formality to terminate the fathers rights. In the old days the father could make a case that he was never told of the child and come back a decent amount of time and claim his child. NOW, if he doesn’t register , his rights are terminated.

    • right. and even if he does, all the woman has to do is give the wrong name. there are case after case after case of women giving their babies up for adoption w/o the father’s consent and the father spending YEARS in court battles to get them back, meanwhile his child is being raised by the “adoptive parents” and the end result is the court saying, “well, the kid’s been with the adoptive parents for years now, it’s the only life they’ve known, and we dont want to disrupt that. Sucks to be you dad.”

      In fact, Utah has gotten a bit of a reputation for this.

      • Right but children do need stability…so moving a child out of their parents’ house because one of the biological parents wants custody is probably not in the best interest of the child, unless the adoptive parents are somehow abusing the child. In cases like that, the child’s best interest should be the most important thing.

        • Mark Neil says:

          And that’s why the courts drag it out for years, so that they can use that excuse to strip a father of his rights. But the fact of the matter is, if the father can prove he’s related biologically, and he’s fighting for his parental rights due to the actions of the mother (not him), why are the adoptive parents considered “the parents” (by your own wording)? You’re looking at the end result, instead of the problem that caused it to begin with. You’re looking at the 5 year old child who has been living with adoptive parents, while the biological father has been spending money hand over fist, since the child was only 1 week old (hell, there are some cases where the father started excreting his parental rights months before the baby was born, but because he failed to do so it the state the mother choose to adopt in, he’s efforts were for naught), to exert his parental rights. And your concern is that after 5 years of legal battles, the child would be stripped from the only home it knows, and seem entirely unconcerned with the fact that it took 5 years for a court to make a bloody decision about the fathers rights, despite his clear desire to BE a father to the child, the biological proof of DNA evidence, and the ease in which his parental rights can be bi-passed with a little bit of deception, a trip over state lines and playing stupid for the hospital.

          • “And that’s why the courts drag it out for years, so that they can use that excuse to strip a father of his rights.”

            That is creating a cause when all you have is a correlation. Everything in our court system gets dragged out, especially when it doesn’t involve potential incarceration. Heck, even then shit gets dragged on forever. So I think saying that this particular issue gets dragged out for the express purpose of using that time as an excuse to discriminate against a potential father is incorrect. That might be what ends up happening, but that’s not the point of it. If we’re talking about safe havens, well then it can just take that much time to track down a kid. I’ve a friend who was adopted in a closed adoption years and years ago, and it took her something like a decade to figure out who her biological parents were. If you don’t have a paper trail, it can be difficult to figure out.

            Am I saying that this is an ideal situation? Most certainly not. Am I saying it’s fair to the biological father that he spent so much time searching for his child, only to be told that he doesn’t have a right to the child? Nope. But there’s another side to the issue, and that’s the adoptive parents…they’ve probably also spent a bunch of time and money in adopting a child. They’ve also got a desire to be the parents of the child. Which doesn’t mean I’m saying their desire trumps the biological father’s…I’m just saying it’s not as if it’s purely the bio father fighting against a system. It’s two separate parents and each has a potentially valid argument to be made. And then, in cases like this, what should be most important is what is best for the child. Mind you, I don’t think that years of court battles are good for a kid either. Ideally we could get custody issues sorted out before a child is born, or at least within the first couple months.

            Maybe it’s because I know many adopted children, or maybe it’s because I’m a lesbian…but I am all to familiar with the tenuous grasp adoptive parents have on their parental rights when it comes to the first few years of their child’s life. And yes, I used the term parents…because adoptive parents are parents. If it’s been 5 years (or whatever), then the adoptive parents are the child’s parents, regardless of DNA. My point is, put the child first and everyone else second.

            • Ah and I should probably add I’d be saying the same thing about a biological mother fighting for custody. I’m not anti-paternal rights, by any stretch. I think there are definitely problems in the way our judicial system handles child custody in divorce, for example. I just also think that adoptive parents shouldn’t be dismissed just because they don’t share any DNA with the child.

            • Mark Neil says:

              Except a biological mother signed her OWN rights away, so changing her mind after the fact is an entirely different situation from having someone else terminate your rights against your wishes.

              “I just also think that adoptive parents shouldn’t be dismissed just because they don’t share any DNA with the child.”

              Why not? When the child is 1 month old, what claim do the adoptive parents have over that child that trumps a biological parent’s rights?

            • Mark Neil says:

              “That is creating a cause when all you have is a correlation”

              Is it? Given how the courts treat fathers in custody battles, even when the father was the primary caretaker? Given the courts unwillingness to enforce their own custody arrangements? Given the government and the courts unwillingness to address father involvement when child services removes a child from the mother, even when the father is known and been granted visitation (thus deemed a fit parent)? Given the courts unwillingness grant a father in these cases any kind of visitation, and in doing so, refuse to acknowledge the father has rights, and those rights were terminated by the actions of someone else, not him, and also refuse to account for the possibility the father will regain custody, instead making it clear that, regardless of what happens, the end result will be, the adoptive parents get the child, if for no other reason that “the best interests of the child” are served due to the courts own decisions to deny the father any custody in the process.

              ” So I think saying that this particular issue gets dragged out for the express purpose of using that time as an excuse to discriminate against a potential father is incorrect.”

              Then explain why the father virtually never gets some form of custody during these cases, if not to ensure when it is finally resolved, the child will have spent enough time with the adoptive parents, and too little with the biological father, that “in the best interests of the child” can be used to override whatever decision is made and thus, grant the child to the adoptive parents. You will also see the “a child deserves two parents” argument thrown in on occassion, just to drive the point home that the court does not want a single father having a child if there is an alternative.

              ” I’ve a friend who was adopted in a closed adoption years and years ago, and it took her something like a decade to figure out who her biological parents were.”

              Ask that friend how she would feel to learn her father had spent years trying to win her back because he never agreed to the adoption, and tried to stop it, but the courts refused him. Ask her how that would make her feel about her adoptive parents, or her bio mother, about the courts, and adoption in general. And then come back and tell me what’s in “the best interests of the child”.

              ” Am I saying it’s fair to the biological father that he spent so much time searching for his child, ”

              Who’s talking about searching? There are several cases where the only searching involved was for what day the birth was going to happen, yet they loose their children due to the impossable hoops men have to jump through to be recognized as the father (including the requirement that he bring the baby into his home in some states, how is he supposed to do that when he wasn’t told the birth date, and by the time he finds out, the adoption is complete… and without bringing the child into his home, he has no way to get access to the child to bring it into his home… THIS is how our justice system treats men, and you’re telling me it’s “not ideal”? It’s flat out broken, discriminatory and damaging.). Once the mother signs those papers, a man has his rights terminated. There are very few states that make it easy for a man to excert his parental rights without the full co-operation of the mother, and most of those can simply be bypassed by crossing state lines.

              So tell me future thinker, without victim blaming the man and telling him he should have picked a better partner, what’s your solution to this?

              ” But there’s another side to the issue,”

              Of course there is, because when it comes to a man’s rights, there is always another side to the story that is more important than him. nevermind that with regards to abortion, there is also another side of the story, IE the man’s, but his side is worthless in the decision making process, her body, her choice… right? But when it comes to a man’s offspring, his child, his choice is hardly fair to the others involved, a man’s opinions don’t matter (AGAIN) and we need to consider the adoptive parents (that of course, will very likely include a woman).

              “They’ve also got a desire to be the parents of the child.”

              A child, not THAT child. You need to remember, I’m talking about cases that begin less than a month after birth (and likely sooner, as little as a week). These adoptive parents want A child, but they choose to deny a biological father his own child for their own greed. Why deny a child with a loving eager parent when you could simply adopt a child that needs a home? The answer is because they want a baby NOW, and it doesn’t matter whose that is and a father doesn’t matter… and because, in the end, the court will rule the adoptive parents get the child because it’s in the childs best interest due to the time spent with them.

              “I’m just saying it’s not as if it’s purely the bio father fighting against a system.”

              But it IS… the adoptive parents get to keep the child for the trial because THE SYSTEM allowed the fathers rights to be terminated by someone other than himself. The system then refuses to acknowledge his claim to those rights, or the wrongful termination of them, because the SYSTEM makes it so easy for others to do exactly that, terminate his rights. So yes, it IS the SYSTEM that he’s got to fight against.

              “And then, in cases like this, what should be most important is what is best for the child.”

              And as any instance of family court will show, that never involves a father. Best interests of the child actually means desire of the mother, and that’s no different here than any other example.

              “Maybe it’s because I know many adopted children,”

              Again, ask them how they would feel to learn their father had tried to be their father, and had fought in court for years, from the day they were born, but ultimatly got denied. Ask them if they would feel their best interests were served.

              “My point is, put the child first and everyone else second.”

              Can we use this in the abortion debate? Why isn’t this used in custody battles where the father asks for 50/50 time? seems this only gets thrown out against fathers. It’s tiring, especially given “best interests of the children actually has no legal meaning, but rather, leaves the definition up to the subjective biases of the ruling judge.

              It just seems a man’s rights are always contingent on whether they inconvinience someone else.

            • I’m on my phone, so I’m only replying to the last bit there. First, the abortion debate is a different one to a debate about adoptive vs. bio parent rights. Second, and more importantly, putting the child first is part of the abortion debate. I’m of the opinion it’s better to have abortion as an option than having a kid grow up unwanted or in a group home.

            • Mark Neil says:

              Putting the child first, is that why Missouri is making it THAT MUCH EASIER to strip a father of his child? In a senate vote of 126 to 15 in favour of making it easier to terminate a fathers parental rights?

              http://universitycity.patch.com/articles/when-should-a-father-s-rights-be-terminated

        • Heather: That is why lawyers will drag a case out for as long as possible. I wonder though, how would you feel if the a child had been kidnapped by a woman in the hospital and she never told her husband, he believed it was his. Years later, they find the child. Does the couple OR just the husband (who did nothing wrong) get to keep the child.

          After all, to the CHILD, there is no difference, to the husband there is no difference. The only difference in the cases is that someone USED the law to get a child, the others didn’t BUT to the child , ZERO difference.

  8. John Schtoll says:

    http://adoption.about.com/cs/adoptionrights/a/the_what.htm

    A really good explanation of the Putative Father registry.

    Apply biological reality to this thing and you can see how much easier it makes it for the mother to get around the fathers rights.

  9. John Schtoll says:

    Now, apply that gender reverse logic to this. Can you imagine the outcry if you forced women to register all sex acts with the governement to ensure they retained the rights to their child.

    I realize that the biological reality is that a woman knows when a child is born and a man because of biology doesn’t BUT, an enlightened person would say that we should give MORE rights to those that are at a biological disadvantage not LESS rights.

  10. AnonymousDog says:

    Attorney Bodzin,

    An embryo is genetically distinct from an unfertilized egg, that’s a scientific fact, not a moral distinction. It is a unique individual, genetically, from the moment of conception, also a scientific fact.

    Opposition to abortion is based in large part on the discomfort many people feel on the arbitrariness of legal protections for individuals at some stages of development, but not for others. One does not have to depend on ‘moral’ arguments, as you claim, to oppose abortion. Your claim that opposition to abortion is based on moral considerations is merely an attempt to avoid having to take such opponents seriously. It also ignores the moral basis of liberal positions on other issues.

    I also have to think that you don’t really know much about the actual, historical Puritans, or the influence which American Puritanism has historically had on American liberalism, both socially and politically.

  11. And for that reason, men—at least, liberal and enlightened men who want to support the feminist project—face a daunting paradox when confronted (or when their female partners are confronted) with this choice. Every decent man today knows that, if his partner is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, his only response must be “Whatever you want to do, I’ll support you.” He cannot ethically try to compel his partner to end the pregnancy; but neither can he shirk his responsibilities as a parent if she chooses to go forward and have the child.
    In other words once he ejaculates he is only as useful as the mother says he is?

    But anyway I have a bit of a problem with this idea that the only thing a man can do is obey his wife when it comes to pregnancy. There is an implication that if his feelings are anything other than, “Yes dear, whatever you say dear.” he’s a caveman that wants to keep his wife barefoot and pregnant all the time.

    I recall a piece here a while back about men and abortion and how it (if I recall) encouraged men to start speaking their minds on it without coming across as an attempt to say that men should have the final say in whether the abortion happens or not. And that’s all a lot of guys are asking for. At least I can say for myself I’m not looking to control her reproduction but at the same time if once I ejaculate I’m to be treated like I don’t exist anymore until I’m useful to her then its no wonder guys feel shut out.

    If he is bound by only being allowed to say whatever she wants to hear then I don’t blame him for tuning out. I get the feeling a lot of guys (and I mean regular every day guys not the few hundred in DC because they don’t represent all of us) don’t want the final say but just want to be able to say what they feel without being branded a hater of women.

    A few other things:
    1. Since reproductive rights and parenting rights are so closely tied people treat them both the same. It would explain why some people have no problem with a letting a mother control the father/child relationship to her liking almost free of penalty.

    2. Guys, lean back Julie is one of the good ones (there are other women here that are “good ones” as well but she just came to mind first).

  12. John Schtoll says:

    This whole “her body her choice” thing kinda got me thinking about something.

    Do we apply this logic to another other areas of society. There are those that would say no other area of society has this kind of question regarding body authonomy. But imho, there is at least one area that is the same OR at least very close.

    WORK

    There are jobs that are very dangerous, firefighter, police, military. Yet we as a society don’t allow the people in those jobs who are taking 100% of the risk and toll on their bodies to make ALL the decisions and to live with all the consequences of those decisions. Their spouse actualy has a control of sorts. How you might ask.

    The outcome.

    When one of the professions takes place, money is the outcome and yet we as a society state that even though one person takes all the risk, the other person gets at least 50% of the rewards and in some cases can even dictate that they person continue that job to provide those rewards (in the form of imputed income).

  13. Krishnabrodhi says:

    Had an experience today that very much reminded me of some of the discussion in the comments here. I took a call from a gentleman that wanted to file a lawsuit because his licence was suspended in 2010 for child support. The thing is he actually payed his back child support back in 2006 and for some reason it took them four year to get around to taking his licence to drive. And the icing on the cake was that this man was a bus driver so he ended up losing his job. It boggles the mind that someone thinks it is in the best interest of the child to make it even harder for someone to earn the money that is needed to support them.

    • Yeah, and it also boggles my mind how bassackward bureaucratic structures are. “I”m sorry, we can’t reinstate your license until you pay.” “I did pay, in 2006.”
      “I’m sorry sir, please fill out form 123-943 and we’ll investigate.”
      Gah.

  14. It was easy to anticipate the cool reaction to this piece. As women have virtually full and total reproductive rights and men have virtually none, it’s not realistic to expect a great deal of sympathy. Perhaps once males get past having ~ zero reproductive rights things will be different.

  15. I really wanted to write on this topic, but I’m in the midst of dealing with a situation that makes it just a little too raw for me right now. While I do believe that a woman has absolutely 100% right to choose what she does with her body – whether it be abortion or carrying a fetus to term – I also think we need to change discourses of the male’s role in reproductive rights. We need to have more conversations about responsible sexuality, and we need to stop shaming men who walk away from children they didn’t mean to create. I truly believe that men shouldn’t be held automatically culpable when pregnancy occurs accidentally, anymore than a woman should be forced to carry to term a child she doesn’t want.

    • “I truly believe that men shouldn’t be held automatically culpable when pregnancy occurs accidentally, anymore than a woman should be forced to carry to term a child she doesn’t want.”

      Exactly! This is what some of us have been saying for a very long time. Finally something we agree on! Now, if we could only get the abortion rights lobby to become pro-choice, we might get the conversation started, and move this forward.

      • We way too often exclude males from conversations around reproductive rights and contraception, and that is problematic. If a woman can choose to refrain from becoming a mother, I think fathers need to have that option, too. It’s of course complex and nuanced, and there probably ought to be some limitations to a persons’ capacity to just opt out of parenting (in pregnancy, it makes sense, but things are a little more complicated if the decision is made later).

        It’s not just legally that men are bound to children they don’t necessarily want to have, though. It’s also through cultural shaming of ‘dead beats’ (a term I absolutely despise) that men are coerced into fatherhood, and I think that is as bad as coercing a woman into either aborting a fetus she wants or carrying to term one she doesn’t want. Reproductive rights are about choice – and one cannot be free to choose if there is coercion involved.

  16. patrick says:

    I disagree with everything you say, but will only comment on a few things. When a sperm enters an egg, something amazing happens. That egg now has it’s own unique genetic code. Yes I will fall on that. No I am not religious at all. I am just against senseless killing and murder, and abortion is certainly murder. It is the extermination of unique individuals with genetic codes (albeit dependent on a mother while in fetal state, with or without feelings of fear) ultimately on a path to becoming a fully developed baby if everything is gestationally within normal limits. Dear writer, you must examine your argument and ask yourself if there is a way to ‘boil it down’ further. Aren’t sleeping people or people in comas without feeling that we can see or somehow acknowledge? I am no sleep or coma specialist, but I have never seen or heard of a sleeping person or someone in a coma record what they were feeling while unconscious. Have you?

    • But at what point does that genetic material have a conscious, when is it it’s own being? Actively aware of life for the first time. Before anyone gives the coma argument those people have already become self-aware, have lived their lives, etc. But it’s entirely plausible that a fetus has no understanding, no conscious thoughts, no awareness until very late in pregnancy so to end it’s life before that stage is something I fully support if the host does not want to continue that pregnancy. After a point of consciousness and viability, then for my personal belief (not for other people, just what I THINK I would do in the situation), I’d support keeping the child until born then the host can adopt, keep, etc, or if there are severe medical issues then I personally am ok with late-stage abortion to save that child from a life of major pain n disability, but this is for extreme cases where the child has pretty much no hope of survival, or will be a “vegetable”. I personally would like to only have relatively healthy offspring if given the choice, this may be like Gattica but I would have a conflict of my own conscious to allow a pregnancy to continue that would result in a child being born with extreme disability/health issues, they wouldn’t really be living, they’d be existing. I would hate myself for allowing my child to be born suffering with no hope of anywhere near a normal life.

      But I am a man, I have zero say in this matter, I have to rely solely on my babies-mother’s choice, I just fear I won’t resent her if our child is born into the world with major problems. I personally view it as sick to allow anyone to suffer so much (I support euthanasia too), BUT I DO NOT JUDGE OTHERS for their own choice as either choice is going to be a traumatizing and excruciatingly difficult choice.

      If I am evil for that view then so be it. To me that is the right choice, it’s the choice that is fine for me but might not be fine for others to have. It’s up to us all as individuals to have their own beliefs, I don’t think there is really a right or wrong choice.

  17. “If you sincerely believe that a developing fetus, however unformed, is a person, and entitled to full human rights, then prohibiting abortion makes perfect sense.” – Actually, that’s not necessary. It makes sense if you believe that a developing fetus has human rights regardless of whether or not you consider it to be a person.

    “any argument for abortion rights has to include an argument that blastocysts and fetuses aren’t people.” No, it has to include an argument that they don’t have rights.

    “This requires a comprehensive theory of what it is that makes an entity a person, entitled to human rights.” – Most pro-lifers will agree that in the philosophical sense of the word, prenates are not persons. They will however argue that they’re persons in the conversational sense (of being someone) and they’ll probably prefer that they be given the status of person under the law (which is what we do for corporations). They will not argue that prenates are persons in a philosophical sense, rather they will argue that that sense of personhood is not necessary to have human rights. You just assumed that personhood is a necessary condition for human rights. That is question begging.

    “So I will say it. What makes an entity entitled to human rights is whether it is sapient: whether it can feel and understand and experience fear and suffering. The best evidence seems to suggest that this ability is created in some way by the immensely complex architecture of the brain.” – That’s an interesting argument. You’ve just made the case that pigs and cats have human rights.

    “There is no basis, besides religious decree, to believe that a brand-new embryo is “human” in any ethical sense.” – You clearly are out of your depth.

    “The fact that it is “a human cell” is not dispositive: your fingernails and scabs are human cells, and you destroy them with nary a care.” – The fact that it is a living human organism (in addition to a human cell) would appear to be significant too- since that’s what the author is too.

    “The fact that it could, potentially, develop into a human, given the right conditions, is not dispositive; the same could be said of an unfertilized egg, or, with the right advances in science, of any cell in your body.” – You’re right that it’s possible for ordinary cells to be transformed into a human. We don’t have the technology yet, but it is theoretically possible that an egg or a skin cell could be made to begin to develop into a human. The fact is, however, that an embryo or a fetus isn’t merely something with the potential to develop that way. They are organisms (not mere cells) which are currently in the process of developing into a human person. That’s the reason we think they have rights (and eggs and skin cells do not).

    “The argument that an early embryo is human is wholly dependent upon religion, upon claims about the nature of the soul that are impossible to disprove or to test.” – That is clearly and uncontroversially false. Again, the author is out of his depth.

    I recommend watching these (non-biased and academic) videos to get a better handle on the subject matter:

    http://www.philostv.com/don-marquis-and-michael-tooley

    http://berto-meister.blogspot.com/2011/07/peter-singer-vs-don-marquis-abortion.html

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