My good buddy Glenn Sacks has an opinion piece in this morning's Los Angeles Times: Alito and the Rights of Men. Glenn defends Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's 1991 vote to uphold a law that required Pennsylvania women to notify their husbands before having an abortion, a law that was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court.
Planned Parenthood also wasted no time before blasting the nomination, saying that Alito had shown "callous disregard of battered women."
How did Alito do these terrible things? Apparently his sin is his 1991 vote to uphold a section of a Pennsylvania law that required women to notify their husbands if they intended to have an abortion. That law, according to women's rights groups, would have put women in harm's way by subjecting them to the wrath of their angry husbands. (When NOW says "husband" or "father," it's usually preceded by the word "abusive"; the word "wife" is generally modified by "battered.")
I hate to interrupt the ladies while they're enjoying a good lynching, but Alito's defense of the Pennsylvania law is quite defensible, despite their hysterical claims. Alito simply acknowledged the principle that husbands and fathers also have a reasonable interest in their unborn children.
I like Glenn, I really do. I like him even when he calls the claims of feminist organizations "hysterical", a classic misogynistic slander. (Folks, please look up the origin of the word. Glenn knows perfectly well where the word comes from, or he ought to.) And "lynching"? Is Glenn channeling Clarence Thomas? Even the most irenic of MRAs can't seem to resist embracing overwrought victim language to describe the plight of men in contemporary America.
In an ideal world, husbands and wives would always make reproductive decisions together. Heck, in an ideal world, there would be no unwanted pregnancies, and no babies in utero suffering from debilitating fetal ailments. But until that happy day arrives,(soon, deo volente), I think it's reasonable to defend the idea that whether married or not, women ought to enjoy sovereignty over their bodies.
As I've written before, pregnancy is a burden carried solely by women. While conception takes two, and parenting ought to involve an equal commitment from both parties who took part in the earlier conception process, it's hard to argue that men are as involved as women in the period between conception and birth. And where there is an unequal burden, the law does well to honor the wishes of she who, by herself, bears that burden. One would hope that most married women would feel safe enough to share the news of an unexpected pregnancy with their husbands; one would like to think that many women would be eager for their husbands' input. But ultimately, given the radically unequal nature of pregnancy, the law ought to do nothing to interfere with women's sovereignty between conception and delivery.
As I've written before, men do have reproductive choice. We have the choice as to whether or not to have sex, and whether or not to use a reliable form of protection when having sex. Though some MRAs seem to believe that lustful women patrol the land at night like medieval succubae, eager to rob men of their semen, rational folks are aware that very, very few women, if any, are "stealing" the ejaculate of naive and innocent men. If we aren't ready for fatherhood, or aren't willing to countenance our partner's decision to terminate a pregnancy, the time to act is before we have sex. I'll say it again and again and again: when a man ejaculates inside of a woman, he is taking responsibility for all of the consequences that may arise: abortion, fatherhood, eighteen years of child support. If he doesn't like the consequences, he is free to refuse vaginal intercourse with his wife or partner.
The high court rightly decided the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. I say this as one who longs for the day when there are no more abortions! But until that happy day when abortions are unnecessary and unthinkable, I'll defend the right of women -- and underage girls -- to make this difficult decision as they see fit, with or without the knowledge of parents or partners.