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February 01, 2005

Comments

Amanda

One problem I do have with the Glendon quote, Hugo, is that it still fixates on the idea that unwanted pregnancy happens only to women who are alone and frightened--read, young, single, and abandoned by the father.

I'm standing by mythago here. While it's absolutely true that male responsibility, increased contraception, better support systems and the whole canoodle will reduce the number of abortions (I know women who had them who wouldn't have if they felt they had a better choice), you're never going to stop all abortions. Some women will get pregnant and become so sick they can't go through with it. And some women like me have all the support in the world for having babies, but because we don't want them, we shouldn't have to have them.

Call me selfish because I won't turn my body over for child-bearing just because others judge my situation as a "good" one for it. I thought I was pregnant once, and I would have been one of those who "should" have had it by the measure of those who think abortion is always chosen with regret--I was fixing to graduate, I had a man who wanted to have it and marry me, the whole thing. So what? I didn't want it, I didn't want him and that's my right. Had I needed one, I would have done it. And still would today if my birth control method failed. I am open to discussions of reducing abortions chosen out of desperation. But I still am pro-choice because I see it as a fundamental right.

Not trying to get into an argument, but just a reminder that there is more at stake than women choosing abortion out of desperation or loneliness or poverty.

Obtestor

Well I have to agree with you 1000% here although most men try to absolve themselves of any responsibility...

Why should men be responsible? All decisions, every single one, is made solely by the female. There is no male responsibility when it comes to pregnancy, as defined by modern feminism, with the only exception being that men provide money to the pregnant female.

Since there have been over 50,000,000 abortions in the United States, that means that on average every American female of breeding age has had at least two. Now, if you take the claims by these American women who say they have never had an abortion, and a full 60% say they have not, that means there is an undercurrent in our society of women that have had 5, 10, possibly even 20 abortions before they are age 35.

So tell me, how does having 20 abortions per American female benefit the American female? It's for her 'health and wellbeing', right?

Obtestor

Amanda

There is no male responsibility when it comes to pregnancy, as defined by modern feminism, with the only exception being that men provide money to the pregnant female.

And here I was thinking they provided the sperm on purpose. Damn us women for kidnapping men and stealing their seed.

craichead

"One of the biggest problems I have with those who are anti-choice is that they never hold the guy in the situation accountable for anything. One-hundred percent of the blame is always on the woman or adolescent girl. But at least you get it and are trying to change some of the attitudes of young men. Good for you."

I have to respectfully disagree. I agree that in some cases, depending on who the speaker is, there is a certain amount of moralizing on the culpability of the woman which I agree is destructive.

But from my experience as someone who really studies up on this dynamic -- I see much more often that the woman is portrayed as a victim and the man as more of a predator.

And in terms of our legal system, we have a huge infrastructure now that forces men to be accountable, while at the same time, legislation that in some ways eases the accountability of women if they so choose.

Could you please explain some more?

Obtestor

It's never made any sense at all to me that the staunchest anti-abortion folks are also anti-contraception-- it's obvious that people are never going to limit their sexual activity to the point that they only have sex when they want to conceive, and they shouldn't be expected to, particularly if they do not subscribe to a religion that prohibits it.

I think we should take it a step further. We should make a law providing each American female with one abortion only. Just one. With modern science and modern contraceptives, there is no excuse for an American female to have more than one abortion. In the event that American women do have more than one abortion, then the state should decide if sterilization is necessary to correct that bad behavior.

Men do not get pregnant, women do. Women cannot deny their responsibility to their own biology and murdering babies in the womb after that bad behavior should not be legal. Sterilizing women would be a moral state solution to this problem.

Obtestor

Obtestor

And here I was thinking they provided the sperm on purpose. Damn us women for kidnapping men and stealing their seed.

When women have sexual intercourse with men, they are 'taking the sperm', right? Women know this. Men do not know if the woman is lying or not about contraceptives and fertility. Men find out the truth about contraceptives and fertility from the female 'after' the act, usually by venue of: "Gosh, uh, ummm, your baby is growing inside of me and I don't want to have an abortion because I have already had twenty of them and I am going to keep this one. I think you are the daddy and my attorney will be contacting you shortly for child support."

Now, if the male says: "I don't want any children", where is his choice? He has no choice. That is why any argument of responsibility regarding consensual sex rests solely with the female and not the male. Men have no rights, and since men have no rights, it is ludicrous to claim they have any responsibilities.

Obtestor

craichead

Hugo and I have something in common: we're both studiers of Christianity and fans of CS Lewis.

I bring that up because as we're talking aout morality and responsibility, I see it as an opportunity to start talking about what those things are in general rather than just as they relate to this topic.

Morality is paramount to life in a free society since as the people become less moral, unavoidably the government must become more powerful and tyrannical. Whether we like it or not the influence of Christianity is inescapable in the development of free Western society. And by the time the Enlightenment came about Christian morality had become something of a science -- though you won't learn about that other than from people like Lewis.

So the way Lewis explains it, morality can be broken up into seven elements called "virutes" -- 7 Cardinal virtues: prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude; and 3 theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity.

These days we seem to oversimplify and whittle down morality simply in terms of personal responsibility like, "is my behavior hurting anyone else?" which is important of course, but really just the beginning of the discussion.

According to the Christian science of morality, any moral question has every one of the 7 virtues as an element of the answer and each is measure against the other providing deeper and deeper reference and clarity to the answer.

It goes something like this, say for any moral choice -- prudence: what are all the possible outcomes of the choice? How should I prepare myself or protect myself from negative outcomes? Temperance: does the choice represent excess or avarice or am I simply enjoying a healthy aspect of physical life? Fortitude: do I have the inner strength to handle the possible negative outcomes of my choice? Do I understand that it's my responsibility and not someone elses? Justice: is my choice fair to other people? Will a negative outcome of my choice unfairly burden others?

This is a simplification and only covers the cardinal or civil virtues, maybe I'll post more about the theological virtues.

Hugo -- care to chime in?

Obtestor

Our time to exercise control is sometime prior to ejaculation. After that, and until the child is born, our decisions ought to be subordinate to those of the mother because, in fact, she carries the child inside of her.

Men do not relinquish their individual rights in consentual sex. It takes two to tangle. Men should have the right to decide if they want a child or not if a female becomes pregnant because the female already exercises that right herself. What you are advocating is the 'entrapment' of men and the surrender of their rights so that they indeed become 'less than equal', a key modern feminist objective in matriarchal totalitarian America.

Obtestor

craichead

There are many aspects to this issue. First, reproductive rights can never be "equal" because the biological circumstance -- the true objective facts of it -- can never be equal.

That said, rights should be proportional. The choice to bring a baby to term or not is a choice that is simply the mother's choice. There's just no way around it -- it isn't something that's negotioable.

But what happens AFTER the child is born is where the problems lies for me. At this point, rights and responsibilites are neither equal or proportional.

Obtestor

Not trying to get into an argument, but just a reminder that there is more at stake than women choosing abortion out of desperation or loneliness or poverty.

Those are just feminist propaganda guilt-traps. I am talking about male rights. When a female becomes pregnant, what are the right's of the male that she claims is the 'daddy'?

That male is really a victim without any rights.

Let me put it to you this way, using pure logic instead of analogy:

1) When a woman becomes pregnant, what rights do men have in the disposition of the pregnancy?

Answer: Men have no rights.

So, using logic, you can't take all the rights away from a specific class of citizen (ie...men) and then claim that those same citizens you have raped of their rights are somehow 'responsible' to you since you stole their rights. That is police state activity.

Using an analogy now, what the female pro-abortionist movement does, in essence, is seek out a male slave at auction (but there is no cost incurred to the female purchasing the male slave at this modern slave auction), taking the male slave home with them to plant and then harvest a melon field, and then the female cashes in on the planting and harvesting of the melon field and then the female uses components of the slave industry itself to "punish" the slave for being stupid enough to be suckered into planting and harvesting a melon field for the female.

I mean, hey, if I could get some sucker to come on over to a slave-ranch and farm 500 acres for free, plant and till and then harvest my crops and then I kick them out and sue them for financial support for twenty years after the fact, I would be an idiot not to do it. The slave (modern American male) is the ultimate sucker in this deal.

That is what women do to men in America today legally using the racketeering divorce and child custody criminal syndicate. The abortion agenda is just another vast mechanism in that criminal conspiracy to strip men of their Constitutional rights.

Obtestor

Pseudo-Adrienne

Could you please explain some more?

Certainly. You're right, it does depend who the 'speaker' is when it comes to placing culpability on the biological parents. For women, I believe it's more societal and cultural culpability; people will say she should have done 'this' and 'that' to avoid an unwanted pregnancy and socially "damn" her according to social/cultural mores.

In the case of men, it is within the legislative and family court realm. But with most anti-choice arguments I see, the 'speaker' always seem to place the blame for the unwanted pregnancy on the woman.

The so called 'blame' should be distributed equally, at least in my own opinion. Both parties were equally negligent in their actions, but in too many anti-choice arguments, only the neligence of the woman is mentioned. I hope that helps. I'm just glad that Hugo is doing what he can to change people's views of culpability concerning unplanned pregnancies.

Pseudo-Adrienne

I see much more often that the woman is portrayed as a victim and the man as more of a predator.

And I don't agree with that portrayal. Both parties were equally negligent and irresponsible in their actions and I believe the culpability should be distributed equally.

Keri

NYMOM: Why is not wanting to bring about a pregnancy inherently "irresponsible" behavior? Personally, I think any man who knows that he's not prepared or doesn't want to support a child and therefore takes steps to prevent one from being conceived when he has sex is being very responsible.

There are too many different situations and different beliefs out there to state across the board that the only responsible behavior for a sexually active person is to "let nature take its course" and fully accept whatever happens. That might be a nice dream for financially secure middle-class women who have stable relationships and want children, but for the rest of us, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

craichead: The Lewis stuff is interesting, but I'm not sure what you're trying to say with it. No matter how influential Christianity has been in the development of society, many people are not Christian, and therefore (in my opinion) shouldn't be expected to live by Christian moral theories or by laws that are justified by nothing but Christian faith. The Christian moral philosophy is only one of many, and though there seem to be some ideas in it that might be good in a secular sense as well, it's not going to be as compelling to non-believers as it is to believers (which may explain why you see fewer people living by it these days).

As far as I'm concerned, personal responsibility/"is it hurting anyone" is pretty much the limit as to how much morality I'm comfortable with imposing on people through law, norms, etc. Everything else should be negotiated by each individual, whether he/she does it through Christianity or another religion or a secular philosopher or his/her own personal ethics. (This may have had nothing to do with what you posted, so I'm not really trying to argue; these are just some things your post made me think of.)

craichead

"The so called 'blame' should be distributed equally, at least in my own opinion. Both parties were equally negligent in their actions, but in too many anti-choice arguments, only the neligence of the woman is mentioned. I hope that helps. I'm just glad that Hugo is doing what he can to change people's views of culpability concerning unplanned pregnancies"

I agree -- though I do hate the word blame and would much rather use the word responsibility.

I find myself in this debate somewhat often -- what is the distribution of rights and responsibilitis of men and women in this situation. Yes, the rights and responsibilities post-birth are extremely lopsided and men should have as much choice at this point as women do.

But I say it, and at the same time I hate saying it. I'm a Dad. A proud Dad. I work hard for every aspect of my daughter's life and of everything I've screwed up in my life due to ignorance, laziness, immaturity or ineptness, being her father is the one duty around which I haven't a single regret. And I work hard reaching out to other fathers and mothers and groups to help make what we do better.

So even though I believe we should have equal rights and responsibilities, I find that arguing for the right to leave a child we've brought into this world to be at best a tragic debate. So in the end, what I'd really like to see is an equality in the rights and responsibilities in our personal value to our children, their value to our lives and how much more we can be to them other than just a paycheck.

craichead

"craichead: The Lewis stuff is interesting, but I'm not sure what you're trying to say with it. No matter how influential Christianity has been in the development of society, many people are not Christian, and therefore (in my opinion) shouldn't be expected to live by Christian moral theories or by laws that are justified by nothing but Christian faith. The Christian moral philosophy is only one of many, and though there seem to be some ideas in it that might be good in a secular sense as well, it's not going to be as compelling to non-believers as it is to believers (which may explain why you see fewer people living by it these days).

As far as I'm concerned, personal responsibility/"is it hurting anyone" is pretty much the limit as to how much morality I'm comfortable with imposing on people through law, norms, etc. Everything else should be negotiated by each individual, whether he/she does it through Christianity or another religion or a secular philosopher or his/her own personal ethics. (This may have had nothing to do with what you posted, so I'm not really trying to argue; these are just some things your post made me think of.)"

I understand what you're saying which is why I purposely stayed away from the theological virtues.

I also understand what you're saying about the "it doesn't hurt anyone else." But like I said it's a good start, but only part of it. It kind of reminds me of the objectivist Ayn Rand school of morality which is to live your life with the utmost integrity. Sure that's true, but it could be interpreted in so many ways that it quickly becomes meaningless -- which is why it's important to have a moral philosophy that measures the choice against several references -- and you don't have to be a Christian to measure your choices against prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude. Those can all be very secular and humanistic -- not to mention that they are fairly pervasive standards in nearly every human society.

To for the pregnancy and abortion issue the scenario could kind of go like this:

Prudence: What are all the possible outcomes for this act? I may be using birth control, but that's not 100% effective. Do I have the means to support a child of other outcomes? What about the person I'm having sex with? How well do I know him/her?

Temperance: am I having sex because I'm in a loving relationship with someone I know and trust or am I engaging in behavior for its own sake? Am I hurtin myself in some way through over indulgence?

Justice: if a child is conceived through this relationship, what is fair to the child, what is fair to his father? Is it just to see him as a source of income and not much more? Is it fair to the child to leave him out?

Fortitude: Do I have the strength to live with this? If I become pregnant and have an aortion, how will I feel after that? Will I be able to live with that or will I be changed negatively forever as a result? Same thing for adoption or keeping the child. Can I handle it?

So you see, measured against several elements the questions come more into focus whereas if there is only one question: "How does this hurt anyone?" rationalizations flow so quickly and easily that the question becomes valueless.

Hugo Schwyzer

Craichead, I'm not far off from where you are, though I don't think I am as quite as enamored of Lewis as you (though I remain a fan). But you and I share a commitment to the virtues of temperance and justice, among other things! Keri, I'm with you on this:

"Personally, I think any man who knows that he's not prepared or doesn't want to support a child and therefore takes steps to prevent one from being conceived when he has sex is being very responsible."

Agreed. Of course, I might prefer that he not have intercourse at all under those conditions, but if he is going to, I would much rather he wear a condom than nothing at all. I won't let the good b the enemy of the best, as some of my fellow pro-lifers are inclined to do.

Amy

What you are advocating is the 'entrapment' of men and the surrender of their rights so that they indeed become 'less than equal'...

Heaven forbid men, especially white men, finally learn what is is like when you get the short end of inequality! Obtester, twice you have referred to men as slaves and women as slave-owners. Not only is that offensive, but it has no basis in reality. Men make more money than women even when they have the same education level and are in the same line of work. Political offices the world over (including the US) are, and have been, heavily dominated by men. Women are far more likely to be victims of sexual assault and domestic violence than are men. If anyone is the slave here, it sure isn't men. My point here is reflected in your own words:

In the event that American women do have more than one abortion, then the state should decide if sterilization is necessary to correct that bad behavior.

Why do you assume that "the state" will choose to violate women in such a profound way? Because "the state" is controlled by men. No one who values and respects women should advocate a forced, invasive, often irreversible procedure that would rob them of the ability and the right to give life and carry a child. Forced sterilization has been used by governments (including the US) to prevent a group of people from multiplying. It is a form of genocide, not social policy.

Keri

craichead: I guess it's kind of a matter of semantics, then; while I consider the process you outlined a good, responsible, intelligent one to go through when making a decision, I don't know that all those things would fall under my personal definition of "morality." For example, I consider morality a set of guidelines to follow when interacting with others, and therefore I do not consider an action that hurts only oneself an "immoral" action. Might not be a good idea, but to me "not a good idea" and "immoral" are separate concepts. (This may be a Christian thing as well-- the justification I've heard for it in the past is that one's body belongs to God, not oneself, and therefore transgressions against oneself are immoral because we're obligated to protect the body God has given us. Does that make any sense to anyone who knows more about this stuff? I'm definitely no theologian.)

The other place where I see potential problems with the process from a secular point of view (at least with the pregnancy/abortion example) is the section about "temperance," because it assumes a Christian approach to sexuality. Not everyone believes that sex outside a loving relationship is unacceptable, overindulgent, etc. There may be a secular case to be made for that degree of sexual restraint, but in my opinion it's not as strong as the secular cases that can be made for the other steps in the process.

Otherwise, though, I'd agree that we might all be better off if everyone did that much analysis before making a major decision.

craichead

Keri-

I agree with you to some extent, but I still believe there's more to it than that. Also, it may be important to note that someone like yourself is perhaps more responsible than most in that if you incur some negative consequence, you may not expect someone else to pay the price. To me that's where the problem lies: a person may make the argument to him/herself that the choice hurts no one else, but when the consquences come to roost, it clearly does impact others.

I mean, in many ways this draconian child support enforcement system and systematic denial of the rights of fathers and children could be in many ways considered the result of men and women doing things they think involve no one else but themselves. Cynics could argue it, but we are a culture that by and large cares deeply for our children and when people do things they think effect no one but themselves the civil rights of good people beging to quickly evaporate.

The Birdwoman

As a vehement pro-choicer, can I say that it is very nice indeed to see someone on the "other side" advocating a sensible approach to sex education and birth control.

van

On abortion, I agree that both the man and the woman bear equal responsibility for their actions. I agree the man should be held accountable for the child. The woman should be held responsible, also. If the unborn child is both parent's responsibility, then the father should have a say in the matter. Until that happens, the man should not be held responsible (legally), if the woman has an abortion. To say that a man has all of the responsibility but none of the say in the matter, is ludicrous. One cannot have it both ways.

On the subject of men leaving women high and dry, there are laws to protect the woman. If the man does not pay, then he is put in jail. That is the law in many states. In fact, there are cases of men being held responsible for child support, when they did not even know the woman. They just had the wrong name.

On pay differences, men and women do have the same pay for the same job, educational background, experience at the company, etc. I think alot of the studies use average pay without any regard for the above. If someone knows of a study supporting that women get paid less for doing the same job, with the same experience, with the same education, etc., I would like to read it. I will say that women have an easier time getting into professional schools. In 1991, an African-American female needed only ~2.7 GPA to get into med school.

souraaron

I can assure you, this will matter a whole lot less once reliable pill based birth control for men comes out.

Truth be told, all this moralizing about sex gives me a headache. It affects women negativley - particularly at abortion time. It affects men negativley - particularly when they turn him into some kind of monster for the crime of having heterosexual sex.

It is the vice of righteous indignation that needs to be moderated (ironically, I read somewhere that you can become addicted to righteous indignation - I kid you not!)

The bottom line is this... men would love to have sex without consequences. Why shouldn't they? Sex feels good, it is healthy in moderation, and is good enjoyable fun when done with a willing partner. Heck - most of you reading this probably wish you were having sex right now!

So... when a technology comes along that allows men to have sex without consequences (and that isn't, coincidentally, something that makes the act sometimes ackward - aka condoms) - men WILL embrace it.

The funny thing that I am waiting for... in fact... hope to god happens - is to watch what happens when good male pill based birth control appears. I predict that men will start to get sued for *failure to empregnate*.

Why? Because women will no longer have de-facto choice. As some feminists like to say about pregnancy - the women have the babies, so the women get the choices. Fine. But when we control the sperm (and technology will soon give us that choice - in ways that are historically unprecedented) - AND men can make sperm for a lot larger span of their lives than women can make eggs - well - the conflict from this imbalance is only inevitable.

The male pill will make the abortion argument, as we know it, obsolete.

van

Souraaron,

Male contraception (other than condoms, which aren't as effective as other forms) is very difficult to achieve. Men do not have a "cycle" in the sense that women have, so using a hormone to regulate spermatogenesis (the formation of sperm) doesn't work, because men make sperm all of the time, whereas women ovulate once a month. Therefore, it is so much easier to make a female contraceptive (The Pill). There is in works a way to temporarily block the vas deferens and get contraception in men, but it requires a minor surgery.

Men should welcome male contraception. Why have someone else, possibly, control your destiny?

Sheelzebub

I'm all for a reliable birth control pill for men--and I'm glad that more people are finally clamoring for it. Before the new and improved paternity tests and child support, it was common for people to assume that birth control is a woman's concern only.

So yes, I'm quite happy that more men want reliable birth control for themselves. Even though I'm on the pill, I'd feel much more relaxed if I knew my partner also had something just as reliable.

However, we shouldn't dismiss condoms. They may be awkward and I'd rather not use them as sole birth control, but they're better than nothing when it comes to slowing the spread of STD's. In fact, it's dangerous to have casual sex with no protection at all, and I don't care if you're sterile, your partner is sterile/on the pill, or you are willing to have hundreds of kids. STD's are a real concern and issue.

Also, I doubt very much that men would get sued for failure to impregnate. First of all, if a man is sterile, there's nothing he can do about it. Secondly, if a woman wants to be pregnant that badly, there's IVF. Third, there's no obligation for a man to impregnate a woman and there is (for now) no obligation for a woman to have a child for a man. If a married couple is in conflict over the decision to have children, this will be brought out as a reason if they get divorced, but that's an irreconcilable difference.

I also doubt very much that the male pill will make the abortion argument obsolete. Certainly, good birth control, when readily available (and affordable), coupled with good sex ed greatly decreases the incidence of unplanned pregnancies. However, failure rates for all forms of birth control do exist, planned and wanted pregnancies go awry, and people still get careless.

Obtestor

The male pill will make the abortion argument, as we know it, obsolete.

I completely agree and that very pill that science has withheld from men because of the criminal racketeering of the feminist racket will also cause the total collapse of feminism.

Can you imagine a world, our world, when men no longer have to worry about fertility? Men will be indulging themselves with every American female without having to part with any of their rights nor resources in the process. It will be total male liberation.

I simply cannot wait for the male pill to hit the street.

All men have to do once the male pill does hit the street is watch out for some other criminal shift in the divorce/child custody syndicate. When men control their fertility and that racket starts to dry up, you know the vultures in the feminist movement will move on to some other money-making racket. Perhaps the greatest danger will be government's increased attempts to marry the massive populations of free males off to keep the syndicate going. All men will have to do is not marry and the perverse system that has preyed upon them and hunted them down like animals will self-destruct.

When that day comes, it will be a day of celebration.

Obtestor

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