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Equal Rights for All
Posted by: Dale Franks on Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Don Surber writes that men should also have abortion rights. This echoes an LA Times piece by Meghan Daum from last year, in which she writes:
[A]lthough women are able to take control of their futures by choosing from at least a small range of options — abortion, adoption or keeping the child — a man can be forced to be a father to a child he never wanted and cannot financially support. I even know of cases in which the woman absolves the man of responsibility, only to have the courts demand payment anyway. That takes the notion of "choice" very far from anything resembling equality.

I realize I've just alienated feminists (among whose ranks I generally count myself) as well as pro-lifers, neither of whom are always above platitudes such as "You should have kept your pants on." But that reasoning is by now as reductive as suggesting that a rape victim "asked for it." Yes, people often act irresponsibly and yes, abortion should be avoided whenever possible. But just as women should not be punished for choosing to terminate a pregnancy, men should not be punished when those women choose not to.
This is actually quite an interesting concept. As the law stands now, there is an absolute inequity in the way men and women are treated.

Currently, the woman is the sole person who can choose to exercise the option of abortion. As a result, the man's financial entailment for child support rests entirely upon the decision the woman makes. If she decides not to have an abortion, or not to give up the baby for adoption, then the man has no legal choice but to pay to support the child. Conversely, even if the man wants the child, and volunteers to raise the child himself—which, to be honest, I presume would be relatively rare—he has no recourse if the woman decides to have an abortion. The choice to bear a child or not rests solely with the woman. This means that the fruits of the man's livelihood rest entirely with the decision of the woman as well. As such, the whole concept of "choice" is limited to a subset of the citizenry: women alone.

If women have the right not to choose to have the responsibility of having a child, then men should have the ability to make a commensurate choice. For unwed couples, then, this means that men should have the right to formally give notice of their intention not to provide parental support, if a woman chooses to keep the child. (Married couples, of course, would have mutual responsibility.)

Forget telling me that men should keep their fly zipped, or whatever. That reasoning applies equally to the woman. If she is mature enough to make a decision about whether or not to carry a child to term, then she's surely responsible enough to keep her fly zipped, too. If the decision to have and raise a child is not a mutual one, then the party that chooses to have the child should be the only party that is legally obligated to support it. This is called personal responsibility. If the woman chooses to keep the child, and that is her decision alone, then she should be the only one who is legally obligated to bear the consequences of that decision.

So, I'm all for freedom of choice. If the woman is the only one who decides whether or not she keeps the child, then the man should be the only one to decide whether or not he wants to be financially responsible for it. After all, if women want to have the freedom to control their own bodies, then they should also have to pay the price for their decision. If the man's decision about parenthood can't be in any way binding on the woman, then neither should her decision be binding upon the man.

It's called equality.
 
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It’s called equality.
There can never be equality in this issue since the mother has sole physical responsibility before the child is born/aborted.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
There can never be equality in this issue since the mother has sole physical responsibility before the child is born/aborted.
I believe Senator Clinton will be introducing legislation to address just this issue. Men will be required to bear the fetus/child/clump o’cells every other month of the pregnancy until he agrees to the inevitable abortion.
 
Written By: W
URL: http://
... As well as sole ability to abrogate whatever responsibility she chooses. Which leads us right back to Dale’s point.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Damn. (I was responding to JWG, not W)
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
You can’t have it both ways JWG.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
"Conversely, even if the man wants the child, and volunteers to raise the child himself—which, to be honest, I presume would be relatively rare"

Actually, you’d be suprised. I know a few guys, in person, not over the net, who wanted to keep and raise the child and weren’t given the option. It isn’t an "abstract" argument on that front.
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
You can’t have it both ways JWG.
I’m not sure I understand your point. My argument is that men cannot be equal with women when it comes to pregnancy. Therefore, searching for equality is futile. If the woman must always bear the responsibility of the physical pregnancy, then she also bears the ultimate decision of what happens to her body. If a man doesn’t want to be in a position in which he doesn’t have a say in the matter, then he shouldn’t be a part of a sexual relationship with that particular woman.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
If a man doesn’t want to be in a position in which he doesn’t have a say in the matter, then he shouldn’t be a part of a sexual relationship with that particular woman

By that standard, all men should go live in a cloistered temple somewhere, since by your definition he will have no say in the matter, no matter who he has sexual relations with.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
If the woman must always bear the responsibility of the physical pregnancy, then she also bears the ultimate decision of what happens to her body.
Part of what’s in her body is no longer her.
If a man doesn’t want to be in a position in which he doesn’t have a say in the matter, then he shouldn’t be a part of a sexual relationship with that particular woman.
If a woman doesn’t want to be in a position in which she doesn’t have an absolute say in the matter, then she shouldn’t be a part of a sexual relationship with that particular man.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
I am with JWG in this. Equality is an abstract notion that is impossible to apply to the physical realities of pregnancy. The woman bears an unequal burden in this case. To allow political theory to trump physical reality is to enter into the fantasy land of the ideologue. It is a cold and dark place but never fear, you will have the fire of your beliefs to keep you warm.
 
Written By: Lighthouse
URL: http://
She has an unequal burden when it comes to her physical health, but that’s it. Otherwise it’s a joint venture.

The point of "you can’t have it both ways" is that the female on one hand can’t expect to be the sole decision maker to abort and yet expect non-negotiable financial/emotional/physical support from the male if she chooses to have the baby against his will.

In other words, if you’re going to claim ultimate and final authority then you’d better be prepared to take ulitmate and final responsibility.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Sour grapes aspect: I blogged about this more than 3 years ago, so it’s not a "new" concept to me. Just call me Cassandra.

In the discussions I’ve had, women only care what happens to them. They argue they have the right to control their body, but ignore that men use the minutes and hours and days of their lives, and the efforts of their bodies, to earn the money they are forced to give to the woman. To have control of their bodies to the same level of women, they should be able to choose to not support the child.

But "equality"? They don’t want equality. It’s right there in the name: Feminism.

And Mark is absolutely correct: what’s in her body has a unique genetic makeup; it’s no longer her. Which is why I haven’t ever vociferously argued against fetal stem cells. As soon as a any sort of societal or dollar value is placed on a "clump of cells", then men will be able to go to court to protect their interests, since they provided half of the genetic material.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
if you’re going to claim ultimate and final authority then you’d better be prepared to take ulitmate and final responsibility
The woman only has ultimate and final authority while the fetus is a part of her body, since the man cannot bear this burden equally. Once the fetus is no longer within the woman, then the male has equal responsibility. If the law is going to differentiate human rights based on whether the baby’s head is inside or outside of the woman’s body, then the law can differentiate parental responsibility based on where the baby physically exists as well.
If a woman doesn’t want to be in a position in which she doesn’t have an absolute say in the matter
Her body bears the medical responsibility, therefore she has the ultimate medical decision.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
To have control of their bodies to the same level of women
Do you really write this? You’re equating employment to pregnancy, birth, and all the medical responsibilities that go with them?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Hmmm, give men the right to decline to pay child support AFTER the pregnancy is known. Seems like a bad idea to me. I have a couple of problems with this:

1. The State. Yes, if I were a big L Libertarian I would rant about how the State should not be involved in welfare . . . But I am a small l libertarian so . . . The State is involved and since I am the State I don’t really want to pay for someone else’s 10 minutes of fun so if the State has to pay both parties remain on the hook.
2. The man shouldn’t have the right to decline unless he has a presex agreement, signed by both parties outlining his and her responsibilities in the event of pregnancy. If the agreement stipulates that he has no responsibility, then as to the woman he would have no responsibility. See above for his responsibilities if the State becomes involved through welfare, etc. Cumbersome, no? But only fair that he must make the decision before the “fun”. If he is too lazy or can’t get the agreement, I don’t have any sympathy for him.

Now, should the man have any ability to legally force the woman to bear the child (really stop her ability to abort), if he is willing to accept full financial responsibility? Or should the abortion rights in that case be limited to cases where the woman has a health reason for abortion? Other ideas?

Mark
 
Written By: Maddog
URL: http://
JWG,
I wrote that, but you seem to have deliberately misinterpreted it.
I never equated employment to pregnancy. In simple words: I equated freedom to freedom.
It is not the principles of medical responsibilities and pregnancy and birth that pro-abortionists claim abortion rights, but on the principle of freedom, the freedom a woman has to control her own body. To be logically consistent (something I’ve never accused feminists of being), you can’t throw that principle out the window. You can’t use a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body to put a man into financial slavery for 18 years. It doesn’t make sense.

Personally, I think a man should take care of his kids; it’s the only responsible thing to do. Making a choice, you should accept the consequences of that choice. Where my view diverges is that I don’t think women should have some special right to be protected from consequences. And I use equating freedom of choice with freedom of choice to highlight the ridiculousness of the feminist pro-"choice" position. Putting words in my mouth doesn’t change that.

Anyway, technology will solve 99% of this problem in another 30 years. The remaining unresolved cases will highlight the moral abyss of feminist pro-choice advocates.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://chieflymusing.com/
I think you’re missing the point JWG.

We allow a woman to abort because the pregnancy and/or child will constrain her life beyond what she’d like (not for health reasons), no matter that the father wishes to have the child. He has no legal say in the matter.

On the other hand, if she decides to have the baby but the father would prefer an abortion, he still has no legal say and in fact he will be forced to support the child.

That is clearly a standard which completely ignores the father’s wishes and it is soley based on the fact that the female is carrying the baby.

While carrying of the baby is firm ground for giving her ultimate authority to abort based on jeopardy to her health, I don’t see why it should give her ultimate authority over the father for any other reason (except rape, incest). You’re statement that:
If a man doesn’t want to be in a position in which he doesn’t have a say in the matter, then he shouldn’t be a part of a sexual relationship with that particular woman.
implies that you accept that a man doesn’t have a say in the matter. Fine, but I disagree that it should be that way.

 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
I think looking for equality in choice in this area is a fool’s errand. There’s a basic, unavoidable biological inequality. No matter how unfair women think it is, men can’t have babies. Women have sole dominion of the fetus-development project. And no matter how unfair men think it is, that sole dominion gives them sole dominion over the choice of whether to move forward with it.

Trying to create some equal choice from that fundamentally unequal biological fact is foolish.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
You can’t use a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body to put a man into financial slavery
Of course you can. The man made his choice to have sex with the woman knowing he would be financially responsible for any child conceived. Both people are financially responsible for the child, so the woman is as much a "slave" as the man. Equality! The only inequality that exists is who bears responsibility for choosing the appropriate medical procedures — and that responsibility resides in the "owner" of the physical body.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Let me break it down this way:
1) Is there equal responsibility before pregnancy?
2) Is there equal responsibility during pregnancy?
3) Is there equal responsibility after birth?

The only time in which the man does not share responsibility is during pregnancy, and that is due to the biological responsibility required by the female.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Likewise, the woman made her choice to have sex with the man, and so should be biologically responsible for any child conceived. Pro-abortion support shown to be dishonest!
Go ahead and say it, "men can’t understand the pain of pregnancy!" You know you want to.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
I agree with Nathan.

There really isn’t equal responsibility before the pregnancy - a female doesn’t have to be equally responsible because she can opt out of the pregnancy if she so desires. The male has no choice.

You folks arguing that the biological trumps all are on shaky ground. I think it trumps certain cases only.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
so should be biologically responsible for any child conceived
This wasn’t a debate about the legality of abortion. It is about who should bear the decision-making and financial responsibility.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
You can’t unwind the female’s unilateral ’right’ to abort responsibility from the male’s inability to take or abort responsibility. It’s a joint venture.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
There really isn’t equal responsibility before the pregnancy - a female doesn’t have to be equally responsible because she can opt out of the pregnancy
Both are equally responsible for the acts leading to conception. It’s not until conception that the female temporarily gains additional responsibility and the male temporarily loses responsibility.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
No man, you’re missing it. She’s not equally responsible for the outcome of the act. She can alter the outcome, he cannot. She doesn’t, therefore, have to be as responsible as he about engaging in the act. I guess that’s the payoff of feminism, the freedom to be irresponsible about sex.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
When he alters the outcome they usually call it murder.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I think looking for equality in choice in this area is a fool’s errand. There’s a basic, unavoidable biological inequality. No matter how unfair women think it is, men can’t have babies. Women have sole dominion of the fetus-development project. And no matter how unfair men think it is, that sole dominion gives them sole dominion over the choice of whether to move forward with it.

Trying to create some equal choice from that fundamentally unequal biological fact is foolish.
Jon, you and JWG are missing the point of equality here.

The issue isn’t that a woman can opt not to have a baby and a man can’t. The issue is that a woman can absolve herself from any financial responsibility for a baby and a man can’t.

To expound, a woman can say, "I don’t want the financial, emotional, and life-style burden of this child, but rather than destroy the life, I’ll give it to someone else," and then walk away from the child (by putting it up for adoption).

However, a man CANNOT say the same thing and walk away from the child by letting the woman (who wanted the child) take care of it.

If you don’t see the fundamental inequity there, then this thread is futile.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com
Oh, I see the inequity, but it’s a natural one. It might be "fair" between the man and woman to give the man equal opportunity to opt out of fiduciary responsibility for the child, but it’s certainly not fair for the child. Ultimately, society — and most moral systems — make a father responsible for a child, not because he owes it to the mother, but because he owes it to the child. He may be able to negotiate some other arrangement with the mother, but he cannot negotiate another arrangement with the child.

Is that unfair? Tough. If technological advances allow us to implant a baby in a male, then the woman will be on the short end of the stick. In the meantime, both parents have a commonly recognized legal and moral responsibility to a baby that’s been born. These notions of equity between parents are completely irrelevant. The responsibility is not to the other parent, but to the born child.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
The issue isn’t that a woman can opt not to have a baby and a man can’t. The issue is that a woman can absolve herself from any financial responsibility for a baby and a man can’t.
I’ll restate my argument one last time:

First, a man and a woman cannot be equal because of biological necessity, unless you want to argue that a man should have the right to force a medical procedure upon a woman after he’s had sex with her.

Second, a man CAN protect himself from financial responsiblity in a number of ways. The woman just has one more way than the man due to her biological difference. Again, if you want to argue that a man can have some say in what happens to a woman’s body, then be my guest. I don’t think that argument will go over very well. If you want to argue that a man should be able to walk away from his responsibility in creating the child due to a notion of unfairness to the man because he can’t choose an abortion, then I submit that the man DID have a choice before he had sex. The fact that the woman has an extra choice doesn’t take away the initial choice from the man.

Aditionally, I would think that the fact that there are so many single mothers raising children without financial help from the fathers that men do have a de facto method of avoiding financial responsibility.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Problem is, Jonj, in most places they have laws (Safe haven, adoption, et al) which allow a woman to abandon a child, or place it up for adoption, and then walk away - and if the father wants it he has to fight an uphill battle, and even if he wins, she’s still off scot free.

Under the "unfair to the child" premise, he should get first choice, and she should be equally on the hook.

And 99.9% of these issues would be a moot point if the reality matched the rhetoric of "the obligation is to the child" and the posters of "this deadbeat owes his children $XX,XXX" - if the money is "the child’s" then the custodial parent is a caretaker and trustee, and is accountable for that money. As long as they are unaccountable, to say the obligation is to the child is a transparent legal fiction.

And what isn’t fixed by that would be straightened out by punishing custodial and visitation shenanigans as draconianly as CS is persecuted - er, prosecuted. But we’ve an industry here, and the state can collect federal money by going after CS debt, but not custodial debt. It corrupts the system. There’s no money in pursuing justice for a man who is driven out of his children’s lives.

And there is something fundamentally wrong where a man who just sends a check once a month and has sod all to do with his kids is considered a better father than an engaged father who has cash flow problems. Look up "Dead Broke Dads" on google. It’s a far cry from "Dead Beat Dads" - and the odd thing is, proportionally speaking, the percentage of non-custodial women who don’t pay their CS judgements is far, far in excess of the men who don’t.

Honest to God, my friend, I work with these kinds of men all the time, and except in instances as rare as hen’s teeth, the only time I ever see CS being begrudged is when they (A) don’t get access to their kids, and get ignored by the courts in trying to enforce visitation, and/or B) pay their support, and go over and find the new SO has a new set of tools, there’s a full liquor cabinet, the new children are all cleaned up with new clothes, but their child is in the grubbies and he is getting hit up for more money for schoolbooks, clothing, and such.
 
Written By: Pete Jensen
URL: http://
Ultimately, society — and most moral systems — make a father responsible for a child, not because he owes it to the mother, but because he owes it to the child.
When did sperm donors become responsible for those children sired by them?
 
Written By: h0mi
URL: http://
Here’s one, and, an analysis of the case by Wendy McElroy.

And one from out of the country.

Not too many so far - but the foundation has been laid. Never underestimate the depths to which the state will sink to pick your pocket.
 
Written By: Pete Jensen
URL: http://
You know, the thing is - if he’s considered a good enough parent to pay support, he’s a good enough parent to be the primary caregiver and RECIEVE support. This is the age of equality, and the mother should be expected to get up, go out, and work - and as for me, unless there is a huge physical disability involved that prevents getting honest work, not having a job should be held against someone - man or woman. (And said physical disability would probably preclude the ability to be the primary caregiver.)

The "Tender years doctrine" is the type of paternalism that feminism professes to scorn, but in their magnificent hypocrisy you won’t hear them speak against it - and it should be off the books. Same with the whinge about "I carried the baby, it’s mine!" No, my dear - it’s not. You claimed it "ours" when you filed for support.

And ability to earn a living, ad provide a comfortable lifestyle for the baby should probably be the biggest element of the decision, next to wanting to do it - I’ll contend with you very much on the assertion that most men don’t want the child. Most men, on the contrary, are advised by their lawyers that filing for custody is a loser from the gate, due to the bias in family court against them.

It’s Solomon’s choice - and I’ll put good money down that faced with such a thing, and the baby no longer being a guaranteed meal ticket for some of these freeloaders, that there will be a lot less "Ooops!" moments, you mark my words. First time a pro athelete gets awarded custody because he can provide a better life for the resultant child will be the last time a condom is fished out of a trash can and turned inside out in the bathroom.
 
Written By: Pete Jensen
URL: http://
It might be "fair" between the man and woman to give the man equal opportunity to opt out of fiduciary responsibility for the child, but it’s certainly not fair for the child.
No. It’s not fair for the child. That’s tragic, but, any time a child is born to irresponsible parents, it’s unfair to the child. That’s a sad fact of life.

Perhaps by making the consequences of choice as stark for the mother as they are for the father, we can encourage women to make better choices, both pre- and post-conception.

 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
The issue isn’t that a woman can opt not to have a baby and a man can’t. The issue is that a woman can absolve herself from any financial responsibility for a baby and a man can’t.

To expound, a woman can say, "I don’t want the financial, emotional, and life-style burden of this child, but rather than destroy the life, I’ll give it to someone else," and then walk away from the child (by putting it up for adoption).
A woman has the power to absolve both she and the man of responsibility. She cannot absolve herself, but leave him on the hook. Moreover, a woman cannot unilaterally decide to give a baby up for adoption without the consent of the father.
Problem is, Jonj, in most places they have laws (Safe haven, adoption, et al) which allow a woman to abandon a child, or place it up for adoption, and then walk away - and if the father wants it he has to fight an uphill battle, and even if he wins, she’s still off scot free.
As I understand it, the Safe Haven laws merely exist to prevent people from dumping babies in trashcans. To place a baby up for adoption, both parents must give up their claims. A woman cannot do it over the objection of a competent father.
When did sperm donors become responsible for those children sired by them?
Touche’! That’s a very special circumstance, but there have been cases recently where, if he can be identified, a sperm donor can be held responsible.
Perhaps by making the consequences of choice as stark for the mother as they are for the father, we can encourage women to make better choices, both pre- and post-conception.
That’s a lovely bit of social engineering you propose. Certainly, you can enact laws that will change the incentive structure involved, but you’d also change the incentive structure for fathers. And that would leave us with a lot of children who’ve been "divorced" by fiscally irresponsible dads. So it’s hard to see how the social engineering would leave us better off.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Touche’! That’s a very special circumstance, but there have been cases recently where, if he can be identified, a sperm donor can be held responsible.
Should they be?
 
Written By: h0mi
URL: http://
This wasn’t a debate about the legality of abortion. It is about who should bear the decision-making and financial responsibility. Written By: JWG

If the father punches her in the tummy on the way to the abortion clinic he is charged with Capital Murder. If he doesn’t, the mother will then merely exercise her "choice" to terminate the pregnancy. Either way...the kid is murdered. No wonder women call it pro-choice.
 
Written By: cheesehead
URL: http://
If a single mother, feeling overwhelmed, decides to put her chhildren into the foster system, is she required to reimburse the state for the cost of their upkeep?

Should she be?

Policies such as suspension of professional and drivers’ licenses, along with the imposition of substantial jail sentences, suggests an agenda more interested in criminalizing men than providing for children.
 
Written By: Owanax
URL: http://

 
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