Friday, November 18, 2011

Your Turn

I had a very interesting discussion last night at dinner with some friends. Usually I don't have discussions at dinner. Not because I do not enjoy them, but I prefer buffets and am generally either at the buffet table or eating as fast as I can for fear they will close the buffet before I can finish.


Anyway, the topic was this. If a woman has a right to choose whether or not to abort her baby, then why doesn't a man have the right to choose whether or not to help support the baby. In essence, a paper abortion. What do you think? Should a man have that right?

48 comments:

Nerdista said...

They do have that right...I know quite a few men who don't contribute at all to their children's upbringing. Plus, they can sign away parental rights, can't they? If not, then I think they probably should be able to. It's difficult to determine what is "fair" in this situation but if a guy did not want children but the woman did, I would think he should be able to make that decision for himself as well.

SueRH said...

No. The woman has the right to decide because it's her body that will be carrying the baby for 9 months and suffering the ravages(some permanent)of pregnancy. Once the child is in this world, it deserves to be supported, he or she didn't ask to be born.

Rita said...

It doesn't matter if you are for or against abortion.

It matters that you are against discrimination.

For generations women were discriminated against: they are responsible for getting pregnant, they are responsible for providing for themselves and their babies, their family support them.

If you are against abortion, then why are not men under lawful obligation to offer at the least financial support to all things pertaining to forced pregnancy?

Granny undies. Bigger bras. New bigger clothes. Eating more. All baby needs from cribb to diaper.

If you want to abolish abortion, then YOU MUST make the law just and equal: from the moment of conception, both parents are responsible for all things pertaining to the well being of the baby. STARTING with the mother's well being while pregnant with the baby.

In doubt, have paternity tests. There are many now non-invasive during pregnancy. And if the pregnancy is a result of rape, then any money the criminal makes behind bars, as well as after serving proper prison term, keeps on giving financial support for the baby.

Time for men to admit responsibility, and assume consequences, if they want to have the right in ruling women's bodies.

Layna Day said...

Yes. I'm fine with this. The last thing anyone needs is a parent who wish they weren't one. As long as he signs away his parental rights and doesn't try to interject himself in the child's life later.

As harsh as it sounds, if the mother decides to have a child the father doesn't want, she's solely responsible for the child's welfare, financially and emotionally.

Treesap-Covered Lady, the Humanist said...

@Layna Day---I agree 100%; couldn't have said it better myself.

derek said...

I've said this for years.

"It takes two to tango", but after the song has stopped, and the dance is over, only one of the dancers still has any sort of rights under the current doctrine.

The woman can opt out of her responsibility if she so chooses, she can have an abortion and walk away free and clear.

The man can not. HIS future fate and livelihood is determined solely at the whim of his pregnant partner.

If we accept that the man cannot force the woman to carry a child to term and a future life that she does not choose to, then it is completely discriminatory for the female to be able to inflict that responsibility on the male against his will.

FS said...

If men don't want their sperm to grow up into financial burdens, then contain your sperm. Men have 100% control of this, they can wear condoms and learn to use them properly or they can get vasectomies. Do the math. In one month of nightly sex with different partners, one woman can get pregnant one time. In one month of nightly sex with different partners (otherwise known as the NBA), a man could possibly father 30 children. Men already have the ultimate right, the right to not fertilize an egg.

heatherhug said...

What's really screwed up is that men who don't contribute AT ALL financially are still treated by the law in most states as having some sort of say. I know women who haven't seen the father of their child for 10 years since the birth and the father hasn't paid a dime to suppor his unknown kid, but then when they want to get a passport and take the child on vacation to a foreign country...you got it, deadbeat daddy has to be contacted and give his approval. WHAT THE FUCK.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

LOL @ FS re: "otherwise known as the NBA"

Patty said...

I take issue with the granny panty comment. Not necessary. I was able to continue wearing my bikini undies all through pregnancy.

I second the LOL on the NBA comment.

Please return to your debate.

ParkerNosey said...

As a "single" mother, this is a touchy subject. I was told I didn't have an option so I had the baby. He hasn't seen him since birth. He pays support but hey. . . My fiance is the one my son knows. I wanted my son. I didn't want to do this alone and I'm not. And I was on the pill since he "don't use condoms" and we had the battery of tests done. I still got pregnant. I think both parties are responsible before sex even begins. If you don't want a baby, do what you can. Aaallllllll that you can.

Layna Day said...

If men don't want their sperm to grow up into financial burdens, then contain your sperm.
By the same token, women can keep their legs closed or use birth control. Protection is the responsibility of both.

What heatherhug mentioned is exactly why I would have the father sign away his rights.

ParkerNosey said...

Unfortunately, in most places a man can't sign over his rights unless there's someone to sign them over to. I have legal and physical cstody of my son but he legally still has rights. . . Until we finish the paperwork for him to sign his rights over to my fiancee :-)

FS said...

I agree with you Layna, and a lot of women are diligent with their birth control. But, birth control in itself is sexist. Some people think it 'empowered' women and gave them freedom, but there is a very ugly political side to pregnancy politics that places blame on women simply because it is their bodies that carry the child, and they are made to feel inferior or even dirty because of it. It was one of the most eye opening experiences I had when I went to college and got involved in politics and policy making in my state capitol. Welfare politics, health policy and all kinds of other things that shame women as if they all get pregnant by immaculate conception. We're supposed to be grateful they gave us anti-conception methods that are messy, inconvenient, or screw up our bodies with hormones. I miss the late 80's and early 90's when men were so scared they carried boxes of condoms everywhere they went. (I hate the term 'birth control' its such a misnomer)

It absolutely takes two people to make a child and that is why both of them are equally responsible for preventing the creation of that child. If a man did nothing to prevent that, yes even if he 'trusted' his partner to take care of pregnancy prevention, then sorry, you are equally responsible for the life you have created. (And yes, I believe that men should have the right to stop an abortion if they are willing to take custody of the child as soon as its born).

Anyway, this is a very broad and very touchy subject. I could write a paper on 'pregnancy politics' but I think I've said enough for now.

.robert said...

Men should have no say beyond what sort of birth control they want to use beforehand.

OT but, how about a case my Mother ran into in court recently where a guy was there for owing $150k in child support. the judge asked how he came to owe so much and the guy said he had 24 children by various mothers.

Should society get some say in that sort of man's reproductive rights?

Maja. With a J. said...

The idea that a man should have the right to stop an abortion irks me. I agree that it SHOULD be between both parents, and think there SHOULD be a discussion about it where both parties have a say. But then, the idea of someone else making a decision that impacts MY body, MY uterus...no. Just no. I know that there are plenty of good men out there that are willing and able to take care of their babies, but at the end of the day, it's still the woman's body. No.

Layna Day said...

You make a lot of great points, FS. I think BC is pretty sexist, too. Where is that male pill they talked about?

Nearly all the shame falls on the women, so true. None of it is fair. Eve ate the apple, so what? I'm supposed to suffer because of what happened centuries ago? I'm not into paying for anyone's sins but my own, thank you very much.

It is a touchy subject. But healthy discussion is good. Conversations like this is when I'm glad I stumbled across this blog. :-)

Cardamoms said...

Too many of these comments look at from the point of view of the mother and the father while ignoring the rights of the child. Th unborn child is not capable of signing away his or her rights to have a financially involved father. That's what matters. Yes, it sucks for disinterested potential fathers that women get last choice about whether to proceed with a pregnancy or not. Life isn't fair. Get over it and bear the responsibility.

Janet296 said...

I think this is women finally getting the upper hand. Historically, if a woman found herself pregnant. All the man had to do is deny it. There were no test to prove differently. Now, you can not escape the truth. We do live in modern times though. There are ways for women to trick men and get herself pregnant. If he wears a condom, he should never have to worry. Unless you are in a long term relationship, why would you not take precautions against pregnancy? When you don't take precautions, you take the chance. If you get her pregnant, you should support the child.

Sue Ellen Mishkey said...

Apples and Oranges. I don't know how those two things are comparable.

Carrie L. said...

I'm really split on this. Probably because one of my best friends was once engaged & his fiance became pregnant. She found this out when they were living in different states (due to where they went to college). She didn't tell him until after the abortion. And what I saw for weeks, months & even years was a man completely devastated and in some ways destroyed by it. It is her body, but if he could have carried it for her he would. If she would have carried it to term & gave it to him to raise on his own, he would have. And I want to note that it had nothing to do with religious beliefs because he wasn't that religious. He had nightmares about the son or daughter that he never had a chance to hold in his arms and be a father to. Needless to say the engagement was off, but seeing how that situation played out will forever stick with me. On the plus side, he found a wonderful woman & they have three great children, but I know that it still haunts him that he should technically have a 16 year old kid right now.

It's a very difficult question to answer because I think there are so many situations and it's not a "one size fits all" thing. Enty, I don't want my brain to be working this hard on a Friday afternoon!

Ice Angel said...

I don't think anyone has the right to end an innocent life-born or unborn. Sorry.

And the father needs to pay support no matter what!

(waiting for the tomatoes)

ParkerNosey said...

@Carrie, sorry to hear about your friend. My heart breaks for people in incompatible situations like that.

@Ice Angel, no tomatoes here. Goose and Gander. You want to make your decision and others want to make theirs. I worked as a group leader with underage girls who were victims of rape and incest and got pregnant. Most wouldn't give their child up for the world now that they're here but most wish they never carried to term.

As someone who has travelled through many socio-economic demographics, I can honestly say I don't know what I would do except right now in my current relationship.

Cake said...

Right on, Ice Angel

The Black Cat said...

It would probaby lead to a lot less babies if a women knew the guy wasn't going to support her or the child

feraltart said...

It is such a difficult subject. I have often had this discussion myself. The problem becomes, can we have a legally binding way to ensure that the man will take the child if the female does not want the baby? You also have the issue of how pregnancy and childbirth can still be dangerous and result in the loss of life of both mother and child. The woman, even if she does not want the child, will still be pregnant. How does she explain this to people? A man can take claim of his child and say that he adopted, he doesn't wear the circumstances of the child on his body in public like a woman does. While women are still not treated equally (Kim Kardashian's sex tape is raised constantly, Colin Farrell's ???) how can we put the burden of single child birth onto the woman? And we still, in the 21st century, put the onus on the female re: pregnancy, not both the female and male as it should be.

Jennifer said...

How about this aspect... this is the 21st century and everyone is allowed to have a job. It doesn't actually take two incomes to raise a child, just one if you (a) have a decent job or (b) spend wisely. There's no automatic better financial situation to having two people paying for a child as opposed to having just one. If the woman wants to keep the baby but the father doesn't, she better have the $$ herself. She made the choice to allow herself to get pregnant.

Just like when couples get divorced, I really don't see the need for child support for more than a year. (I'll give a year of support along the lines of a severance package if the initiator of the divorce isn't the one who wants/gets custody) Whoever has custody of the kids either figures out how to pay for it themselves or doesn't get custody.

Me said...

the man has the choice to keep his dick in his pants.

Kara said...

I agree with Cardamom.

The right to child support belongs to the child, not the mother. So the fact that the MOTHER made a choice to have the baby is irrelevant. The BABY is the one entitled to the support, not the mother.

And the Dad's decision to not pay child support starts with a condom. Both parties are responsible, yes. But if you don't use birth control yourself, you can't complain when it doesn't work.

MadLyb said...

I haven't yet met a single mother who is getting child support. The sires of their child(ren) just don't bother to pay and they can get away with it. My good friend divorced after many years and he didn't pay a dime. So I'm thinking this is a moot point.

Mooshki said...

"Life isn't fair. Get over it and bear the responsibility."

Amen, sister! Yes, some people end up in horrible situations, but that's life. Since birth control isn't 100%, if you have sex, you're taking a risk. A woman should have control over the decisions about the fetus, because it's physically a part of her. Once the baby is born, it's the responsibility of both parents.

PS said...

Wow. I don't understand this debate at all. As adults, we all know that sex can and may produce a baby, birth control or not. Whatever your opinion on abortion, maybe you shouldn't be having sex with someone who doesn't share it. It's just the natural fact of life that the fetus is in the woman's body, so she controls it. We know this - even the men among us. Dress for the party, period. But, once a child is born, BOTH parents need to step up. That's what's in the best interest of the child, and Lord knows that if the two irresponsible losers who conceived a child can't even agree on whether to have the baby, that kid needs all the help they can get. As SOON as my sons are old enough to be even remotely interested in girls, believe me, it will be drilled into their heads like a trauma response to use a condom EVERY SINGLE TIME, unless its your wife and you want a baby. Once your child-having days are over, get snipped. That's it. I know waaay too many couples who have an oops child, and rarely does it really sound like a true accident, just like how a mans reproductivity, esp celebrities, seems to increase with his income... But, do NOT make the children pay for their parents idiocy.

Selock said...

Men make this decision all the time, informally. And they do have to acknowledge paternity, by signing paperwork before they can be placed on the birth certificate. It's not automatic unless you are married. I know this from experience. :)

After reading a lot of these comments, I guess I feel grateful that my daughter's dad was never really a deadbeat that way, thought we were never married and pretty much apart by the time our little one arrived. But we discussed options together when I found out I was pregnant. It was tough for him, because he felt it WAS ultimately up to me, since it was my body. But we knew it was both of our fault....so. We explored abortion, adoption, just sucking it up and getting married, and went to some (free at an adoption agency) counseling about it, all together. We went with none of the above options, and things have worked out well. (Helps that we were college (well, I was in my last semester) educated and had supportive families - would have been very different decision to make for me, otherwise). I've never relied on him for support.

I would guess there are plenty of birth certificates out there with no dad on them. It is a chore to prove paternity once it's been denied, I imagine. I'd say why not to having a formal dismissal of bio paternity, but they better make it as big of a deal to do so as getting an abortion is - it's not exactly something that can be done offhand. Once you're pregnant (or have impregnated someone), the jig is up - your life is altered forever. The process should reflect that for all involved, no matter what decision is made.

Selock said...

Oops, meant to say "I have never relied on him for support.*but have gotten it, and it means a lot*." When he couldn't pay it (he went back to school), he arranged for it to be paid.

Anyhoo...

Squeezebox said...

For the life of me I can't understand why more men don't just bank some sperm and then get a vasectomy. Sure, they have to pay an annual fee for the storage, but it is much, MUCH cheaper than child support. And that way, if you never want to be "oopsed", you won't. Yet, if you ever do decide to become a father, you still can. Just thaw out one of your deposits.

The dirty little reality that no one talks about is the number of guys who WANT to get their women pregnant, but DO NOT WANT to support their offspring. There's a number of reasons why they so definitely want to get her pregnant: control. Macho affirmation. Sexual fetish about impregnating a woman. They want to make her pregnant, but they do not want to be a father. No sympathy for these jerks, and yes, they should bear full financial responsibility for their choice.

The ones I feel sorry for are the guys who didn't want a baby, took measures to prevent that from happening, but something went wrong. Maybe they were deliberately "oopsed" by their partner. Maybe the birth control failed. At any rate, once that happens, their fate is in their partner's hands. Not only does she get to decide whether to become a parent, she gets to decide if HE becomes a parent. That, to me, is more potentially devastating than getting stuck with paying for a child one didn't want to have. You only have to pay for eighteen years, but becoming a parent is a forever, with potentially huge consequences. Even if you walk away, there's a good chance your child will want to get to you know in the future, and you'll look and feel like a heel if you don't reciprocate.

Interplanet Janet said...

Yes. Men should have the very same rights women have. Anything less is discrimination and sexism.

Me said...

MadLyb; i get both child support and spousal support. it took awhile for it to arrive on time. but once my ex was told by the judge that he would be fined and sent to jail for contempt if he made another late payment, he got it together. i get enough that i don't have to work, and my spousal support won't end until one of us dies. (my attorney was awesome).

Mooshki said...

It isn't sexism, it's simple biology. The situation is different for the man and the woman before the child is born. That's not about anyone's attitude, it's cold, hard, physical reality. I'm not saying a man has no rights, but the consequences for the woman are significantly stronger during the pregnancy. After it's born, then they get equal rights because the child is a separate entity.

derek said...

Mooshki - If I was to claim that women are ill-suited towards, say, law enforcement or infantry positions because they are biologically less physically strong than their male counterparts and then just say "It's biology, not sexism" that argument wouldn't hold water. Why does it hold water for the option of whether or not to bear post-conception responsibility for offspring?

Rita said...

Derek, excellent point. Quite refreshing to see a man's point of view on this issue.

Although I'm with Mooshki regarding consequences on the woman's body and health in comparison to a man's.

And we are talking giving life to a human being, an act with a higher impact on one's life, and the responsibility of a new life, that cannot truly be compared to career choices, even though some imply saving lives.

But it is a discussion about equal rights. So I'm wondering if you have anything to bring forward in regards to prior comments such as: some men simply want to impregnate their women, for machoismo purposes, without baring the consequences of those pregnancies. Which you must agree, it has become quite common in the US: more and more young men by the age of 25 have 3 or more children by different women, without ever physically or financially helping out.

I understand this issue goes deeper than simple abortion. We also have to bare the consequences, as a society, and understand that in the past 80 years, we have raised our boys to become men without honor. How else could you explain the cavalier way of discarding one's progeny?

Would honestly like your opinion on the question of abortion.

lalazz said...

I just had to chime in here, because this is basically my life. I dated T for close to 6 years... we had gotten to pretty much of the end of our relationship as it was, but couldn't entirely let go. We just really loved each other but couldn't make it work and it was just exhausting. Through this on again off again period I ended up pregnant. I had some medical issues, and had a very slim chance of conceiving, but took birth control religiously anyway. From the second I found out I was pregnant, people were throwing abortion pamphlets at me, and it made me pause. I 100% believe in a woman's right to choose, and it was pretty unlikely that I would have chosen life, but something just told me that this was my chance. I was 24 and not really established, but fairly on my feet. When me and T sat down for the talk, he was totally for me having an abortion. There was no arguing, and remarkably calmly, I told him that was fine, we would just treat it like an abortion, but I was still having the baby. I absolved him of any guilt or burden he may have had, sent him on his way, and he walked out of my life and never looked back.

It's funny the things you see in hindsight. I had a beautiful baby girl, and although money was always a struggle, we always have a lot of love. I have amazing friends and lots of family support. T had moved away, but there were times when T would visit and see mutual friends, where they would feel obliged to show off Katie's (my daughter) pictures, and they would feel obliged to report his reactions to me. Honestly, I would bristle a little when I would hear that he would brag on how cute or talk about her like he had a right to. He never tried to see her. Ever. And quiet honestly, I would not have turned him away if he had. I guess it just start eating at me that he would have an opinion about her when he didn't even know her.

Well, long story short, Katie and I had a great life. We managed not to kill each other in her teenage years, and she was a pretty great kid in general...danced, played softball, good student... When it came time for her to graduate from high school, out of the blue, T called and said he wanted to meet her. I told him that it was Katie's decision. I had never talked him down, and had only told her stories of the good times, and had only told her about his good qualities. Always surrounded by great people and a lot of love, she had remained relatively unscathed by not having her dad around, but I guess he was a missing link, and she was curious and had a right to know him. So I caved and let him come to her graduation, and they saw each other a few times after. And then the deadbeat emerged...

He would make plans with her, and then cancel. She went on to college and med school and he would call her sporadically and it just really messed with her head. She finally had enough of him, and basically dropped out of his life before he could hurt her again. We were talking one day, and I asked her if she regretted finally meeting him, and she looked at me with her pretty brown eyes and said, "No, now at least I know," but deep down, I have always thought that it hurt her more than helped her.

So after all this, I have to say that if I had a chance to do it over, I would have spared her from feeling discarded by him. I wish that when he had called that fateful day, I had simply said, "I had an abortion. Remember?" and left it at that. I mean truthfully, had I had one, he would have never had the chance to walk away twice.

Well, even if no one reads this, it has been therapeutic for me to write about it. So thanks for letting me ramble...

Rita said...

@lalazz - I've read it. And I find it beautiful and touching in its simple truth, and non-condescending tone.

Wonderfully told, that story of yours.

derek said...

Rita -

I agree that there are different levels of "risk" involved in the two participants in a pregnancy, but I'm not sure that changes the fundamental responsibilities.

I saw the prior comments about men wanting to impregnate, etc., etc., but at the end of the day, the woman has a choice as well, she can simply say "No, I'm not going to have unprotected sex." The responsibility for "getting pregnant" is completely shared, 50-50, so I'm not sure it's relevant. Absent non-consensual sex or fraud, a guy can't just "get a girl pregnant against her will." She chooses to have unprotected sex just as much as her partner does.

And if she doesn't know her partner well enough to know his motivations, then why is she having sex with him, let alone unprotected sex, in the first place?

And if she's choosing her partner badly, or misjudging him, or whatever, does she bear responsibility for that at all?

The bottom line, for me, is:

- If a woman gets pregnant and says, "oh hell no, I can NOT spend 18 years trying to raise a child with that man", she has the option of bailing out completely.
- If a man gets a woman pregnant and says, "oh hell no, I can NOT spend 18 years trying to raise a child with that woman", he has absolutely no choice in the matter.

And that, fundamentally, is discriminatory.

Lelaina Pierce said...

lalazz - Thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like you did a tremendous job raising your daughter.

@.robert - UGH. Stories like that make me STABBY.

I feel mixed emotion on this one but at the end of the day, since it's growing inside the woman, I feel like it should be her call what happens.

I have often wondered if the roles were reversed and men could conceive, what types of conversations we'd be having now.

Selock said...

I wonder what percentage of women who make the decision to have an abortion do so after the man involved has already been dismissed or dismissed himself from the equation? Would just be an interesting (though probably impossible) number to know.

lalazz said...

@ Rita Thank you so much for listening, and for your kind comment :)

@ derek I see your point, and I think it is a valid one.

@Lelaina Pierce Thanks to you too! I loved every second of raising Katie. Truth told, I learned just as much about life from her :)

To add another dimension to derek's comment, I want to tell you a story about one of my dearest and oldest childhood friends. He's a great guy! He was in a relationship for a couple of years with a really great girl. Everyone thought that they would end up together forever...they were a fairytale. Then, she got pregnant. He was over the moon happy about it. Well, she didn't feel the same. It's not that she wasn't happy in their relationship, but she just wasn't ready to be a mother. She was going for her masters and had a life plan, and there was just no room for a child in them. He did everything he could to assure her that he would do whatever he could to help her realize her dreams, would marry her, help her, support her...he begged and begged. She agonized (really tortured herself) about it, and cried buckets, but in the end, it wasn't what she thought she could do. So, she had an abortion and he was crushed. Even after that, they tried to keep it together, but finally it became too much. He was always a reminder of what was, and she was always a reminder of what wasn't. They couldn't forgive each other for not understanding. To this day it is a bone of contention for him that he didn't really have a say in the matter, that it was her body, and ultimately, her decision, but it was still his baby too. He felt that it was very discriminatory.

PS Just because it is Saturday and I don't want to be a Debbie Downer--years later, both of them went on to happy marriages with other people and lots of children :)

Mina said...

The thing is, even if both parties decide to have the baby the man can always walk away. If it's right after birth or after one year, two years, five years... Men can always say Um, you know what? This doesn't feel right for me. I'm gonna go now. Bye. and the woman is the one who's going to have to take care of the child alone. It is socially accepted that fathers tend to not be in their children's lives. You here some comments here and there, but those men are never treated with the same backlash a woman would have to face if she would decide to leave her kid.

As long as a woman can't be sure that the man will be with her to raise the child and take care of them she should have the right to choose alone if there's going to be new life in this world or not.
And with taking care I don't mean just writing a check every month. I mean being there for the child from the time of their birth to as long a father's help is needed.

As long as men are further popularizing the notion that they're just not as attached to their own children as their mother is due to the fact that they aren't the ones who give birth to them and thus their attendance and care is not really necessary they cannot honestly think that they have the right to tell the woman what she should do in case of a pregnancy.

Sorka8 said...

The only person I am sympathetic to is the child or the woman who is a victim of rape.

Otherwise if you play you better be protected and your partner needs to do the same. Shame on any of you men who do not put on a condom. Shame on any of you women who do not use some anti-contraception.
If you don't want to make sure you never bring a child into the equation then don't be playing. Abortion is not the answer either.