Friday, July 2, 2010

Piece of Advice #50: Realize that your reproductive "rights" utterly trample men's reproductive rights

Read the above sentence again.  And again.  And again.

I have one child, a son.  Whether he has children will be entirely dependent on some woman someday deciding to allow him to reproduce.  He can't do it on his own, and she is entirely free to dispose of any in utero grandchildren of mine without consulting him, me or my husband, her own family, or anyone else up until the minute it gasps for breath outside the womb.  Even though this hypothetical child is half his genetically, and even if it is viable outside of the womb, and even if he wanted that child and was willing to raise it alone, eschewing any support, monetary or otherwise, she could destroy it and and tell him with a smile and these horrible women would shout with glee about what a triumph her choice would be for womankind.

Amanda Marcotte has made up some faux sympathy cards for men who are upset that their partners chose abortion.  Now Amanda is on an average day a wretched piece of smug, condescending, bitter and angry agitprop that respirates, but this particular bit of hers made me physically ill.  Here's the deal, pro-deathers, some men actually want to have children and anticipate experiencing that aspect of life with women who are not assassin droids.

Here are some tender words of feminity from our friends at Pandagon:
If a man tried to pull that crap with me, I’d tell him that if he cares about the embryo so much then he should get to work on inventing a way to transfer the pregnancy into his own body.  Oh, you don’t really want this thing to leech off your body for several months?  Well, I don’t either.
Has anybody read some of the “testimonials” on the FFF site? Yikes.
A bunch of whinging and crying about how a woman’s abortion has ruined their lives.
A sadder bunch of selfish douchwads I’ve never had the misfortune to come across - if they exist at all.
Perhaps there should be a whole line of cards:
“I’m sorry she made you use a condom”
“I share your pain in finding out about her diaphragm”
“You’d be a dad if it weren’t for that IUD. I feel your agony.” 
And a flower of sympathy at Feministing:
But there is no legitimacy to him feeling like that. This isnt a miscarriage its an abortion. Trying to 'meet him halfway' will result in loss of rights of women. You dont legitimaze unhealthy entitlement. Just like you dont make a card for a guy that says 'sorry she chose to have a kid rather than abort.' Trying to claim that men are harmed by these personal reproductive decisions women make IS having it dominated by anti-choice ideology.
I swear, abortion rhetoric is sounding more computer generated by the day.   Except for the typos.

Now, I'm outing myself here as anti-abortion which is probably not such a huge surprise, but as a pragmatist and a realist, I have come to believe that abortion is here to stay.  The cat's out of the bag, there's no shoving it back in.  What I would like to address is the idea that in a relationship the woman decides anything regarding procreation and has the greater vote.  If you are married, these have to be mutual decisions.  (If you are unmarried, don't sign up for single motherhood.  Just don't.)  And his opinion matters.  He may be able to view the situation from a different standpoint, perhaps even more objectively given the lack of new hormones rushing through this bloodstream.  Yes, parenting is a sacrifice, and for the first bit the mother pulls the lion's share.  She carries the baby, she nurses the baby, she hauls the baby around.  Her body isn't her own for a good long time.  But it's not as though fathers are unaffected.  Fathers also raise and support.  Fathers have to assist their wives and live through the upside-down postpartum craziness.  Fathers very frequently pay for the better part of the family's expenses.  We have to respect that.

We seem to be reaching a point in society where - unlike back in the early 1960's when the pill was first introduced and advocated for use in serious situations only - if a pregnancy interferes with, say, the nail appointment you've got schedule in 3 weeks, delete it.  The above women would say that because a woman has to carry a pregnancy, hers is the only voice.  Her body, her choice.  I say that if that is your attitude, get your tubes tied because the Number 1 principle of parenting is sacrifice, and if you can't even compromise in hypothetical negotiations about reproduction, well...

My advice to the man whose girlfriend (which seems to be the situation hypothesized here) chooses to abort without telling him or against his strong protestations: get out of that relationship and start looking for someone with stronger maternal streak.  And my very real condolences to you on your loss.


  1. Oh man, you come out with some crackers:

    "Amanda is on an average day a wretched piece of smug, condescending, bitter and angry agitprop that respirates"

    I'm using that one ;)

    In all seriousness; this causes rage in my heart too. Reproductive law, certainly in the US and the UK, is unjust and immoral. Roll on the revolution.

  2. I should have a 15 year old child right now.

    I don't.

    My ex became pregnant because she claimed that she was "safe" and she was not. I didn't maliciously impregnate her, as many seem to feel is the only way to become pregnant.

    We aborted the pregnancy. Two hours later, she ran off with her new boyfriend (who may have been the actual father - I'll never know).

    To say that abortion doesn't affect men is ludicrous. My family disowned me for 6 months over this decision. I was left to sort through my feelings on my own. I *still* have dreams of my unborn child. I still wonder who she would have been. I still feel the pain of her absence, even though I KNOW that it was the right decision (we were too young, and the relationship already had problems, such as what I alluded to above).

    My daughter's name is Sophie. She would have been 15 years old this year.

    To say I'm not affected by this is crap, and meanspirited wishful thinking on the part of people who would paint half of the world's population as evil, unthinking, uncaring, malicious shits. What can I say? Projection is a bitch.

    I like to think there are shades of gray, and that life is beautiful in its complexity. There are no simple answers. There are no simple solutions.

    Feminism lost the plot a long time ago, when it became an exercise in institutionalized Borderline Personality Disorder.

    I've only discovered your blog in the last few days. Just wanted to say thank you.

  3. This is one of those issues that really needs to be discussed before you have sex. I believe in a woman's right to choose but in honesty. If a man and a woman have "the talk" before they have sex and the woman agrees she won't (or will) have an abortion, she should follow through with that decision. People say "it's different when it happens to you", but it's not. All that changes are your feelings, you get more scared because the hypothetical consequences have become real. Your objectivity goes out the window.

    I know it is difficult to have these talks ahead of time but it really is necessary. Do NOT have sex with a person if they are not on the same page regarding birth control and abortion. That goes for women and men.

  4. sconzey - thank you and feel free to recycle. ;)

    Anonymous - I am very sorry for your loss. I imagine your grief process was complicated and difficult. I used to be much more strident against abortion. Now I am more fatalistic and save the bulk of my outrage for the people who would make having one a feminist badge of honor or who actively promote it to others without acknowledging what is really happening. I think it's very easy to make mistakes when you are young and I think abortion is marketed as a simple, straightforward solution. For some, maybe it is. I think GudEnuf has some very useful advice in making sure you are on the same page regarding birth control. There is always the potential that one or the other person will change his or her mind when the situation becomes personal and *that* can really damage a relationship, but forewarned is forearmed, and better to have some consensus to begin with.

    In any case, my sympathies are with you. I know how hard it is to grieve a baby lost.

  5. My advice to the man whose girlfriend (which seems to be the situation hypothesized here) chooses to abort without telling him or against his strong protestations

    These hypothetical men don't exist, or at least largely only exist in the minds of the posters on that blog and the blogger herself.

    To clarify, I'm not saying the kind of situation doesn't happen. I'm saying 99% of the nasty feminist types find themselves not having a man to send such a card to, pregnant or not. Hence all of the gnashing of teeth from aging feminists about lack of men, etc in the media when the data proves that the overwhelming majority of women still marry in their 20s.

    The whole thing reads like a group of geeks commenting on how they would theoretically slam a hot woman who came on to them because she lacked world of warcraft skills.

    If you haven't already grabbed a copy of the blog & cards for reference, you might do so. If they have half a brain they would realize how damaging their cackling is for their own cause and pull the whole thing.

  6. @GudEnuf
    If a man and a woman have "the talk" before they have sex...

    Interestingly, I've been reading that just such a talk is found in many cultures. In the west, this was often done in the presence of a priest or minister.

  7. dalrock - I think the original FFF site with the real sympathy cards will stick around for awhile. It is propaganda; I'm not disputing that. It's just propaganda I like better than what Marcotte spews.

    I just did an alexa search for feministing and They both get a serious amount of traffic. I realized strong opinions attract attention - positive and negative - but I find it disturbing how many people buy into this at all.

    I did take a screen shot of the original site for my records, per your suggestion.

  8. I wish I could say that I don't believe what I just read but I know it is sadly the way people think. I don't understand having such disregard for other people. The guy and the child.

    Women claim the child as theirs when it is convenient as in the case of having it or having custody. And not theirs also when convenient, child support and disciple.

    This post makes me want to cry.

  9. I think the original FFF site with the real sympathy cards will stick around for awhile. It is propaganda; I'm not disputing that. It's just propaganda I like better than what Marcotte spews.

    I meant the site mocking the idea. They are better propaganda against abortion than the original site.

    As to the numbers, I'm still convinced that they are a very small but vocal sliver of our overall society. They don't really scare me because ordinary men can sense them a mile away, and they don't have the votes to do any damage. I guess it is harsh, but their kind is already dieing out. You would think folks with such an obsession with teaching evolution would get this.

    But they do annoy me. When I was 20, they annoyed me with their constant bleating of "I don't need a man", "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle".

    I thought that was irritating, but now 20 years later they are back crying "Where have all of the men gone?" "How come no one gets married any more?".

    Everyone else got on with our lives and left them alone. Can't they return the favor? I'm busy. I have a wife and kids.

  10. The idea that men cannot be effected by abortion is ludicrous. While not exactly the same situations, I'd imagine the loss felt is similar to that of a man or woman whose lost a child through miscarriage: the sharp, painful ambiguous loss of what might have been. These losses are especially hard as their is no "proof" that the lost person ever existed and not much support by society at a large. Knowing how traumatic ambiguous loss is in my circumstance, where I at least can find support from other women who know the pain all too well, I cannot even begin to imagine how alone a man would feel in the aftermath of an abortion. Where we he go for help, validation, or healing from such a loss?

  11. If one wants to totally destroy whatever kind of relationship they have with their child, tell them that you aborted their older siblings.

    I haven't told my mother that I love since she broke the news to me because I don't love her anymore.

    To say I hate abortions would be the understatement of the millennium.

  12. Excuse my typos in my earlier comment. My brain is not functioning today. ;)

  13. As long as women have their health affected and ruined by pregnancy and as long as women die in childbirth, women are the only ones who have the right whether to carry a child to term or not.

    And for all those men so desperate to have babies, grow a womb or support research into artificial womb technology. Which is blocked by religious nutcases like you

  14. @Anon
    As long as women have their health affected and ruined by pregnancy and as long as women die in childbirth, women are the only ones who have the right whether to carry a child to term or not.

    I think there is some logic to the argument that women should have a greater say in something so directly related to their body/health, etc. But your synthetic womb argument is what would actually prove the lie to this. If scientists announced tomorrow that they now have a way to remove an unborn child in a less intrusive way than abortion and bring the child to term externally, would this change your support for abortion?

    As to your suggestion that men should support research into synthetic wombs, this really isn't necessary. Those of us who want to have kids don't have any problems finding wonderful wives to have them with. I found one, and so did grep's husband. The impracticality of a synthetic womb has already been proven by feminists. For all of their talk about only needing a man's sperm, how many actually have kids this way?

    The average hard core feminist is about as likely to have children as I am to grow a womb.

  15. uhhh...hey anon, where does religion enter the picture in this essay?

  16. The modern world: all rights, no responsibilities.

  17. Lots of comments left while I was doing the family get-together thing.

    1st Anonymous - I don't know what to say re: your mother except that I'm sorry you feel you cannot love her now.

    dalrock - I agree with you that the Amanda Marcottes of the world are the lunatic fringe, however I encountered these types frequently when I was in college. They were the ones teaching "history" and "political science" and sneaking large doses of hard core feminism and white self-loathing into the course syllabi, so I don't think their influence can be discounted. But I agree with you that there are good and decent women out there still. I'm glad you found one of them, and thank you also for the compliment. It is a satisfying thought that most of the shrill will not reproduce themselves.

    Anonymous 2 - Please point to the religious content on this blog. I think you will find it is not there. This is deliberate. My goal is to take the logical, pragmatic approach to show how behavior modern society often considers "old-fashioned" is actually quite often in women's best interest long term.

    Gorbachev - Welcome to this blog. I thought the very long comment you left on Roissy's blog last week was fascinating and showed it to my husband.

  18. Sarah and Hestia - it really is troubling how little regard these women have for men and their feelings and how easily they dismiss any rights men have to their children.

  19. As to the comment of anonymous regarding childbirth: pregnancy is not a disease. For most women who are healthy it has a few blips and discomforts and is a normal process of creating a new genereation. There are all sorts of common activities that woman do such as smoking too much, drinking too much, using illegal or even legal drugs inappropriately, engaging in risky sexual behavior or for the more mundane, driving while using a cell phone or texting that put her in as much risk or can lead to death as carrying a child to term.
    There are times when pregnancy is a risk. If a woman is unhealthy to begin with such as being morbidly obese or a brittle diabetic, but even those people with proper medical attention do carry to term and have healthy babies.
    If one doesn't want to bear children, there are more than enough ways to prevent that. Using them is okay. It is not like it was when I was of child bearing age and there were more limited options. The object is to live purposefully in your life not to always have to cover your tracks. When you don't want children or are done with your child bearing it is also okay to make it permanent. Life is not just doing what, when or how you want and whining if it doesn't go that way, but it is about making the world a better place with our actions.

  20. "As long as women have their health affected and ruined by pregnancy and as long as women die in childbirth, women are the only ones who have the right whether to carry a child to term or not.

    And for all those men so desperate to have babies, grow a womb or support research into artificial womb technology. Which is blocked by religious nutcases like you"

    God, you are a moron. Fully HALF of the genetic material involved in creating a baby belongs to a MAN.

    That means, by rights, a man should have FULLY HALF of the reproductive rights available.

    There is no logical argument,in this day and age, when technology created by MEN allows 99% of pregnant women to carry their baby to term and provides OUTSTANDING care after the birth of the child,for women to be "the only ones who have the right whether to carry a child to term or not" as you so idiotically put it.

    In other words, your argument was invalid 30 years ago,honey,assuming it was valid in the first place. There is virtually no health risk for pregnant women anymore, and men, being responsible for ONE HALF of the baby's genetic makeup,deserve a say in whether or not THEIR (for it is just as much the man's as the woman's baby) baby is born.

    More on topic, it is absolutely disgusting to think about what some women will do if they believe it will hurt men in some way. Gloating about killing children.... Feminists are sick,nasty,disturbed,pathetic little people.

  21. In your opinion, then, should a man also be able to ensure his reproductive rights by requiring a woman to have an abortion, if she wants the child and he does not?

    As you continually point out, life is not fair, and the fact that women are the ones to become pregnant is another example of this.

  22. This is one of those issues that really needs to be discussed before you have sex.

    There's a reason men don't discussion these matters with women. Rational apathy. To put it another way, nothing a woman says on the subject can be trusted since she can change her mind at any time and no promise she makes is enforceable. If she does bear a child, never forget you're a father only so long as she wills it. In that environment, why bother?

  23. Anonymous - my *personal* opinion is that the child's right to exist trumps either the mother or the father's convenience. That's more ideological than pragmatic, however. Basically, I'm not so terribly interested in the minor details of how people live their lives. If men and women want to have lots of sex with people they don't know very well, I'm not concerned with how it affects them. They are adults. I may think it's depressing, not terribly romantic, and not particularly healthy, but if they want to mess themselves up, that's their prerogative. What I care about is children. Sex is a reproductive act inherently. It's supposed to result in offspring. I believe every child should have the right to 1) life and 2) be born in an intact two-parent family so that he or she can grow in as loving and stable environment possible. Unfortunately, all that sex between strangers results in quite a number of pregnancies that will not guarantee this result for kids. That's my beef. If abortion is not an acceptable back-up plan, like it isn't for me, you have to modify your behavior so that a problematic pregnancy isn't likely to result.

    I will say that, in the scenario you present, if she wants the child and he doesn't and she decides to give birth, he should be off the hook for child support. Women right now have the choice to parent, abort, or place a child for adoption and can decide at any time up till birth. Men have no rights after ejaculation. If it is her body, her choice, I think it should be her responsibility exclusively. He doesn't get a say? He shouldn't have to pay.

    randian - You are unfortunately correct. A man's only choice in the whole reproductive scenario is not to donate his sperm via sex in the first place. The male birth control pill may shake things up a bit here.

  24. Just so I don't misunderstand, do you think every child, regardless of the circumstances of its conception, has this right to this 2 parent family (unless the dad-to-be wants the mom to abort, cuz then he gets a pass)? That the rights of children conceived of rape, incest or of a mother who may die as a result of the pregnancy trump those of the woman carrying the child? How about those children, not conceived because of men and women having lots of sex with lots of partners, but a couple in a long-term relationship conceiving a child when their birth control fails? So your advice to every couple, married or not, on birth control or not, is don't have sex unless you accept that you may have a child because of it?
    Sounds pretty medieval to me. Not to mention totally unrealistic.

  25. Anonymous - Read it again. I said, "the child's right to exist trumps either the mother or the father's convenience." Rape, incest, or the life of the mother or child arguments are just nitpicking in the attempt to sideline. The vast majority of abortions are performed as back-up birth control - not due to extreme circumstances - will continue to be.

    You don't have to go back to medieval times to find people who thought sex should be reserved for people ready to be parents. Do I expect lots of women will be receptive to this piece of advice? No. I expect that most of them will act in short-sighted self interest and that kids will continue to suffer because of it.

  26. It is worth noting that the point of the post wasn't specifically targeted at abortion. The point was to keep in mind how your actions might impact others, even when you have every right to make the choices you do.

    The feminist harpies on the site she referenced took glee in the thought of killing a child to make a man feel powerless.

    Fortunately as I already mentioned, they are highly unlikely to ever have such an opportunity.

  27. Re: sex reserved for people ready to be parents. You don't expect "lots of women" to be receptive to this piece of advice, but do you expect "lots of men" to be? Are they acting in short-sighted self interest and are kids continuing to suffer because of them wanting to have sex without kids too - or just women?

    A woman has the right to decide whether to bring a child into the world precisely because it is her body that births it. Unfair? Probably. But life IS unfair. As you say, if a man wants her to abort, and she doesn't, his responsibility toward that child should end. Perhaps responsibility, and unfairness, cuts both ways.

    And rape, incest and a women's life might account for a small percentage of abortions, but should you dismiss them totally because they don't fit neatly into your belief that every child conceived should be born? Isn't one raped and pregnant 12 year old enough?

    You write intelligent posts on a variety of topics that I sometimes agree with and sometimes do not. But your dislike and distrust of women overwhelms everything else in this entry.

    1. "Isn't one raped and pregnant 12 year old enough?"

      It's not only enough, but far too much! However, what I find incredible is that someone would advocate a 12 year old having an abortion. Carrying the baby to term and giving it for adoption is far less likely to injure the girl's emotional and physical helath than an abortion would be. Those who fight for abortion rights hardly ever face the fact that some women have become infertile after an abortion, and many, many more struggle with the guilt and trauma for years. If a child has been raped, the last thing she needs is another violent and traumatic ordeal to cope with. Dealing with the pregnancy and putting her child up for adoption would be very difficult, too, but at least she could know that some good came out of the mess. Abortion, on the other hand, would only intensify the guilt and hurt that a rape victim already feels.

  28. Anonymous - I feel as though I've said all I really want to say about abortion here since, as dalrock correctly points out, this POA was only tangentially about abortion rights. I appreciate your interest in this blog.

  29. Anonymous - I completely agree with you. The majority of these comments make me very uncomfortable (the references to hard core feminists never wanting children and "women change their mind too often" (we're all irrational, right?)) doesn't exactly scream a love and respect of women which I thought was the point of this blog?

  30. "Now Amanda (Marcotte) is on an average day a wretched piece of smug, condescending, bitter and angry agitprop that respirates, ..."

    I would have been so proud of myself to have written that. It makes me feel so warm inside to read it.

  31. Great article! It is interesting that if a man punches a pregnant woman in the stomach and the baby dies, he is charged with murder. Yet a woman can murder a baby without the father's consent and it is called abortion.

    Ah the equality of feminazism!

  32. And something else: if the baby survives the abortion, if it's OUTSIDE the body in other words, it's STILL not the father's because, even if he happened to be in the room, they would not try to save it if he wished them to.

  33. "unlike back in the early 1960's when the pill was first introduced and advocated for use in serious situations only"

    The Pill? As in the birth control pill? How is that for emergency situations? It's used to prevent pregnancy, not abort fetuses.

  34. It is months too late for you to read this, jadoescher, but it was well known at the time, but not discussed, that a double dose of those early birth control pills would induce miscarriage/abortion.