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A Roe v. Wade for men?

Years ago when I lived in France, I had a friend who was a "men's liberationist." I had no idea what that meant at first, but he explained it to me over crappy Alsacian beer during those long Parisian summer evenings. The movement's philosophy was a bit like radical feminism to me, in that some of it was plain crap, much of it was nutty, but there were some pretty good points in there as well.

Men's liberationists are at their most convincing on issues like the legalities of unwanted pregnancies, in which the woman has all the options and the man has none. Consider the following cases (let's set aside the state of South Dakota for a while, shall we?)

  1. The woman wants to terminate the pregnancy. The man doesn't. The woman wins. Period.
  2. The woman wants to carry the baby to term. The man doesn't. The woman wins. Period.

I should point out that I don't have a problem with this, as far as it goes. After all, it's the woman who has to incubate the fetus in her body, so she should have the right to make the final decision. Fine.

Where I do have a problem, however, is when the woman carries the baby to term over the objections of the man (case 2) and feels entitled to a substantial chunk of the man's earnings for the next 18 years simply because she chose to make a decision he disagreed with. I find that profoundly unfair.

A woman may exercise sole authority over her own body, but she should not have such authority over a man's paycheck. As long as abortion remains a safe, legal alternative, no man should be forced to pay years of child support for an unwanted, unintended pregnancy. If the woman choses to have the baby anyway, in spite of the man's objections then fine, but she's on her own financially. The man should be legally responsible for no more than half the cost of an abortion.

That's the way I see it, and that's the point behind this lawsuit.

Contending that women have more options than they do in the event of an unintended pregnancy, men's rights activists are mounting a long shot legal campaign aimed at giving them the chance to opt out of financial responsibility for raising a child. The National Center for Men has prepared a lawsuit -- nicknamed Roe v. Wade for Men -- to be filed Thursday in US District Court in Michigan on behalf of a 25-year-old computer programmer ordered to pay child support for his ex-girlfriend's daughter.

The suit addresses the issue of male reproductive rights, contending that lack of such rights violates the US Constitution's equal protection clause.

The gist of the argument: If a pregnant woman can choose among abortion, adoption, or raising a child, a man involved in an unintended pregnancy should have the choice of declining the financial responsibilities of fatherhood. The activists involved hope to spark discussion even if they lose.

"There's such a spectrum of choice that women have -- it's her body, her pregnancy, and she has the ultimate right to make decisions," said Mel Feit, director of the men's center. "I'm trying to find a way for a man also to have some say over decisions that affect his life profoundly."

They won't win, of course. But perhaps it will at least begin a debate and raise awareness of a situation that many men believe to be unjust, even if they're afraid to say so. In an ideal world, of course, this would never be an issue, because there would never be any unwanted pregnancies. We all know that's not the case, however. As we're tirelessly reminded by pro-choice advocates, no form of birth control is a hundred percent reliable. Unintended pregnancies can (and do) occur even with the most responsible couples. Women (rightly) have a lot of options in such cases. It's time that men had a little more.

UPDATE: more here.


"The woman wants to carry the baby to term. The man doesn't. The woman wins. Period."

Well, you know I have a huge problem with ANY people dependent upon the state (from welfare dependents to incarcerated felons to the state supported mentally and physically handicapped) making such decisions, as there SHOULD be, in my view, a contract between provider and recipient that stipulates that NO CHILDREN be brought into the world while the would-be parent is a "ward of the state."

And I agree with you here, if a child is going to be brought to term and only one parent (the woman) wants that child and unilaterally makes that decision, then that parent should also have to bear the financial and other burdens associated with the rearing of that child unilaterally as well.

Of course, while I not only approve of abortion (at least through the first trimester) and would actually require either birth control or abortion in the case of wards of the state, I still believe Roe to be "bad law," as written, for the same reason that Furman (the 1972 case in which the SC ruled that Capital Punishment violated the sanctions against "Cruel and Unusual Punishment,") was "bad law."

The broader aspects of those issues should be settled individually by the States.

But in all cases their should be strictures, or penalties in place, in cases when such unilateral decisions are made.

Interesting issue...

Hey, do we get to burn our jock straps?

So, let me get this right.

You knock up a girl, and think you should then have the right to walk away from all financial responsibility for your actions?

Dude, it ain't MY baby. It's YOURS. What right do you have to dump your responsibilties on me, an innocent bystander?'

You bet you have to pay. If you can't figure out how to prevent this from happening, keep it zipped!

> You knock up a girl, and think you should then have the right to walk away from all financial responsibility for your actions?

Why not? The woman has that right already.

No one should be able to make unilateral decisions for anyone else.

A man should no more be allowed to force a woman to terminate a pregnancy that HE doesn't want, any more than she should then be able to demand support for a child resulting from such a unilateral decision on her part.

Of course, I also strongly believe that those dependent upon the State for their support should NOT be allowed to make any such decisions.

Such people are, at least at that point, "unfit parents," as they are unable to even take care of their own basic needs, let alone a child's.

I find it interesting that this is coming up right when at least six states are working on legislation to ban ALL abortions in those states, while the Federal government is working on legislation that would essentially eliminate coverage for prescription contraceptives.

Child support payments are going to be a very real unintended consequence of the new illegal abortion era. If abortion is illegal, and if so-called "abortifacient" contraceptives (i.e. the pill, Norplant, depo-provera, and the IUD, which basically leaves you with diaphragms and condoms) and a woman becomes pregnant by you, then guess what, pal -- you are going to have to pay child support.

You should have thought of this when you gleefully pulled Bush's lever (pun absolutely intended) in November 2004.

Hey....you wanted these guys in office; you got it. So you have to take what goes with it.

Jill, I find your apparent assumption that things would actually be better for men in particular than they are now (let alone in the future) if the femelitist left, under Kerry, were in charge, to be extremely puzzling.

> Hey....you wanted these guys in office; you got it. So you have to take what goes with it.

Yep. And so do you. Neener-neener.

And for future reference, if you don't want folks like me voting for the "Christofascist Zombie Brigade" (TM -- Moron Mark) then maybe your party should provide us with an alternative candidate who's not a tax-raising pussy.

Just a thought.

No I don't -- at least not the reproductive part of it. I can't reproduce anymore. Of course when they start executing postmenopausal women for fucking without any possibility for conception, then it'll be my problem again.

I agree with you that the Democrats need to elect someone who isn't a pussy, as you call it. However, I don't think that rushing into a war without thought makes one a big, macho man. Actually, it makes one a little, pathetic, pencil-dicked asshole with Daddy issues -- like the guy in the White House now.

Hmmmm...I almost agree with you here Jill.

No, no, not about the "reproductive freedom" stuff, on that issue, I'm a lot closer to Margaret Sanger who created Planned Parenthood, in large measure, in her own words, "To reduce the over-breeding by the poor and darker races."

My views are kind of a like a Margaret Sanger's minus the racial animus/bigotry.

What I agree with is your concern over "the Federal government working on legislation that would essentially eliminate coverage for prescription contraceptives."

See? I don't believe the poor should NEED prescription coverage for such contraceptives, it should be supplied for and be REQUIRED of such people, until such time as an individual no longer relies on the State for full support.

We probably disagree ever so slightly over my new rallying cry, "No "reproductive freedom on my dime!"

I just made that one up, whaddaya think?

The other thing about abortion is, that it's a complex issue that BOTH extremes have all wrong.

The radical pro-lifers are wrong, in my opinion, that a non-functional, undeveloped fetus (a first trimester fetus) "is a human life."

I don't believe it is a life, as it is certainly NOT a viable, that is, self-sustaining life.

BUT the radical pro-abortionists are wrong about a fully formed humans (premies have survived as young as four months - the start of the second trimester) being "an unviable tissue mass," or "part of the woman, so long as they are in the womb."

Once a life is fully formed and has the potential to self-sustain outside the womb, that life OWNS ITSELF, just as surely as you or I own ourselves.

How can we set that parameter?

Well, the lowest range of premie survival proves the viability range of a developed fetus.

Many folks are also utterly wrong on this ideal of universal "reproductive freedom."

Barry's article asks the question, "Does a woman have the innate right to make a unilateral decision about bringing an unwanted child (by the participating male) to term, and thereby unilaterally requiring the non-consenting party's support?"

The 14th Amendment would seem to suggest not, but it's an interesting question.


What the fukk?

"To reduce the over-breeding by the poor and darker races."

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