Quite a while ago, regarding the “Choice for Men” debate, Cathy Young asked me:
Yes, but the comparison is misleading; it implies that the disparity is caused by hypocrisy in the feminist position, when the disparity is actually caused by differences in male and female anatomy. (No pro-choicer would deny men the right to abortion, if men were physically capable of pregnancy.)
When pro-lifers say women’s chance to decide about parenthood is before pregnancy happens, what they really mean is, “I want to deny you one of your medically viable options.” There’s no reason, except for pro-life laws, that women can’t get an abortion after pregnancy begins.
In contrast, when I say men’s chance to decide about parenthood is before pregnancy happens, that’s a statement of biological fact. It’s not an argument in favor of denying men viable medical options; it’s an observation that men physically lack those options.
Although the statements look similar on the surface, the substantive difference between the two positions is enormous, and can’t fairly be overlooked.
Yeah, the female is unilaterally deciding to carry the burden to term and consigning another person to share in it. Even if a person conjugally shares in the forced labor that he/she inflicts upon another person, it does not make it any more acceptable.
That is the most repulsive thing you’ve yet written, and reconfirms my belief that your usage of ‘female’ is misogynist rather than “biological.”
You’ve now argued for both forced abortion and infanticide. Congratulations.
I think we are just looping at this point. Just to summarize.
I remain completely unconvinced that not supporting an existing child and not supporting a nonexistant child are the same thing. I also remain unconvinced that the biological facts of reproduction are so grossly injust that they require special protection for men from being responsible for the results of engaging in reproductive activity. That male reproductive activity ends quickly, while female reproductive activity continues for 9 months means that women have a lot more control over whether or not to reproduce, but I don’t see any reason why children should be burdened by that inequality.
Not having financial support through childhood is inarguable worse than having financial support. Never existing is not inarguably worse than existing. Likewise, existing, but having Cerebral Palsy, is not inarguable worse than not existing.
I think I’m done.
I’d been off this thread for nearly a month. Well said, Charles, FurryCatHerder, and Tuomos. I have nothing to add, although it seems that I started this particular fight, because I couldn’t have said it better.
I did not argue for infanticide. As for the former, I suggested that the cost/benefit standard that you introduced does not leave autonomy rights sacrosanct and potentially justified a trade-off between bodily burdens to prevent the worse burden.
You’ll let the female’s autonomy rights (right to give birth) consign a child to a torturous, suffering existence, but you will not let the male’s autonomy rights consign the child to a destitute existence.
So you adhere to this belief that conscious existence, no matter how brief or painful or debilitated or without capability, is always assumed superior to non-existence. That’s about as supportable as the suggestion that less financial resources in life is an ennobling experience. As absurd as the that suggestion is, it has its philosophical and religious supporters, as does the suggestion that non-existence is preferable to living in debilitation and suffering.
If autonomy rights can be set aside to prevent a worse happenstance from befalling a child, and if non-existence is presumed wore than any existent state, I do not see why the female’s claim to live in a non-violated state trumps the child’s interest in living period.
But even if your assertion that rights can only be set aside to prevent “inarguably worse” conditions holds, and if having less financial support is one of those conditions, the right of low-income or destitute parents to rear their born children seems disposable when a wealthier adult volunteers him/herself. Unless living with less financial resource is not inarguably worse than having more of it.
New fodder for conversation:
Dorset wrote, in response to Charles:
Does anyone think this is an accurate reading of what Charles wrote?
Accept responsibility for the social policies you are advocating. You know, I know, everyone knows that children cannot survive without care. Parents are obligated to offer that care, if no one else will*. Allowing parents to cease giving care to their children, if no one else will, is arguing for infanticide. Not active infanticide. Passive infanticide. You already brushed aside this concern with “Oh, well”, now you are pretending that it is not your position.
FYI, I don’t consider autonomy rights sacrosanct. Some autonomy rights I have, through weighting pro’s and con’s, decided to support. Like right to have an abortion.
* Including a democratically created socialist childcare system.
I think I’m done too. Perhaps this time for good.
Oh, and I see you still imply/pretend that post-partum parental responsibilities are different between men and women.
I was following this discussion with interest, thinking that Dorset had some interesting points although I do not agree with him, but you know what? When you use CP as an example of “a torturous, suffering existence” you lose me. I realize that this argument is not about the specifics of what makes a human life worth living. There’s an essential point you’re missing, Dorset, which sorta blows your analogy awry: if the mother were capable, with certainty, without bodily risk to herself, of ameliorating whatever deleterious condition her fetus had (CP, Down’s, Tay-Sachs, whatever the hell you choose), then you might have an argument (with which I probably still wouldn’t agree, given the different value sets we seem to be working from) that she ought to fix the problem or submit to a required abortion. The father can ameliorate the problem of poverty and lack of support in the child by simply providing the damn support.
But honestly, Dorset, CP? I know someone who’d like to come over and teach you a lesson, just as soon as she gets someone to drive the van.
At this point you’re arguing to infinite regression. “The male” also had his chance when he did or didn’t use contraception. “The female” also had her chance when she did or didn’t choose (explicitly ignoring relatively small number of pregnancies caused by rape) to have sexual relations with “the male”. “The male” also had his choice when he did or didn’t initiate (since most often it’s “the male” doing the initiating within most cultures) sexual relations. “The female” also had her choice when she did or didn’t choose to use a pre-coital form of birth control such as “The Pill”, “Diaphram”, “IUD”, “Norplant” or depro-Provera.
What this shows, all the way back to “the male” and “the female” woke up that particular morning and got out of bed (or not, for the co-habitating couple) is that pregnancy is a sequence of choices. The sequence ends at different points based on differing reproductive biology. C4M seeks to change the criteria for “choice” from those choices which are biologically founded, to what amounts to coercion and extortion. C4M’s arguments are in favor of one or more (or all) of the following —
1. Forced abortion
2. Legalized infanticide
3. Unilateral abandonment
Should C4M argue that it does not support either 1 or 2, it must acknowledge that it supports 3.
Since you argue from the perspective of Libertarianism, I’ll reply in kind. (Nota Bene: I don’t embrace Libertarianism, lest anyone accuse me of doing so — I find Libertarianism morally repugnant and Libertians morally bankrupt, but I do understand the arguments and often construct arguments in ways that some feel are “libertarian”. But I digress. A lot.)
Justification for 3 arises from the Libertarian principle, that noone has the right to forcibly compel another to act, nor may the actions of any individual adversely injure another or deprive them of their inalienable rights. This is a brief summarization and I trust that it would be attacked as overly brief.
In the domain of both “Forced abortion” and “Legalized infanticide”, both violate Libertarian principles of Non-Coercion and respect for Natural Law. “Forced abortion” is unsupportable as it allows the father to coerce the mother into having a medical procedure against her will. “Legalized infanticide” is unsupportable as it violates Natural Law against murder.
In the domain of “Unilateral abandonment” there are the issue of the rights of the child to be supported in a manner consistent with a healthy future and the right of the parents not to have private property taken away. It is the right, emerging from Natural Law, of the child to be protected from harm which create the burden on the two individuals most closely related with the birth of the child. The three alternatives to “Unilateral abandonment” are “Forced abortion”, “Legalized infanticide” and “Joint obligation to provide support” (ignoring a joint decision to give the child up for adoption to a willing party). The first two are forbidden both by Libertarian principles as well as standards of conduct common to much of the civilized world.
The contract between parent and child is based on Natural Law. Given the very small number of children who are successfully raised to adulthood by wild animals, the obligation to rear children falls to parents, as it has for the past several hundred thousand years of human history. This obligation for support derives from the relative helplessness of the newborn as compared to other species in which neonates are capable of obtaining food within days, weeks or months (at the longest) after birth. Development of various parts of the brain require human interaction or else those areas, such as the language centers, becomes permanently stunted. Death or harm from abandonment, accidental and otherwise, is common. As such, failure to provide support can be considered a form of abuse or neglect and is within most civilized nations.
As for abortion and abortion rights, it was noted during Roe v. Wade that women had a Common Law right to abortion up until the point of “quickening”, at which time “life” was assumed to begin. It was not until after the middle of the 19th century that states began to intrude upon the Common Law right women had previously enjoyed. While one might argue that the American Medical Association was merely “protecting” the unborn child from harm, given its other intrusion into the practice of medicine, I believe the AMA was more interested in reserving for itself the right to perform abortion-related procedures, just as it had consolidated to itself the right to perform other medical procedures. Outside of American Law, and it’s Common Law origins, there is ample evidence that women had knowledge of, and made use of that knowledge, abortificants dating back several thousand years.
The sentence beginning with “At this point you’re arguing …” seems to have eaten a hyperlink during posting. That sentence should be
At this point you’re arguing to infinite regression.
I’m not sure why the hyperlink was eaten. Sorry for the boo-boo.
[No prob, boo-boo fixed. I think you accidently forgot the backslash in the “/a” in the link closing bit. –Amp]
Nothing biologically forces the male to be consigned to the offspring, it is only social policy that consigns.
That’s also true of the mother, Dorset; for all the high-falutin’ words, you’re forgetting that after the birth, both mother and father are biologically separate but legally obligated to the infant. Before the birth, only the mother is biologically and legally bound; only the mother may have the option to cut that tie.
Indeed, they do. And I was not tracing them to the libertarian position, but to the position of justification of violations based upon comparative harms (which is used to violate precept 3) and the position that attributes that carry rights are not necessarily possessed by infants any more than fetuses.
First you make these new prescriptive claims based upon Naturality, but then you say that that it has origins within civilized (unnatural) settings. If this is a Natural precept that always enjoined and guided human conduct for as long as human beings were reproducing, it should have been in existence for thousands of years, and applicable and self-evident to every human being who potentially copulates. If you actually are basing it upon naturality, try again. Infanticide was practiced and accepted by human hunter-gatherer nomads, especially when the infant was thought to outstrip current resources. Native American peoples and Pacific Islanders engaged in the practice whenever the infant would be onerous or when it may have slowed the tribe’s movements. If that does not satisfy the test of naturally occuring, infanticide and abandonment are also extant among mammalian care-giving species. Even dolphins sometimes bludgeon their offspring to death (reason unknown). Other naturally occuring human practices probably included murder for resource competition, murder to establish and maintain dominance, and maybe even rape (rape appears to naturally occur in primate species).
If “Natural” is just a decorator, and you are arguing that the parental consignment is a valid principle becaues it is socially authored, you have no grounds to argue that it is superior to other socially authored precepts regarding infant care or parental responsibility. Civilizations ranging from Ancient Greece, Rome, Japan, and China engaged in infanticide, with full social permission and approval. Whether a council of elders examined an infant and then threw it into the brush, or a paterfamilias had the mother put opium on her breast to quickly poison it, the practice was extant. If you are saying that it can be condemned because superceding precepts are better because they are newer, you are committing the teleological error.
And even if only temporally current practices are up for negotiation, temporally current societies (including in Europe and the Western Hemisphere) still prohibit contraception, abortion, divorce, or consider the female and children to be the male’s chattel. If principles are valid and binding because of when they originated and what society that they originated from, what is the adjudication between confliciting but currently existing standards? Is it that some principles are better because they originate from richer, Western countries? Are the ones that disagree with reproductive rights and parental duties uncivilized? Sounds suspiciously like a neo-colonial or classist standard.
Oh, sorry, I define infanticide as actively killing the infant. But if you define the former as “passive infanticide,” then yes, I am allowing that, provided that the abandonment is done when another caregiver will not accept the burden and in a state without a support structure. Though by this logic, people who disconnect respirators and feeding tubes are also “passive murderers.” And stop pretending that this view is radically taboo. I don’t even support active infanticide, but a range of academics/ethicists from Joseph Fletcher, Michael Tooley, and Peter Singer argue compellingly for it.
The latter suggestion was posited first. The suggestion was that violating the male’s liberty and economic rights is justified to prevent a worse economic happenstance from befalling the child. This comparative analysis would potentially countenance a violation of the female’s bodily rights to save the child a longer, more miserable state of bodily suffering, should it have something like ALD or Tay-Sachs. Those who accept that, fine, they are being consistent utilitarians. Those who think that this utilitarian justification for autonomy rights violation applies to the male’s autonomy rights but not the female’s are being contradictory. The fact that the imposed abortion that the female would have to suffer carries health risks is irrelevant, as her risked health effects would pale in comparison to the the health perils that a child born with ALD, Tay-Sachs, or Cerebral Palsy will definitely suffer. Even if the imposed abortion is botched and she loses her uterus, she is still better off than a child with ALD or Tay-Sachs.
What lesson exactly would this person like to teach?
Well, really, nearly anything, Dorset, since she’s a professional tutor and wouldn’t mind making a few extra bucks, but I admit I was sorta hoping she’d run over your foot with her wheelchair a few times.
Why would she need a getaway driver for that?
Well, I hope she doesn’t try to do that, unless she wants a respirator for the rest of her life.
I think the point is that you’re making some extremely insulting comments about people with Cerebral Palsy. The people I’ve known, and continue to know, who have Cerebral Palsy seem to have very nice lives, medical issues notwithstanding.
Tay-Sachs, on the other hand, is incompatible with life and there is no known cure or treatment.
ALD is relatively incompatible with life and treatments are under investigation. The (second) most famous case of ALD, Lorenzo Odone, is (so far as I can tell) still alive, though tragically the treatment his mother devised was found too late to prevent paralysis.
The efficacy of “Lorenzo’s Oil” is disputed, even if applied before the onset of symptoms. Some of the healthy children shown at the end of the film eventually did develop symptoms and succumbed.
Lorenzo Odone is still alive, now 27, but his mother Michaela died of cancer in 2000.
The point is, I think, that if you start talking about “quality of life” you get into deep ethical water very quickly. I have an 11-year-old son who will be cognitively 2 years old for the rest of his life, and in some ways less than that (he can’t walk without help, for example). On some level he knows that he’s disabled, but he’s nowhere near understanding all the implications, and he’s the world’s happiest kid.
He’s also a burden, both on my husband and me (we bargained on servitude lasting 21 years, not the rest of our lives) and on society (his public schooling costs 4 to 5 times a typical kid’s).
He became disabled at age 4. Even if I could somehow have known, I don’t think I would have aborted. I can tell you for sure that you will euthanize him (legally or not) over my mutilated corpse.
The point you seem to be completely unwilling to accept is that ethics and morality are, by definition, subjective (I accept this, hence the joke “my prejudices are better than your prejudices”). It is not surprising, (IIRC) considering ideological adherents of Ayn Rand descibe their position as “Objectivist”. Just because you don’t like that people call you (hard-core) libertarian, the shoe fits.
You seem to be well versed in the subject of medicine. Good for you! That does not mean that your ethics are any more “objective” or based upon “sacrosanct” values. There is a world of difference between ethics and empirical science, a point which you try to blur by mixing your positions with medical knowledge.
Yep. And I oppose them (especially the ones considering women and children chattel. Or men, if such societies existed.). Big bad bigot me ;).
I don’t give a rat’s ass whether it is “radically taboo” or not. Nor do I care if some bunch of twits who call themselves “ethicists” support infanticide. As for your definition on murder, I strongly suggest that you don’t go to a hospital and start unpluggin respirators and feeding tubes (euthanasia might be a bit diffent issue, though) or just decide to stop taking care of your own child, which I (and apparently you too) hope you will never have. You think it’s unfair? Fine. Don’t expect me to feel sympathy if you go on trial for murder.
Well said, Tuomas!
And Dorset, it is clear that we have completely different value systems. That is why I think this conversation has a definite dead-end quality in it. It has, however (and I am not the only one who can claim credit for it) exposed that your beliefs go way beyond arguing that men should have a choice that would supposedly be equivalent to abortion.
Both the word “Pro-Choice” and “Pro-Life” are context-specific terms describing the two major sides in the abortion debate. If it is hypocritical for the side that calls itself pro-choice to not support all choices, in every context, (abandoning children, for example) it is also hypocritical for the pro-life side to not support life in every contex (would lead to compulsory vegetarism, absolute refusal of death penalty etc.)
Yet many people on both sides of the debate attack the alleged hypocrisy of the other side, pretending that the context (abortion rights) does not exist.
(Amp, my next comment went into moderation for some reason. Auto-moderation perhaps. Would you be kind enough to replace the word “supporting” [7th line, first word] with describing.)
One of the big problems I have with Libertarian theory is that it starts from the assumption that the norm for society is a fully autonomous adult prime-of-life human being. The many people in our society are who are infants (entirely dependent on others), children (mostly dependent on others), elderly (varying degrees of dependency on others), sick (varying degrees of dependency on others) or disabled in some way (varying degrees of dependency on others) are therefore automatically burdens and “not normal”. I didn’t become a fully autonomous adult prime-of-life human being all by myself, nor did anyone else posting on this thread. What happens to the debt we owe the people who assumed the “21 years of servitude” for us? Strictly speaking, we owe them “21 years of servitude” right back, but frequently this isn’t possible. (And oog, think of paying back the debt of your own existence until you were 42 years old. Talk about lack of autonomy.)
Dorset, I have been thinking hard about your posts, and if you don’t mind, I will try to restate your position to make sure I understand what you’re trying to say. You have said (I think) that a basic pro-choice position separates the act of sex from consent to parenthood, and that a basic pro-life position does not make that separation. Therefore, it is unfair that the law allows women not to accept responsibility for a child after choosing to have sex (the pro-choice position) while simultaneously requiring men to provide support for children they don’t want when they chose to have sex (the pro-life position).
I disagree strongly with many of your statements, but I thought there might be less thread derailment this way.
Still you make this silly claim? Male biology is different from female biology. Sometimes (combined with modern medical biology, which okay, does not exist in “nature”, but was instead created by human inventiveness which is natural to us) this gives men an advantage, sometimes it gives women an advantage.
I don’t see anyone proposing that men should bleed once a month, or only produce one sperm a month. I don’t see anyone requiring that women should not have multiple orgasms in course of an intercourse, if they feel that happening.
How many times does it have to be hammered into your head that the autonomy rights of women have are also considered nul and void after birth (to the exactly same degree that men’s are)? Yeah, men can’t get pregnant, and can not abort. Get. Over. It.
That is, if one is to accept the definition of autonomy rights as: Right to dump own children at any time.
Come to think of it, the first two paragraphs are irrelevant to the discussion at hand (in my post 219), and I wouldn’t mind seeing them gone. Just ignore them, everyone.
I have no interest in trying to euthanize your child. Waste your life over your offspring to your heart’s content. You have the autonomy right to do so, and thankfully the legal order respects that autonomy right for now. Of course if efficient euthanasia ever became part of the legal order, they wouldn’t have to mutilate you, just bludgeon or mace you while the state doctors administer the morphine.
Forcing a female to carry a pregnancy or to abort a pregnancy against her will is egregious because it is a violation of an autonomy right. Just like forcing someone to labor is a violation of an autonomy right. Just because one does not involve physical penetration into the physical body does not mean that it becomes acceptable.
Apologists for rights violations concede that the male’s liberty rights are being violated by coercing him to pay child support for a birth that he did not consent to. They tolerate it because they think the violation of this level of right is acceptable to prevent the child from falling into a worse economic happenstance. This utilitarian trade-off, if accepted, does not stop at economic assets or the liberty rights of property. If the child is facing a worse bodily happenstance than the female would conceivably face (by having ALD, Tay-Sachs, or Cri du Chat), the female’s claim to live with bodily integrity would seem to be outweighed by the child’s interest in being spared a progressively more torturous and painful existence. Or if the claim holds that existence is always presumed better than non-existence, no matter how impoverished, disabled, or unwanted that existence is, the child’s claim to have a bite at existence, to live at all, trump the female’s claim to live without bodily transgression. Three or four years of total debilitation and pain versus an hour of forced uterine suction?
Yes, they are, but most here have started out accepting the premise of abortion rights and the autonomy rights that justify them. If they start out accepting the premise of an autonomous individual with entitlements to protect that autonomy, the terms of the dispute are much narrower from the outset. Notions that consent to sex equals enforceable consent to its secondary burdens and that autonomy rights can be trumped for the potential interests of the child would seem to be anathema to believers in the autonomy right to abortion. However, both of those notions have been repeatedly invoked to combat the C4M position.
This ever going to be true, Tuomas, or do you love “wasting your time”?
After giving somebody a gift of your own volition, are you allowed to sue somebody for the monetary value of that gift? The person owes you nothing in exchange for that gift. Children did not commission or contract their birth or rearing, nor did they coerce their parents into it. If parents voluntarily decide to give birth and bestow life and sustenance to a child, that is their foolish decision for which the child is not responsible. Voluntary parents foolishly decide to bestow their labor and time to the child’s upbringing. If the child want’s to “repay” it because he/she is grateful, fine. But that is superogatory, not obligatory, just like it is superogatory to have children in the first place. If the child is ungrateful wretch and does not want to “repay” his parents 21 years of servitude, too bad for the parents. Child owes them nothing, the parents are entitled to nothing. If the mother or father were coerced into parenthood, they cannot sue the child for compensation, but would have a just claim against the coercing agent (usually the state).
Is that a rhetorical question? Obviously I do. Play word games all you want. Don’t address any substantial points made against you. It merely proves that you don’t have any ground to argue on anymore.
I think euthanasia (=”good death”) is defined as “people should have a right to gain assistance in ending their own life if they decide so”, NOT “the state should have an unlimited right to murder people at will”. Are you stupid or just plain mean at Lu and her disabled child (“neither” is not valid in this instance, “both” is, but I vote for plain mean)?
Ah. I see you grasped the parts I wrote, that I regretted writing (and specifically asked to be deleted/ignored), grasping the opportunity to once more make your long-winded claim that the current system is unfair to “males” to different degree that it is to “females” and mostly ignored everything else. Including:
And never existing is not inarguably worse than existing. This is not saying that existance=always better, it is saying that such determination can not be easily made one way or another.
Why do you keep insisting that killing (sufficiently) disabled persons is for their own good in all cases?
Yes. Potential interests of the child. Not interests of the child, like C4M advocates are arguing.
This, too, is a pretty scary turn for a conversation to take, particularly in light of the recent discussions about civility, objectivity, and lack of personal investment.
Re: Peter Singer, check out this article by Harriet McBryde Johnson about her debate with him. Some interesting meditations on “ethics:”
But like the protagonist in a classical drama, Singer has his flaw. It is his unexamined assumption that disabled people are inherently ”worse off,” that we ”suffer,” that we have lesser ”prospects of a happy life.” Because of this all-too-common prejudice, and his rare courage in taking it to its logical conclusion, catastrophe looms. Here in the midpoint of the play, I can’t look at him without fellow-feeling.
Women give birth. Not men. Therefore, “male consent to birth” is irrelevant.
FYI, Dorset? There’s a difference between making a logical argument for euthanasia and graphically describing to a parent the hypothetical death of his/her child.
Dorset, so you owe your current state of autonomy to your foolish parents, boy, were they stupid? If everybody were to follow this logic, the human race would rapidly face extinction, because who on earth would do such an idiotic thing as voluntarily agree to 21 years of servitude?
And did I state your position correctly up-thread? Just curious.
And yet you keep responding to allegedly vacuous comments. You and your cadre made complacent claims, but then when problems were brought to light, you shifted the goal post, failing to recognize that the shifted post was at logger-heads with maintaining your prior assurances. When the contradictions of the shifted goal post are brought to light, you shift back to the original position, pretending that it has never been addressed. Nice.
And for you and your ilk, I vote for petulant and selectively illiterate. Utilitarian euthanasia is often predicated upon sparing valuable medical and emotional capital by minimizing its waste upon unimproving and chronic conditions. Cajoling obstinate parents into continuing with productive lives and not wasting their lives on attending a vegetative individual serves a valuable interest and who knows? Maybe the parents will say, “Thank God the state snapped me out of that.”
The child physically exists even when in utero, and its interest in living is not potential. We hold that its interest in living does not override a female’s autonomy right. Yet you all hold that the child’s interest in financial support, if the female let it survive, trumps the male’s autonomy right. Extra financial support is thought to be indisputably in the interest of the child because it prevents deprivation and increases capability, so it must justify violating the male’s liberty right. Yet the female’s autonomy rights can impose upon the child a deprived and painful existence bereft of any capability (bodily or otherwise). And even if you all believe that any existence is more capable and preferable to non-existence, you have then undone the pro-choice position. The male’s claim to living unviolated does not trump the child’s interest in being provided for, but the female’s claim to living unviolated does not trump the child’s claim to live at all. Confine the female until the point of viability and attempt a life-birth extraction and then let her go and give the child to state custody. A few months of her freedom versus the child’s entire life. Of course that is unacceptable, but not if you accept the utilitarian trade-off between autonomy rights and providing the necessities of existence.
Consent to birth would be irrelevant if birth had no autonomy implications for the male. Unfortunately it does. A decision cannot have autonomy impositions for a person unless that person has enforceable power in that decision. The male only decide to copulate, as did the female. Consent to copulation does not equal enforceable consent to birth or parenthood for the female, it should not be so for the male. Males and females conjugally decide to copulate. Females now unilaterally decide whether or not to give birth. Their unilateral decision should not fetter another person unless that other person elects to be burdened like them.
And there’s a difference opposing euthanasia and accusing one of being a conspiring murderer and promising to be attack, or hoping that disabled persons physically assault another person.
Yes, I’ve told them that repeatedly. However, neither one exercised the options available to them and both voluntarily consigned themselves. Millions do so every day. Blame their hormones, their sentiments, and pro-natalist indoctrination.
The extinction of a community or species is not a bad thing unless it resulted through coercion and murder. If a community or species dies off due to the free and voluntary decisions of its individual members, there is nothing wrong with that, at least nothing unjust. Anti-abortion advocates and opponents of contraception warned that if females had reproductive autonomy, nations and the species would take a nosedive in numbers, because they would hold their individual interests above the continuity of the species or family or nation. This view of species continuity as valuable in itself is a position that sees individuals as receptacles and vessels of gametes, only valuable for collective continuity. Hopefully we are beyond such natalist lunacy.
Yes, you did. Thank you.
This isn’t a hypothetical situation at all, nor are parents and caretakers of disabled, dependent, and critically ill people mute on the subject. YMMV, once you do your own research, but I haven’t seen many of them worrying about having too much leeway to get emotionally invested in the person who needs care, or arguing that their current lives are unproductive. The interest forced euthanasia serves is a very dangerous “interest” to be defending over the interests of the people who suffer and die without assistance, as Singer’s descent into pro-euthanasia arguments indicates. It also is predicated upon an understanding of quality of life with disability that disabled people emphatically reject. It is both interesting and hopeful to see you move the goalposts from diseases like cerebral palsy to vegetative states.
Also, describing the death of a disabled child to that child’s parent–particularly when you’ve demonstrated your willingness to make that possibility policy–isn’t comparable to describing assault with wheelchair, no matter how tender your toes may be.
Dorset, you’ve now had 45 posts – which in your case amounts to about 22,000 words – to make your case on “Alas.” By any standard, 22,000 words is enough for you to have had a fair chance of expressing your views.
More importantly, I feel the conversation has long passed being “circular.”
I’m also concerned by the rudeness and contempt implied by phrases like “you and your ilk,” not to mention the tendency of your posts to veer close to (or well past) endorsing prejudicial views of the disabled, Blacks, and women. Finally, I think that a viewpoint so materialist that it views paying child support as being just as bad as enforced childbirth is so far from my own view, as to make ever coming to agreement virtually impossible.
For all these reasons, I’ve decided that you shouldn’t post on “Alas” from now on. Thank you for respecting this decision.
[Deleted by the request of the author. –Amp]
Amp, as Dorset is asked to not post, I would like my response to him to be deleted as a manner of common courtesy. (I cross-posted with your comment #231).
By the way, this simply isn’t true. If a born child is raised by the father, the father can sue for and win child support payments. Child support laws do not distinguish between mothers and fathers in the way that Dorset seems to believe they do.
(Dorset, if you can email me the text of a current statute stating that custodial biological fathers have no right to be paid child support by non-custodial biological mothers, I’ll post a correction to my above statement.)
I believe you are correct, Amp, that that discussion had become pointless some time ago. I hope therefore that you will forgive me if I emit a heartfelt wow.
And, belatedly remembering my manners — thanks for the support, Tuomas, Ledasmom, piny and Amp.
I am usually not a fan of cheerleading posts piping in from the galleries, but wow, Dorset has done an absolutely masterful job at shredding the original arguments as well as most challengers in this thread (beyond the nitpicking of whether certain analogies are always exactly correct). Exposing the hypocrisy and the logical implications of their own positions was most excellent.
I fear he was a victim of his own success (as the selective application of the “rudeness standard” would indicate). Oh well, it is a great loss for any blog that valued a high level, even if sometimes aggressive, debates.
Nice sockpuppet–is that off-the-rack or did you make it yourself?
“Nice sockpuppet”“is that off-the-rack or did you make it yourself?”
My, my, that could be considered rude. I am offended and hurt by such an obvious personal attack! (just kidding) As I said I usually don’t care for the cheerleader type posts, but it was such a exceptional display I had to comment. It was a little like watching a small swarm of flies attacking a full grown man. But I do agree with Amp on one thing, this thread was settled by Dorset many posts ago. Everything else was wound licking.
First of all, FormerlyLarry isn’t a sock puppet; he’s posted here a bunch of times, and his style is very distinct from Dorset’s.
Second of all, FormerlyLarry, in the past your posts have usually had real content and arguments. These last two posts are nothing but cheerleading and insults. If that’s all you’ve got, please don’t post on “Alas.”
Third of all, this post closes the discussion of if Larry is a sock puppet, Larry’s cheerleading, etc. Don’t post to this thread again, Larry, unless you have actual content to add.
Let me open with an appology for not reading all 240 posts. I hope what I am going to write was not covered previously. I read to a point, and read the last few (which seemed to have become quite hateful) to be semi current with the thread. What made me want to post were the early posts on the “facts of biology” and the argument about the differences between men and women. Man or woman as the right to choose NOT to get pregnant, though it is much easier for a female to “trick” a man into an unwanted pregnancy than vice versa. (please don’t be offended, it does happen) Now, once there is a pregnancy that is unwanted by one or both of the future parents that is where the “biological rights” seem to shift in favor of the woman. I have no argument with that. I am pro-choice and though I think it is truly wrong of a woman to abort a child that would have one loving parent to raise it if it came into being I can think of no way to stop it without impeding on the rights of that female.
Now I am confused on what comes after though. If the female feels the child has a right to live but can not raise it she can give up legal responsibility and put it up for adoption and is praised for her sacrifice for the sake of the child. If a man feels he can not raise the child and gives up his legal responsibility…wait, he can’t. Now, how can we blame that particular part of it on biology? If you want to argue biological rules then we could just as easily argue that the woman has to be more meticulous about birth control because it is she that is stuck with the child and (biologicly) the man’s part is finished. We have established social and legal rules that change that, not biological ones.
I agree that there is no way to ever make this fair, not to the man, woman, or child if there is a disagreement on abortion, adoption, or custody. I do think that blaming biology for allowing or disallowing disproportional rights to one gender after birth is inaccurate and deceptive.
On a similar note, there is no legal responsibility of a biological mother to inform a biological father (unless they are married) of a pregnancy before or after an abortion or adoption. To my knowledge there is no law that requires a mother to even list a biological father before giving up a child. Would it truly infringe, at least in the case of adoption if not abortion, on the rights of a woman to give the other biological parent a chance to raise the child?
I am sure the comparison will be frowned on but imagine taking a woman’s child from her immediately after birth and never allowing her to see it. Fathers who “know” they have children but have no legal claim to them face a similar circumstance. Men are biologicly different but saying that they love their children less is quite a predjudiced statement.
I don’t understand. Is using a pin to poke a few holes in a condom something much more difficult for men? How about saying “don’t worry, I’ll pull out in time” and then not pulling out in time – is that terribly difficult?
Once the baby is born, the mother and father – if the father is around – are legally in the same boat. Neither of them has the right to give up the child for adoption without the other parent’s agreement. If either one of them decides they don’t want custody, the other parent can take the child, and the non-custodial parent can be sued for child support.
There is one inequality here, which is that it’s possible for a mother to keep a pregnancy secret from the father, but not vice versa. However, that inequality is biological, and carries substantial disadvantages for women.
You’re mistaken. However, in practice it’s a nearly-impossible law to enforce. If a woman says “I don’t know who the father was – his first name was “Joe,” I was drunk and I have no idea where he lives” – what do you propose, arresting her?
Again, the difference is biological, not legal. Neither parent is permitted to give up a child for abortion unilaterally if the other parent is known, alive and can be contacted. That’s why we’ve had cases like the “baby M” case, in which biological parents have been able to sue for custody of their already-adopted child on the grounds that the bio-father had never been informed.
From reading this whole thread, I think the anserw to your question Amp at the start: Do Feminists and Pro-lifers make the same arguements
Is a resounding YES.
I have never supported C4M but after reading this, I have had my mind changed.
I feel that the C4M arguement has been put in a balanced way, and the essential arguement for dismissal is “He should keep his pants on”
Gee, the men’s rights activist has decided that C4M makes sense. That’s a stunner. Next you’ll tell me that there are Republicans out there who voted for George Bush.
I don’t care for cheerleading posts here, Wookie. Nothing in your post provides any logical rebuttal of my opening post, or indeed of what anyone has said on this thread. If you want to attempt to make logical arguments or rebuttals, then that’s okay. If you have nothing to add but cheerleading the same old MRA positions, then please keep it off of “Alas.”
Fair enougth mate, your blog your rules.
I just feel others here have done that job, and that I do not need to.
I have always been of the postion of pro-choice,even though my personal belifes are pro-life, If I have sex and a pregnacy occurs, I will take full responciblity for my actions. But I don’t have the right to impose that belife on anyone else, and I see the logical arguments to the pro-choice postion for both men and women.
I am sorry that you felt the need to get hostile with me, but again your blog your rules.
I will refraine from posting in the future, if you wish.
By the way although I do get involved in Men’s Rights Activism, that is not all I am, My belifes are wide ranging and can change from issue to issue. Do not assume things about me based on my views on a particular topic.
And thank G-d that isn’t the way the law works!!
(Don’t shoot me, Amp, I’m going to mention Father’s Rights boards and conversations …)
Men who want to be fathers — real fathers, not “I’m going to make the mother’s life miserable” fathers — do fight for, and are granted by the courts, their legal right to be involved parents. And as much as I disagree with the concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome, courts have even recognized that custodial parents who decide “I’m going to make the (the other parent)’s life miserable and make my child hate him/her” and have changed custody.
Now, there are some biological facts that tend to grant rights to women that men don’t have. For example, women have breasts, and contrary to the purveyors of pr0nography, breasts exist … to feed babies. (Some men might seem to have breasts, but that’s another subject.) So, women tend to have a superior right to custody of infants based on the biology of breast feeding and the advantages to a newborn of being breast fed. Beyond that, courts grant rights based on which parent was the primary caregiver. That some men seem to think “But I had a job!” equals “caregiving” is not a valid reason to receive custody. It’s an argument for why those men (and where the roles are reversed from gender stereotypes, women) should continue to have the same level of involvement as before the separation — provide money to the mother (or father — see earlier comment) so that parent can continue to be the caregiver.
So … men already have plenty of choices. If they are sure they never want children, the choice begins with having a vasectomy. If they don’t want a child now, there are forms of male contraception, as well as forms of female contraception, which can be used to greatly reduce the risk of pregnancy. Those forms — condoms, spermacides, vaginal suppositories containing spermicides, etc. — are things the man can use so that he can have control. Should, by some accident, a child be conceived, the man again has choices. He can be however fully-involved in the child’s life his relationship with the child’s mother permits. And, should the child’s mother deny the constitutionally protected (yes, it’s a right founded in the Constitution) right to be an involved parent to the child’s father, he can sue. Quite conventiently, the child’s mother has the same constitutionally-protected rights.
Just a quick response to the responses, and thank you for the dialogue.
First, When I mentioned deception to get pregnant I was referring to how easy it is for a woman to stop the pill or say she is taking it when she is not. Any couple trusting withdrawl is not overly bright as pregnancy can occur without male ejaculation. On a similar topic, women have more incentives to become pregnant than a men do. I know that is going to upset some people but most men “on the fence” about marriage would jump into it if their partner gets pregnant. There are also the financial benefits that child support laws now provide. I would hate to believe it is common but I assure you that it is abused.
As for your comment on “what do you propose, arresting her?” Perhaps if we started holding her accountable for false statements and fraud then such incidences would decrease. It seems the current trend is allowing lies deception and fraud as part of her rights, I don’t undertand that.
Furrycatherder, I am lost as to your reply to the sentence you quoted. You are saying thank goodness there are disproportionate rights or that there currently are not? I am also confused as to how a vaginal suppositories are a valid contraceptive method for men. We have condoms or surgery, that is pretty much it. For the most part, and I am not an expert as I have no real problem with condoms so use that method, but the rest of the options are vaginal or medical for a female. As for caregiving, I believe most men want financial stability used as at least part of the consideration for custody. As it stands, she just gave birth and isnt working so can stay home and take care of the child is a positive argument. When a man brings up being able to support the child, the court simply takes the money from him. Heck, send her to work and he can quit his job just as easily as she did. I think that is where the “caregiver” argument comes from for working men. We get punished for what we can not do, women get rewarded for what they can not or are not doing.
I think part of the reason this thread is argumentative is that we keep referring to “rights” but switch back and forth between what kinds of rights we are talking about. There are basic human rights, not set down and quantified anywhere but seemingly apparent yet different to everyone. There are also legal rights, current legal rights, which are simply legislative and have very little to do with justice or fairness and then there are biological rights, the things that are simply laws of nature. To confuse the issue further each religion has its own sets of rights and responsibilities to men and women.
I have seen arguments against mens involvment or rights to a pre-natal child saying women have the “right” to an abortion, that is a legal right and didnt exist before Roe v Wade. Was the “legal” right of the gov’t to deny abortion just then and all of a sudden unjust after the ruling? Again, legal and human rights will never truly match. I think what most fathers simply want a bit more of an even shake. It seems that when you talk about a father-child relationship we discuss responsibility and when we discuss a mother-child relationship we talk about rights.
People don’t like to think about it unless it supports their own cause but I think both sides have justified examples of why they are right. There are abusive men and fathers out there that simply want to not support their children or it was a fling and they don’t even care that they have any. There are also mothers out there that abuse the system for money and dump the kids on a third party or neglect and abuse them in other ways and are using the support money on themselves. I think basicly at this point men want an out. They want a legal option that allows them to walk away, which is what women have. I think they lump themselves in with pro-lifers to try and strip back a “right” from the “evil women” that they themselves don’t have.
As for feminist saying men have enough rights already and seeming to parrot pro-lifers…perhaps the words are similar but I think the motivations are completely different. Pro-life advocates, not all but many, take a moral superiority stance. Feminists feel threatened by the men’s demand for rights because they feel that if men have more rights then women automaticly have to lose some of theirs. So their stance is more of a self preservation outlook.
A quick PS… I just realized another logic conflict here. We talked about the rights men already have… listed over and over… and yet you (Amp) admitted that by a simple lie men’s parental rights are circumvented and you seem, by your statement, opposed to punishing the liars or finding a way to cut down on such instances of deceit or fraud. If the rights can be that easily stripped are they rights at all, or is it similar to saying that, sure blacks can eat here, as long as they have permission from the whites. Is it a parental right if you have to have the mothers permission to exercise it?
Sorry this got long.
Amp, I reread your opening post and just have to say this though I know you will hate me. Men have the biologicly viable option to walk away after pregnancy. It is only child support laws that prevent it. You are removing a man’s viable option, just like outlawing abortion is, for moral reasons. It is not the man’s fault that women physically lack the option to walk away from a pregnancy.
Read it this way…
When feminists say a man’s chance to decide about parenthood is before pregnancy happens, what they really mean is, “I want to deny you one of your viable options.” There’s no reason, except for child support laws, that men can’t walk away after pregnancy begins.
I personally think the argument rings hollow both ways. I would not want to walk away from my child, I am a proud father, but that does not mean the option should be denied. Just becaues not every woman votes does not mean that all women should be denied the vote.
[Comment removed by author.]
As do women. You compare two things that are not equals, pregnancy and the existence of a born child. It has been discussed at great length here, and it appears that the law is same for men and women (neither men or women are allowed to abandon their children after birth, as it comes into conflict with the childs rights, that do not exist before birth) . Equality of rights and responsibilities exists, to the biological limits.
Comparing paper abortion for men and actual abortion is also comparing things that are not the same. Women can not choose to unilaterally dump a child to a man either (if they do, the man can sue for child support).
Ed, all these have been suggested in the thread, you should read it.
A woman (unmarried) can legally choose to abandon her child after birth through adoption options, so that argument is flawed. I have never heard of a mother paying child support to an orphanage or adoptive couple.
A man can not unilaterally decide to dump a child on a woman, she has to choose to have the child. So the support of the child she chose to have after a “paper abortion”, as you called it, would simply be her responsibility. If a “paper abortion” were legal I would fully stand behind it having to be performed early in the pregnancy if the biological father is informed. I think current notification procedures would need to be fixed though. So by your logic he is disavowing responsibility for a fetus and no child’s rights are being conflicted. Or if biological and legal parentage are not seperate issues then we have a lot of work to do with custody and adoption law.
What I am seeing is an argument that further legislation would infringe on a woman’s freedoms allowed her by biology, but current legislation is justified on infringing on a man’s freedoms allowed by his biology. I say freedoms, not rights, because I see nothing just or right about walking away from a child.
I am working my way through the rest of the thread and it is a bit argumentative and bitter at times, but informative.
If the woman decides to do that, the man can assert his rights as the biological father. If then the man gains custody, he is entitled to child support from the woman. How is the argument flawed?
Men do not have to pay child support to an orphanage or an adoptive couple either, as adoptive parents become the childs parents in a legal sense.
I wrote earlier that:
You cannot disavow a responsibility that does not exist. Men are not responsible for feti or a pregnant women (at least legally).
Thus proponents of C4M are asking for a right to disavow a future responsibility before the said responsibility actually exists! Women don’t get to do that either (as abortion removes the possibility of the fetus becoming a legal person with rights).
If there is no abortion or miscarriage, the fetus will become a child. If that happens, both the man and the woman have responsibility. I don’t think abortion should be coerced on woman because a man suddenly decides that he does not want to become a parent. If there was a binding contract before the couple even has sex that the man forfeits his rights rights and responsibilities (signed by both the man and the woman), then it might be justified. As you lamented the ways women can trick men to parenthood, realize that this does work both ways. (A man about to have sex with a pro-life woman: “Sure, I want to become a father, let’s have family” afterwards: “I chance my mind, Choice for Men!”. Is it fair to punish pro-life women, and their children thus?) Let’s not pretend that, as you said she has to choose to have the child that abortion is such a simple choice! For some, it is not an option at all (I don’t agree with the pro-life position, but it is IMO valid as long it is not pushed on other women’s bodies.).
And still, child support is about supporting the child. Not the woman’s choices.
There is nothing male-specific about walking away from a child. From a pregnant woman, yes, but if that woman gives birth then both parents are responsible for the child.
(thanks to Mythago for providing the legal part for this thread, I’m quoting her practically)
It sure is. I lost my temper a couple of times, IIRC.
FTR, I personally support some child-care system by the state, and am also very supporting of adoption and volunteer work for abandoned children. But the issue is, if such systems do not exist, then it is only fair to demand both parents to take responsibility for their children (this should be the norm).
“for feti or a pregnant women”
typo, should read: for feti or pregnant women.
Here we agree. :)
Child support benefits the child, not the custodial parent. Said parent can (and should) be prosecuted for using child-support money for her- or himself instead of the child(ren).
I get very tired of this notion that all a woman has to do is sucker some poor slob into getting her pregnant and then she can sit on the sofa and eat bonbons for the next 18 years while he works his guts out supporting her and the kid. We all know it doesn’t work that way (unless maybe the slob in question is Donald Trump, and that falls into the “too rare to be a legitimate argument” category).
I finished the thread and there are some great points in there. I think Dorset was over the top on some of his comments, probably because going to extremes seems to be the only way to get anything even marginal accomplished in the legal system.
Tuomas, If a woman doesn’t tell a man she is pregnant then how can he assert his rights to the born child? That was my point to the statement about is it really a right if he need permission to use it, meaning the woman’s permission. Would you support rights violation laws and/or fraud enforcement for women who lie or refuse to inform the father? Is it not a responsibility of the woman to keep track of potential fathers to her children at least as much as a man’s responsibility to police his own sperm? It just seems to me that there is a have my cake and eat it to clause. If the woman wants support she claims a father…if not she simply never says a word. In a similar strain, should women who wrongfully claim parentage be prosecuted? (a married woman who fails to mention an affair that led to her pregnancy for instance)
Now, as for not being able to give up “future responsibilities” since the fetus is not a child. My question is then if a man did not help create a child, he created a fetus, and the woman then creates the child after that on her own why is he responsible at all. Remember, these are your arguments not mine, I personally feel the child AND fetus belong to both parents from the start.
One more thing while we are on the rights and responsibilities issue. If it is the 50/50 split I keep seeing, would you support gender neutral custody laws (that are actually practiced) where by custody is not assumed until both biological parents are recognized and can petition for custody? Can we take gender out of the practice of awarding custody based on parental fitness. I know this is a bit off thread I am just testing the waters for opinions since people seem reasonable and calm here at this point.
Lu, the money is for the child in theory but in practice it doesnt work that way. I am glad you agree they should be prosecuted and would you support accountabliity practices for custodial parents? As for your “too rare to be legitimate” firstly, rarity shouldn’t be a factor in legal protection. Secondly, I am afraid you have a higher opinion than you should of parts of our society. What is considered abusing the system… If you receive a payment to uphold a particular standard of living for a child and use it for yourself, for your children by another father, to support a new spouse or boyfriend that is not or can not work, so on and so forth. That money, even if the recipient isn’t living the high life, becomes household income and is OFTEN not used for the child it is intended for.
Agreeably I am more focused on non custodial rights and men’s parental rights. I think, honestly, that a man backing out of parenthood has not infringed on the woman’s rights in any way. I also believe that to restrict certain rights or privledges based on gender is discrimination. So, to allow a female unilateral adoption (in practice) and the right to abandonment, but to disallow it for men is gender discrimination.
We have to stay consistent or we open the door for any and all discrimination. Saying a man not supporting his child is infringing on the child’s rights but the same from a woman is acceptable seems to me to be a very lopsided and illogical argument. I think most folks want equal treatment under the law. They want things to be “fair”. It has to be in practice as well as theory. I am not talking about results here either, I am talking about opportunity. In other words I am not advocating that we mandate 50% of all custody go to fathers just because they are men and that is “fair”.
These always get so much longer than I plan.
Yes, I would. Unless there is a very good reason to not allow the man rights to his child (criminal etc. unfit for parenting)
No, but he has infringed on his child’s rights.
That is not my argument. I support abortion rights, yes, but I don’t support opt-out from parenthood for either gender. There is a distinction that people fail to see here.
Why should he get any rights to the child then, if all he did was create a fetus? A woman can technically (with abortion) stop the process where the fetus becomes a child. Of course a man has created the child too. I fail to see your point (or are you pro-life, and thus think women should not get abortion, but because they do, you want to “balance” things somehow? I’m actually curious).
In most cases, yes.
Heh. Join the club.
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