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January 21, 2008

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Women bring life into the world. With abortion available to them, they can also exert their power of "choice" and snuff out a baby's life. While the law gives men no say-so at all in the abortion decision, biological fathers may be legally required to pay child support if a woman opts to let her child live. Doesn't it seem that zealous feminists relish this power of life and death that they hold? Isn't power what much of the abortion debate is really about? To get even with men for oppression both real and perceived, feminists can exert their power in a manner for which men have no defense?

Heath:
Maybe your point has merit, but I doubt many would actually admit to thinking or feeling such things. My key concern in the whole abortion debate is how much of a role government should play in legislating morality, but no matter how much or how little government legislates moral issues that affect society as a whole it really all begins with the individual. A selfish mother-to-be who doesn't want to be "bothered" by a pregnancy, a baby, and a child to take care of is obviously in the wrong for her selfish attitude. A mother-to-be who is in mortal danger of her own life and the baby's life because the doctor's tell her that neither she nor her baby will live unless the fetus is aborted... well, is she sinful and evil because she decides to abort, considering she has a child or two or more at home already and a husband as well that she doesn't want to just leave alone should she die? Tough call. And thus, how much or how little should government intervene in these two situations through legislation?

Now, my examples are the extremes, and I don't think that they are representative of the whole of women who have had an abortion. Unfortunately, as you point out, I doubt that many pro-choice people would be quick to point out the selfish mother-to-be example because it is damaging to their argument of pro-choice. But are the pro-lifers also quick to point out the mother-to-be in mortal danger of her own life and her baby's life? No, but I think they're typically more willing to consider such circumstances when attacking a societal problem, which is why I would consider myself pro-life - so we can wrestle and think and struggle with such issues in a logical fashion, not just the "gimme-gimme" of today's selfish, American society.

Sadly many men who protest the possible abortion of yet-in-the-womb kids they have sired are also deadbeats when it comes to child support for out-of-womb children they already have. There are huge double standards abroad on this volatile issue that will never go away.

>> A mother-to-be who is in mortal danger of her own life and the baby's life because the doctor's tell her that neither she nor her baby will live unless the fetus is aborted

A quick thought before I answer more substantively: Taking a baby out of the womb to save the mother's life, and attempting to save the baby, is not abortion, though the baby may die.

Now, in the case of a woman who's baby's live birth or removal will kill the mother, it seems to me that because there was a good faith effort to save the baby by examining all the options, that the moral choice would be the one which causes the least pain to either individual.

Now, I'd be willing to bet that the above scenario is extremely rare.

[Aside: I should probably mention that, in Genesis, when this scenario played out for Rachel, that Jacob didn't kill the baby. Now, the bible doesn't directly address the above scenario, so I think my assessment is still good.]

Caveman,

I don't see how abortion differs from any other life & death situation our societies must deal with. If someone is killed then the circumstances are examined to see if the death was intentional or accidental, justified or not.

As parallels to your examples, if one man kills another for selfish reasons we call this murder. If 2 men are trapped in a burning building and the fireman can only extract one of them before causing the building to collapse, the other man's death is considered accidental even if it was the fireman's actions which directly triggered his death (assuming no incompetence was at work).

I fail to see how similar logic cannot be applied to the unborn.

Alan,

Do you have any stats for that? It seems counterintuitive for someone to protest the abortion of a child they would otherwise have nothing to do with. In fact, most of the guys who wouldn't care to take care of their children would be gone long before the decision to abort had been made.

Caveman:
I'm aware of all the hard-luck scenarios that pro-choice people use in their defense of abortion. But have you actually seen the statistics for why abortions occur? Rape, incest and life of the mother account for maybe 3 percent of all abortions, according to statistics from abortion-leaning institutes. So, yeah, pro-choice people may not be willing to cite selfishness as a reason, but it's the prime reason. The pro-life support I give focuses very little on legislative efforts and more on taking away the demand for abortion. Young women in hard positions who have resources to get them back on their feet are less likely to abort. Changing laws, which isn't going to happen in my lifetime (and I'm young), isn't as effective as changing hearts.
That said, I stand by what I said in my first post. Abortion rights are so politicized because it is a way to strike a blow at the "patriarchy."
Are there deadbeat dads who don't want to take care of their kids? Sure. But why do we allow babies to be executed for the sins of their fathers?

Hi Jody - Sorry for the late response. My observations are statistically anecdotal. I am a social worker and have had dealings with three males in the past year who have defaulted on child support payments for kids they already have - subsequently they have managed to impregnate other women, and are opposed to abortions for those women recently seeded. When I say defaulted on payments I mean TOTAL default - haven't paid a dime in years. I have no data from a large sample, but I'd venture to say this is certainly not a rare situation. These men all have "good intentions" but they are lame when it comes to follow-through.

Not all are "long gone" when the option about whether to abort is being discussed. Their involvement varies after learning of the pregnancy, and is influenced (like much behavior of those in poverty) by many things that wouldn't effect people accustomed to more stable environments.

There are literally dozens of personal, social, cultural, and economic variables that enter into the abortion opinions (and actions) of the American poor. It would be a big mistake to paint this specific phenomenon with a broad brush - I know from over 15 years experience of dealing with the fathers. (FWIW, the focus of my specific social work is job training, and my info is gained from case management interviews with clients).

Hi Alan, do you see any problem with a voluntary program that would provide serious incentives for folks who choose vasectomies?

Mr. Aronson -

I have no problem - faith or otherwise - with VOLUNTARY sterilization of either gender- PROVIDED - it happens prior to conception. We could debate ad nauseum what constitutes conception - IMO it is immediate when sperm meets egg, and not one second after. My opinion is predicated on that definition of conception.

Please let me know if my response needs clarification.

Hi Alan, I don't think one needs to worry about conception when dealing with vasectomies :). You do bring up an interesting matter. A woman who is motivated by a pregnancy to get, not only an abortion but her tubes tied, is likely not to be dissuaded by what you or anyone else believes as well as what the law says. However, I understand that age and prior pregnancies would be a factor for a licensed MD. It would likely be hard to find a doctor who would sterilize an otherwise healthy female who was below a certain age. It would be great though if someone would give your guy a few hundred if he would get one.

Caveman & Heath - I don't have a link to the statistics handy, but the last Alan Guttmacher Institute (hardly a pro-life org) statistics I saw stated that 1% of all abortions in the US are done for reasons of rape, or incest, another 6% for the health of the mother, leaving 93% of abortions done for social reasons.

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