News, Various Thoughts Thereof

Some thoughts running through my head about various things I’ve seen in the news and on blogs:

* The totality of my thought about the Afghani who is likely to be killed for converting to Christianity, is, gee, it sure is nice we spent so much in time, money, and human life ousting those intolerant Taliban! This is admittedly not a sufficiently complex line of thought on the matter, but I’m willing to live with that at the moment. I’m pretty consistently for religious freedom and against religious intolerance, no matter where it is, and I’m not impressed by a bunch of jackassed imams hooting that Allah gets His feelings hurt every time someone converts from Islam, and therefore someone has to die. I’m even less impressed with a government that has that as a baked-in practice. And even less impressed yet that this is a government we helped establish, and then ourselves hooted about democracy flourishing, and so on, and so on.

* As an aside this reminds me again of a little rule of thumb I use to decide just how seriously I need to take a religious or political leader, which is know at what point he decides women have had enough of that whole “rights” thing. If the answer is “at some point less than the rights of men,” then I don’t entirely feel the fellow has the moral standing to lecture me about a single goddamned thing. The fellows above, hooting for the death of this convert, strike me as the sort who would get concerned about the evils of women wearing slacks, so you can imagine what I feel is their level of moral authority. Of course, let’s not get too proud over here, shall we. We’ve got lots of folks who are happy for women to wear slacks, true enough, but don’t trust them to run their own bodies.

* Speaking of which, the hot new thing on the Internet is how the President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, has said she’d open up a Planned Parenthood clinic on the reservation to serve South Dakota’s women, and there’s not a thing the South Dakota government could do about it because the reservation is sovereign land. This is a lovely story; alas, not every state has a reservation in it. But I also suspect that if this came to pass (and, additionally, that the Supreme Court, in a fit of madness, reversed Roe v. Wade and allowed the South Dakota law to go into effect) that South Dakota would try to find a way to get around it; the state and the US have a very casual relationship with the sovereignity of the reservations within their borders, if memory recollects correctly. Although the sight of armed South Dakota law enforcement invading the Pine Ridge Reservation to take over a Planned Parenthood clinic would certainly be a hint to people that women were once again second class citizens, both in the US and in the territories in which it could exert its influence.

* Somewhat related, the jackassed “Roe v. Wade for men” thing, in which some schmuck named Matt Dubay wants not to have to pay child support because he didn’t want to have a kid, and his girlfriend said she didn’t want to have a kid, but then she became pregnant and decided that she did. Aside from assuring that he will never again have heterosexual sex with any woman who is not clinically bugfuck insane, Dubay is a perfect example of how people seem to have forgotten that sex isn’t fun with the incidental side effect of producing kids, it’s fun because the primary purpose is to produce kids.

Guys, here’s the deal: If you have a sex with a fertile woman, you may just fertilize her. It’s implicit in having sex, even if you’ve done everything short of not having sex to avoid it. If you want to have sex without the risk of fertilization, get a vasectomy, boink post-menopausal women, or have sex with men. Those are your options. Lord knows I’m not a prude, but I’m also not stupid, and as a practical matter my personal rule of thumb regarding heterosexual sex (which is, I must admit, my preferred sort) has always been not to have it with someone I wouldn’t want to have a kid with. This has kept me from having sex I could have had, I admit. On the other hand, I’ve never regretted being with anyone I’ve been with, either, so there’s that benefit — and also there are no little Scalzis running around that I don’t know about, which is even better.

The argument here, as I understand it, is that if a woman has the choice to end a pregnancy, a man should have the choice not to pay support for a child he didn’t want. The problem is that these are not equivalent issues. A woman can end her pregnancy because it involves her person, and every person should have the right to say what happens to his or her body, up to and including hosting another human inside it. Paying child support has not a single thing to do with that; it has to do with some twit not wanting to deal with the consequences of his actions. Certainly the woman has to deal with the consequences of her actions: she must either have the child, and then support it or put it up for adoption, or she must end her pregnancy. For some dick to walk away from all responsibility on the weak excuse of “hey, I didn’t want that,” is monstrous. God knows men already do that; the last thing we need to do is give them legal cover.

The good news is the chance of this lawsuit not getting stuffed is almost non-existent. Personally I think the judge should up Dubay’s monthly child support payment as punishment for attempting to be such a weasel in the first place; that and to be made to wear a T-shirt that says “I filed suit to be a deadbeat dad” at least once a week for a year. Yes, I’m into creative sentencing.

* I’m not a huge fan of Dick Cheney, but I admit to being confused as to why his hotel room requests are such a big deal. For being the second most powerful man in the world (de jure), his requests are charmingly modest: Some fresh-brewed decaf, some soda, water, newspapers and lots of light. Fair enough. There seem to be some chuckles at the idea that he wants all the TVs in his suite tuned to Fox News, but aside from it being utterly unsurprising that a member of this administration watches that particular “news channel,” if this is the most extreme of his demands, as celebrities and VIPs go, Dick Cheney is the proverbial cakewalk. Cut the man some slack, already. Lord knows there’s enough legitimate reason to snark on him.

116 thoughts on “News, Various Thoughts Thereof

  1. Your second paragraph regarding “Roe v Wade for men” may as well be a pro-life argument with the sexes reversed. I’ll be expecting you blogging about your vigils outside clinics soon.

    The fact is, there is a serious discrepancy regarding rights when it comes to pregnancy. If you think that’s fine, fine. If you don’t, well, there are some people who look at places where discrimination exist and don’t care for it, and that’s not weaselly, monstrous, or stupid.

  2. “Your second paragraph regarding ‘Roe v Wade for men’ may as well be a pro-life argument with the sexes reversed. I’ll be expecting you blogging about your vigils outside clinics soon.”

    Possibly that’s because you’re a moron. There’s not a thing wrong in recognizing that sex leads to children, because, after all, it does. It does not suggest that people should not be able to control their reproduction as much as possible.

    “The fact is, there is a serious discrepancy regarding rights when it comes to pregnancy.”

    No. Any “rights” men have regarding pregnancy are subordinate to the rights of the woman who is actually pregnant; men claiming “rights” regarding pregnancy is pretty much the same as men claiming the right to control a woman’s body for their own aims. And that’s odious.

    If men want to have rights regarding pregnancy, I suggest we devise a way for men to become pregnant.

    In any event, Dubay’s suit isn’t about pregnancy, it’s about him wanting to get out of supporting a live child he fathered, so this misdirection regarding men’s “pregnancy rights” is hardly on point.

  3. The only weird thing about the Cheney requirements is the Fox News thing. Not because of the channel — because a lot of hotel televisions are set up such that they automatically reset volume and channel when they’re shut off, and go back to a default volume (usually louder than I’d like) and whatever the “Buy movies on your television! Stay at this hotel!” channel is. I’m guessing he arrives at a lot of hotels to find the televisions all turned on.

  4. “Possibly that’s because you’re a moron. There’s not a thing wrong in recognizing that sex leads to children, because, after all, it does. It does not suggest that people should not be able to control their reproduction as much as possible.”

    Your statement was straight out of the pro-life playbook, whether or not you admit it, and it hasn’t been any comfort to women who believe they may one day have abortions, and want to keep that right. I fail to see why you think it should convince men.

    “Any “rights” men have regarding pregnancy are subordinate to the woman who is actually pregnant; men claiming “rights” regarding pregnancy is pretty much the same as men claiming the right to control that woman’s body for their own aims.”

    And that’s why no one is advocating the ability of men to force women to abort, or, even worse, force them to carry to term. However, wanting to control the financial situation after the child is born is not just “pretty much the same” as that. Otherwise, men must necessarily view every sexual encounter as having a possible cost of 18 years of financial obligation – in Dubay’s case, 108,000 dollars. Whereas women, after contraception fails, can get an abortion, should a child not be convenient.

    Personally, I don’t think this is a good thing either. I would rather that this guy would step up and take responsibility for what he did. But then, when women can abort any and every pregnancy, it’s not really logically consistent to require that. And I’d rather have Roe v Wade for men and women, then not have it for either.

  5. I don’t have a lot of time to comment this morning, but on the Afghan thing: the vast bulk of Afghanistan exists in the 14th century. You can’t expect people with that sort of mindset to change overnight. They won’t, any more than those in the western world did. Hell, they can’t.

    The western presence there hasn’t changed much about the place, either. As soon as the money stops flowing and the troops leave, the Taliban or something very much like it will be back. The Russians tried and failed, and their methods were a great deal more brutal than ours.

  6. The thing that bugs me about the Afghaninstan situation, other than someone being threatened with execution due to how they conduct their personal life, is the idea that we sent troops there to free them and this is the thanks we get. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I thought that the reason we went into Afghanistan was because the Taliban ruled there and the Taliban was in cahoots with Bin Laden. Prior to 9-11, this threat of execution was present for those who thought about converting, and not only did we not care, but had this situation arisen, I’m sure it wouldn’t have gotten any press. Also, China is notorious for cracking down on those who try and practice non-sanctioned religions, and I don’t see the administration being dissappointed in them. I guess once Afghanistan becomes the future economic jewel of the new world, we’ll cut them some slack. :P

    The Dubay thing bugs me, but not for the obvious reason. I find myself somewhat siding with him, and I really don’t know why. He sounds like a jerk, but yet I think there’s a hint of agreement there. I dunno. I guess I’ll think about it some more and try and figure out where this is coming from before I write something and end up looking like an assclown.

    I guess, bottom line is that if you don’t want to run the risk of getting into this situation, you must heed the wise words of Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale, who said: Don’t be daft, don’t be silly, put a snakeskin on your willy.

  7. The thing that bugs me about the Afghaninstan situation, other than someone being threatened with execution due to how they conduct their personal life, is the idea that we sent troops there to free them and this is the thanks we get. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I thought that the reason we went into Afghanistan was because the Taliban ruled there and the Taliban was in cahoots with Bin Laden. Prior to 9-11, this threat of execution was present for those who thought about converting, and not only did we not care, but had this situation arisen, I’m sure it wouldn’t have gotten any press. Also, China is notorious for cracking down on those who try and practice non-sanctioned religions, and I don’t see the administration being dissappointed in them. I guess once Afghanistan becomes the future economic jewel of the new world, we’ll cut them some slack. :P

    The Dubay thing bugs me, but not for the obvious reason. I find myself somewhat siding with him, and I really don’t know why. He sounds like a jerk, but yet I think there’s a hint of agreement there. I dunno. I guess I’ll think about it some more and try and figure out where this is coming from before I write something and end up looking like an assclown.

    I guess, bottom line is that if you don’t want to run the risk of getting into this situation, you must heed the wise words of Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale, who said: Don’t be daft, don’t be silly, put a snakeskin on your willy.

  8. Reader:

    “Your statement was straight out of the pro-life playbook”

    And? Are the anti-abortion people incorrect in noting that pregnancy is often a consequence of heterosexual sex? They are not. There are lots of things that I and any number of virulently pro-choice people agree with the anti-abortion folks about. I’m for being fully aware of the consequences of sex, and I’m for teaching that abstinence is an excellent way not to get pregnant.

    Where they and I part is that I think teaching only abstinence is idiotic, I’m for ready access to contraception of all sorts (including the after-the-fact stuff), and I support a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body. Suggesting that noting sex leads to babies is falling right into the rhetorical clutches of the anti-abortion forces is awfully silly.

    “Otherwise, men must necessarily view every sexual encounter as having a possible cost of 18 years of financial obligation – in Dubay’s case, 108,000 dollars.”

    No. As I said earlier, they also have a choice of getting a vasectomy, having sex with post-menopausal women, or having sex with men. If Dubay were truly opposed to the possibility of having children and he still wanted to have sex with fertile-age women, vasectomy probably would have been the way to go.

    Otherwise, yes, men should view the possibility that any sexual encounter could lead to 18 years of financial obligation. Because it might. Because biologically sex is for making babies, and here in the US we have this funny thing about parents being responsible for and to their progeny. I’m not particularly sympathetic toward people who lose sight of that salient fact, because the time to avoid that possible consequence is before the sexual act, not after you’ve had your moment of orgasmic pleasure. What would be nice is if remembering this little piece of information led to people actually thinking before they had sex.

    “And I’d rather have Roe v Wade for men and women, then not have it for either.”

    I’m going to type this slowly, so you can understand: This suit has nothing to do with Roe V. Wade. Roe V. Wade was about the right a woman to be able to control what happens her body, rather than to have that control at the whim of the government; this craptacular suit is an attempt by a little weasel of a man to avoid the consequences of having sex.

    As I noted in the main entry, women do not escape the consequences of their actions, unless you think having an abortion is somehow consequence-free in our country (not to mention putting a child up for adoption or trying to raise the child herself). There’s no reason why men should avoid the consequences either; that their consequences are financial is neither here nor there, as certainly women bear a financial burden as well, particularly if they keep the child. It is not nor should be up to the man as to whether a woman should carry a child to term because that involves a woman’s body, which is inviolate to the whims of other people.

    That being the case, the best and most obvious time to avoid the possible 18-year consequence of heterosexual sex with a fertile woman is before one sticks one’s penis inside her. Really, I don’t see what’s so difficult to understand about that.

    The people trolling this suit in front of a judge are calling it “Roe v. Wade for men” to obfuscate the fact that what the suit is really about is an attempt by a jerk to get out of paying for the needs of a child he helped bring into the world; this is a child support case, pure and simple. Calling it anything else is pointless.

  9. Reader:

    “Your statement was straight out of the pro-life playbook”

    And? Are the anti-abortion people incorrect in noting that pregnancy is often a consequence of heterosexual sex? They are not. There are lots of things that I and any number of virulently pro-choice people agree with the anti-abortion folks about. I’m for being fully aware of the consequences of sex, and I’m for teaching that abstinence is an excellent way not to get pregnant.

    Where they and I part is that I think teaching only abstinence is idiotic, I’m for ready access to contraception of all sorts (including the after-the-fact stuff), and I support a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body. Suggesting that noting sex leads to babies is falling right into the rhetorical clutches of the anti-abortion forces is awfully silly.

    “Otherwise, men must necessarily view every sexual encounter as having a possible cost of 18 years of financial obligation – in Dubay’s case, 108,000 dollars.”

    No. As I said earlier, they also have a choice of getting a vasectomy, having sex with post-menopausal women, or having sex with men. If Dubay were truly opposed to the possibility of having children and he still wanted to have sex with fertile-age women, vasectomy probably would have been the way to go.

    Otherwise, yes, men should view the possibility that any sexual encounter could lead to 18 years of financial obligation. Because it might. Because biologically sex is for making babies, and here in the US we have this funny thing about parents being responsible for and to their progeny. I’m not particularly sympathetic toward people who lose sight of that salient fact, because the time to avoid that possible consequence is before the sexual act, not after you’ve had your moment of orgasmic pleasure. What would be nice is if remembering this little piece of information led to people actually thinking before they had sex.

    “And I’d rather have Roe v Wade for men and women, then not have it for either.”

    I’m going to type this slowly, so you can understand: This suit has nothing to do with Roe V. Wade. Roe V. Wade was about the right a woman to be able to control what happens her body, rather than to have that control at the whim of the government; this craptacular suit is an attempt by a little weasel of a man to avoid the consequences of having sex.

    As I noted in the main entry, women do not escape the consequences of their actions, unless you think having an abortion is somehow consequence-free in our country (not to mention putting a child up for adoption or trying to raise the child herself). There’s no reason why men should avoid the consequences either; that their consequences are financial is neither here nor there, as certainly women bear a financial burden as well, particularly if they keep the child. It is not nor should be up to the man as to whether a woman should carry a child to term because that involves a woman’s body, which is inviolate to the whims of other people.

    That being the case, the best and most obvious time to avoid the possible 18-year consequence of heterosexual sex with a fertile woman is before one sticks one’s penis inside her. Really, I don’t see what’s so difficult to understand about that.

    The people trolling this suit in front of a judge are calling it “Roe v. Wade for men” to obfuscate the fact that what the suit is really about is an attempt by a jerk to get out of paying for the needs of a child he helped bring into the world; this is a child support case, pure and simple. Calling it anything else is pointless.

  10. I’m not sure if it was particularly related to Dubay’s suit or not, but there was some “Men’s Rights Activist” who was maintaining that if a man wants a woman to carry a child he sired and the woman wants an abortion, then the woman must either carry that child to term (and be paid for her trouble) or go through with the abortion and pay the man for his loss. I can’t quantify how much head-throbbin’, gut-wrenchin’, heart-palpatatin’ “ahhhhhhhh!” I experience when I read that idea. ‘Cuz if I get pregnant, I either want cash to compensate me for carrying a child I don’t want, or I want to have to pay someone in order to restore my right to physical integrity. Yup, that there’s my dream scenario.

    In an ideal world, it would be awesome if there were some kind of way for men to carry fetuses they didn’t want to see aborted, or even to have them transferred to a mechanical womb. In an ideal world, I might even like to see either parent able to either veto or absent from participating in a child that he or she did not want to have. Of course, that ideal world would require different technology than we currently possess, support systems so darn awesome that neither parent would have to worry about the economic consequences of being left in the lurch, a lack of sexist tradition that sees women as obligated to carry children, systems of privelege that don’t differentiate on the basis of sex, and a bunch of other stuff I’m too lazy to think of.

    In the meantime, Dubay, cough up.

  11. But I also suspect that if this came to pass (and, additionally, that the Supreme Court, in a fit of madness, reversed Roe v. Wade and allowed the South Dakota law to go into effect) that South Dakota would try to find a way to get around it; the state and the US have a very casual relationship with the sovereignity of the reservations within their borders, if memory recollects correctly.

    Well, if Roe goes, then you know Congress will just pass a national abortion ban, which will also apply to “the Indian Tribes” (cf. the Commerce Clause).

    I suppose that same right-wing court might actually decide that the Commerce Clause can’t be used to regulate abortion, but I tend to doubt it.

  12. But I also suspect that if this came to pass (and, additionally, that the Supreme Court, in a fit of madness, reversed Roe v. Wade and allowed the South Dakota law to go into effect) that South Dakota would try to find a way to get around it; the state and the US have a very casual relationship with the sovereignity of the reservations within their borders, if memory recollects correctly.

    Well, if Roe goes, then you know Congress will just pass a national abortion ban, which will also apply to “the Indian Tribes” (cf. the Commerce Clause).

    I suppose that same right-wing court might actually decide that the Commerce Clause can’t be used to regulate abortion, but I tend to doubt it.

  13. Rachel:

    Yeah, there’s a reason why I tend to lump “Men’s Rights” folks with “White Power” folks in my head. Being both male and white, I’m not exactly pleased these sort of folks have decided to make common cause with me. I’m sure there’s a “straight power” group out there somewhere too. Sigh.

  14. Having had several friends who have had women try and trap them into marriage with a child (intentionally puncturing condoms, claiming to be on birth control while not actually being on it – to the point of taking the placebo pills in front of their SO) there is certainly a discrepancy there.

    If the man is taking all reasonable steps to prevent pregnancy (Vasectomies, while technically reversible, are in practice very difficult to reverse) I see no reason why a man should not be able to say early on in the pregnancy that he has no intention of supporting the child he expressly did not want and took steps to prevent. I could see forcing him to pay any costs related to the birth, but after that, the woman can certainly choose to put the child up for adoption or support it herself.

    I’m a little bitter because a friend of mine has recently been through this exact situation. Lied to him about birth control, lied to him about putting the child up for adoption, and then he married her to “do the right thing”. It was that or get sued by her father’s pack of ravening lawyers for everything he has. So now there is a child being brought up in an unhappy marriage, which we all know always works out.

    I simply want to level the playing field and remove the tactic of accidental pregnancy from the desperate, stupid womens playbook.

  15. Having had several friends who have had women try and trap them into marriage with a child (intentionally puncturing condoms, claiming to be on birth control while not actually being on it – to the point of taking the placebo pills in front of their SO) there is certainly a discrepancy there.

    If the man is taking all reasonable steps to prevent pregnancy (Vasectomies, while technically reversible, are in practice very difficult to reverse) I see no reason why a man should not be able to say early on in the pregnancy that he has no intention of supporting the child he expressly did not want and took steps to prevent. I could see forcing him to pay any costs related to the birth, but after that, the woman can certainly choose to put the child up for adoption or support it herself.

    I’m a little bitter because a friend of mine has recently been through this exact situation. Lied to him about birth control, lied to him about putting the child up for adoption, and then he married her to “do the right thing”. It was that or get sued by her father’s pack of ravening lawyers for everything he has. So now there is a child being brought up in an unhappy marriage, which we all know always works out.

    I simply want to level the playing field and remove the tactic of accidental pregnancy from the desperate, stupid womens playbook.

  16. From this side of the pond, the whole South Dakota mess is looking very much like the first serious act in the slow motion break up of the US you know. From a UK point of view the USA seems to have started some sort of cultural implosion some time around the Ken Starr debacle. And what witht he whole intelligent design, gay marriage, pro life controversies it’s just gaining serious momentum.

  17. PeterP:

    “I see no reason why a man should not be able to say early on in the pregnancy that he has no intention of supporting the child he expressly did not want and took steps to prevent.”

    If the man and woman in question want to write up a legal contract absolving him (or for that matter, her) of financial and parental consequences in the case of an unintended pregnancy, I see no problem with that. Short of that, however, caveat emptor.

    rhiannon_s:

    “the whole South Dakota mess is looking very much like the first serious act in the slow motion break up of the US you know.”

    Eh. We’ve been through worse as a nation and survived. The problem with being in the now is that it’s all new to us, but history shows that the country has had both worse and better times. One should not be sanguine about it — things don’t change on their own — but one need not be overly pessimistic, either.

  18. PeterP:

    “I see no reason why a man should not be able to say early on in the pregnancy that he has no intention of supporting the child he expressly did not want and took steps to prevent.”

    If the man and woman in question want to write up a legal contract absolving him (or for that matter, her) of financial and parental consequences in the case of an unintended pregnancy, I see no problem with that. Short of that, however, caveat emptor.

    rhiannon_s:

    “the whole South Dakota mess is looking very much like the first serious act in the slow motion break up of the US you know.”

    Eh. We’ve been through worse as a nation and survived. The problem with being in the now is that it’s all new to us, but history shows that the country has had both worse and better times. One should not be sanguine about it — things don’t change on their own — but one need not be overly pessimistic, either.

  19. On the original topic of this post:

    The problem with democracy is that if the majority of people are jerks. . .

  20. On the original topic of this post:

    The problem with democracy is that if the majority of people are jerks. . .

  21. Pedantry: Dick Cheney is the de jure “second most powerful man in the world.” He’s (arguably) de facto the most powerful.

  22. PeterP:

    I have to say I don’t have much sympathy for your friend. It’s a matter of personal responsability and choice and always will be. He chose to be with this woman he chose to use a method of birth control that was not %100 effective he is now responsable for the outcome. What would he have done differently if it truely was an accident? And how on earth can he live with a woman he has no trust in and thinks ruined his life?

  23. It takes two to tango, as they say. And the man has to accept that if he’s going to gamble with sex he may have to pay for a long time. Ultimately I think the Dubay case is nothing more than what John said – an attempt to legitimize deadbeat status.

    But that isn’t to say the system isn’t slanted heavily in the woman’s favor (no doubt as an effort to undo the millenia in which it was slanted the other way). Once pregnant, the woman can choose whether or not to carry the child to term, and if she does she can choose whether to keep the child or place it for adoption. About the only thing the man can do is sue for custody if she decides to put it up for adoption.

    Whether the bias is justified or not, the fact that it exists opens it up for abuse by some (as PeterP pointed out) and attacks on its perceived injustice by others (the Dubay case). In the end it’s a no-win situation…

  24. It takes two to tango, as they say. And the man has to accept that if he’s going to gamble with sex he may have to pay for a long time. Ultimately I think the Dubay case is nothing more than what John said – an attempt to legitimize deadbeat status.

    But that isn’t to say the system isn’t slanted heavily in the woman’s favor (no doubt as an effort to undo the millenia in which it was slanted the other way). Once pregnant, the woman can choose whether or not to carry the child to term, and if she does she can choose whether to keep the child or place it for adoption. About the only thing the man can do is sue for custody if she decides to put it up for adoption.

    Whether the bias is justified or not, the fact that it exists opens it up for abuse by some (as PeterP pointed out) and attacks on its perceived injustice by others (the Dubay case). In the end it’s a no-win situation…

  25. I’m not thrilled about the idea of somebody trying to shirk their responsibilities, but it seems inherently unfair to me that women get all the say when it comes to whether or not a conceived child will get to be born. Yes, I think women should have the opportunity to have an abortion if they are unable to support a child. But when the father is willing to raise the child, I firmly believe that child should be born, assuming that the pregnancy did not occur by any form of coercion, either physical or psychological. Is that fair to the mother? No. But it’s just as unfair to the father to not have a say in whether or not his child lives or dies.

    This particular case is more troublesome. Do I think he should have the legal right to give up all rights and responsibilites for his child? Part of me says yes, but part of me recognizes that this could lead us down a very slippery slope toward a lot of men doing this.

    The fact is, when it comes to pregnancy, men who either want a child the mother doesn’t want or men who don’t want a child the mother wants are inherently (and you should pardon the pun) screwed.

  26. John: “If the man and woman in question want to write up a legal contract absolving him (or for that matter, her) of financial and parental consequences in the case of an unintended pregnancy, I see no problem with that.”

    I wonder if any court in the country would actually support that contract. It would be an interesting legal exersize.

    As to my friends situtation, I have no idea. I would certainly have handled it much differently. All I can do is support him and hope like hell Dubay is successful.

  27. John: “If the man and woman in question want to write up a legal contract absolving him (or for that matter, her) of financial and parental consequences in the case of an unintended pregnancy, I see no problem with that.”

    I wonder if any court in the country would actually support that contract. It would be an interesting legal exersize.

    As to my friends situtation, I have no idea. I would certainly have handled it much differently. All I can do is support him and hope like hell Dubay is successful.

  28. Sue:

    “but it seems inherently unfair to me that women get all the say when it comes to whether or not a conceived child will get to be born.”

    It is only as unfair as the fact that women must carry and nurture the child in their bodies, I would say. There’s no getting around that fundamental fact of human biology. The only potentially legal recourse would be to compel a woman to heed the wishes of the father; i.e., give another person control of her own body. But this is where indeed the law is fair — the woman has no more control over the man’s body as the man has control of hers.

    Whether she is pregnant or not is, from this point of view, incidental, and in my book there is a rather greater moral danger in giving a man control over a woman’s body than there is in a woman choosing to give birth (or not) in opposition to the wishes of the man.

    PeterP:

    “I wonder if any court in the country would actually support that contract.”

    My understanding, which may be incomplete, is that similar contracts are drawn up in the cases of surrogate parents and sperm donations between people who know each other. So I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if it would be supportable. I would think it would need to be shown that the woman in question would be reasonably financially secure independent of the man (i.e., there was no economic coercion at work when the contract was signed).

    I personally find it highly unlikely that Dubay will find any traction on his case, and in my opinion rightfully so. It wouldn’t necessarily be applicable to your friend’s situation even if it were, as he is now married to the woman, which is a whole other can of legal worms.

  29. Sue:

    “but it seems inherently unfair to me that women get all the say when it comes to whether or not a conceived child will get to be born.”

    It is only as unfair as the fact that women must carry and nurture the child in their bodies, I would say. There’s no getting around that fundamental fact of human biology. The only potentially legal recourse would be to compel a woman to heed the wishes of the father; i.e., give another person control of her own body. But this is where indeed the law is fair — the woman has no more control over the man’s body as the man has control of hers.

    Whether she is pregnant or not is, from this point of view, incidental, and in my book there is a rather greater moral danger in giving a man control over a woman’s body than there is in a woman choosing to give birth (or not) in opposition to the wishes of the man.

    PeterP:

    “I wonder if any court in the country would actually support that contract.”

    My understanding, which may be incomplete, is that similar contracts are drawn up in the cases of surrogate parents and sperm donations between people who know each other. So I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if it would be supportable. I would think it would need to be shown that the woman in question would be reasonably financially secure independent of the man (i.e., there was no economic coercion at work when the contract was signed).

    I personally find it highly unlikely that Dubay will find any traction on his case, and in my opinion rightfully so. It wouldn’t necessarily be applicable to your friend’s situation even if it were, as he is now married to the woman, which is a whole other can of legal worms.

  30. Cheney shot his pal, and his pal then *apologized* for all the fuss he caused by getting shot. I would say that shooting his pal demonstrated that he is even more powerful that we thought before. I mean, the only people that get apoligies from their victims for shooting them are totalitarian dictators, or madmen, like Castro, Pol Pot…

    uh oh.

  31. Cheney shot his pal, and his pal then *apologized* for all the fuss he caused by getting shot. I would say that shooting his pal demonstrated that he is even more powerful that we thought before. I mean, the only people that get apoligies from their victims for shooting them are totalitarian dictators, or madmen, like Castro, Pol Pot…

    uh oh.

  32. Guys, here’s the deal: If you have a sex with a fertile woman, you may just fertilize her. It’s implicit in having sex, even if you’ve done everything short of not having sex to avoid it.

    This should be required reading for “Doctor” Phil, that misogynist.

  33. For some real amusement about hotel room demands, check out the Smoking Gun’s section on performer contracts. Cheney doesn’t hold a candle to those folks.

  34. For some real amusement about hotel room demands, check out the Smoking Gun’s section on performer contracts. Cheney doesn’t hold a candle to those folks.

  35. Not trying to be an asshole, just seriously wondering — do you not consider or not care that abortion is ending another human life? Or do you think that it’s unfortunate that someone else is dying but the mother should be able to choose it to happen anyway? Or do you believe the baby doesn’t count as human until the umbilical cord gets cut? Or what?

    Frankly, the “women should control their own bodies” thing always stikes me as pretty spurious, as that’s not even remotely the real issue. Women can obviously control what they do with their own bodies, it’s the child’s body that anti-abortion folks are worried about. So the only conclusion I can see is that, for pro-abortion folks, the child doesn’t count, or at least counts less. So I’m trying to figure out why that is, at least from your perspective.

    Of course, some of the anti-abortion people tend to obscure the real issue in their own way, by trying to prevent pre-pregnancy birth control and all that. If we don’t want abortion, I’d think not creating the baby in the first place would be rather helpful to that cause. So I don’t get what the point of that is.

  36. I saw the Cheney hotel list on THE DAILY SHOW last night. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen Jon Stewart have to resort to filler. I guess even fake news has a slow news day. Stewart was even siding with the Administration on a big drug bust.

    Well, it was kinda hard not to. I mean “FARC.” “FARC”! There’s a whole parody web site called that! How can you not make fun of a terrorist group called FARC? That’d be like bin-Laden renaming Al Qaeda “NAMBLA”.

    Or “P.I.G.S.” (Sorry, I don’t have any idea what that would stand for, but it’d be ironic.)

  37. I saw the Cheney hotel list on THE DAILY SHOW last night. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen Jon Stewart have to resort to filler. I guess even fake news has a slow news day. Stewart was even siding with the Administration on a big drug bust.

    Well, it was kinda hard not to. I mean “FARC.” “FARC”! There’s a whole parody web site called that! How can you not make fun of a terrorist group called FARC? That’d be like bin-Laden renaming Al Qaeda “NAMBLA”.

    Or “P.I.G.S.” (Sorry, I don’t have any idea what that would stand for, but it’d be ironic.)

  38. a different Kevin:

    “do you not consider or not care that abortion is ending another human life?”

    Do you not consider or not care that the entirely legal decision to abort is a decision that isn’t my, yours, or any other person’s business other than the woman who is carrying the fetus in her body, and that valuing the life of the fetus more than the choices of the person carrying it implictly and legally makes her nothing more than a machine for breeding? I mean, as long as we’re asking rhetorically loaded questions, different Kevin.

    What I would like is this thread not to turn into an “abortion is xxxx” thread. Let’s all pretend we’ve all aired the arguments pro and con. Let’s take it as read that for the nonce abortion is legal and that, in fact, women do have more control of what happens in their own bodies than people who are, in fact, in other bodies entirely.

  39. John, it sounds like you’re suggesting that the risks of life-change inherent in an unexpected pregnancy are equivalent for men and women. That is, the woman’s minimal risk is having to get an abortion; the man’s minimal risk is having to support the child for 18 years; and that these risks are equivalent. Now, I’m well aware that abortion is not the “trivial little procedure” that some of it’s most ardent activists make it out to be; but are you really saying that having to undergo an abortion (should a man father an unwanted child on a woman) is equally onerous as having to pay 18 years of child support (should a woman decide that she wants to keep an unexpected pregnancy)?

  40. John, it sounds like you’re suggesting that the risks of life-change inherent in an unexpected pregnancy are equivalent for men and women. That is, the woman’s minimal risk is having to get an abortion; the man’s minimal risk is having to support the child for 18 years; and that these risks are equivalent. Now, I’m well aware that abortion is not the “trivial little procedure” that some of it’s most ardent activists make it out to be; but are you really saying that having to undergo an abortion (should a man father an unwanted child on a woman) is equally onerous as having to pay 18 years of child support (should a woman decide that she wants to keep an unexpected pregnancy)?

  41. “Suggesting that noting sex leads to babies is falling right into the rhetorical clutches of the anti-abortion forces is awfully silly.”

    I’m saying that giving that suggestion as the only advice to men is the same thing that pro-lifers have been doing to women for the past 30 years.

    “If Dubay were truly opposed to the possibility of having children and he still wanted to have sex with fertile-age women, vasectomy probably would have been the way to go.”

    Do you really believe this shit? An irreversible operation that forever negates your ability to have a child, simply because you don’t want to take the chance to be indentured for a quarter of your life or more?

    “Because biologically sex is for making babies, and here in the US we have this funny thing about parents being responsible for and to their progeny.”

    No. We. Don’t. Not if you happen to have a vagina. If you happen to have a vagina, and contraception goes wrong or you choose not to use it, and you decide a baby is inconvenient or you otherwise don’t want it, you can get an abortion. What responsibility?

    “This suit has nothing to do with Roe V. Wade.”

    You don’t think it’s at all possible that, to resolve the discrimination issue in this case, that the courts may decide to reverse Roe? It certainly seems logical to me, and judging by the internet and even the replies here, I know I’m not the only one.

    “women do not escape the consequences of their actions, unless you think having an abortion is somehow consequence-free in our country”

    There are women who, while troubled by an abortion at the time, eventually leave that emotional pain behind and get over it within a year or two, and later come to accept and be happy that they did it. I would reference the website that I read it on recently, but I tend to look at a lot of things on various linksites, and finding it just to be abused more by you is more effort than I’m willing to expend.

    In any case, these women have abortions with little to no consequence. Maybe a few weeks of serious emotional pain, followed by sporadic episodes.

    Of course, there are women who spend years regretting it and never are the same again, I’m sure.

    The point is, the consequence varies from woman to woman. Some women escape all meaningful consequences, some don’t. All men supporting a child are punished for 18 years.

    “ertainly women bear a financial burden as well, particularly if they keep the child.”

    If you want men to be forced to pay for half the abortion or maternity costs, I’m cool with that. Otherwise, after the pregnancy, if the woman keeps the child, it’s her own choice, and her own finances.

  42. You could very easily write up a contract that would be enforced by the courts. You can’t sign away the future child’s rights for support from the father, but the mother could indemnify the father for any costs in connection with the support of the child. For example:

    PeterP and Jane (together, “the Parties”) represent that the intended purpose of any and all sexual activity with and between each other is expressly not to concieve a child. Jane further represents that she is using a reasonably effective form of birth control, and will take full responsibility should that birth control fail or cease to be effective, either through her own fault or through no fault of her own. Jane further represents that it is her responsibility to terminate the pregnancy should she become pregnant with PeterP’s child. Therefore, should Jane be unwilling or unable, for any reason, to terminate her pregnancy, she agrees to indemnify PeterP for any and all costs associated with the birth or raising of any child that occurs as a result of sexual or any other activity between herself and PeterP. These costs shall include all medical costs associated with the birth, all financial costs associated with the raising of any and all children the Parties concieve, and any and all legal costs, including attorney’s fees, incurred by either party in connection with this agreement.

    And to steal something from futurefeedforward.com:

    You hereby agree that any disputes arising under this Agreement will be resolved through binding arbitration before a panel and in a forum
    determined in the sole discretion of PeterP.
    Any disputes determined unresolvable by arbitration, including but not limited to disputes concerning the enforceability of this Agreement or the meaning of its terms, will be resolved in accordance with the laws of the Government of Bermuda.

    In the event any dispute under this Agreement requires appearance in or before a court of law, Jane agrees to reimburse PeterP for all reasonable costs and expenses incurred in travel to or appearance in Bermuda. Reasonable expenses are deemed to include not fewer than three
    (3) rooms in an internationally recognized hotel of quality, daily continental breakfast for no fewer than six (6) persons, and availability of no fewer than two (2) vegetarian meals per day per person prepared exclusively with local and/or organic ingredients where possible. PeterP drinks only Volvic brand bottled water.

    http://futurefeedforward.com/

  43. You could very easily write up a contract that would be enforced by the courts. You can’t sign away the future child’s rights for support from the father, but the mother could indemnify the father for any costs in connection with the support of the child. For example:

    PeterP and Jane (together, “the Parties”) represent that the intended purpose of any and all sexual activity with and between each other is expressly not to concieve a child. Jane further represents that she is using a reasonably effective form of birth control, and will take full responsibility should that birth control fail or cease to be effective, either through her own fault or through no fault of her own. Jane further represents that it is her responsibility to terminate the pregnancy should she become pregnant with PeterP’s child. Therefore, should Jane be unwilling or unable, for any reason, to terminate her pregnancy, she agrees to indemnify PeterP for any and all costs associated with the birth or raising of any child that occurs as a result of sexual or any other activity between herself and PeterP. These costs shall include all medical costs associated with the birth, all financial costs associated with the raising of any and all children the Parties concieve, and any and all legal costs, including attorney’s fees, incurred by either party in connection with this agreement.

    And to steal something from futurefeedforward.com:

    You hereby agree that any disputes arising under this Agreement will be resolved through binding arbitration before a panel and in a forum
    determined in the sole discretion of PeterP.
    Any disputes determined unresolvable by arbitration, including but not limited to disputes concerning the enforceability of this Agreement or the meaning of its terms, will be resolved in accordance with the laws of the Government of Bermuda.

    In the event any dispute under this Agreement requires appearance in or before a court of law, Jane agrees to reimburse PeterP for all reasonable costs and expenses incurred in travel to or appearance in Bermuda. Reasonable expenses are deemed to include not fewer than three
    (3) rooms in an internationally recognized hotel of quality, daily continental breakfast for no fewer than six (6) persons, and availability of no fewer than two (2) vegetarian meals per day per person prepared exclusively with local and/or organic ingredients where possible. PeterP drinks only Volvic brand bottled water.

    http://futurefeedforward.com/

  44. Avdi:

    “but are you really saying that having to undergo an abortion (should a man father an unwanted child on a woman) is equally onerous as having to pay 18 years of child support (should a woman decide that she wants to keep an unexpected pregnancy)?”

    No, nor did I suggest it. However, I do suggest that having to pay 18 years of child support is less onerous than 18 years of raising the child and being primarily responsible for its upbringing; compared to that cutting a check once a month is a breeze. Likewise I would suggest that a woman having an abortion is more onerous than what the man has to go through when the woman has the abortion. Either way, the man seems to be getting the better end of the deal.

  45. Avdi:

    “but are you really saying that having to undergo an abortion (should a man father an unwanted child on a woman) is equally onerous as having to pay 18 years of child support (should a woman decide that she wants to keep an unexpected pregnancy)?”

    No, nor did I suggest it. However, I do suggest that having to pay 18 years of child support is less onerous than 18 years of raising the child and being primarily responsible for its upbringing; compared to that cutting a check once a month is a breeze. Likewise I would suggest that a woman having an abortion is more onerous than what the man has to go through when the woman has the abortion. Either way, the man seems to be getting the better end of the deal.

  46. >

    Reading this, I’m reminded by one of those posts that rated on a top ten list which was linked here some time ago. It was by Cherie Priest, I think, and it suggested that the way to deal with men who are anti-abortion (and, although Priest didn’t, I’m here going to broaden that to anti-women – which, given the actual politics of sex and reproduction in this country, is how I read the above sentiment, though of course others may not agree with me) is just to not have sex with them.

    Maybe I should do up a questionairre:

    a) are you anti-choice?
    b) would you identify as a men’s rights activist?
    c) could you find yourself agreeing, in part or in any circumstance, with the sentiment expressed at the beginning of this post?

    If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, thank you for playing, but I’m afraid you won’t be going home a winner. Please collect any personal items you may have left lying around the place and leave. You may contact the author of this questionairre subsequent to this incident if you like, but your calls will not be returned.

  47. Not if you happen to have a vagina. If you happen to have a vagina, and contraception goes wrong or you choose not to use it, and you decide a baby is inconvenient or you otherwise don’t want it, you can get an abortion. What responsibility?

    The above quote is the ‘this’ my last post was referring to.

    That’ll teach me not to preview.

  48. Not if you happen to have a vagina. If you happen to have a vagina, and contraception goes wrong or you choose not to use it, and you decide a baby is inconvenient or you otherwise don’t want it, you can get an abortion. What responsibility?

    The above quote is the ‘this’ my last post was referring to.

    That’ll teach me not to preview.

  49. Reader:

    “I’m saying that giving that suggestion as the only advice to men is the same thing that pro-lifers have been doing to women for the past 30 years.”

    Well, and the anti-abortion folks are right on this particular topic; moreover anyone with any sense will tell the way to make sure you don’t have a child is not to have sex. Where pro-choice and anti-abortion people differ what they suggest people do after they’ve decided they’re going to have sex anyway.

    “An irreversible operation that forever negates your ability to have a child, simply because you don’t want to take the chance to be indentured for a quarter of your life or more?”

    One, vasectomy is not irreversible; I know more than one person who has had one reversed and then bred (it’s not a sure thing, however, as others have noted in this thread). Two, sure — if Dubay was all-fired sure he didn’t want kids, then that’s the smart way to do it. Now, I wouldn’t do it, but then again, unlike Dubay, I don’t live in a silly fantasy world in which having sex with a woman in her fertile years won’t possibly result in a pregnancy.

    What this boils down to is that you want me to acknowledge that Dubay has a perfect right to have sex without reproductive consequence; that’s not a position I agree with in the slightest. I think people should have the ability to control their reproduction as much as possible; I’m also not stupid enough to believe that any contraception method is 100% effective. Therefore risk exists, and the possibility of responsibilities therein.

    As to your comment about women not having responsibility: You’re a fucking idiot if you don’t think a decision to abort is not a clear exercise of responsibility, and there’s no point further arguing that with you if you don’t.

    “You don’t think it’s at all possible that, to resolve the discrimination issue in this case, that the courts may decide to reverse Roe?”

    No, I don’t think that’s possible in the slightest, because as I mentioned earlier it’s not in the least bit on point. It’s going to get shut down in the first court it’s brought in, and should the lawyers be foolish enough to appeal, it’ll be shut down at every higher level as well.

    “All men supporting a child are punished for 18 years.”

    Well, cry me a river. As noted earlier, cutting a check once a month is rather less onerous than the woman having to actually raise the child. This is rather back in the “no sympathy” corner, I’d have to say.

    “If you want men to be forced to pay for half the abortion or maternity costs, I’m cool with that. Otherwise, after the pregnancy, if the woman keeps the child, it’s her own choice, and her own finances.”

    Well, reader, good luck making that the law of the land. In the meantime I’d avide you against having sex with fertile women. You know. Just in case.

  50. Reader:

    “I’m saying that giving that suggestion as the only advice to men is the same thing that pro-lifers have been doing to women for the past 30 years.”

    Well, and the anti-abortion folks are right on this particular topic; moreover anyone with any sense will tell the way to make sure you don’t have a child is not to have sex. Where pro-choice and anti-abortion people differ what they suggest people do after they’ve decided they’re going to have sex anyway.

    “An irreversible operation that forever negates your ability to have a child, simply because you don’t want to take the chance to be indentured for a quarter of your life or more?”

    One, vasectomy is not irreversible; I know more than one person who has had one reversed and then bred (it’s not a sure thing, however, as others have noted in this thread). Two, sure — if Dubay was all-fired sure he didn’t want kids, then that’s the smart way to do it. Now, I wouldn’t do it, but then again, unlike Dubay, I don’t live in a silly fantasy world in which having sex with a woman in her fertile years won’t possibly result in a pregnancy.

    What this boils down to is that you want me to acknowledge that Dubay has a perfect right to have sex without reproductive consequence; that’s not a position I agree with in the slightest. I think people should have the ability to control their reproduction as much as possible; I’m also not stupid enough to believe that any contraception method is 100% effective. Therefore risk exists, and the possibility of responsibilities therein.

    As to your comment about women not having responsibility: You’re a fucking idiot if you don’t think a decision to abort is not a clear exercise of responsibility, and there’s no point further arguing that with you if you don’t.

    “You don’t think it’s at all possible that, to resolve the discrimination issue in this case, that the courts may decide to reverse Roe?”

    No, I don’t think that’s possible in the slightest, because as I mentioned earlier it’s not in the least bit on point. It’s going to get shut down in the first court it’s brought in, and should the lawyers be foolish enough to appeal, it’ll be shut down at every higher level as well.

    “All men supporting a child are punished for 18 years.”

    Well, cry me a river. As noted earlier, cutting a check once a month is rather less onerous than the woman having to actually raise the child. This is rather back in the “no sympathy” corner, I’d have to say.

    “If you want men to be forced to pay for half the abortion or maternity costs, I’m cool with that. Otherwise, after the pregnancy, if the woman keeps the child, it’s her own choice, and her own finances.”

    Well, reader, good luck making that the law of the land. In the meantime I’d avide you against having sex with fertile women. You know. Just in case.

  51. “Because biologically sex is for making babies, and here in the US we have this funny thing about parents being responsible for and to their progeny.”

    No. We. Don’t. Not if you happen to have a vagina. If you happen to have a vagina, and contraception goes wrong or you choose not to use it, and you decide a baby is inconvenient or you otherwise don’t want it, you can get an abortion. What responsibility?

    The responsibility to the children you do give birth to. It is unfair that women have the option to abort a fetus that they helped conceive, and men do not. It is very unfair. But that unfairness is unfixable. At most it can be compensated for or avoided in the first place. And compensating for that unfairness by removing child support is a very bad idea.
    I don’t like saying things like “life’s unfair, deal”, but I really don’t see a good alternative in this case. Thank goodness for modern contraceptive technology, allowing us to avoid this issue most of the time.

  52. Reader:

    There are men who feel no shame at getting several women pregnant without the slightest intent to support those children. Shouldn’t we make the laws with those specific people in mind?

    You seem to think that just because some women can have an operation (which are always risky despite how much Scrubs you watch) and get over it “in a year or two” that the father should not have to take responsibility for their child if they don’t want to.

    It seems pretty simple to me. Take responsiblity for your actions. Is it fair that a woman has more choices on how to do that than the man does? Probably not, but who said life was fair? If you can come up with a way to make it more fair that doesn’t involve forcing the woman to do something she doesn’t want I’m all ears. If the best you can do is suggest that because the man didn’t want it he shouldn’t have to support it then I suggest you try harder.

  53. Reader:

    There are men who feel no shame at getting several women pregnant without the slightest intent to support those children. Shouldn’t we make the laws with those specific people in mind?

    You seem to think that just because some women can have an operation (which are always risky despite how much Scrubs you watch) and get over it “in a year or two” that the father should not have to take responsibility for their child if they don’t want to.

    It seems pretty simple to me. Take responsiblity for your actions. Is it fair that a woman has more choices on how to do that than the man does? Probably not, but who said life was fair? If you can come up with a way to make it more fair that doesn’t involve forcing the woman to do something she doesn’t want I’m all ears. If the best you can do is suggest that because the man didn’t want it he shouldn’t have to support it then I suggest you try harder.

  54. One thing that keeps occurring to me as I read this is the erosion of personal responsibility. If you choose to have sex, you are responsible for the consequences, as John has said. But since women (in many states) have some control over whether they want to bear the child, that somehow absolves the father from responsibility.

    Roe v. Wade is completely unrelated to Dubay’s case. Roe v. Wade held that in the Constitution there exist certain enumerated rights. Those rights create a ‘penumbra’ (first recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut)which grants people a limited right to privacy. Specifically, women have the right to be free of any state intrusion, during the first trimester, to terminate a preganacy with the assistance of her personal physician. State power increases during the second and third trimesters, in regards to the ability to regulate abortions.

    Obviously, the text of Roe is more complicated, but at its heart, Roe recognized a limit on the ability of a state to intrude on the personal medical decisions made by a woman.

    For Roe to be applicable, Dubay would have to argue that he had a right to privacy in regards to paternity – the state did not have the right to enforce consequences for having fathered a child. Neither Griswold or Roe go anywhere near that far – for that argument to fly, the state would be prohibited from just about anything to do with an individual – a right to privacy so strong that you likely couldn’t be required to pay taxes, license your vehicle, or investigate crimes. Dubay’s case is not Roe v. Wade for men.

    Duaby is in effect saying that the state should not have the right to require that a father, who freely chose to have sex, to face any consequences for that choice, simply because the mother has a choice between 9 months of pregnancy followed by 18 years of financial support, 9 months of pregnancy followed by adoption or to terminate the pregnancy. If the mother chooses the pregnancy, she is not only putting her health at a higher risk than should she terminate the pregnancy, but there is no guarantee that the father won’t be a deadbeat.

    If you can demonstrate that there was no free choice, through duress or fraud, I think you would have an arguable case that you shouldn’t have to pay child support. For example, if you could get the mother’s friends to testify that she had been taking placebos instead of birth control, and she had poked holes in the condom with the goal of becomming pregnant, the father may not be held liable.

    That being said, if you freely chose to have sex, you should be subject to the consequences. Unless you contact your attorney first, and get your girlfriend to sign an indemnification.

    Yeah, life sucks sometimes.

  55. What responsibility?

    I really need to put this on a macro, because I have to repeat it so often and the “waaah only women get knocked up” folks don’t like to hear it:

    It’s not only men who are responsible for their children. Women and men both have responsibility for their born children. Period. A woman does not get a pass on child support, or on parental responsibility, by saying ‘the condom broke’ or ‘I wanted an abortion but I couldn’t get one’.

    Hell, if the woman was in a coma in the hospital, was raped while unconscious, and wakes up in the middle of labor, she is STILL the legal parent of her baby, even though she didn’t consent to the sex and had no way to prevent getting pregnant. She ISN’T exempt from legal responsibilities (yes, including support) for the child.

    Please note that during the pregnancy, the pregnant woman has all the responsibilities and the father none. People like reader tend to scoot over that fact.

    And surely I can’t be the only one who notes that all these Roe-misinterpreters only care about child support. It’s not about, these men shouldn’t be forced to see the kid every weekend. It’s the money. These are probably the same people who bitch that they have to pay taxes for, you know, roads and public safety.

  56. What responsibility?

    I really need to put this on a macro, because I have to repeat it so often and the “waaah only women get knocked up” folks don’t like to hear it:

    It’s not only men who are responsible for their children. Women and men both have responsibility for their born children. Period. A woman does not get a pass on child support, or on parental responsibility, by saying ‘the condom broke’ or ‘I wanted an abortion but I couldn’t get one’.

    Hell, if the woman was in a coma in the hospital, was raped while unconscious, and wakes up in the middle of labor, she is STILL the legal parent of her baby, even though she didn’t consent to the sex and had no way to prevent getting pregnant. She ISN’T exempt from legal responsibilities (yes, including support) for the child.

    Please note that during the pregnancy, the pregnant woman has all the responsibilities and the father none. People like reader tend to scoot over that fact.

    And surely I can’t be the only one who notes that all these Roe-misinterpreters only care about child support. It’s not about, these men shouldn’t be forced to see the kid every weekend. It’s the money. These are probably the same people who bitch that they have to pay taxes for, you know, roads and public safety.

  57. I really don’t see a good alternative in this case.

    Actually I do see one: the state picks up the tab for child-rearing and provides good child-rearing social services (bestill my socialist heart!). Like that’s ever going to happen.

    Scalzi,

    If you want to have sex without the risk of fertilization, get a vasectomy, boink post-menopausal women, or have sex with men. Those are your options.

    Don’t forget oral sex, mutual masturbation, and masturbation. There are a few more variations. It’s pretty simple really: keep penises away from vaginas. Bummer, but there it is.

    Because biologically sex is for making babies …

    <nit>Biologically making babies is one of the things sex is for; it is perfectly possible to evolve non-procreative forms of sex.</nit> But be that as it may, if you engage in coitus, and you’re a member of h. sapiens, you pretty much always risk conception. The law can’t change that, and medical researchers haven’t quite managed to do that yet either.

  58. Mythago:

    “And surely I can’t be the only one who notes that all these Roe-misinterpreters only care about child support.”

    Well, hell. Isn’t that what they pay their money for? So they don’t have to do anything else? I thought that was obvious. Money fixes everything, it does.

    Andrew Wade:

    “Don’t forget oral sex”

    That hasn’t been sex since the Clinton era!

    HA! I crack myself up sometimes.

    All nits granted, Andrew. However, let’s take as a given for the conversation that when we say “sex” here, we mean good ol’ fashioned coitus, and can specify variant forms when necessary.

  59. Mythago:

    “And surely I can’t be the only one who notes that all these Roe-misinterpreters only care about child support.”

    Well, hell. Isn’t that what they pay their money for? So they don’t have to do anything else? I thought that was obvious. Money fixes everything, it does.

    Andrew Wade:

    “Don’t forget oral sex”

    That hasn’t been sex since the Clinton era!

    HA! I crack myself up sometimes.

    All nits granted, Andrew. However, let’s take as a given for the conversation that when we say “sex” here, we mean good ol’ fashioned coitus, and can specify variant forms when necessary.

  60. Sue: Yes, I think women should have the opportunity to have an abortion if they are unable to support a child. But when the father is willing to raise the child, I firmly believe that child should be born, assuming that the pregnancy did not occur by any form of coercion, either physical or psychological. Is that fair to the mother? No. But it’s just as unfair to the father to not have a say in whether or not his child lives or dies.

    Sue, have you ever been pregnant?

    I’m in week 35. I’m doing this voluntarily. It’s a well-planned pregnancy. And still, of the last eight months, five has been the worst in my life. You seem to be under the impression that pregnancy is just a walk in the park, nothing much at all.

    You want to force women into pregnancy. I’ve got a word for that: slavery. I’d much rather be working the oars in a galley right now. I’d much rather sign away ten percent of my future income.

    I’ve got no sympathy at all for someone who had sex without a condom, with a woman who basically said “that doesn’t happen to me”; the oldest lie in the book. (Though Fritz Kahn warned women of men who said it, not the other way around.) Condoms are, after all, 97% effective (over a year) when used correctly.

  61. As I read all the comments about Dubay, I started wondering about the idea of legislating responsibility. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The alternative is social pressure, either religious or otherwise, to prevent unresponsible (irreponsible?) behavior. In the specific instance, if the mother and father both disclaim responsibility the pregnancy is aborted or the resultant child is placed in an orphanage. If the woman acted irresponsibily, as in PeterP’s scenario, society would weigh her irresponsible actions with the needs of the child. Legally, the man wouldn’t have any responsibility, but what about socially? With Dubay, he would not have any legal responsibility, but socially he would definitely be responsible (based on current social trends). In the end, would there be any real difference between systems of legalized responsibility and moralized responsibility?

  62. Social shaming only works to the extent the person being shamed gives a crap about what anyone else thinks of him or her. It’s not a particularly effective way to look out for the real world needs of a dependent child.

  63. Social shaming only works to the extent the person being shamed gives a crap about what anyone else thinks of him or her. It’s not a particularly effective way to look out for the real world needs of a dependent child.

  64. Right there with you on the Dick Cheney thing. I mean, he didn’t even want a hard-to-find diet soda like Tab or Fresca, just Diet Sprite.

    I organized a concert by a moderately obscure folk musician when I was a college student. His list of requirements was far more exacting. (You needed to provide him with two meals, and he did not eat meat, dairy, eggs, or wheat. None of his requests were unreasonable — they were just very, very specific. He wanted a glass of water to sip while he was performing, and it needed to be cold but with no ice in it. He also needed a small table that he could set the water on. Things like that.)

    The Faux News thing cracked me up — it’s like he doesn’t want to even risk BRIEF exposure to an unbiased news source! But nothing else on there was even remotely goofy. Drinks, reading lights, a private bathroom. He doesn’t even ask for an Internet connection.

  65. As an aside this reminds me again of a little rule of thumb I use to decide just how seriously I need to take a religious or political leader, which is know at what point he decides women have had enough of that whole “rights” thing. If the answer is “at some point less than the rights of men,” then I don’t entirely feel the fellow has the moral standing to lecture me about a single goddamned thing. The fellows above, hooting for the death of this convert, strike me as the sort who would get concerned about the evils of women wearing slacks, so you can imagine what I feel is their level of moral authority. Of course, let’s not get too proud over here, shall we. We’ve got lots of folks who are happy for women to wear slacks, true enough, but don’t trust them to run their own bodies.
    Hi John,
    I read Whatever with regularity and very much enjoy your insight and humor. That said, I will now level my criticism for the day. The origin of the phrase ‘a rule of thumb’ is that it was legal, in England, to beat your wife as long as the stick used to beat her was not bigger than your thumb. It is a nasty little neanderthal bit of language that is better left unused until it disappears altogether from the lexicon. That you used it in a paragraph communicating your support for women’s control over their own bodies was somewhat ironic. Surely, with your lovely imagination and love of language, you can devise a more appropriate substitute. Thanks.

  66. As an aside this reminds me again of a little rule of thumb I use to decide just how seriously I need to take a religious or political leader, which is know at what point he decides women have had enough of that whole “rights” thing. If the answer is “at some point less than the rights of men,” then I don’t entirely feel the fellow has the moral standing to lecture me about a single goddamned thing. The fellows above, hooting for the death of this convert, strike me as the sort who would get concerned about the evils of women wearing slacks, so you can imagine what I feel is their level of moral authority. Of course, let’s not get too proud over here, shall we. We’ve got lots of folks who are happy for women to wear slacks, true enough, but don’t trust them to run their own bodies.
    Hi John,
    I read Whatever with regularity and very much enjoy your insight and humor. That said, I will now level my criticism for the day. The origin of the phrase ‘a rule of thumb’ is that it was legal, in England, to beat your wife as long as the stick used to beat her was not bigger than your thumb. It is a nasty little neanderthal bit of language that is better left unused until it disappears altogether from the lexicon. That you used it in a paragraph communicating your support for women’s control over their own bodies was somewhat ironic. Surely, with your lovely imagination and love of language, you can devise a more appropriate substitute. Thanks.

  67. Hi, Claire. The provenance of that particular phrase isn’t actually clear but isn’t likely to be related to that particular meaning specifically; you can find some of the details of that story here. I feel perfectly fine in continuing to use it, myself.

  68. I’m late and don’t have time to read everything, but has anyone mentioned that if a woman has a child and wants to put it up for adoption, but the father wants custody (which he’ll surely get), the woman will have to pay him child support? (Even though she doesn’t want to, and never planned on keeping the child?)

    Roe vs. Wade is about pregnancy, not about child support and parental rights and responsibilities.

  69. I’m late and don’t have time to read everything, but has anyone mentioned that if a woman has a child and wants to put it up for adoption, but the father wants custody (which he’ll surely get), the woman will have to pay him child support? (Even though she doesn’t want to, and never planned on keeping the child?)

    Roe vs. Wade is about pregnancy, not about child support and parental rights and responsibilities.

  70. Does this have to be an all-or-nothing issue? If a Woman shouldn’t be forced to go through pregnancy since it is her body, does that mean tha she can abort on a whim? I definitely respect the right of any person to control their own body, and I am not “pro-life”, but I do find it troubling if a man doesn’t check his condom for leaks or send birth control pills to the lab to be sure they aren’t Pez, he is an evil white male and must pay pay pay, while a woman can be much more irresponsible about sex, take whatever risks she wants and then abort if she gets unlucky.

    I’m not saying that anybody here is advocating abortion as birth control, but it is possible for it to be treated that way.

    All rhetoric aside, what if the fetus really does count as a fully fledged human? Then you get into a stickier question. It’s easy to set up a stereotypical male deadbeat dad who scratches himself inappropriately and “don’t wear no condoms”, but it’s not always that simple. Women can be jerks too.

    I guess the thing that stands out to me is all the derision directed toward men with the subcontext that they think with their dicks. Men are expected to be uber-responsible to the point of assuming that they will be making babies no matter what they do for birth control. The examples people are using all make it look like a moral comparison of inconvenience to a male vs. a 9 month pregnancy or forced abortion, for the female. Obviously, the female wins that one. But, what about comparing the effect on the female to that on the fetus. I don’t think you have to be a fundamentalist to wonder if there’s even a tiny chance that you are murdering a human. I’m not saying that abortion = murder. I am saying that it at least demands great consideration and soul-searching to decide what you think, which is far from just picking a political policy and accepting it.

    In any case, I don’t see this issue ever being resolved by taking extreme positions and fighting it out. If people could just discuss this rationally, and in good faith, and not break down to name calling, maybe a middle-ground could be reached. Or not.

  71. Does this have to be an all-or-nothing issue? If a Woman shouldn’t be forced to go through pregnancy since it is her body, does that mean tha she can abort on a whim? I definitely respect the right of any person to control their own body, and I am not “pro-life”, but I do find it troubling if a man doesn’t check his condom for leaks or send birth control pills to the lab to be sure they aren’t Pez, he is an evil white male and must pay pay pay, while a woman can be much more irresponsible about sex, take whatever risks she wants and then abort if she gets unlucky.

    I’m not saying that anybody here is advocating abortion as birth control, but it is possible for it to be treated that way.

    All rhetoric aside, what if the fetus really does count as a fully fledged human? Then you get into a stickier question. It’s easy to set up a stereotypical male deadbeat dad who scratches himself inappropriately and “don’t wear no condoms”, but it’s not always that simple. Women can be jerks too.

    I guess the thing that stands out to me is all the derision directed toward men with the subcontext that they think with their dicks. Men are expected to be uber-responsible to the point of assuming that they will be making babies no matter what they do for birth control. The examples people are using all make it look like a moral comparison of inconvenience to a male vs. a 9 month pregnancy or forced abortion, for the female. Obviously, the female wins that one. But, what about comparing the effect on the female to that on the fetus. I don’t think you have to be a fundamentalist to wonder if there’s even a tiny chance that you are murdering a human. I’m not saying that abortion = murder. I am saying that it at least demands great consideration and soul-searching to decide what you think, which is far from just picking a political policy and accepting it.

    In any case, I don’t see this issue ever being resolved by taking extreme positions and fighting it out. If people could just discuss this rationally, and in good faith, and not break down to name calling, maybe a middle-ground could be reached. Or not.

  72. “Roe vs. Wade is about pregnancy, not about child support and parental rights and responsibilities.”

    Certainly, and this debate is really about the second part of that sentence. I don’t think anyone here is seriously arguing that the male should have any binding input on the pregnancy. I support the notion that if a man gets a women pregnant, and both parties are acting in good faith, the man should at least be financially responsible for the pregnancy.

    However, the post pregnancy scenario is the issue here. Why is it so repugnant that a man be able to say, early in the pregnancy, that he does not want the child and has no intention of supporting it? This does not remove any choice from the woman, albeit making the decision to keep the child carry more (financial) consequence.

  73. Other Stephen, to a great extent the Roe v. Wade trimester formulation discusses at what points the state can take a legitimate interest in the well-being of the developing fetus, so an “all-or-nothing” formulation has as far as I know never been the legal intent, nor (to the best of my recollection) do subsequent abortion ruling suggest otherwise.

    As it happens, as far as we can tell in the polls, the vast majority of Americans are already in the “middle ground” — they support a right to abortion but don’t mind certain restrictions, particularly in the later stage of pregnancy. Our polticians and other cultural leaders are rather more polarized on the matter than the mass of Americans.

    However, again, I don’t want to go down the path of discussing whether abortion should be legal or not in this thread; let’s work with the legal reality as it exists today.

  74. Other Stephen, to a great extent the Roe v. Wade trimester formulation discusses at what points the state can take a legitimate interest in the well-being of the developing fetus, so an “all-or-nothing” formulation has as far as I know never been the legal intent, nor (to the best of my recollection) do subsequent abortion ruling suggest otherwise.

    As it happens, as far as we can tell in the polls, the vast majority of Americans are already in the “middle ground” — they support a right to abortion but don’t mind certain restrictions, particularly in the later stage of pregnancy. Our polticians and other cultural leaders are rather more polarized on the matter than the mass of Americans.

    However, again, I don’t want to go down the path of discussing whether abortion should be legal or not in this thread; let’s work with the legal reality as it exists today.

  75. Having read the comment thread, I want to chime in on the “RvW for Men” thing.

    The right to get an abortion is about a woman’s ability to control what goes on with her body. Pregnancy is a big deal. It carries some significant risks. I had two uncomplicated pregnancies with very easy births: nonetheless, the first pregnancy caused some physical problems for me that have never completely gone away. (Joint pain, specifically.)

    This “men’s rights” case is about a man’s ability to control his money.

    These are not even remotely equivalent situations. If men who got behind on their child support were placed under house arrest and forced to work under hazardous conditions, then yeah, I’d be on their side. But this is not about control over men’s bodies. It’s a spurious argument, and those who seriously argue for it reveal their utter contempt for women even as they make the argument. If you view my body as equivalent to your wallet, then frankly, you’re not someone I want to have anything to do with, ever.

  76. Having read the comment thread, I want to chime in on the “RvW for Men” thing.

    The right to get an abortion is about a woman’s ability to control what goes on with her body. Pregnancy is a big deal. It carries some significant risks. I had two uncomplicated pregnancies with very easy births: nonetheless, the first pregnancy caused some physical problems for me that have never completely gone away. (Joint pain, specifically.)

    This “men’s rights” case is about a man’s ability to control his money.

    These are not even remotely equivalent situations. If men who got behind on their child support were placed under house arrest and forced to work under hazardous conditions, then yeah, I’d be on their side. But this is not about control over men’s bodies. It’s a spurious argument, and those who seriously argue for it reveal their utter contempt for women even as they make the argument. If you view my body as equivalent to your wallet, then frankly, you’re not someone I want to have anything to do with, ever.

  77. No one can force men to be fertile. No one can force them to release their sperm into the wild. That is something they have 100% control and responsibilty over.As for the “she lied to me” defense. You are still equaly responsible for chosing to believe a lie as the one who told it. There is always a risk, gambling always has a consequence.

  78. PeterP:

    “Why is it so repugnant that a man be able to say, early in the pregnancy, that he does not want the child and has no intention of supporting it?”

    Because unless he was birthed a fully formed adult, equipped with an erect, functioning penis but no knowledge of the world, and in that state immediately set about having sex, then the fellow is no doubt aware that sex can lead to babies, and that babies are a shared responsibility between the two humans who make them. So it’s repugnant that a person can know all that going in and then still somehow refuse to believe it applies to him. That sort of sociopathic self-centeredness need not be affirmed as correct behavior, and it’s not.

  79. PeterP:

    “Why is it so repugnant that a man be able to say, early in the pregnancy, that he does not want the child and has no intention of supporting it?”

    Because unless he was birthed a fully formed adult, equipped with an erect, functioning penis but no knowledge of the world, and in that state immediately set about having sex, then the fellow is no doubt aware that sex can lead to babies, and that babies are a shared responsibility between the two humans who make them. So it’s repugnant that a person can know all that going in and then still somehow refuse to believe it applies to him. That sort of sociopathic self-centeredness need not be affirmed as correct behavior, and it’s not.

  80. He also took no effort towards prevention of STDs with use of a condom as well. Another risk he willingly undertook.

  81. Just because no one seems to want to comment on this thread… *ducks*

    A few people suggested oral sex, or condoms as ways for men to avoid paternity. What about a woman deliberately impregnating herself with sperm saved from oral sex, or from a condom. (BTW, that’s not just a hypothetical. Google “Richard O. Phillips”.)

  82. Just because no one seems to want to comment on this thread… *ducks*

    A few people suggested oral sex, or condoms as ways for men to avoid paternity. What about a woman deliberately impregnating herself with sperm saved from oral sex, or from a condom. (BTW, that’s not just a hypothetical. Google “Richard O. Phillips”.)

  83. the fellow is no doubt aware that sex can lead to babies, and that babies are a shared responsibility between the two humans who make them.So a man who wants to decide AFTER having sex whether to take on the responsibilities of that baby is repugnant, but a women who wants to make that same decision is not?

  84. Sigh. Now *I* need to learn to hit preview as well.the fellow is no doubt aware that sex can lead to babies, and that babies are a shared responsibility between the two humans who make them.So a man who wants to decide AFTER having sex whether to take on the responsibilities of that baby is repugnant, but a women who wants to make that same decision is not?

  85. Sigh. Now *I* need to learn to hit preview as well.the fellow is no doubt aware that sex can lead to babies, and that babies are a shared responsibility between the two humans who make them.So a man who wants to decide AFTER having sex whether to take on the responsibilities of that baby is repugnant, but a women who wants to make that same decision is not?

  86. Jon Marcus:

    That is an interesting question, isn’t it. The condom one wouldn’t be clear cut to me because condoms can fail; on the other hand if a woman would take the semen out of her mouth and surreptitiously impregnate herself with it, well, that seems like dirty pool to me. On the other hand, how could one prove it, short of video?

    Jon:

    As noted before, women have a wider range of ways of being responsible for their pregnancies, including adoption and abortion. I would not find either of these repugnant, personally. I would find a woman abusing her body while pregnant (say, by smoking or taking drugs) to be repugnant, personally, but that’s another discussion entirely.

    More to the point, however, save for personal bodily neglect, a woman can’t help but take responsibility for her pregnancy in one form or another, because it is happening to her.

  87. So, yes, if a man and a woman have sex and she gets pregnant, she has a few more options than he does about how to take responsibility for the situation. (although they both had similar options before conception.)

    This means that the woman’s choices and the man’s are not equivalent. But equal doesn’t always mean fair and vice versa.

    So, I’m going to be semi-anonymous here, but I am an unwed mother of twins. I probably have one of the better situations than many women in my situation. The father does diligently pay child support and is involved in the kid’s lives.

    But lets talk about what is equal and what is fair.

    I developed a health problem during my pregnancy that was made more severe by the fact that it was a twin pg. I had to make a decision upon whether to risk my life in order for my body to host these children. He sat in the doctors office with me and listened and showed his concern. Not equal, but fair. What else could he do? The only reason it was an ok thing for me to go on with the pg was because it was MY DECISION.

    I underwent a surgery at 30 weeks pg with twins to correct my health problem with NO ANESTHESIA except for a local, and no medication afterward. He sat in the waiting room and drove me home afterwards. Not equal, but fair. And again, going through that awful surgery was okay only because it was MY DECISION.

    I sat for weeks on bedrest while two skulls were grinding into my pelvic bones and I could barely breathe. He got to continue to work and earn a salary and brought me soup on occassion. Not equal, but fair. Even though I was giving up my salary, It was MY DECISION to quit work and go on bedrest.

    I had hours of gawd awful, make you vomit, contractions with preterm, breach twins and hfinally had a C-Section. He stayed at the hospital with me and held my hand. Not equal, but fair. It was MY DECISION to knowingly go through a painful labor.

    After the birth, I believe it was me who was up all night and day with them while breastfeeding and having my boobs ache, while he came over to my house a lot and held them for a couple hours while commenting on how cute they were. Oh, and he started cutting me a check. Not equal, but basically fair. It was MY DECISION to breastfeed them, and thus be attached to them like a sleep deprived ball and chain.

    So, you see where I’m going here. Fast forward a year and a few months and it is me who cares for these kids 95% of the time. He cuts me a check, yes, then gets to work at his same fully paid salaried job, while I am working part-time (at home) and am underemployed due to the cost of day care for two toddler’s. He can go out and do whatever it is that he does and plan a social life around his visitations. I can’t leave my house without a babysitter. He can go to bed at night being guaranteed a good nights sleep. I might be woken by a teething, feverish child at any time. He has time to sit and read the paper and watch a little TV and what not. I have minutes of free time here and there that only last long enough to comment on a blog.

    I’m not complaining. He’s a nice guy and does well with the kids. I love the kids and enjoy being a mother. I could fight for 50/50 physical custody but that really isn’t realistic and in the kids’ best interest. And god forbid, he would have to compromise HIS career and earnings and that just ain’t going to happen. That doesn’t even often happen in married households. So, yes, he has to write me a check every month for the next 18 years, and post conception, he didn’t really have too much choice about that. But, from what I’m reading here, I guess I’m lucky in that he doesn’t look at this as an unfair punishment, but as his responsibility. And he actually LOVES the kids.

    So, even though women get a few extra options, no matter which option they pick, they still bear the brunt of the responsibility and the conseguences for becoming pregnant. Writing a check every month lets men off easy. So quit complaining and grow up. Boo Hoo. As John says, cry me a river.

    That check is in no way equivelent to the decisions and consequences I’ve had to face since WE concieved these children. Not even close. So, no. Men don’t get equivelent choices after the children are conceived, but that is one of the few fair things women get in the whole deal.

  88. So, yes, if a man and a woman have sex and she gets pregnant, she has a few more options than he does about how to take responsibility for the situation. (although they both had similar options before conception.)

    This means that the woman’s choices and the man’s are not equivalent. But equal doesn’t always mean fair and vice versa.

    So, I’m going to be semi-anonymous here, but I am an unwed mother of twins. I probably have one of the better situations than many women in my situation. The father does diligently pay child support and is involved in the kid’s lives.

    But lets talk about what is equal and what is fair.

    I developed a health problem during my pregnancy that was made more severe by the fact that it was a twin pg. I had to make a decision upon whether to risk my life in order for my body to host these children. He sat in the doctors office with me and listened and showed his concern. Not equal, but fair. What else could he do? The only reason it was an ok thing for me to go on with the pg was because it was MY DECISION.

    I underwent a surgery at 30 weeks pg with twins to correct my health problem with NO ANESTHESIA except for a local, and no medication afterward. He sat in the waiting room and drove me home afterwards. Not equal, but fair. And again, going through that awful surgery was okay only because it was MY DECISION.

    I sat for weeks on bedrest while two skulls were grinding into my pelvic bones and I could barely breathe. He got to continue to work and earn a salary and brought me soup on occassion. Not equal, but fair. Even though I was giving up my salary, It was MY DECISION to quit work and go on bedrest.

    I had hours of gawd awful, make you vomit, contractions with preterm, breach twins and hfinally had a C-Section. He stayed at the hospital with me and held my hand. Not equal, but fair. It was MY DECISION to knowingly go through a painful labor.

    After the birth, I believe it was me who was up all night and day with them while breastfeeding and having my boobs ache, while he came over to my house a lot and held them for a couple hours while commenting on how cute they were. Oh, and he started cutting me a check. Not equal, but basically fair. It was MY DECISION to breastfeed them, and thus be attached to them like a sleep deprived ball and chain.

    So, you see where I’m going here. Fast forward a year and a few months and it is me who cares for these kids 95% of the time. He cuts me a check, yes, then gets to work at his same fully paid salaried job, while I am working part-time (at home) and am underemployed due to the cost of day care for two toddler’s. He can go out and do whatever it is that he does and plan a social life around his visitations. I can’t leave my house without a babysitter. He can go to bed at night being guaranteed a good nights sleep. I might be woken by a teething, feverish child at any time. He has time to sit and read the paper and watch a little TV and what not. I have minutes of free time here and there that only last long enough to comment on a blog.

    I’m not complaining. He’s a nice guy and does well with the kids. I love the kids and enjoy being a mother. I could fight for 50/50 physical custody but that really isn’t realistic and in the kids’ best interest. And god forbid, he would have to compromise HIS career and earnings and that just ain’t going to happen. That doesn’t even often happen in married households. So, yes, he has to write me a check every month for the next 18 years, and post conception, he didn’t really have too much choice about that. But, from what I’m reading here, I guess I’m lucky in that he doesn’t look at this as an unfair punishment, but as his responsibility. And he actually LOVES the kids.

    So, even though women get a few extra options, no matter which option they pick, they still bear the brunt of the responsibility and the conseguences for becoming pregnant. Writing a check every month lets men off easy. So quit complaining and grow up. Boo Hoo. As John says, cry me a river.

    That check is in no way equivelent to the decisions and consequences I’ve had to face since WE concieved these children. Not even close. So, no. Men don’t get equivelent choices after the children are conceived, but that is one of the few fair things women get in the whole deal.

  89. Why are there so many anonymous responders in this thread?It wasn’t my intent for that to be anonymous, sorry.
    women have a wider range of ways of being responsible for their pregnancies, including adoption & abortion.Yes, and as a result, they have one more option for avoiding the responsibilities of parenthood than I do, at least with abortion. (As a previous poster pointed out, both parents have to opt for adoption in order to evade those responsibilities in that way.) I don’t want to see Dubay win his case, but I can identify with him just a little bit.

  90. Why are there so many anonymous responders in this thread?It wasn’t my intent for that to be anonymous, sorry.
    women have a wider range of ways of being responsible for their pregnancies, including adoption & abortion.Yes, and as a result, they have one more option for avoiding the responsibilities of parenthood than I do, at least with abortion. (As a previous poster pointed out, both parents have to opt for adoption in order to evade those responsibilities in that way.) I don’t want to see Dubay win his case, but I can identify with him just a little bit.

  91. So, does the whole “men’s rights” thing remind anyone else of Loretta, in LIFE OF BRIAN?

    “I want to bear children.”

    “We will fight and die for YOUR RIGHT to bear chidlren, Loretta!”

  92. Pregnancy harms a man’s wallet and social life. Pregnancy can kill a woman.
    Politics of the patriarcy aside the risk factors are unequel to begin with.
    The options are also unequal. Both contraception and abortion also have risks to the woman’s health and life. Condoms do not harm men. Vasectomies do not harm men.
    As for trapping. Traps only work if you walk into them. Men have to stop the “shoot them out and leave them” behaviour, stop leaving your sperm lying around the place.

  93. Pregnancy harms a man’s wallet and social life. Pregnancy can kill a woman.
    Politics of the patriarcy aside the risk factors are unequel to begin with.
    The options are also unequal. Both contraception and abortion also have risks to the woman’s health and life. Condoms do not harm men. Vasectomies do not harm men.
    As for trapping. Traps only work if you walk into them. Men have to stop the “shoot them out and leave them” behaviour, stop leaving your sperm lying around the place.

  94. Jon:

    “both parents have to opt for adoption in order to evade those responsibilities in that way.”

    Just as an aside, and speaking as someone whose mother has both put up a child for adoption and also adopted a child, I don’t think it’s at all accurate to say that putting a child up for adoption is an evasion of responsibility; it is oftentimes the most responsible thing biological parents can do, particularly if they are very young and without means (as my mother was when she put my brother up for adoption). So if you please, don’t assume that adoption automatically implies abdication of responsibility for the best interests of those affected. It doesn’t.

  95. I don’t think it’s at all accurate to say that putting a child up for adoption is an evasion of responsibility; it is often times the most responsible thing biological parents can doI wasn’t trying to say that adoption is irresponsible, I’m sorry I wasn’t clear. Adoption means that the child’s birth parents will not be personally taking on the responsibilities of raising their child. Ensuring that someone else will take on those responsibilities is not in any way an irresponsible act.

  96. I don’t think it’s at all accurate to say that putting a child up for adoption is an evasion of responsibility; it is often times the most responsible thing biological parents can doI wasn’t trying to say that adoption is irresponsible, I’m sorry I wasn’t clear. Adoption means that the child’s birth parents will not be personally taking on the responsibilities of raising their child. Ensuring that someone else will take on those responsibilities is not in any way an irresponsible act.

  97. Agreed, and thanks for the clarification.

    I’m stepping out for the evening, so all y’all play nice until I get back.

  98. stop leaving your sperm lying around the place.Sheesh. “Put down the toilet seat.” “Put your dirty clothes in the hamper.” “Pick up your sperm.” It just never ends…..

  99. stop leaving your sperm lying around the place.Sheesh. “Put down the toilet seat.” “Put your dirty clothes in the hamper.” “Pick up your sperm.” It just never ends…..

  100. Hey, John, I’m going to comment on the other 2/3rds of your post!

    As an aside this reminds me again of a little rule of thumb I use to decide just how seriously I need to take a religious or political leader, which is know at what point he decides women have had enough of that whole “rights” thing. If the answer is “at some point less than the rights of men,” then I don’t entirely feel the fellow has the moral standing to lecture me about a single goddamned thing.

    I’d just like to say, thank you. It’s damn fine to see someone standing up for the rights of all humanity, even the “98-pound-weakling” half. It’s even nicer to see it coming from a guy, and from someone peripherally associated with Instapundit.

    And to tie the post together all tight, I hear from Elizabeth Bear that the Afghani on trial for converting was accused by his family during a nasty custody battle.

  101. What about a woman deliberately impregnating herself with sperm saved from oral sex, or from a condom.

    The father is in the same position as the mother would be if she were raped while in a coma and woke up in labor.

    That is, the law doesn’t care how or why the pregnancy happened, or whether you had the opportunity to avoid or end it. For both sexes.

    There are a very few exceptions–for example, many states’ sexual-assault laws automatically deprive rapists from having any legal connection to children born as a result of the rape, and Oregon states that unmarried fathers absent during a pregnancy cannot veto an adoption. That’s about it.

  102. Long time reader and commentator who doesn’t feel like outing himself here.

    When young, my equally young girlfriend got pregnant when we were being careful. I was in college, but hadn’t learned any actual skills yet.

    Up until then, I would have said “yes” to the question, “do you want to have babies with this woman?” We were “totally in love” but I just didn’t think that that babies would happen RIGHT NOW.

    After much pain and discussion, she decided to have an abortion.

    I went with her to the clinic to talk to the counselor, I went with her on the day, I wrote the check, I drove her home and held her that night. I took her out of town to heal a bit. I held her while she screamed and cried. I wasn’t an ass when she needed to break up with me.

    Why am I not talking about me? Because I didn’t have to have a surgical procedure (abortion) or have to bear a child and give birth! There was no question that her choice mattered more than mine. All I had to do was orgasm.

    My next girlfriend got pregnant before me and the guy bailed. She gave it up for adoption, and had a friend call the father to come and sign his child away. I held her when she cried on that anniversary.

    I also dated a woman who had an abortion when 17 and later got pregnant again and couldn’t fathom doing that again, and had the baby. She used birth control both times. And was a fierce and proud single mom and loved her daughter. This daughter now proudly marches along with mom in pro-choice marches.

    In talking to my mom, she would have gotten an abortion had that been legal.

    I’m thinking of making a bumper sticker which says, “My Mom is Pro-Choice”

    To sum up, we men have NO IDEA what women go through when they get pregnant.

    Getting pregnant is a life threatening condition.

    Even in America, women DIE because they get pregnant.

    When you fuck a woman, you might be killing her.

    As a man, nothing a man could say could compete with this. A “pain in the financial ass” never compares to “you could die”.

    If you men doubt this, you need to talk to more women.

  103. Long time reader and commentator who doesn’t feel like outing himself here.

    When young, my equally young girlfriend got pregnant when we were being careful. I was in college, but hadn’t learned any actual skills yet.

    Up until then, I would have said “yes” to the question, “do you want to have babies with this woman?” We were “totally in love” but I just didn’t think that that babies would happen RIGHT NOW.

    After much pain and discussion, she decided to have an abortion.

    I went with her to the clinic to talk to the counselor, I went with her on the day, I wrote the check, I drove her home and held her that night. I took her out of town to heal a bit. I held her while she screamed and cried. I wasn’t an ass when she needed to break up with me.

    Why am I not talking about me? Because I didn’t have to have a surgical procedure (abortion) or have to bear a child and give birth! There was no question that her choice mattered more than mine. All I had to do was orgasm.

    My next girlfriend got pregnant before me and the guy bailed. She gave it up for adoption, and had a friend call the father to come and sign his child away. I held her when she cried on that anniversary.

    I also dated a woman who had an abortion when 17 and later got pregnant again and couldn’t fathom doing that again, and had the baby. She used birth control both times. And was a fierce and proud single mom and loved her daughter. This daughter now proudly marches along with mom in pro-choice marches.

    In talking to my mom, she would have gotten an abortion had that been legal.

    I’m thinking of making a bumper sticker which says, “My Mom is Pro-Choice”

    To sum up, we men have NO IDEA what women go through when they get pregnant.

    Getting pregnant is a life threatening condition.

    Even in America, women DIE because they get pregnant.

    When you fuck a woman, you might be killing her.

    As a man, nothing a man could say could compete with this. A “pain in the financial ass” never compares to “you could die”.

    If you men doubt this, you need to talk to more women.

  104. Anonymous (most recent), that was the best comment posting I’ve read in a very long time. Thank you very much for sharing.

  105. Anonymous (most recent), that was the best comment posting I’ve read in a very long time. Thank you very much for sharing.

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