Thursday, October 27, 2005
Papa Don't Preach
It is Thursday once again, so that means I have to put on my thinking cap and tackle the weekly topic for the Demystifying Divas and the Men's Club.

This week's topic is not in the main. That is to say, it is highly controversial for the Divas and the Men. Nevertheless, I shall endeavor to put on a brave face and sally forth into the mêlée. Of course, these days my sally looks a lot more like an unbalanced wobble, but I think my readers understand when I'm using a literary device.

This week's topic is twofold. First, should the biological father of an unborn child have the right to block an abortion. And secondly, should the woman who seeks an abortion without consulting the father be liable for damages.

Crap! The next thing you know we'll be discussing creationism! Anyhoo.

The thing is, I have to say that I have my misgivings about the father having equal rights to choice. It seems to me that if you allow a man the right to impose his will on a woman's body, that she should have the right to deny him or compel him to have a little snip-snip. Why? Because equality is a two-way street, baby. But let's assume for the moment that you can get past that point for a moment. My larger problem with it is the damage it does to the freedom of the woman.

I feel that subjecting a woman's reproductive issues to the choices of a man unfairly puts the woman in a subservient role. I fear that one landmark ruling would create a precedent that would prevent pregnant women from leaving the control of their wife-beating husbands. I am concerned that a victim of rape who conceives as a product of the crime visited upon her, would then be subject to her rapists whims yet again. I know what you are thinking: prove rape and he loses his rights. The problem is, rapes are hard to prove and don't have the best of conviction rates.

And even supposing that we aren't talking about the product of a criminal act, allowing a man to compel a woman to carry and give birth to his baby suggests that he can also dictate the manner is which the child is carried. He can dictate her diet and activities while the babe is in utero. And, potentially, he could determine what extraordinary measures could be taken during labor to protect the life of the child at the expense of the mother. None of which allows the woman any say. It's a slippery slope, I fear.

It would be fabulous if all men were loving, reasonable, responsible, stand-up good guys. I would love that world! Unfortunately, not all of them are good guys.

The reason I know this is because I was once in an abusive relationship. This guy didn't hit me, but he abused me mentally playing Jekyl and Hyde games. He got off on it. He cherished the power he had over me. Only time and distance has allowed me to see the truth of this. When I finally escaped his clutches, I was skittish like you wouldn't believe and had a hard time trusting another man for many years. He was manipulative. And if he had had some final power to exert over me, he would have used it. He would have got a stiffy just thinking about it.

So, until this particular type of man has been eradicated from the face of the earth, I'm afraid that I'm going to vote "no."

Part two of the question is another field of landmines. Should a woman who aborts without consent of the biological father be liable for damages? I suppose that the flipside of this is should a man who masterbates or gets snipped without consent of a woman liable for damages? Again, this is really dangerous ground. Individual cases might be reasonably concluded, but the precedent would be lousy for other women and men everywhere.

If I am raped and get pregnant, then abort the product of the criminal union, can my rapist take me to court from his prison cell to demand damages? If I abort because screening suggests that the fetus has some serious birth defect, can the father sue me for damages because that life might have been able to be harvested for bone marrow to treat his other child?

Bah! I have wrapped my brain around this and come up with exactly nothing helpful, I fear. Go check out what Kathy and Silk have to say. Super Sexy Sadie has taken some time off, but her blog buddy Christina may ring in. Also, Ruth is guest-posting for the Divas this week. Go see what she has to say on the matter. The Maximum Leader, Phin, Stigmata, Jamesy, and That 1 Guy will all be posting on this subject from the male point of view. Check 'em out.
posted by Phoenix | 8:22 AM


At 12:16 PM, Blogger Kathleen Nelson said...

Well said, kiddo!

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Ruth said...

Ditto - I agree with you.

At 1:48 PM, Anonymous phin said...

It would be fabulous if all men were loving, reasonable, responsible, stand-up good guys. - You're talking about me aren't you????

I have wrapped my brain around this and come up with exactly nothing helpful... Sometimes, the best answer to a question is a question. You actually posed the many questions as to why I, even being against abortion as a general rule of thumb, feel it must remain a viable option.


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