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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Abortion - the compromise

Like race in the United States, abortion is the continuing radioactive issue in Irish politics.

It's been the subject of umpteen front pages, repeated referenda. It divides opinion in a visceral way in Ireland.

The other week it emerged that the numbers of Irish women travelling to Britain to obtain abortions annually is down slightly on its 6,000+ high. But that shortfall was made up by more travelling to other places, like Holland.

So we are consistently exporting just less than 7,000 Irish women each year to obtain an abortion in another state. That is not the sign of a mature society to export its problems to other jurisdictions.

I have a proposal that I believe steers between the polarised opinions of the pro-choice and pro-life campaigns. This is more than an Irish solution to an Irish problem. I believe it could be a useful template for other countries to emulate.

The pro-lifers, who often are informed by religious beliefs, hold the position that every unborn child has a right to life because they are all wanted, both by God and by society and by some would-be adoptive parents out there.

And sure enough, they are right about the would-be adoptive parents. There's nearly a three-year waiting list just to be vetted to adopt a child in some parts of Ireland. Clearly there are a lot of people who want to adopt children in this country, and not sufficient children for them to adopt.

The pro-choicers, on the other hand, hold the position that a woman should have the final say over her own fertility, and should not be forced through a pregnancy against their will to become a mother when they don't want to do that.

That's a position with a lot of credibility too. People shouldn't be forced to do things, especially things with health ramifications, that they don't want to.

Those positions are utterly irreconcilable, however. So let me try to reconcile them. Here's my proposal:

1. It is not acceptable to export this problem to other countries. So let's introduce abortion on demand in Ireland, limited to 16 weeks or less, and conducted to best medical practice standards worldwide.

2. But let the pregnant woman identify, where possible, the man who got her pregnant, so that the authorities can contact him to inform him, if he does not already know, that she is pregnant.

3. Then, if that man chooses that he is prepared to single-handedly raise the prospective child, is able to demonstrate to a court that he is of sound mind, good health, and solvent, and if he signs a court order assuming sole responsibility for raising the child without any claim upon the mother, under pain of imprisonment if he reneges at any time before the child's 16th birthday, he should be given the chance to raise the child.

4. This will obviously affect only one or two in every thousand unwanted pregnancies. Most men will not be prepared to fulfil the sort of legal criteria I have presented above. But the odd one will, and in those circumstances, the mother will have to carry the child to term against her will.

5. Obviously, pregnancies would not proceed in the case of a medical risk to the mother's life. And any mother who did bring a child into the world in such circumstances would be entitled to receive information about the child every six months if she so wishes and would be able to apply to the family law courts at any time for access, guardianship and involvement in her child's life, at which point any such order granted would dissolve and supercede the order granted to the father prior to the birth.

The logic behind this is as follows: Women should not be forced to carry children against their will for strangers. But there is a strong argument that if at least one of a child's two parents are prepared to raise a child, then that child should be allowed into the world. And that one parent NEED NOT be female.

Currently we have a situation wherein all power over pregnancy and children lies with the woman. If a man gets a woman pregnant in Ireland, then it is up to her whether that pregnancy proceeds or not. He may never even be informed of the pregnancy, if she chooses to obtain an abortion.

If she chooses to have the child, he has no say in the matter. He will become a father against his will. He will automatically become responsible for maintenance payments, but will have to apply (assuming the couple aren't married to each other) for any and every involvement in the child's life.

I believe the answer to Ireland's abortion problem lies in resolving this inequality between parents. People are having plenty of irresponsible sex in this country, as recent revelations that one in five women at one Dublin clinic were suffering from Chlamydia indicates.

So there are going to continue to be unwanted pregnancies in this country. It's time we grew up as a nation and took steps to address that problem.

It takes two to tango so let's make two people responsible for the pregnancies that ensue. If women realised that a pregnancy could be forced to term by the man they'd slept with, then they might be more inclined to use contraception.

And if men realised that they were being held responsible in the whole area of pregnancy and parenting, then they would be forced to give a lot more consideration to their own actions too.

And any children born would have at least one parent who actively wants them, which is the most important thing of all.

94 comments:

Green Ink said...

You blew it at 4. You're also making that emotive jump confusing a fetus and a baby.
Until a man can carry a pregnancy full term he can't expect equal say in what the fate of the pregnancy is.

JC Skinner said...

No I didn't. If a pregnancy is carried to term, the result is a child, not a foetus.
And your logic is deeply flawed. The pregnancy is the result of two people's actions, so it is deeply illogical to give men no say in how it proceeds.
I believe the circumventions I proposed adequately filter for irresponsible or malevolent actions by men in this regard.
Pity the same cannot be said about the cognate laws that permit women to deny men roles in their children's lives.

Don said...

I oppose your idea on the basis you are liberalising our laws, were as I'm in favour or making our abortion laws stricter. You suggest abortion on demand up to 16 weeks. Why 16 weeks? This is above even the common European standard of 11 weeks. Mankind is being torn apart by lazy self indulgent attitude towards. People must act responsible for their actions. A sense of duty ones nation and people should be enforced in early school teachings. Liberal/left-wing way of think must dammed by our schools and our media, oppose to the way the media is pushing society to even more liberal than it is now.

JC Skinner said...

Don, it would be hard to come up with stricter abortion laws than Ireland. It's illegal here unless the mother's life is at proven risk.
I put the 16 week limit out there because I don't think longer than that is necessary. It is, I believe the limit that applies in many US states.
But obviously the decision on what length of pregnancy limit would apply to abortion in Ireland would be best decided by a debate within Ireland on the issue.
In principle I don't have a problem with an 11 weeks limit as you suggest.

Green Ink said...

JC it's not a child being aborted, it's a fetus.
And yes, a pregnancy is the result of two people's actions, but the physical consequences are carried in the woman's body. A man doesn't have his guts ripped apart for 9 months and have an inability to recognise his own genitalia at the end of it.
The decision can never be one of equal input, but the decision to abort would ideally be taken in consultation with the man. It's not an ideal world though. D'oh.
State enforcement of pregnancy is as bad as state enforced abortions. You raise the bar of state influence into social affairs your shackling yourself to whatever else the state wants to force in your life.
Men being excluded from their children's lives because of family law: deeply wrong but different subject.
@Don: wouldn't you rather be addressed as Mein Patriarchal Hegemonic Fuhrer? You've such a subtle grasp of social issues I'd like to see you made taoiseach without election and then you could sort all us liberals right out.

JC Skinner said...

It rarely takes long for hysterics to surface when abortion is discussed. That's fine, I expected that.
Like I previously said, if a pregnancy goes to term, what results is a child, not a foetus. That's the legal definition in every country, not just those wherein abortion is illegal.
Your argument seems to revert back to the position I outlined in my post of a woman having overweening right to decide their fertility, that I attribute to many in the pro-choice camp.
So far, so predictable.
I already dealt with that argument in the text I presented. But I'm happy to restate it here.
It is illogical and inconsistent to suggest that a woman is permitted all rights over a pregnancy and any resulting abortion decision or resultant child, while simultaneously holding fathers responsible in law for that child's financial upkeep against their will, not to mention the inconsistency in forcing people to become fathers against their wills.
It takes two to tango, so two should be held collectively responsible for all decision making in this arena.
Of course militant feminists don't like the idea of a man having a say - he's just supposed to pay for the trip to England, right?
But the position of the pro-choice movement on the issue of paternal involvement in the decision making process and whatever arises from that is why their argument is self-serving, inconsistent, illogical and unpersuasive.

AL said...

Interesting that it's men discussing this! ;-)

Personally I am pro-life, not campaigning pro-life, but just pro-life in that I disagree with abortion. I used to be vehemently pro-choice until I was at risk of miscarriage on my first pregnancy and had a scan. At a mere 8 weeks I could see my baby's tiny hands, feet etc. As far as I'm concerned, that's no foetus. There is no religious motivation to my beliefs, it's entirely personal.

It is strange to me that a woman who chooses abortion sees the baby as a foetus, but when threatened with an early miscarriage in a planned pregnancy later on in life, it's a baby.

HOWEVER, I certainly don't believe in forcing my views on others. I also agree that we shouldn't export our problems to other countries. I guess I feel like abortion much like I do about prostitution. It's going to happen whether we like it or not, so we owe it to the people involved to ensure their safety and dignity.

If there were a referendum I would vote yes, but there would need to be stipulations. Mandatory secular counselling of both parents, first trimester limit and strict health and safety guidelines. With the state our health system is in right now, I don't know that they could cope with state-sponsored abortions. You might come out baby-less, but who knows what else you might contract?

I think the casual sex problem also needs to be addressed. I'm no angel, but in my single days I never would have dreamt of sleeping with someone I met at a nightclub or even on an early date. Yet these days that's common practice. If women expect us to respect their body and choice, then they need to do the same thing. Casual sex is not responsible, yet society seems left to pick up the pieces.

I probably sound like some right wing nut job and these two issues aside I'm really pretty liberal! :D

Green Ink said...

It's not hysteria, it's sarcasm, and it's not addressed at you JC while you're attempting to make a legitimate argument.
"Your argument seems to revert back to the position I outlined in my post of a woman having overweening right to decide their fertility, that I attribute to many in the pro-choice camp.
So far, so predictable."
Am I misrepresenting your argument to say that men shouldn't have an overweening right to their own fertility either and that to expand your logic the state could take a sperm sample from men and then sterilise them, thus rending unplanned pregnancies a thing of the past? The state has your sperm, and if you want to have children it'd have to be achieved through AI.
This isn't hysterical, it's a thought experiment along the lines of your proposal.
As for the rest I think I've address my POV in earlier comments.
I am also aware that this is 2 blokes discussing women's rights.

Missing Neighbour said...

Firstly, for the record I am anti abortion. I just don't believe anybody has the 'Right' to end another human beings life (or potential of) and that includes the state.
My viewpoint is not based upon a gender based argument as so many other peoples seem to be. However one thing I could never get is why the pro-choice movement think that a woman should have all the say and a man should have to pay for the result if the woman decides to keep the child (Even if he doesn't want to). Surely any logical argument cannot be based upon such inequality? Or are the feminist movement really interested in gender equality at all? I am of the opinion that some of these people urgently need to realise that no one is blind to this gaping hole in their argument.

JC Skinner said...

Some interesting contributions from everyone there.
To address some of what's been said:
Al: you don't sound like any sort of nutjob to me. You have your principles and you also possess a libertarian nature, on the basis of what you wrote. All very sane!
GI: No, you're not particularly misrepresenting my argument. Your thought experiment is, I suppose, a reductio ad absurdum of what I proposed, flipped over onto men.
I think the better parallel, since it actually exists already in the real world, is with the point both I and Missing Neighbour highlighted, which is the disconnection between the genders in terms of post-partum responsibilities and rights as well as the pre-partum responsibilities and rights.
The state already enforces fatherhood on men all the time, and imposes, when asked to, financial penalties for something they might not have chosen. In this way men already have the control of their fertility removed.
I'm not merely suggesting that this should be balanced by similarly setting limits on women's absolute control over their fertility, however.
I'm trying to propose a system of legislation and practice that balances all rights and responsibilities - those of the putative mother and the state, but also those of the putative father and putative child too.
Somewhere in that nexus I am convinced is a sensible balanced approach to this particular red hot potato.
For the record, I once worked in an Irish hospital where abortions performed on women under threat to their life by their pregnancies were performed (and still are, incidentally.)
I worked in the sterilising unit, and we had to sterilise the intruments on the trays that came down from the various operating theatres.
If you put those two facts together, then you'll understand why I don't feel the need to spell out my reasons for being in principle opposed to the concept of abortion.
But I am a libertarian and a pragmatist, and I don't think exporting our problem is a way of dealing with unwanted Irish pregnancies either.
And I have a longheld interest in both health issues in Ireland and in the issues concerning fathers and men's rights in Ireland.
Those, as well as the pro-life and pro-choice arguments which have all been well ventilated in the past, are what have influenced this proposal of mine.

Green Ink said...

For the record, I'm anti-abortion. I don't think there's many people who are pro-abortion.

Fair enough, you've made your proposal, but what prompted me to weigh in in the first place was point 4 above. Think of the social consequences of the state turning a woman into an incubator for 9 months and then forceably removing the baby from her, I assume, at birth.
"Da, where's me ma?"
"I'd tell you son, but we're not actually having this conversation because I'm in jail having reneged on my commitment to you before your 16th birthday.
"But if we were having this conversation I'd tell you that she got depressed and killed herself and you're now in the care of the state growing into a fine imbalanced young man with a lot of rage against authority for how it fucked up your life."
I suppose it would create a niche market for wetnurses though.
AL wins the prize for cogent argument.

Informer said...

Womans body, womans legs to close or open, womans choice for 9 months of hell and pain, womans perogative to keep or not, and womans conscience to pang at her the rest of her god dammed life if she aborts!

Mans choice not to pay the maintenance and face jail, unemployment and unstable housing as he can not afford to live anywhere with any form of quality as he has no money to buy a pint!

I have the experience and the knowledge as a grandfather at 36 years of age and 4 children to 3 different women, married once and sexually inexperienced and used by socalled republican woman to get a house while 16 years of age, to further the blackening of my name because I had a grandfather in the 2nd world war.

But I have no problem if a woman wants to abort or not, because in the end the child is either alive and breathing oxygen or not and if not then no harm done.

"See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time."
~ Robin Williams ~

Anonymous said...

Try and get logic from that you mentats of life! ;)

Don't talk it live it.....

Rosie said...

*deep breath*

well haven't you gone and upended a can of worms all over the floor, eh? i salute you for addressing the subject at all, but i can't identify with much of what you've said.

i'm uncomfortable with some of the language you've used, particularly the phrase export a problem. i assume that you were trying to address the issue objectively and chose your words accordingly but i find them inappropriate and insensitive.

and so to the bullet points - let them identify the father? do you mean that we should allow them to? oblige them to? force them to? i can only assume that you mean the latter, as society more or less demands it as is. are you suggesting that the potential father must also sign his consent to allow for an abortion? shifting the power in this way when a woman's very body is concerned would be a gross violation of her rights.

the mother will have to carry the child to term against her will. i find this completely unacceptable. i'll consider it on a personal level: i am a well-balanced, happy, healthy, financially secure 27 year old woman. thankfully i cannot conceive of being in a situation where i should be forced by law to carry a child against my will, but what i can imagine all too well is the damage that it would do to me psychologically. i would be destroyed. imagine what it might do to a more vulnerable girl, a girl who has not got the support that has given me all of my advantages in life. the consequences would be cruel, catastrophic and devestating.

If women realised that a pregnancy could be forced to term by the man they'd slept with, then they might be more inclined to use contraception. i find this just downright offensive - it reads to me like an insult to women's intelligence, integrity and moral values. women are acutely aware of the consequences of unprotected sex, particularly where it concerns unwanted pregnancy - it affects nobody more than them.

Of course militant feminists don't like the idea of a man having a say - he's just supposed to pay for the trip to England, right? whoa! offensive to feminists of all persuasions. it's patently untrue and reads like a knee-jerk reaction, jarring with the balanced phrasing you've used throughout. were you being funny? i don't get it.

*breathes out again*

Annie said...

"For the record, I'm anti-abortion. I don't think there's many people who are pro-abortion."

For the record, I am 100% pro-abortion.

offthemeatrack said...

But the odd one will, and in those circumstances, the mother will have to carry the child to term against her will.

Then force her to hand it away after she has had it in her womb for 9 months...

This is satire, right? Its like the plot of a bad sci-fi film from the 70s.

nerdrock said...

I think you make a fatal error before step 1 in believing you can make a compromise with abortion. There is no halfway house between having or not having a child, you either do or you don't.

But while we're releasing worms from there metallic cylindrical gaols, I believe that abortions should be 100% legal and should even be free to disadvantaged mothers.

Anonymous said...

You go girls, let em hav it! ;)

B said...

Slightly dystopian plan isn't it?

Towards the abortion topic I say: pro -choice.

Towards "the bringing up the topic of abortions with very strange, heavily descriptive opinions" topic I say: It's kinda like setting yourself up for a gang murder.

Adam said...

Woman's body, woman's choice. Full stop. That should never change, lest we dive headfirst into a world of biological fascism - not to be a scaremonger or anything. Neither I nor anyone else, male or female, has the right to tell a pregnant woman what she can or cannot do with what is growing inside her body. A father's right begins if/when the child comes into the world and not before, as shitty a situation as that has the potential to be.

fluffyredrant said...

I am pro-choice purely because it is just that. If someone doesn't want a baby you can't force them, but by the same token, someone who is fundamentally opposed to abortion has the CHOICE of not getting it.

I personally, speaking as a man, would prefer if I was consulted on the Abortion of my child. I think I'd be against it. Fair enough, the final decision rests with the woman but I would like the oppurtunity to at least discuss what is a very big decision. Men are affected by pregnancies too and deserve some input, I can't see how anyone would have a problem with that but I know someone will.

PS: Sorry JC, your plan is pretty much unworkable, if not completely. You are right that the current situation is intolerable but the solution is NOT forced pregnancies

Dan Sullivan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Sullivan said...

JC, your post with the intent of finding a workable compromise as you suggest it between two sides of an argument that more often than not choose to believe that the other side are motivated by bile is admirable but doomed to failure. A good number of the people on both sides aren't looking for a workable solution to a 'problem', they're looking for their worldview to prevail.

I've often wondered if many on pro-life side were genuinely serious about wanting to avoid abortion taking place that they'd support every measure just short of it, including proper sex and relationship education in schools and the widespread availability of contraception etc.

I've often wondered why it is that for many on the pro-choice side a woman's right to chooses because she is the one that has to live with the consequences only appears to start after conception and doesn't appear to include the choice made to have sex in the first place.

Of course, these are really just smart arse ponderings on my part and there are many people who find themselves stuck in a crappy situation while people around them concern themselves with the 'issue'. That crappy situation is an unplanned pregnancy and that should be the real focus, abortion just one of the outcomes of that. Until we focus on stopping unplanned, unwanted pregnancies from happening in the first place, we're always going to find ourselves going in circles. I hope we can find a day when abortion is history because it is no longer viewed as necessary.

catherine said...

"People shouldn't be forced to do things, especially things with health ramifications, that they don't want to."

Um, including carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term?

Conan Drumm said...

Watching 'Knocked Up' on Sky, were you?

The Major said...

Thanks for thinking that your own plan could be a useful template for other countries to emulate, but, no thanks, we'll be alright. Here is the very weird solution that was adopted some 35 years ago in the country I come from (and in a way, it's a kind of compromise too): abortion is legal BUT (and that's when it becomes very interesting) not mandatory. Women can choose, amazing isn't it?
I could discuss one by one the different points that you made (my favourite one is n°4 - women forced to have a child ? Brilliant stuff) but I'm going to assume that your own Modest Proposal is ironical, just like Swift's, and that you actually don't believe a sigle line you wrote but were just trying to boost your stats.
As for me, to sum up my opinion on abortion, I will quote Aidan Moffat, the Scottish philosopher: it should be mandatory for morons.

problemchildbride said...

the mother will have to carry the child to term against her will.

This is "a nation grow(ing) up"? Even if that were to only happen once or twice per thousand cases, as you assert, that is an enormously frightening suggestion, dystopian and completely unacceptable. It is the most authoritarian proposal I have read in a long time.

The state should stay right out of such personal decisions. These are often complex, delicate and difficult decisions for anybody. Using the state as a hammer to smash these situations with some kind of misguided sense of gender equality is reminiscent of an authoritarian past I'd thought Europe was steering away from.

I recognise that your argument proceeds from a genuine attempt to be fair, but sometimes life is just not fair and you cannot always legislate against people's stupidity. It simply doesn't work practically and it doesn't pass muster democratically.

Rosie said...

I've often wondered why it is that for many on the pro-choice side a woman's right to choose because she is the one that has to live with the consequences only appears to start after conception and doesn't appear to include the choice made to have sex in the first place.

um... this strikes me as being as misogynistic as the notion of forcing women to carry a pregnancy to term, Dan.

Green Ink said...

@ Annie: "For the record, I am 100% pro-abortion."
What does that mean? You advocate terminating all pregnancies?
I'd have thought abortion was something to avoid if possible.

Dan Sullivan said...

@Rosie, sexual congress of a certain sort always carries the potential of pregnancy. Sex is an activity that some part of it involves risks, and sure we’ve managed to militate against those risks but they’re not gone completely.
In the vast majority of cases of terminations we're talking about consensual sex and that has to involve the taking on broad by both people involved that there is the possibility that a pregnancy may result. Both men and women have the right say No in the first place and so avoid the whole situation arising. If you say ‘Yes’ then what are you actually saying ‘Yes’ to? It shouldn’t be an open-ended yes by any means but there is no right enshrined anywhere to have sex without conception being a possibility, (ok we all know what form of sex we’re talking about. We’re not having that Clinton discussion again).
Sex doesn’t come with guarantees about long term consequences or even short term outcomes like satisfaction or feeling more secure in a relationship. I don’t think that is legally defined anywhere anymore than we’ve a right to drive without the possibility of thing unexpected happening. We can reduce the risk and the downside for sure. Air bags are there to provide extra protection not to allow people to drive without seat belts, no more than seat belts are there to allow you drive faster.

I'll rephrase - the woman is the one that has to live with the direct and immediate consequences of her decision. That she is presented with this decision of proceeding with the pregnancy or a termination is the result of another decision she had the right to make. However, neither she nor the man has the right to make the choice to have sex without the attendant possibility that conception might result being part of it.

Aine said...

"If women realised that a pregnancy could be forced to term by the man they'd slept with, then they might be more inclined to use contraception"

Why put all the pressure on the female to use contraception? Surely the men know the risks of unprotected sex and the obligations that follow should she become pregnant and decide to keep the child. It takes two to tango - surely it should take two to worry about contraception?

I'm not sure if your intention when writing this was to paint women as unintelligent creatures with absolutely no morals but that's how I read it.

JC Skinner said...

Okay, lots of contributions there. A lot more than I expected.
I think it is fascinating that not one of the female posters has sought to address the core issue both of my proposal and of most of the male contributions here, which is that it is illogical and inequitable for women to force men to become fathers (not to mention force them to assume financial responsibility for those children often WITHOUT any concomitant rights to raise them) while men have absolutely no say in the future of a pregnancy they have had an equal part in creating.
I'm really keen to see some female respondents' thoughts on that core issue.
I believe Dan is spot on in stating that those in the pro-choice and pro-life camps are not interested in actually resolving the issue so much as enforcing their world view. And that goes for the God botherers just as much as the hardcore feminists.
I AM interested in resolving the issue, however, because I do not consider it acceptable for Ireland as a sovereign nation to continue to export this problem. And yes, I mean export because that's what happens. I'm not being satirical. It's 20 women a day travelling to Britain alone. What else would you call it?
Until a solution is found that creates actual equity in relation to all matters of fertility, contraception and parenthood, we're going to continue to have social problems like abortion.
This was my particular thought experiment to try to find a way through the well-established trenches on both sides.

fluffyredrant said...

completely off the topic but:

"Annie: "For the record, I am 100% pro-abortion."
Green-ink: "What does that mean? You advocate terminating all pregnancies?
I'd have thought abortion was something to avoid if possible."

Ohhh, would you like some ice for that BURN!?

Rosie said...

for the record, i thought it was an unnecessary and an unfunny comment from Green Ink.

Dan Sullivan said...

Actually GreenInk kinda has a point, is the suggestion of being 100% pro-Abortion that adoption or any other alternative yo a termination isn't a valid option?

JC Skinner said...

Only Annie is in a position to clarify what she meant by '100% pro-abortion'.
I took it to mean that she was 100% in favour of abortion on demand with no caveats or legal limitations.

Don said...

Green ink
"wouldn't you rather be addressed as Mein Patriarchal Hegemonic Fuhrer? You've such a subtle grasp of social issues I'd like to see you made taoiseach without election and then you could sort all us liberals right out."

Referring me as a Nazi doesnt really add to any productive debate. I'm a social conservative. My kind were also sent to the death camps.
I'm not going into my views on abortion further than, banning abortion in Europe would great economic benefits. Th point of this post by jcskinner, was to come to a compromise not make irrational comments at people. Hence my detest for liberals.
As for to my solution of getting rid of liberals in Ireland. I'd suggest further investment in political and theological studies in schools. And make volunteering for any political party in the Dail manditory for fourth year students plus a years paid minimum wage for working in a registered Irish charity like Barnardos. As a christian, its my belief that people can be changed into better, hence I get involved in debated to promote free thought.

Now Danny Boy.
"I've often wondered if many on pro-life side were genuinely serious about wanting to avoid abortion taking place that they'd support every measure just short of it, including proper sex and relationship education in schools and the widespread availability of contraception etc."

I'm in favour of 0% VAT condoms for the lower waged individuals.

I've decided to add Dan, Green Ink and Skinner to my blog list for different reasons. Until they bore me. No offense.

I'm new to blogs.
www.donroche.com/newblog

JC Skinner said...

I don't necessarily agree with much you wrote, Don, but I totally concur with removing VAT from condoms.
As Dan said elsewhere, abortion is only part of the wider problem of unwanted pregnancies, which could well be addressed better by more access to contraception.
Good luck with the blogging.

Green Ink said...

@Rosie: I wasn't being funny. 100% pro-abortion is an odd turn of phrase and Annie was quoting me in the first place. And what's a necessary comment anyway?
@Don: I didn't call you a Nazi, I simply think you're brimming with exciting ideas and was prostrating myself before your clearly superior knowledge on everything.

Annie said...

For the record, I mean that I am 100% behind anybody who wants to have an abortion for whatever reason, not that I think 100% of pregnancies should be terminated.

As if you didn't know what I meant.

Also, is there some kind of dig that I'm missing here? Because I'm not getting it.

Don said...

"Mein Patriarchal Hegemonic Fuhrer".

I dont speak German, but i think this means "my male blood master"? Fuhrer usually associated with Nazis.

Dan Sullivan said...

JC, Don, I'd go further with condoms, I'd have a number of competing semi state companies selling the things at as close to cost as feasible. And we could look at doing the same with other contraceptive forms.

And let's have a proper attitude to sex itself, that means being blunt with kids in schools and for the love of God expecting parents to step up to the mark at some point. It was one thing when parents were those who grew up in the 50/60 but we have people who grew up in the 80s and even 90s who won't broach the topic of sex and what is on and not on with their kids. In particular, I'll take a brush handle to my own gender on this one. There is significant evidence that the expectations that young lads have of when a girl should put up have increased and fathers need to sit their sons down and tell them to keep it in their pants.

Green Ink said...

As am I @Annie. No dig.
@Don: I'm bilingual.

Red Mum said...

Point 3 is more than a bit scary. A woman could be forced to carry a child because the father wants it... And your reasons are a little skewed. What if he is poor, should only people with money be allowed to be parents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Handmaid%27s_Tale

JC Skinner said...

Point 3 is SUPPOSED to be scary, Red Mum. That's the point.
Men in their dozens are forced to become fathers every day against their will, often with major psychological, financial, emotional and other ramifications.
Almost 50 posts in and still not one female poster prepared to grapple with the core illogicality that men can be forced to be fathers while women cannot likewise be forced to become mothers?
Disappointing.
I'm beginning to have my cynical suspicions confirmed that Western feminism is still all about entitling white middle class women and nothing at all to do with promotion of equality.

Missing Neighbour said...

It is more than a little disconcerting that no one has addressed the (Glaringly) outstanding issue of gender equality in this matter. Or as I have previously posted does the term 'Equality' only apply in certain situations? And if so isn't the whole concept bankrupt?
Although this article Story has nothing directly to do with abortion, it may give some people food for thought.

Missing Neighbour said...

Here is the corrected Link:
Story

ScaryGirl said...

This is satire right? Forcing women continue with an unwanted pregnancy against their will? Women "making" men become fathers?

Your tone is a bit middle-aged and Kevin Myers-y. You need to sharpen your pen a bit - otherwise people might take you seriously.

JC Skinner said...

*Sigh*
No, it's not satire. Try to think of it as the shoe on the other foot.
If we had a one night stand, Scarey, and you became pregnant, there's a couple of plausible possibilities of what might happen next.
One is that you don't contact me to let me know (you don't have to, unlike in Scandinavia) and you go on to have the child.
That makes me a father, whether I wanted to become one or not.
Then you're free to set the courts on me for maintenance payments for a child I had no say in bringing into the world.
I call that forcing a man into fatherhood and making him pay for the privilege.
This happens all the time, every day, all over Ireland.
Equally, if you were to choose to abort, I wouldn't have any input either, or again need to be told, even if I wished to raise the child myself.
Not a chirrup out of women about this, of course, because equality is something feminists only desire when it involves them receiving power rather than seceding it.

Adam said...

If pregnancy does occur, it is the woman who carries the child in their bodies for nine months which I firmly believe gives them a far greater say than the involved man in whether or not they have the child. If I was capable of becoming pregnant and anyone else told me what I had to do with the foetus growing inside me, I would be outraged. We should not have an equal say over whether a pregnancy is carried to full term or not because we do not carry the child. Our contribution to a pregnancy is not the same as a woman's, so we can't have the same rights.

JC Skinner said...

Adam, that's nonsense.
It takes two to initiate fertilisation. Hence both are responsible and should be held as such in law.
So what, frankly, if it's the woman who carries the child to term?
That's a complete mcguffin. It's about as relevant or logical as saying because men produce the sperm, then they should have total say over the future of every gestation.

attic luddite said...

Okay, I'll bite. I am a feminist who is pro-choice. As the core tenet of feminism is equality, I think that principle must also be applied to men.

I can't agree that any woman should be forced into carrying a pregnancy to term. However, I also don't agree that men should have to shoulder the responsibilities of fatherhood without at least the right to discuss the future welfare of the child, should there be one, before a pregnancy is terminated.

At least two male friends of mine have paid maintenance for children they rarely see, living either across the country from them or in the UK. Neither particularly wanted to be fathers, but once informed they had children both have made repeated efforts to have regular contact with their respective kids, most of which have been rebuffed. This may not be common but it does happen.

The ideal situation is not to have unsafe sex, or be prepared for the consequences--and this obviously goes for both men and women. Do I believe women should have final say over what to do with an unplanned pregnancy? Yes, but I also recognise that this means men sometimes don't have much say in that decision, at least in my anecdotal experience.

Men are rarely recognised in most media coverage as equal parents. The focus in society tends to be on the mother's role and responsibilities. I don't agree with JC's suggested compromise but unfortunately I recognise the male inequity in how men are framed as parents that he describes.

Don said...

Green Ink
"@Don: I'm bilingual"

Do you want a medal? You get a point for being able to speak German and I get a point for able to debate at adult competitive standard level.

As for JC, the concept of being forced to be a father is lost on me. The only way I can of were one could be forced to be a father is through either rape or "sperm jacking". I also dont see how a female can be forced to be a mother other than rape. I've never met a sexually active person who doesnt know that sex leads is suppose to lead to pregnancy if proper contraception isnt taken. Its like non-voters or people who in people for local reasons oppose to economists, that complain about the recession. We knew years ago and had 3 chances to change the tide. But the illiterati won. But I digress.

JC Skinner said...

Well, of course contraception isn't 100%, Don...
But I think you're failing to see the substantive issue here in relation to the fact that parenthood can indeed be forced upon one gender but not the other.

Green Ink said...

"So what, frankly, if it's the woman who carries the child to term?
That's a complete mcguffin. It's about as relevant or logical as saying because men produce the sperm, then they should have total say over the future of every gestation."
Oh for fuck's sake JC you cannot possibly discount the biological fact that the woman carries the pregnancy to term. Her life is entirely disrupted, it affects memory, work, mobility, blood pressure, appetite. There is simply no equivalence to be drawn between male and female here.
The point is taking away women's rights the way you advocate isn't going to improve the rights of men.

And Don when you have a point you can have all the points.

Informer said...

I think you should open an alternative blogsite for this sphere as it seems that people wanna continue this rant in C Major!

Speaking as a person that knows the consequences of unsafe sex (16 when I had my first child), by a woman that was supposedly using protection etc. I found it very hard task to growwup quick and find a job. I worked for £1.25 an hour to support the child at 16 upwards and found it very hard my body then. I now pay the price now, with high blood pressure and other various stress related issues, but my point in this story is, that the schools and parents taught me nothing about sex, seriously. I learnt the hard way and believed that if woman have the children should it not be them that protect their body with the best contraceptives available. If not then they should bare the brunt of the issue of pregnacy and there after, and if a man says that he does not want to have a child and the woman will not abort then the courts should then allow the man none payment of up keep on this child, believe me that would help lesson the amount of unwanted pregnacies in Western society.

Just a thought!

Anonymous said...

Go get him GURLS

JC Skinner said...

Informer, you echo earlier statements from Dan and myself among others that minimising the number of unwanted pregnancies is the first step in addressing the issue of abortion.
Green Ink: what right do you think I'm taking away from women with what I propose? And what is it about gender equality that you loathe?

Don said...

Jc, I understand your concept. You believe it is "unequal" for women to chose have babies without the males consent, similar to extreme liberal view that women are forced to have babies by not being allowed have abortion. Correct?

As a person who believes is social responsibility, I think it is wrong to engage in adult acts without the consequences. Its the failing primarily with the parents and schools, but abortion close to demand,(which you are proposing), is not solving the greater problem of selfishness and greed in society. People shouldnt be allowed run around doing what they want, if what they has any sort of negative effect on society, especially the loss of an inocent life that has never had made a single selfish act.

And dont get me started on the economic consequences of abortion becoming a form of contraception.

JC Skinner said...

It already IS a form of contraception in Ireland, Don. It just takes place in England and Holland. 7,000 pregnancies terminated each year to people with Irish addresses. That's 20 a day.
So either we continue pretending that it doesn't happen here and keep shipping 20 people a day elsewhere, or else we acknowledge the problem we have with unwanted pregnancies in this country and start addressing it.
And your telling people to be more responsible is only going to be so effective, Don. At least Dan acknowledged that there are limits to damage limitation exercises like education and wider availability of contraception.
There will always be some unwanted pregnancies that arise despite all of these precautions and preventative measures.
My point is that when they do arise, two people are held responsible in law, as two people are responsible in fact.

Don said...

I'm aware that many female go to england for abortions. Hence I said I wanted the laws stricter. Either by banning abortion altogether in Europe, very unlikely to happen soon. Or negotiate with the EU to help us ban abortionists from coming to Ireland and give us names of Irish women who have had abortions in Europe. I havent decided what the appropriate punishment would be. Either exile or 40hours a week for 18years community service. I dont favour prison sentences on the basis that I consider the abortionist to be the main criminal.

The primary function of sex is to have children. Peoples obsession with their own self pleasure oppose to contributing to society, is the primary evil in the world.
Who said that famous saying? "All it takes for evil to win, is for good men to do nothing".
Example my career path at the moment, I'm young so I have options, is to stick with business marketing and make more money, or eventually move on to children education. As is my primary political concern. And of course earn less money. I chose the less fancy option because I want to help educate kids to battle materialism. Duty towards to ones people must be thought in schools, which isnt.

attic luddite said...

I'm never happy hearing any argument which equates abortion with contraception, as it ignores the difficult choice of considering a termination and the (for Irish residents) difficulties in then arranging and paying for a termination.

I agree that more thorough sex education would be a good start in reducing the amount of unwanted pregnancies, although TV's Girls Gone Wild or Paris, Lindsay et al flashing the camera sans knickers doesn't exactly support the idea that sex should be taken seriously and has consequences... but that's another rant.

JC Skinner said...

You're as hidebound and stuck in inherited views that offer no give, solution or compromise as the very 'extreme liberals' you deride, Don.

Don said...

JC, I'm a cranky conservative that doesnt like the way the world works. Irelands namby pambi liberal laws annoy me on almost every issue. I'm not going to compromise on something I consider to be against fundamental human rights. The right to life. If my memory of sex-ed classes are correct, I regard the unborn a human life after 4 days of conception.
*I had to pause while typing this because I didnt to go on to a debate on constitutes as human right, so I left a response on my blog. If someone has to rant about the right of the female.
http://www.donroche.com/newblog/?p=121

Note, that I think it is wrong, but an acceptable wrong that a female might chose to abort if it will cause her death.

JC Skinner said...

Don, you're in for a lot of disappointment anywhere outside of Saudi Arabia.
I hate to fill you in, but Ireland is probably the most conservative country in Europe, certainly in developed Europe.
You're in for a terrible shock if you think Ireland is namby pamby liberal.
This country has elected nothing but rightist and centre-right governments in its entire history, and was run by the Catholic church until the last decade.
If you think Ireland is liberal, the rest of Europe is going to terrify you, Don.

Annie said...

For the record: the whole "women should be more careful or suffer the consequences" rant makes me sick.

Don said...

I consider most European countries to be too liberal, but at least most nations enforce thier laws, unlike Ireland, but thats another issue. I'm infavour of Muslim countries joining the EU, assuming they meet basic democratic standards.

The church has only ran our public services. The church had influence, but cant actually make laws here.

Lastly, you must be joking if you think Ireland is a right-wing country. I could make examples but I wont, as that would be off topic. Ireland is far more left-wing than most countries in Europe. Note I referrer to left and right to scale the level of economic control or neo-liberalism. Oppose to social issues. I'm writing a very long blog on how Ireland is too left-wing. Might be published tomorrow.

JC Skinner said...

Don, you've now plugged your new blog four or five times, so if you can't stick to the topic in hand knock it on the head, eh?
Some of us are still trying to tease out the issues at the heart of the post above.

Don said...

Fine I wont mention it again.

I'm not use to "blog etiquette" yet. In forums, generally it makes better sense to start a new topic if a topic is at risk.

But I think I've made my point clear on my stance. I wont compromise if it results in one death. Be it abortion, capital punishment or war to gain resources.

JC Skinner said...

And I've already acknowledged that your position is both clear and uncompromising, and because it is the latter, it is unsustainable as a solution to the problem in hand. Just as equally the extremist 'pro-choice' (which of course offers men no choice whatsoever) is no sustainable solution either.

Don said...

Well you are still being pro-choice, despite a different "voting system" on how it is done. Your way is better than general, abortion on demand stance. But still not acceptable to me.

Green Ink said...

The right to travel for an abortion would be the obvious one JC. And I don't loathe gender equality: there's no such thing.

Stupid idea, would solve nothing, no thought for the longer term implications of civil liberities and human rights when the state takes that level of control, an overriding misogyny in totally failing to address the mental and physical health of the woman subsequent to her forced pregnancy and surrendering the child.
You're entrenched in your position so I'll leave you to it.

JC Skinner said...

On the contrary, I'm one of the few on this debate who isn't entrenched.
It's self-evident that you are, obviously, just as much as Don.
There's not a tremendous amount of point in repeating ad infinitum the illogicality at the heart of the pro-abortion on demand camp as regards gender equality. I've done that repeatedly already, not because I'm entrenched but because I genuinely hoped to see people engage with the concept, throw it around, chew on it and perhaps close in on a workable compromise model for dealing with Ireland's abortion issue.
Some people have managed to do that - Dan for one, Attic Luddite for another.
I suppose I'd have to say that at least you're a lot more honest than most of that camp, GI, because you freely admit that you don't wish to see genuine equality between genders.
You're out for what women can get, and that's Western feminism stripped of its token gesture language about equity in a nutshell. Fair enough, but then again logic dictates that you don't get to complain about the existence of, for example, pay inequality between genders.
To Annie, I'd simply suggest that you're misreading what I wrote.
Women already reap the consequences of their actions just as men do in the field of fertility as in life in general.
The issue I've sought to raise is how best that can be legislated for in the context of a significant social problem, acutely expressed by the exporting of pregnant women to other states to procure abortions, but more widely defined, as Dan pertinently did, as a problem of unwanted pregnancy in Ireland.

JC Skinner said...

One other thing, GI. Under what I proposed there wouldn't be a need to travel for an abortion as they'd be available in Ireland.
A woman would still be free to procure one here, after first ensuring the putative father was informed.
But in the unlikely event that he sought and obtained a court order to raise any resulting child from the pregnancy himself, then if she procured an abortion she would obviously be in breach of a court order with the legal ramifications that would follow.
The only thing I'm seeking to 'take away' from women is the concept that fertility in general is not their sole remit to decide upon without consulting with the men involved, since, as Informer's sad story illustrates, those men are often made fathers against their will and then punitively treated financially as a result of a decision they themselves either did not make or actively disagreed with.

JC Skinner said...

This development might make matters interesting for the residents of the Republic vis-a-vis abortion:

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/mhqlauidcwmh/

Informer said...

Cheers for the shout JC, I was made a father at a young age by a woman that was several years older than me. And a lot wiser, I wanted to continue playing japs and americans, but big adult problems became a reality for me at 16 and it left me broken at times, financially and mentally.

(Annie) for the record: the whole "women should be more careful or suffer the consequences" rant makes me sick".

This rant here is typical of women that can not think outside the pink box, they want to throw all lifes problems at everyone else but not face upto the reality that is looking them in the face. Men do not have babies and if they did the world would be less populated, probably extinction plausible?! We as men only provide the sperm or the seed, and like trees without any direction or strong foundations, we castto the wind. We will sow what we reap, without strong foundations in our schools and homes, with role models and better educational systems in dealing with sex education and the DEARMING of woman that use the womb as a weapon. We can have no equality or peace between the sexes without first a common ground to stand firm on, thin ice is not the optio here with the willy nilly liberals options.

So men should arm themselves too, with none payment of financial costs if they do not want the child but are forced to continue with the pregnancy, as it is a woman with racing hormones choice to continue the birth. I suppose this can't be helped as the woman is only following her biological conditioning!

We need to create better role models in society to assist the young men of today in making better decisions for the mistakes they have made, like letting hormones rush to their neither regions is a weakness, if we force this onto our youngmen in the media and morally we could make a difference, a small dent probably tbh, but we could stop the strongest urge known to man....PROCREATION.

Informer said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7520856.stm

dinogirl said...

Aw, JC, I only saw this now, and I would have responded sooner. Happily it seems my fellow rabid feminists have ably defended our corner ;p

Here is why women have the right to terminate a pregnancy without informing the person they believe to be the father. The right to an abortion is NOT about the right not to be a parent. Nothing. It is (I believe, anyway) all about the right to control what happens to your body, and what uses your body is being put to.

If I were dying of kidney failure, and you were the only match, JC, no law in the world could compel you to go through a dangerous medical procedure that could risk your life and/or future health, involve taking many months off work, losing a lot of money, perhaps even being fired, to help me. I cannot make you give me one drop of blood. Because it's yours, and I have no claim to it - even if I were your sister or daughter. That's the way it should be (although, of course, in the vast majority of cases, a decent person WOULD do this stuff. But you shouldn't ever be FORCED to).

Similarly, every person has the right to prevent a pregnancy, for every stage at which they are bodily involved. For women, the fact is that their physical involvement lasts nine months longer than men's. Let me be very clear: I believe that men should have the right to withdraw from sex at ANY point, just as women do. But once your body is no longer involved: that's it.

Unequal? Well, yes, because people with the physical ability to gestate a child are obviously different to those who don't. But just because it's an ability only half the population has, does not mean that it shouldn't be properly protected. It's the tyranny of biology, (and women haven't exactly come up trumps!)

Your proposal suggests that putting sperm in a woman gives one (I suppose a lesbian couple could be in this situation) the right to control her body for nine months. It doesn't. Everybody owns their own body (with whatever it is capable of doing) and they decide what happens to it. Not their husband, partner, or one-night stand. This is why absent parents (male or female) can be sued for child support even if they claim not to have wanted a child - child support is about the CHILD, and while there is a right to bodily integrity, there is no right to wallet integrity.

That's not to say that wider child custody issues are fair at all, but that's a debate for another day. You're dead wrong on this anyway!

So there you go. Though like themajor I'm pretty sure you meant this as a Modest Proposal. I do hope the blog ratings have shot up!

JC Skinner said...

I can only reiterate - I am deadly serious about this proposal.
It's not a satire, it's not intended to be deliberately provocative or to boost what is already a nice niche healthy regular readership (and it hasn't, particularly.)
This is my thought experiment designed to introduce a concept of equity into the entire arena of fertility, commencing at the issue of abortion, which remains as I said at the outset a radioactive issue in Ireland that one day is going to have to be addressed.
Dinogirl, you're not the only person to have defended the argument that a woman's body is hers to do with as she wishes.
There is a logic to that position, but like all such positions, it is circumvented by one's interactions with others.
For example, I'm not permitted by law to commit rape, quite rightly, because my exercising of my choice impinges on the rights of another.
We're already into that territory when we discuss the issues of fertility, abortion, and parenthood, as most of the posters here have singularly failed to recognise.
The pro-life lobby would argue that the first and most profound infringement is on the life of the zygote/foetus/child-to-be in the case of abortion.
What I'm arguing is separate to that. I'm suggesting that a woman's right to dictate solely the future of any pregnancy is not logical if it goes hand in hand, as it currently does, with the imposition of fatherhood and concomitant financial responsibilities upon men.

dinogirl said...

JC, you're ignoring the entire crux of my argument :)

Yeah, the pro-life lobby argues the foetus has rights. I don't, and neither do you, based on your proposal.

"For example, I'm not permitted by law to commit rape, quite rightly, because my exercising of my choice impinges on the rights of another."

Exactly - because of the right to bodily integrity, which I believe is the crux of the abortion issue.

'We're already into that territory when we discuss the issues of fertility, abortion, and parenthood, as most of the posters here have singularly failed to recognise."

Well, abortion is a multi-faceted issue, and I would argue most comments have touched on aspects of this only, because to touch on all is nigh-on impossible.

However, I touched on this exactly - I believe abortion has NOTHING to do with the right to opt out of parenting, or being a parent, or creating a life. It is entirely to do with the right to control what your body does for nine months, and I believe that anyone who can become pregnant deserves that control.

"I'm suggesting that a woman's right to dictate solely the future of any pregnancy is not logical if it goes hand in hand, as it currently does, with the imposition of fatherhood and concomitant financial responsibilities upon men."

Again, I dealt with this specifically. The right to bodily integrity is inalienable. The right to wallet integrity is laughable. You haven't responded to any of my points. Men have the right to opt out of the biological reproductive process at every stage at which they are physically involved. Why would you deny the same right to women?

dinogirl said...

And as a postscript: I would argue that "introduc[ing] a concept of equity into the entire arena of fertility" is fundamentally impossible, when the two people involved have such fundamentally different roles, equality of outcome is simply not possible. Women have nine months of physical involvement, men have only a few minutes' worth (or hours ;p ). How can you make these experiences equal? You can't. Biology has made us unequal. I would say that legally we should offer the same rights and protections to men and women as long as their actions are the same. So, men have the right to pull out and end the sex act (and any woman who forces them to continue is a rapist and I would fully support her prosecution). But equally, under your proposal, for a man to force a woman to gestate the foetus his sperm produced is no less a violation. You just don't have the right to force someone's body to do that.

I suspect that if you are genuinely serious, your interest is not so much in getting men the right to control their former sexual partner's bodies as absolving them from parental responsibility. In which case, have you considered that the only people likely to lose out in such cases are the children?

But this is a side point. The fundamental issue of bodily integrity remains. And you haven't engaged with it :)

JC Skinner said...

I am suggesting that the 'bodily integrity' of a woman during pregnancy, in which time she already receives medical and financial support from the Irish state, would be subordinate to the combined rights of a putative father and the putative child together, if the father sought a court order to raise the resulting child.
The reason for that is because, while pregnancy is nine months long on average, parenthood (and the aftermath of abortion, as any counsellor at the Well Women clinics can tell you) are both for life, and for life for both parties involved.
I still haven't seen a single female poster manage to address the innate inequality of forcing a man to be (or not to be) a father either against his will or without his knowledge.
Whatever happened to the old feminist slogan, different but equal?
A woman gestates. That's different to the male contribution to fertilisation. The difference in no way undermines the principle of equality.

Wolfram said...

I gotta say, I've yet to find a post anywhere I agree more with. well, to an extent, atleast. I have to say; I disagree with Number 4, but I'll get to that in a second

I'd say that either you've been reading the laws we have here in england on abortion (since your post seems to follow and stick to them pretty well) OR you have seen what an unwanted pregnancy can do to a woman or a couple. Possibly even both.

you are absolutly correct on the fact that no country should dump its problems on another country or state (abortions or otherwise)

Over here, we have the "problem" that if a man gets a woman pregnant, he is automatically responsible for paying maintainence on that child and the general upkeep of him or her BUT the mother can deny the father access to his baby. As you said, it takes two to tango and if the mother does not want the child to meet their father, then that should automatically waeve their rights to any payment the father is, under current law, expected to make.

Sadly, the above law also applies if a woman tricks a man into getting her pregnant (takes the used condom and inpregnates herself with it) that would be very difficult to get out of since, when the paternaty test is done 9 months later, the condom and all evidence is LONG gone and any court would argue that we all know the risks of having sex, even with protection.

Where you and I disagree is Number 4. At the end of the day, it's the womans body that has to carry the child around for nine months. She should not be forced to carry the baby around against her will. It's her body and she has final say in what happens to her body and anything or anyone inside it. If THAT came into effect as a law I can guarentee you that there will be millions of women who would say to themselves "there's more than one way to get rid of a pregnancy" they would just find ways of having a miss carridge.

dinogirl said...

Surely you mean 'single FEMINIST poster', not single female poster, yes? As many men and women have commented, with differing views on the issues?

JC - let's clear something up. For the first time, you seem to be suggesting that fetuses have rights - you are now saying that abortion is a 3-way issue, and a fetus can always be presumed to be against abortion, so as long as one biological parent is in favour, the pregnancy should be carried to term? Is this correct? What do you make of twins in that case? Surely then a twin or triplet pregnancy should never be aborted?

The rights of foetuses are ludicrous in any case - I dealt with them in the beginning of my very first comment. Just as I'm not entitled to your kidney, no matter how dependent upon it I may be, no fetus is entitled to a person's uterus.

"I still haven't seen a single female poster manage to address the innate inequality of forcing a man to be (or not to be) a father either against his will or without his knowledge."

At this point, I must suggest this is because you don't want to see it. For the third (or fourth?) time: ABORTION IS NOT ABOUT ENDING PARENTHOOD. It is about ending PREGNANCY. If it were about ending one's obligation to a child, abortion would mean that parents had the right to smother their living children.

"A woman gestates. That's different to the male contribution to fertilisation. The difference in no way undermines the principle of equality."

Have you looked up the definition of equality? Let's imagine you run a 3.57 minute mile. I run a 4.25 minute mile. Shall we both receive gold medals? No? How unequal!! Oh but wait, nature has given us different abilities. The fact that you run fater does not mean you should be taxed higher or forced to join an Olympic squad. Likewise the additional reproductive facilities of healthy women do not mean they should be put at the mercy of any body else - be that person the state, a former or current romantic partner, or a gestating fetus.

You haven't engaged with this idea at all - save to put the right to "bodily integrity" in scare quotes, as if you aren't quite sure it's a right at all. Come on now, dig in and tell us if you agree with it or not! Should two people whose reproductive responsiblities are so totally different, not be entitled to the same protections?


This is the one question I want you to answer: if a man consents to sex, then changes his mind, decides he doesn't want to risk it, tries to pull out, but is forced to climax by his partner - if this is wrong, and punishable by law (as I believe it is and should be), why is it acceptable for a person to force a woman to continue the reproductive process beyond the point she wishes? Why are you giving men the right to stop, but not women?

Wolfram Blitzen said...

DinoGirl. Only at one point did I see JC even come close to inferring that women should be forced to do somthing against their will and that was on point 4. (Which I have already said that I don't agree with)

please correct me if I am wrong but I think your arguement is going to the extreme on the side of the woman and basically saying that choice abortion is down to her and ONLY to her. At the end of the day; you are correct because it's the womans body HOWEVER I believe that should the father want to be, he should be allowed to be involved in the decision.

In england, the law is very biased towards women on this one, for good reason.

The trouble is that this tends to go to the extreme and means that women can get away with galvaniseing the man into somthing that he doesn't want. you say "should two people whos reproductive responsibilities not be entitled to the same protections?" well, do you believe this? Answer me honestly; if I were to get a woman pregnant by accident, should I not be protected from her demanding support and maintainence for said child? should I not be protected from that if she then subsequently says I am to have nothing to do with that childs life?

JC Skinner said...

To briefly address your question, Dinogirl, that scenario is neither provable in law nor is it actually against the law in Ireland or Britain, unless a case could be made for rape against the man, which let's be real here, is utterly implausible in the context of mutually consensual sex up to the point of near orgasm.
The rest I'll get back to tomorrow. Night all.

dinogirl said...

Wolf. I don't see how my position that what happens to a person's body is entirely up to that person is 'extreme'. Indeed, you yourself agree with me. Do I think that in the vast majority of cases, women should consult the biological fathers of their fetuses? Yes. And most do. Should they be legally compelled to? Absolutely not. Should they be required to do what the biological father wishes, regardless of their own desires? (and that is the fundamental meaning of Number 4 - it doesn't matter what she wants, what he wants will decide the day) Hell no.

Then you just go off on a tangent about child custody and child support. I agree with you on many counts. But it has nothing to do with abortion. I suspect that this is JC's real reason for this post (because I can't imagine he wants to turn women into brood mares, nor that's he's desperately keen for more blog views :) ). Fine. Post on that. But abortion has NOTHING to do with it.

"Answer me honestly; if I were to get a woman pregnant by accident, should I not be protected from her demanding support and maintainence for said child?"

No, you shouldn't, because while your penis (and where relevant, uterus) is utterly protected from being used against your will to another's benefit, your bank account isn't. Child support is about the CHILD, not the woman and what she did or didn't tell you. Is it unfair that women have nine extra months (well, in practice, three) to decide if they want to continue the reproductive process, while a man's part ends after climax? I suppose. Though as I said earlier, it's not like women have a cushy deal. It's the reality of the biological bits we were born with. You CAN choose not to become a parent - but it means not having sex. Women are involved for longer, so they have longer to opt out.

"should I not be protected from that if she then subsequently says I am to have nothing to do with that childs life?"

This is totally, totally unrelated to the topic of abortion. (If this is what this post is really about JC, write a post and deal with it head-on). For the record, no, nobody has the right to tell a biological father they cannot have contact with a child they support. Although (and I am in two minds even to bring this up, since it's a rabbit hole I have no interest in going down right now), having lived in England for several years I'm pretty sure that it is NOT the case that a woman can randomly decide to cut a man off from contact with his children, and the man has no legal recourse. I'm pretty sure that the man can request and will be granted the right to see his child (in Ireland, I believe 98% of applications for visitation are granted in some form? Yes? Can England be that different?)

It has NOTHING to do with the post anyway, and though it deserves to be debated, this post is not the place.

A final general point - I'm confused why you label my opinions 'extreme' and then go on to say that you fundamentally agree with them. I would have thought granting a person one might have had sex with just once, and known for mere hours, control over nine months of one's life, was a far more extreme opinion.

dinogirl said...

Off to bed myself, but before I do, I'll elaborate a little on the aforementioned sordid sexual details :)

On not being against the law here or in Britain - that is wrong, and I believe it should be. When we make abortion legal, let's make female-on-male rape illegal too (gotta love that despotism).

On the improvability - well, usually, yes. But most crimes of rape struggle with this, and while problematic, the improvability doesn't impact the morality of the act. For the purposes of our comparison, the woman forcing the continuation of sex is the same as the male partner forcing the continuation of pregnancy. While it may be easier to prove the latter's culpability, that doesn't effect the question of the morality of either.

And the implausibility - here I would strongly disagree. It is entirely possible for a male partner to wish to stop intercourse and be prevented by a female partner. Incapacitation (through S&M shenanigans, or drink, to name a few possibilities) would probably be needed, but not necessarily. Some men are weak, and some women are strong. And fear or pain does not kill an erection in everybody.

Or so Law and Order SVU tells me anyway ;)

Anyway, even the implausibility doesn't matter in the context of the question asked - if it happened, would it be wrong? To be honest, the fact that it's an unlikely situation only highlights the fact that men are nearly always in control of their part of the reproductive process.

Anyway, beddy-byes.

Productive said...

the woman has a right to chose, chose to close her legs.

Anonymous said...

JC said,

"It is illogical and inconsistent to suggest that a woman is permitted all rights over a pregnancy and any resulting abortion decision or resultant child, while simultaneously holding fathers responsible in law for that child's financial upkeep against their will, not to mention the inconsistency in forcing people to become fathers against their wills."

and

"The state already enforces fatherhood on men all the time, and imposes, when asked to, financial penalties for something they might not have chosen. In this way men already have the control of their fertility removed."

and

"Men in their dozens are forced to become fathers every day against their will, often with major psychological, financial, emotional and other ramifications."

Sorry, late to the party, wanted to address your argument that men get no say.

So, what you are saying is that contraceptive is the woman's responsibility, 100% of the time, that men are incapable of wearing condoms? How is a man's control over his fertility removed if he decides to use contraceptive? And if both parties use contraceptive and there is still a resultant pregnancy, the man has already stated his wish to NOT father a child by his use of contraceptive. He is trying to control his fertility before the horse is even out of the gate. Why are you making it a woman's responsibility wholly on the use of contraceptive?

OM, single parent of 2 (divorced), with NO input from ex.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, me ire was up and I didn't proof read, substitute contraception for contraceptive where appropriate because I buggered it several times!

OM

Informer said...

I have contributed my own personnel opinions to this debate lately and found that there seems to be no end in peoples own emotions taking over their logical thoughts. For instance: "Men in their dozens are forced to become fathers every day against their will, often with major psychological, financial, emotional and other ramifications."

Let me tell you all, because a man has sex (which is a strong primitive urge that overides the medula oblongatas construct, releasing powerful hormones into the system), he can not control his thoughts never mind his penis in this moment of ecstasy. So women when it comes to pulling out, thats a pipe dream to start, unless the guy is a cyborg!!

The damage done to men over the years from the moment he gets a woman pregnant is terrible, I would go as far to say as much damage is done to some men as to a womans body but over a slower time, but deadly all the same. Someone once said to me, when you punch someone you leave a bruise, but when you emotionally damage someone you leave no marks visible, but inside they are hurting for years to come. I now suffer at 38 from HBP and Reumatoid arthritis from stress and anxiety from maintenance bills! I was pratically raped at 15 had a kid at 16 and then had to earn a living like a man in a big world, later I found out the girl was a plant by republicans to blacken me etc, but that is another story.....so girls if it is your body take precautions, if it is your baby pay the price, but if you want the man to have a say then we will glady pay the price but if we don't we won't, problem solved!

Laura said...

@jc skinner "men have absolutely no say in the future of a pregnancy".

But your 4th rule turns the tables entirely and now you have given absolute power over a woman's body to a man who just has to sign a bit of paper.

JC Skinner said...

That's the point, Laura.
How does it feel to be completely disenfranchised over whether you become a parent or not?