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Today I Solved Your Ethical Conundrum!

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Via Jezebel, a blood boiling, rage inducing, headache making, teeth grinding OMFG FFS ALREADY post.

So. Here’s a (necessarily heterosexist) reply to people who are struggling with the ethics of what right the father has in terms of decision making after conception– does he have the right to demand termination (no.) or that the woman carries to term (no.) or that he can get out of financial obligations to the baby (no.).

The hard truth is that pregnancy is the literal building of something– in this process, the father provides 50% of the blueprints only, while the woman provides the other 50% of the blueprints* AND constructs the building. In a business deal? The guy whose only stake was handing in half finished blueprints has no real say in whether the building is constructed or not, because he isn’t on the construction crew. But when he has supplied half of those blueprints, and the building is built, it’s half his building, to take care of, unless otherwise negotiated. That, unfortunately, is the reality of the situation.

Here is what the father/guy does have though– the right to NOT provide his half of the blueprints to someone who will do something he doesn’t want done with them. He has the right to talk to his partner and determine with his own good judgement whether she is someone that he believes he can trust not to do something he doesn’t want done with his blueprints. He has the right to say no to sex if he is not 100% comfortable with the potential outcomes. I believe he has the right to more birth control options than are currently available. I hope to see the RISUG option take off like wildfire in the US and be free to all men who want it, and I hope many men will want it. The best way to avoid pregnancy related issues is to avoid unplanned pregnancy.

But if the father/guy fails to talk to his partner before having sex, determine his own level of comfort with all of the possible outcomes, and make the choice which is HIS right, well. You don’t build it, you don’t have a say in the construction process. You don’t get to coerce anyone into building anything for you. You don’t get to complain about handing out your blueprints without exercising your rights first.

Your body is your body to use exactly how you see fit, and with full recognition of the responsibilities and rights that does and does not give you. Your rights end where mine begin. You know what trying to extend your rights to oppress others makes you? A fascist.

Know what happens to fascists? Billy Bragg can tell you:

 

* thanks to some internet commenter whose name I don’t now recall from a blog I can’t remember– I will not take credit for this wonderful analogy.

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About Pepper

Pepper Lee Hales is a twenty something, married, vicious feminist liberal. She likes dogs, cats, spiders, epistemics and cake.

10 responses »

  1. Um. I’m sorry, sir, but your ability to have any say over what happens to your sperm once it leaves you penis ended when you decided to allow it leave without a condom to catch it. Or other alternative. However. It is still your sperm, therefore you are still responsible for what it creates.

    Don’t like that? Have a condom. Or don’t have sex. Or start taking sex a touch more seriously. We can argue all day if you’d like, but really all you’re doing is making it clear how much you’d like women to do what you tell them.

    Reply
    • You win delicious pastries made from the internets. Yeah, it’s aaaaalll about control.Reproductive coercion happens, and from the jez, post it certainly sounds like that was the case here. I’m sorry that the patriarchy told men that bitches be brood mares, but they need to take it up with the patriarchy for lying, not with women.

      Reply
  2. So, with any ethical and moral argument there is no way to PROVE which is right or wrong–so it really comes down to a matter of what YOU want; because in reality–there’s no such THING as right and wrong.

    With that said, this seems to be an argument about what is “fair.”

    I feel like when two individuals have sex and don’t want to have a kid as a result, whether they use a contraceptive or not (pull out and so on), they should know that the act they’re engaging in could result in a baby, and I feel like you’d be terribly naive to think any differently. So, by doing this (and deciding they don’t want a kid) if a kid comes along because of it, both should be able to make their choices independently, what they want to do.

    Now, right away this decision becomes WAY easier for the male since the male doesn’t have to carry the child. BUT, this should be understood before sex has happened by the female. They are ALWAYS going to have to carry the kid if a kid comes from it–and that’s ALWAYS the way it is and is going to be (unless science makes it so men birth children.) The male should be able to say, “Hey, I didn’t want a kid and just because you got pregnant doesn’t mean that I want a kid now or should be forced to pay for the kid and be in the kids life.” If the male chooses to be in the kids life, that’s a different story–and ultimately his choice. What the male can’t do is force the female to HAVE or NOT have the child. That choice should be the woman’s and the woman’s choice only.

    The reason why I come to this conclusion is because both parties sign off on the sex. Both parties should know that sex can lead to a wanted or unwanted child, and females should know that they have a way bigger investment if the unwanted baby comes as a result.

    Reply
    • Arguments of total moral relativity really don’t fly here. And since we so obviously do not agree with the idea that there is no right and wrong, I’ll let you know first thing that any attempts to threadjack with that will get everything you write replaced with rude and amusing gifs.

      In re the rest: Well, by total biological unfairness, the choice that men get to make is to not have sex if they really, REALLY, REALLY do not want, and cannot support a child. Or to only sleep with someone who has had a hysterectomy. Or to be dead 100% positive that the woman they are sleeping with will have an abortion. So, yes, you are right, the man in the situation does get to say “Hey, I DONT want a kid!” Where you’ve got it wrong is the time-frame.

      This has to, absolutely must, can only happen before sex, not after.

      As you said, men don’t carry. And women (we don’t do males and females as nouns here because eeeeew, but whatever), can’t just pick and walk away from a pregnancy, they have to do something about it either way.

      I know it seems like OMFG THE WORSTEST MOST UNFAIRESTEST THING EVER not to be able to just jizz wild and free, but if you don’t want a kid, it is your responsibility to make damned sure that never happens.

      Otherwise, you don’t get to punish the resulting child, if such a child should come to pass, because you did not exercise your free rights before wetting your dick. See the moment there’s a child, then it’s not about the mother, or you, it’s about that child. Pesky ethics!

      When you fuck without being ironclad certain that the outcome you want in any case will occur, without even talking about it if it’s that important to you, you’ve gone ahead waived the right that is absolutely yours. As you yourself said, men need to understand that pregnancy is a possible result of the sex they choose to engage in. If that possibility is a problematic one, whether carried to term, aborted, or carried to term and adopted, that is something that men need to consider. Men don’t think with their dicks, men aren’t entitled to all the sex they can get without any concern for the potential outcomes.

      I never wanted kids, and I never wanted to be pregnant. I made sure I was using no fewer than two contraceptives all the time, and I also made it very VERY clear that in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, I would not be carrying, and they would be paying half of the bill. If they didn’t want to deal with that, that was always their choice, and it never hurt my feelings. Yes, I did have men (startled at actually having that conversation before shit hit the fan), say no. And I was glad for them.

      On an ethical level, I think having that conversation before fucking is best for both people involved. Women who don’t know if they would abort or not need to think hard about that before becoming pregnant, as do men. This is not fucking rocket surgery, people. It’s just plain fucking.

      As I said in the OP (this reply is actually almost longer than the OP, so congratulations I guess), I am 100000000% percent in favor of the reversible vasectomy injection which is in FDA trials as I write. I will agitate for that to be free to all men and boys that want it. I think men need to have more and better forms of birth control that they have control over. I think that for women too. But right now, what we have is what we have, and hat men have and must have is the choice to abort sex, while women have the choice to abort pregnancy.

      Reply
  3. You’re right, there is no way around that, but this argument still makes me uncomfortable. Mostly because the “if a man doesn’t want to support a baby he shouldn’t have sex” argument reminds me of a similar point commonly used to justify pro-life ideology.

    Reply
    • Yes, I suppose it does look like that argument, but it’s not really, because abortion is an option for women, as it must be. So not wanting to carry a pregnancy to term is not a reason for women to not have sex.

      But for men, they run into a different nest of issues– they may be uncomfortable with an abortion, or with a pregnancy carried to term, and so on. So I’m not saying “just don’t have sex,” so much as I am saying, due to biological factors around sex, only have sex that you are certain will lead to an outcome you can accept.

      I mean, if a man is absolutely NOT ok with ever being a father, he can seek a vasectomy and then fuck with wild (condom covered!) abandon. But if a man wants to be a father someday with someone, just not the person he is having sex with now, he needs to make sure that he is exercising his total right to only have sex with someone who will not carry to term. Men just don’t have the right to have all of the sex they want totally free of thought, rather than not having the right to sex at all.

      As for men who want to be fathers, with partners who don’t– no. Sorry. Move on, find someone who wants to have children, be willing to do a full 50% of the child rearing work, have your life together before having children etc.

      I am completely 100% pro-choice, it”s just that women and men have different choices. But I don’t want anyone to not have sex. Have sex! Sex is great! IF, it’s consensual, and both parties involved have a plan about what will happen in the event of an unplanned pregnancy, and those plans agree. Otherwise, it’s a risk, and the risk for men is that if you waive your right to not have sex with someone who doesn’t agree with you on the pregnancy issue, you might end up with a child that you are ethically and legally obligated to care for.

      Ultimately, it’s about privilege. The privilege of freedom from consequence and responsibility is NOT one I think men are owed simply because they want sex, and can’t get pregnant. Pro-lifers DO think that, and put the complete onus on women. Even the language of the discourse is “went and got herself pregnant”– except no. We are not parthenogenetic, and so the person with the highest stake gets to make a couple more choices than the one with a lower stake.

      Reply
  4. “…the person with the highest stake gets to make a couple more choices…” THIS. I will be borrowing this in the future to use when this subject comes up.

    Reply
  5. OMG can I just say I freakin’ love you guys. Just in case you forgot.

    PS I would *really* love it if you guys would ever want to wrap all this up (including the stuff that came out in the comments!) into a guest post on my blog. I think this is SUCH an interesting topic that either gets no discussion, or the wrong one (e.g. men get to jizz with wild abandon because HEY you’re stepping on my rights! when no you’re just missing the point). I’m sticking with Yay for Gay! topics for June, but if there’s a time in July when you wanted to… just let me know… 😀

    Reply
    • That would be fantastic! I would love to do a guest post 🙂 Just let me know when.

      Reply
      • YAY! I know you ladies are busy so how about we just plan for July sometime, and you can get it to me when you’re done? I’ll post it whenever you’re ready!

        womenarefrommars at gmail dot com.

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