Get Real About Abortion

Forget the arguments about “right to life.” They’re a smokescreen for the real issue, because the real issue is power.

Men have absolute sexual freedom biologically. They can choose to have sex when and where they wish, even when the woman or another man is not willing. And in the case of women, the only one who suffers adverse physical repercussions is the woman.

The freedom to use birth control or, if the woman desires, to have an abortion in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, gives her close to equal freedom and certainly the freedom to do as she wishes with her own body – which is analogous to the freedom men already have.

Like it or not, most men, at least subconsciously, don’t want women to have that freedom. Their answer is that if women don’t want to bear the consequences, they shouldn’t have sex. But men can have sex without bearing the potential consequences. Those are unequal rights, pure and simple.

Some men have argued that greater punishment for rape or forced sex and financial support is preferable. Those won’t prevent women from being forced into sex and bearing the consequences. Only the unfettered access to birth control and abortion will.

The fact that this is a power struggle is further supported by the renewed push by the far right not only to eliminate all abortions, even when the life of the woman is endangered, but to prohibit all forms of birth control.

This isn’t about right to life; it’s about male domination, which, apparently, some women on the far right also prefer – and that’s their choice, but it shouldn’t be forced on all women.

The fact that those religious faiths that oppose abortion, including the Catholic Church, are also male dominated, sometimes viciously and violently, should also tell thinking people that it’s not primarily about right to life, but about men’s “right to dominate.”

11 thoughts on “Get Real About Abortion”

  1. Autumn says:

    No lies detected, though men who are raped do often suffer physical damage/ repercussions along with severe psychological issues.

    The majority of white males in this country had a collective hissy fit about wearing a mask over their face, but it’s perfectly okay to force a woman to carry the child of her own rapist that MIGHT KILL HER for 10 months.

  2. mayhem says:

    It’s not even a question of rape.
    A man can have a consensual one night stand and the worst that can happen if things go wrong is an STD.
    A woman risks having her life destroyed by an unwanted parasite.

    Yes, abortion is a drastic step. No woman ever treats it as anything else, and the longer before it happens the more unpleasant it is both physically and socially.
    But all the rhetoric around abortion sidesteps the fact that almost all abortions happen within the first three months, generally shortly after the potential mother realises they are pregnant and before her body has undergone drastic change.
    The rest are generally within the next three months due to complications with pregnancy, and those in the last three are extremely rare – by that stage the women have accepted the child and want it, late term abortions are invariably to protect the life of the mother after something went wrong.

  3. R. Hamilton says:

    It is irresponsible for anyone not in a stable relationship to engage in coitus, whether male or female, due to both STDs and the possibility of unwanted pregnancy, and that doesn’t even take into account the emotional damage of devaluing physical intimacy as a precedent for future relationships, nor any conflict with values learned at an early age. I’d even spring for punishing all fornicators (if perhaps not to Old Testament levels of punishment, i.e. something non-fatal rather than stoning), especially the males since they otherwise bear less consequences, and therefore should be held to at LEAST as high a standard of conduct.

    But please do NOT assume what “most men, at least subconsciously, don’t want”; people can’t even speak with great accuracy about their own subconscious, let alone that of a majority of some category of other persons. If one said “most {female, black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ, other historically discriminated against category} people, at least subconsciously, {whatever}”, one would be justifiably roasted for saying that. The mere fact that straight white males have (and still do, to a degree) held more power does NOT make them subconsciously guilty of whatever one might have speculative cause (but a whole lot less evidence, esp. at the level of “most” rather than “some”) to suppose.

    And the premise neglects the morning after pill. Some few very naive persons may not realize that what they did (with or without consent) could have pregnancy as a consequence…but most do know, and they’re pretty darn easy to get. Make them available for free for those who can’t pay, if that’s what it takes to get rid of an excuse for maybe it’s murder to terminate a blob. And make sure that nobody able to get pregnant is THAT ignorant about how one gets that way. You don’t need a full how-to guide (which might be alarming to parents of those at the young end) to explain in general terms how it happens and how NOT to. If schools can hand out condoms, they should be able to hand out non-prescription morning after pills too.

    There ARE alternatives other than to simply treat the unfairness of nature as something that must be maximally equalized regardless of any other unfairness that MAY be introduced in the process. Probably there are other alternatives to on-demand abortion not for medical reasons but for birth control, that I don’t even know about.

    And while (perhaps due to not only to physical strength but motivation – hormone influenced brain development differences) it’s rare, there have certainly been women that forced males to have sex; usually said males are underage, but I recall a story decades ago of a male of a rather conservative denomination that was allegedly forced* by two women. And while MOST males can physically dominate at least one of MOST females IF they’re reasonably close in height or weight, that’s certainly not absolute, and all bets are off if outnumbered.

    * yes, that can be done with what an improvised ED ring on the relevant male organ, and in any event, courts have recognized that physical response to stimulus does not equal consent. While I can’t find the story I recall (it’s older than Google or even the Web), a search for
    “man raped” “by two women”
    finds a number of examples; while it’s rare enough (or rarely enough reported) in western countries, it seems to have become enough of a pattern in parts of South Africa that there is at least one paper on the psychology (including reluctance to report).

    Probably no category of persons, despite having enjoyed an imbalance of power in their favor, is so depraved that “most” should be assumed to be sympathetic to taking advantage nor desiring extreme measures to assure their continued advantage. And individuals remain individuals, such that there are always exceptions to the directionality of power imbalances as well. Imbalances that can only be described statistically are poor grounds for law or policy.

    Maybe the balance is somewhere other than total on-demand or zero non-medically-justified, but it’s arguably been too close to the on-demand side for too long.

    I think what I think, not what others think I think. Indeed, I think that leftism (if perhaps not every leftist) is so despicable that I can only comfort myself that leftism and abortion advocacy go hand in hand, such that most aborted would have otherwise lived to be future leftists. Maybe the eugenic self-limiting of the left (not to rule out wishing that on the furthest extremists or cultists of any/all flavors) isn’t such a bad idea after all, even if not to the degree of making metaphysically maybe mass murder palatable.

    1. KTL says:

      Gee, this position seems pretty extreme for a self descibed libertarian.

      The right’s position is morphing quickly into a ban on contraception in recent statements and discussions with Republican leaders (see for example Tapper interview with Mississippi’s Tate Reeves). I expect the goalposts to move further in the future as well.

      If one wants to go down this slippery slope of what is life vs potential life, and the morality of protection, then how about we criminalize destruction of those little tadpoles we know as sperm. That might make it an even playing field. Lots of new jobs for wanking police too.

      Sorry LEM for this. But it has to be said.

    2. “There ARE alternatives other than to simply treat the unfairness of nature as something that must be maximally equalized regardless of any other unfairness that MAY be introduced in the process.”

      You’re right. There are other alternatives, and most of them don’t work in practice, because, regardless of all your “logic,” most men and some women won’t or can’t abide by them. You continually propose theoretical and unworkable solutions and then blame others for their “weakness.” All you’re doing is rationalizing oppression by the strongest and most able, and that appears always to be your bottom line.

      And by the way, the most perfect logic is often wrong because the underlying assumptions aren’t valid.

  4. geoff soper says:

    Exactly right

  5. Darcherd says:

    While I won’t dispute the premise that historical male domination in our society is an underlying factor in opposition to abortion, the fact is that a great number of women are equally opposed to abortion, usually – though not always – from a religious standpoint.

    What seems to be another, equally important factor is the simple definition of when human life begins. If you have the philosophical opinion that human life begins at conception, then there really is no alternative but to oppose abortion under nearly all circumstances. On the other hand, if you adopt the equally rational and defensible position that conception is simply one more step along a continuum of potential human life until one reaches the point that a fetus is fully viable outside the womb, then there is room for consideration of the rights of the woman as well.

    Note that “life begins at conception” is no more a “scientific fact” than “life begins at fetal viability”. Both are philosophical opinions.

    1. I respect both opinions. What I don’t respect is using the law as a weapon against those who hold an opposite opinion about something on which large numbers of people disagree and where such laws restrict the freedom to one’s own body.

    2. Chris says:

      The following provides what I consider a better look at the issues involved. There is a tendency to make the topic black and white but this brings out the nuances of the issue a little better.

  6. Hanneke says:

    @Darcherd, I was struck by your assumption that at the point (however arbitrary and variably decided by ideologically-driven politicians) where the fetus/zygote/blob of cells becomes “human life”, i.e. a (proto-) person it should not be eligible for abortion any more, or at least have its rights as a person be weighed equally with the rights of the mother.

    Legal precedent says that a man can not be forced to donate bone marrow to another man, even though he is the only compatible donor and without that donation the sick person will die soon:

    No one can be forced to allow their organs to be harvested, even after death, even though a shortage of people opting in as organ donors means that sick people on waiting lists are dying while good organs are being cremated or buried, because the wishes of the deceased regarding what can happen to their body outweigh the needs of the terminally ill patients. (The most that can be done, with a lot of warning and publicity and options to register one’s wishes, is changing an opt-in to an opt-out donor registry.)

    Blood donations are entirely voluntary and cannot be forced.

    And I quite agree, all these things should be up to the individual to decide.

    So another person is not legally allowed to force you to give anything from your body even if for them, that would make the difference between life and death, and it would have negligible consequences for you, like a small medical procedure with small risk, that is over in one day.

    So why is it such an obvious conclusion that the fetus’ *need* for its mother’s nourishment and care, which lasts for 9 months and brings significant risks of complications and even death to the mother, as well as big medical costs and time & income lost from work and from caring for her existing family – why should this fetus’/person’s needs automatically *entitle* it to getting those needs met, whatever the costs to the person forced to provide them?

    The needs of dying children on the waiting lists for organ transplants do not entitle them to any compatible organs that could be harvested from corpses that were not registered as donors when alive, let alone being able to compel a matching potential donor to donate anything while alive.
    How is this different, if we are comparing a dependent person’s right to life to the bodily autonomy rights of the person they depend on?

    Drawing a line at independent viability is similar to those precedents: you cannot be forced to donate anything to keep a mortally ill person alive (thus being party to killing them by your unwillingness to perform this care, but not legally liable for their death); but you are not allowed to actively kill them.
    If the fetus is viable it can be removed to give it an independent chance at life, so you cannot kill it by aborting it (unless the mother’s life is in danger; however, anti-abortion hospitals too often won’t operate even then, and women die, usually with the fetus dying as well, killing both).
    To my mind that comes to a similar balance between “duty to not kill another independent person” and “bodily autonomy means I cannot be forced to sustain another person with my body/blood/organs even though his or her life depends on it”.

  7. Tom says:

    @R. Hamilton – Chicago September 26, 2014 UPDATED: September 26, 2014 15:45 IST
    Man raped by two women, in USA …
    Man raped at gunpoint by two women … in South Africa.
    Thursday 14 Dec 2017

    Etc. There are quite a few Google hits.

    So? Women are human too! This has nothing to do with the right to determine what happens to your sovereign-self body.

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