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17 April 2012 @ 02:51 am

This morning my boyfriend and I got in a fight. I brought up something I read that an anti choice person wrote on Tumblr about how the man should have a say in abortion. I told my boyfriend that this person is an idiot for writing such garbage. He actually disagreed with me. It really really pissed me off. He had never said this opinion before I had my abortion and I always assumed he felt the same way I did?

Is this a stupid thing for me to be mad about? I know it's kind of a matter of opinion. He tried to argue with me that if a woman chooses to have a kid that the guy doesn't want, he has to pay child support. So for some reason, because of this, a man should have a say in if a woman has an abortion or not.

In my opinion, it is my body this fetus is living off of for 9 months. My body that the fetus will come out of. My choice. Am I in the wrong? 

Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Moral Whiplashbkwyrm on April 17th, 2012 12:28 pm (UTC)
No, I don't think you're wrong. Biologically, once a man contributes his sperm, he's done. His choice comes in either deciding to use birth control, or choosing not to have sex. His body isn't involved in the production of a fetus, so he doesn't get a say over whether a woman he's impregnanted carries to term or not.
He doesn't own the body of the woman, or the body of the fetus. If he's disturbed by the idea that a woman can get an abortion without his "permission," well, he'd better go out and get a vasectomy right quick so that there's no accidental pregnancies. Either that, or only date women who solemnly swear that they won't make reproductive choices without his input.
Rachelleaveittoweaver on April 17th, 2012 02:52 pm (UTC)
So glad to see someone agrees with me.

I mean, I guess I can see somewhat where he's coming from with men paying child support for kids they didn't want to begin with but I don't necessarily agree with that either.

Thank you :)
Moral Whiplashbkwyrm on April 17th, 2012 03:30 pm (UTC)
The thing about child support is that it's his kid. If he's all verklempt over the idea of a woman aborting a fetus without his permission (which puts him in total control of her reproductive process, BTW), he should be THRILLED to pay child support to a child. After all, the woman didn't have an abortion, right? WHich is what he wants, apparently.
The real question here is why men want to A) be in control of a woman's reproductive process and decide whether or not she bears a child (because if she's carrying the fetus, and his "say" is the important thing, he's making all the choices) AND B) be able to deny payments to support for an actual, real-life child that he fathered. If someone's pissed off that he doesn't get a "say" in an abortion, what he's really saying is that he's pissed off that a man can't force a woman to have an abortion or bring a pregnancy to term simply because he had an orgasm in her vagina.
electric misfit love machineeyelid on April 17th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
I mean, I guess I can see somewhat where he's coming from with men paying child support for kids they didn't want to begin with but I don't necessarily agree with that either.

That's unfortunate biological reality. For a guy, his physical involvement (and therefore his choices) ends w/the sex. If his body were involved after that, he'd have more choices. The one he should be complaining to is G-d.

Furthermore, child support isn't owed to the mother, it's owed to the child. Frankly, I cannot understand the mindset of a person who would walk away from their own child, leaving the child without a parent (absent an adoption situation, of course, where the child is NOT left without a parent). But even if one were inclined to respect that choice, society has made the decision that a parent - even an unwilling parent - has an obligation to provide financial support for their offspring.

And I'm not really sure why that's so controversial, given that in society, we decide that people need to fund things a lot more offensive than that. For instance, via my taxes, I am paying to support various wars I don't agree with, to pursue a drug war I think is horrific and deplorable, to provide subsidies to gas companies, etc. Compared to that, I don't see the offensiveness of being required to support my own children.

As it happens, women get to make the choices regarding their own bodies, men get to make the choices regarding their own bodies, and when children are born, both parents have responsibilities to those children. I don't really see the problem with that setup.

Edited at 2012-04-17 05:06 pm (UTC)
electric misfit love machineeyelid on April 17th, 2012 03:03 pm (UTC)
What does "a say" mean?

The bottom line is that, assuming the man and woman disagree on the abortion, it's either the woman's decision or the man's. Or in other words, you get to decide whether you're having an abortion, or HE gets to decide whether you're having an abortion.

Is it his position that HE should get to make the decision, and YOU should just be required to do whatever he decides?

Because in the end, that's the only thing "a say" can mean.

And obviously, it's medieval and disgusting.

Edited at 2012-04-17 03:04 pm (UTC)
Adeleadele87 on May 8th, 2012 09:29 am (UTC)
Among the Chaoseien_herrison on April 17th, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
In my mind, people can have all the 'say' they want, but when it comes down to it the final decision (abortion or carrying to term) should be made by the person who is pregnant. No one is obligated to listen to views, let alone take them in to consideration -- sure, if you have a high risk pregnancy you could hear the doctor saying that they believe the best thing would be to abort because carrying to term has a high chance of killing you, but in the end you can still say that you'd continue the pregnancy. It's eighteen years of writing off a check or having money automatically taken away vs. nine months of pretty much giving your body over to another human, with all the effects and medical care that comes with it.

I don't think it's a stupid thing to be mad about -- I'd be furious if my partner was of the opinion that if he really wanted a child, he felt that my mental/physical health and wellbeing meant less to him than a baby. I know I'm biased because of my phobia (and how I've reacted and how my partner has seen me react, and hypothetically would want to force me through that for a baby), but still...
Commander Coralie Onasi Alenko Shepardnoabsolutes on April 17th, 2012 04:52 pm (UTC)
No, you're not wrong.

A lot of dudes think it's unfair that a woman gets to "opt out" of "parenting" via abortion, but they have no analagous way of opting out of parenting should their partner not choose abortion. This is true. Biology isn't fair.

The thing is, abortion isn't an alternative to parenting. It's an alternative to being pregnant. Men already exercise this by not being able to be pregnant.
electric misfit love machineeyelid on April 17th, 2012 05:08 pm (UTC)
Amymustlovemetal on April 18th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC)
A+ comment.
h_whungry_worm on May 28th, 2012 10:36 am (UTC)
"but they have no analagous way of opting out of parenting should their partner not choose abortion."

Well, they (man and women alike, but in this case especially the men) *do* have the choice to think about and use good contraception (i.e. using condoms or even combining them with temperature charting and abstinence on the few dangerous days if they really really want to be sure not to father a child).
Commander Coralie Onasi Alenko Shepardnoabsolutes on May 29th, 2012 01:38 am (UTC)
Two responses to this:

1) true, but when you're at the point where you're dealing with and discussing pregnancy vs parenting, bringing contraception into the conversation is very much like closing the barn door after the horse gets out. We're past that stage of the game

2) as it stands now, the burden of contraception disproportionally falls on women's shoulders (the most common non-permanent contraceptive methods: male condoms, the pill, the patch, the ring, IUDs, injectable hormones. Only one of these is for men). A big part of this is biology but a not insignificant effect is institutional sexism - when the pill was initially being developed/safety tested in humans (in Puerto Rico in the 50s) three women died but the tests went ahead. Tests on developing male contraceptives were halted when the drugs were found to be enlarging testicles.

There's news right now that they've found the "sperm gene" in men and that maybe now they can safely find a drug that can toggle male fertility on and off - I'm skeptical (and somewhat familiar with drug development cycles -- even if they go full steam ahead on this, we're many years and many millions of dollars away from that).

There's also, reportedly, a very cheap, one-time, reversible, surgical sterilization procedure for men that is in wide use in India, but it hasn't gotten much attention in the US because again, sexism, and also, money. The average woman spends 30 years preventing pregnancy - why pour millions of dollars of development money into a cheap, one-time, reversible sterilization for her partner (maybe you'll recoup 50-70 bucks) if you've already got her on the hook for $60/month for thirty years (that's over 21 thousand dollars!). You never would.
h_whungry_worm on May 29th, 2012 09:16 am (UTC)
#1 You're right, I was only referring to the general "they have no analogous way of opting out of parenting " part. (Men also forget that not too long ago, women could "opt out" via abortion, but many lost their lives over it. As you said, it's biology and there isn't many ways out once it's reached a certain point.)

#2 I personally disagree with that, since I see methods of contraception and actual practise of contraception as two separate (yet connected) items. Sure, most contraceptives focus on altering the women's hormonal state, or depend on her using diverse gadgets to prevent getting pregnant. Even more right, it is aggravating that they chickened out of developing the male pill for the reasons you described.

But "the burden of contraception disproportionally falls on women's shoulders"? In most industrialized countries, both partners have the task to choose a method from what's available (and they can't change that there isn't much for men, sadly), and both carry the responsibility equally. I strongly dislike hormonal bc and IUDs because of their side effects, and frankly, even if an equivalent for the male would be available, I'd choose condoms, since they do not interfere with your health (unless you're allergic against latex, and even then there's alternatives). Branching out, I also don't like tubals a lot, since they're harder to reverse and require larger surgery/anesthesia than vasectomies, so I think the burden is not really on women's shoulders only when it comes to doing it. The available tools are certainly a bit disheartening, but as you said, research is working on finding more procedures and tools for male contraception.

The Indian method you mention sounds interesting, but I haven't heard of it - is it really something different from a vasectomy? I have no idea.

The main issue with this "burden of contraception" is that it is no problem when two partners agree and work together, i.e. maybe using condoms, or the woman using XY birth control method, plus being extra careful or abstinent around the fertile days. The burden get's shifted completely on the woman's shoulders when the man in question does not cooperate, i.e. doesn't want to hold off invasive sex for a couple of (potentially fertile) days, or doesn't want to use condoms. But I frankly believe that the men who do this (the occasional exception included) would also refuse other methods of male birth control, even if there was a pill equivalent or some other implantable device. So that's why the number of female vs. male bc methods alone isn't a strong argument for me.
I think it would be different if men would be the ones to actually risk growing a baby inside of them. As irresponsible as it is to refuse bc because you're not the one directly affected in the moment (=pregnancy), I can sort of understand the mental process behind it (don't like it, though). Many men can't even really connect to their children until they're actually born and are *visible* and touchable, since it's so abstract to them.

Referring back to the OP, I do think that, whenever it comes to sex, pregnancy, abortion and parenting, both parties have a right to discuss and built and voice their opinions. The one who ultimately has "a say" (as in = can decide) in what to do in the end is in my opinion the one who is carrying the consequences, physically. Again I can understand that it must be horrible for someone to become a father against his will (although, #1, should have thought about that earlier since everything beyond birth control is out of his reach), and it must be as horrible to carry a pregnancy knowing that the father wants nothing more than having it terminated. But yes, I agree with the my body my choice statement, but the least one should do (when it's a halfways decent relationship) is to discuss it when the need is there, and put an adequate amount of thought into it. After all there is a possibility that the guy understands the reasons for his partners wish for abortion, intead of just making it a yes!/no! fight.