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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
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.