April 29, 2007

Don't Tell Me What To Do

Reading the paper this morning, I found this letter to the editor I couldn't resist commenting on.

"Regarding 'Men should butt out of abortion issue' (Letters, Wednesday)

I am always confused as to why men don't have a say. According to the letter writer, men should butt out.

Why is it that if a man doesn't want a baby he is considered a bum? He is arrested if he doesn't want to support the baby and he is considered a deadbeat dad. But when the women doesn't want the baby she is considered a hero for making a choice to kill it.

It takes two to make a baby, but only one gets to decide the baby's future.

How come men are not allowed to raise the baby the women don't want? Where is their choice?"

There are so many things wrong with this I don't know where to start, but this struck me right off the bat: In only one sentence of this entire letter is the person mentioned who is actually carrying the child, i.e., the woman. Even that sentence places her in a negative context. Because, y'know, as soon as a woman becomes pregnant she ceases to be a human being and is transformed into an incubator. Obviously the man is far more important, judging from the number of times the male is mentioned.

So, to people such as these, during pregnancy the following priorities are assumed.

1. Man
2. Fetus
(way down at the bottom) Woman.

Does this sound twisted to you? It does to me.

Secondly, the writer is comparing apples and oranges in a very odious way. Folks, we are talking about two different states of being here. The state of a man's becoming a "bum" and a "deadbeat dad" happens after the baby is born; in other words, when there is an actual child to support. If there is no child, then the reluctant father won't have to worry about it, now will he? (Of course, no one ever mentions that he should have worried about it before the woman got pregnant, and been responsible to the point of either using condoms or getting a vasectomy. But to people such as these, birth control isn't a man's problem. Oh no.)

I say this not to imply that a man has any right to coerce a woman into an abortion; far from it. I'm pointing out that his rights and responsibilities exist before and after the pregnancy, not during. During pregnancy the rights and responsibilites afforded the fetus rest solely with the woman, since after all said fetus is residing (or invading, depending on your point of view) in the woman's body.

Not the man's.

That being the case, any decisions made during the pregnancy should be made by the woman. Period. Otherwise, you get the following scenarios:

1. The woman does not want the child; the man does. The woman is therefore forced to continue the pregnancy against her will. But that's okay; as soon as she conceived, she turned into an incubator, remember? Sure, the father gets the baby after it is born, but for nine months, the woman is nothing more than a fetal slave.

2. The woman wants the child; the man does not. Therefore, because his wishes trump hers, she is dragged to an abortion clinic and forced to undergo termination. Again, that's okay; since she's just an incubator, she has no right to complain when someone wants to turn her off.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in a world like that. Yet this is what anti-choice folks are saying, under all the rhetoric.

So: the man gets no say? Damn right. Anything else, and women are no longer human.

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