Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies 2.26

  • Snake oil? – Information is Beautiful’s infographic on supplements. Sent in by a ton of peeps.
  • The next anti-choice target: Miscarriage – “A new Utah law could charge women with homicide if they miscarry, making women’s rights advocates concerned that women will be brought up on murder charges for drinking, failing to wear a seatbelt, or falling down the stairs.” Also sent in by lots of people.
  • Locked in: Chiropractic adjustment gone wrong – Scott Tatro suffered a brain stem stroke in 2000 after receiving chiropractic adjustments on his neck.  He has now written a book about his experience and the risks of chiropractic.   
  • Tree Lobsters on safety measures – From Steve (not TreeLobsterSteve, an entirely different Steve who shares a love of a Tree Lobsters)
  • Cute Animal Friday! The tree lobsters have competition. Tracy passed on this Lobster Cat from Maggie M. And I’m really not surprised that Elyse found this one. Giant gecko is gigantically adorable.

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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120 Comments

  1. The miscarriage story is just scary, the concept is so over the top and ridiculous that it seems like it should be some kind of dark satire.

    What next, not having any children is murdering the potential for children? *shudder*

  2. And the only reason this bill was even created was because a 17 year old allegedly paid a man $150 to beat her up so that she would be forced to miscarry.

    There are, not surprisingly, parental consent laws in Utah, before a minor can get an abortion. I wonder what her home life was. Probably not pleasant. Which is why I am so against these parental consent laws. If a minor can’t talk to her parents about this kind of stuff, there is probably a good reason. But of course Utah doesn’t care; they probably hope the child can’t or won’t talk to their parents, and therefore can’t get a needed abortion.

    No one asks why a 17 year old girl would feel so desperate as to put her life in danger so that she doesn’t give birth, but instead they make her into some horrible villain.

    Not to mention, comprehensive sex education and birth control options are likely slim to none in Utah.

    But you know, we must protect women from themselves, at all costs, no matter what!

  3. @marilove:

    Wow, I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but that actually makes this whole thing even worse. That kind of desperation should wake people up to the need for choice, I can’t imagine a more intimately abusive act than forcing a women to carry to term a child she does not want to carry, or is unable to carry.

    Combined with abstinence only education in schools, I really despair for women living in countries where religion dominates social and health policy.

  4. @marilove: What’s amazing to me is that anyone can hear the story of this girl and think anything other than, “what a sad story/home life.” And by amazing, I do not mean surprising; I mean that I cannot imagine what tragedy would have to befall me to make me think like this empathy-less asshats.

    To me, this is an example of exactly why abortion needs to be legal. Women are going to get pregnant unintentionally and seek termination- whether or not it’s legal. Shouldn’t we make it safe? By the way, I don’t mean to imply that “evil women will do it anyway, so let’s do it safely” is the best argument- but I do think it’s something even people who believe “abortion=holocaust” should be able to identify with. Although I’m not that naive.

  5. Lobster cat reminds me of what some acquaintances did for Halloween a few years ago. They had a very laid back elderly cat named Red Dog (flame point Siamese). So they dressed him up as a lobster, got a giant pot, and went to a friend’s party dressed as chefs with him.

  6. Once, I overheard a coworker responding to some news that people who participated in AO sex ed were just as likely to have premarital sex as those who had regular sex ed. Bear in mind, this was a statistician. And, that got me to thinking….

    If the objective is to prove that AO sex ed is better at preventing premarital sex, then the null hypothesis would be “Participatants in AO sex ed are not more likely to participate in premarital sex than those who have sex ed involving birth control”. AO sex ed would be your experiment, and BC sex ed would be your control. If the two are the same, then the experimental procedure is just as effective control. Factor in other risk factors, such as STD transmission and unwanted pregnacies, and there is no reason to assume AO sex ed has any reason to be taught in the classrooms

    Did I miss something, or is that about right?

  7. Yeah, the miscarraige bill gets worse right towards the end.

    “The father, if married to the mother at the time she receives a partial birth abortion, and if the mother has not attained the age of 18 years at the time of the abortion, the maternal grandparents of the fetus, may in a civil action obtain appropriate relief, unless the pregnancy resulted from the plaintiff’s criminal conduct or the plaintiff consented to the abortion. Such relief shall include: (a) money damages for all injuries, psychological and physical, occasioned by the violation of Section 76-7-326 [or 76-7-329 ]; and (b) statutory damages equal to three times the cost of the partial birth abortion.”

    Please tell me I’m misreading this, and it doesn’t say that a woman’s husband, or if she’s underage, her parents, are allowed to sue if she gets an abortion without permission…

  8. The thing about miscarriage is that it’s usually just a random act of nature. Miscarriage is very common, and it’s usually due to genetic defects that make the embryo non-viable. It is rarely the woman’s fault, or anyone else’s. The womb is made to pretty protective of a pregnancy, so falling down the stairs probably won’t cause a miscarriage. And drinking alcohol has never been implicated in miscarriage risk, as far as I know.

    For wanted pregnancies, miscarriage can already be devastating enough to a woman. We do not need to add guilt, fear, and even shame on top of that. The myth that women cause their own miscarriages, even accidentally, is largely what led Michelle Duggar to have so many kids.

  9. @Sunioc: While I’m sure this is an unpopular opinion, I do think the father-and only the father-should have some say wheather or not a woman can get an abortion. After all, if we are going to hold him responsible AFTER the birth, shouldn’t he have some say BEFORE the birth also?

  10. @infinitemonkey: No. The father has no official say. It’s NOT his body. He can have an opinion and in an ideal world, both the women and the father should be able to discuss things like this, but the real world is not ideal.

    After all, if we are going to hold him responsible AFTER the birth, shouldn’t he have some say BEFORE the birth also?

    No. He does not have any say because he cannot get pregnant.

    Period.

    What if the father is abusive? What if she doesn’t want to carry the child to term, but he is insistent that she does? Forcing a woman to carry a child to term is unacceptable, period, end of discussion.

    This is something two people should discuss *before* having sex, in an ideal world, but the world is not ideal. We can’t even get comprehensive sex education in most of the country!

    My boyfriend knows I do not want to have children, and that I’d abort if I were to ever accidently have a child. He’s said he’s perfectl okay with this, but of course I’ll never *really* know — sometimes when people are suddenly faced with the reality of abortion, things change.

    And if for some reason he wasn’t comfortable with my decision to abort, he can have all the opinions in the world against it — but I’d still abort.

    It’s not his decision. It never will be. It is mine and only mine.

    Take this 17 year old girl into consideration. She literally put her life into danger so that she could prevent herself from giving birth. Something tells me the father of the child wasn’t exactly supportive of her, or her desperate need to not give birth.

  11. @infinitemonkey: Also, of course we hold him responsible after the fact, because after the fact, there is a living, breathing human that has needs, and we cannot punish the child just because the father suddenly decides to bail out.

    But it is not his decision because it is not his body.

    He cannot get pregnant.

    He cannot carry a baby to term.

    It is not his decision.

  12. @marilove: I never said anything about FORCING a woman to carry a baby. However, if we are going to hold a man responsible for the child after birth, then he should have some say in the prenatal care of this same child. I think he should have paternal abortion rights-where he has the right to abort his paternity to the child, and can lodge official protests saying he wants to keep the child, even if she wants to abort it. He can’t stop her from having the abortion, however, if he offically protests, he should have recourse. To say before the birth he has no say because he can’t get pregnant, but then turn around and say he’s partially responsible after the birth because he helped create it is, IHMO, just as sexist and uncaring as forcing the pregnancy to term.

    While yes, in a perfect world, this would all have been discussed, that’s not what we are living in. And, if you’re going to use a what if, what if she gets an abortion just to hurt the father. While men have the market cornered on physical abuse, women are more abusive in psychological and verbal forms. Studies have shown that men and women are just as likely to be abused by their spouses in their respective categories.

  13. I would humbly like to add a codicil to the miscarriage bill.

    “Women wrongfully arrested under this legislation will be permitted to seek redress from the accusing/alerting parties, any official who participated in her arrest, and the legislators who promoted and authored the above (to be known as “The Authoritarians”) through one of the following measures:

    a) She may request that The Authoritarians undergo mandatory sterilization. This is to reflect that the woman has a right to interfere with The Authoritarians’ reproductive rights equal to their interference with hers.

    b) When the child is born, she may request that The Authoritarians are mandated to provide child support payments that fully cover the raising of the child through its’ majority, as well as full post K-12 educational or vocational costs. This reflects The Authoritarians’ obvious vested interest in the raising of the child.

    c) She may request that The Authoritarians be arrested on charges of excessive harassment, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year of incarceration in a medium- or maximum- security prison. (Sentence may be extended at the discretion of the judiciary, but may not be reduced.) This is to reflect that The Authoritarians have created feelings of intimidation and helplessness in the woman, and they must be returned in kind.”

  14. @Briarking:
    That’s because it’s pretty clear to me that, since the man can’t get pregnant, he really does not have any official say in the matter.

    He can have an opinion.

    But it is in no, way, shape or form his decision.

    It is interesting to me that it’s men — men who can’t get pregnant, who will NEVER know the fear of an unwanted pregnancy — who are so insistent about this.

  15. @infinitemonkey:

    And, if you’re going to use a what if, what if she gets an abortion just to hurt the father.

    Yes, because abortion is just oh-so-easy and women just LOVE to get back at men by getting them!

    Um, no.

    That’s classic sexism right there. That’s along the same lines of, “She totally put a hole in the condom to TRAP ME!”

    While men have the market cornered on physical abuse, women are more abusive in psychological and verbal forms. Studies have shown that men and women are just as likely to be abused by their spouses in their respective categories.

    That has nothing to do with anything.

    A women has the ONLY SAY in whether or not she gets an abortion. It is up to no one else but her.

    I think he should have paternal abortion rights-where he has the right to abort his paternity to the child, and can lodge official protests saying he wants to keep the child, even if she wants to abort it.

    So basically, you want a woman who is already in a lot of stress and already facing a difficult decision to go on trial and “prove” that she should have an abortion? You do realize that this kind of stuff can take a long, long time — long enough that the abortion could be stalled so that suddenly she IS forced to have a child she doesn’t want, right?

  16. The thing is, when you start giving *other people* the ability to make these kinds of choices for women, they will abuse that ability, and the result is things like a 17 year old paying someone to beat her up because she is so afraid of being pregnant.

    Parental consent laws are very similar to “father consent laws” in that it puts yet more restrictions on access to abortion. Women no longer have official say — someone else does. And if you don’t think these kinds of laws will be used to force women to give birth (or forced to have an abortion she doesn’t want, as it can work both ways, and both are just as wrong), then you are naive — look at this Miscarriage bill and the reason why it was created in the first place! This is a really, really great example at why this stuff is not the way to handle things (parental consent laws being a big one), and yet people are still insistent that women must have the approval of someone else before they make the decision.

    Pregnancy and childbirth are not walks in the park. Neither is abortion. No one should be forced to go through either, for any reason. Any.

    And these kinds of laws WILL make it more difficult for women to give birth, because just tell me, what happens when she gets before a judge that is biased, or pro-life, or otherwise anti-women? She won’t have a chance in *hell*.

  17. @marilove: And you don’t think that there isn’t coersion on the women’s side? Bear in mind that with all the social safety nets in place, there really isn’t a need to worry about the finances on the part of a woman. the financial risk is all the man’s part. The biggest risk to a woman is her social network. If isn’t at risk for losing the social network-being abandoned by her friends and family-then there is no danger to her.

    @marilove: It’s men who are so insistent upon this because the way the issue is framed, men are the sexual predators just looking for someone to screw, and women are helpless victims, which is SO 1950’s.

    I mean, look at the divorce laws. Its much easier for a woman to take a man for everything he has. This may have been a neccessity back in the 1970’s, when a woman was expected to be a housewife. However, now a woman can be just as successful as a man.

  18. @infinitemonkey:

    Bear in mind that with all the social safety nets in place, there really isn’t a need to worry about the finances on the part of a woman.
    …The biggest risk to a woman is her social network.

    WHAT!

    Now I know you’re just fucking ignorant. Yeah, the biggest risk to an unwanted pregnancy is JUST her social network!

    Yeah, totally, that’s it!

    Are you fucking serious?

    It’s men who are so insistent upon this because the way the issue is framed, men are the sexual predators just looking for someone to screw, and women are helpless victims, which is SO 1950’s.

    Oh, yeah, because women can’t be prosecuted for having a miscarriage or anything … oh, wait.

  19. Normal, frequent or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:
    • exhaustion (weariness common from first weeks)
    • altered appetite and senses of taste and smell
    • nausea and vomiting (50% of women, first trimester)
    • heartburn and indigestion
    • constipation
    • weight gain
    • dizziness and light-headedness
    • bloating, swelling, fluid retention
    • hemmorhoids
    • abdominal cramps
    • yeast infections
    • congested, bloody nose
    • acne and mild skin disorders
    • skin discoloration (chloasma, face and abdomen)
    • mild to severe backache and strain
    • increased headaches
    • difficulty sleeping, and discomfort while sleeping
    • increased urination and incontinence
    • bleeding gums
    • pica
    • breast pain and discharge
    • swelling of joints, leg cramps, joint pain
    • difficulty sitting, standing in later pregnancy
    • inability to take regular medications
    • shortness of breath
    • higher blood pressure
    • hair loss
    • tendency to anemia
    • curtailment of ability to participate in some sports and activities
    • infection including from serious and potentially fatal disease
    (pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with non-pregnant women, and
    are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)
    • extreme pain on delivery
    • hormonal mood changes, including normal post-partum depression
    • continued post-partum exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section — major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to fully recover)
    Normal, expectable, or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:
    • stretch marks (worse in younger women)
    • loose skin
    • permanent weight gain or redistribution
    • abdominal and vaginal muscle weakness
    • pelvic floor disorder (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life)
    • changes to breasts
    • varicose veins
    • scarring from episiotomy or c-section
    • other permanent aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)
    • increased proclivity for hemmorhoids
    • loss of dental and bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)
    Occasional complications and side effects:
    • spousal/partner abuse
    • hyperemesis gravidarum
    • temporary and permanent injury to back
    • severe scarring requiring later surgery (especially after additional pregnancies)
    • dropped (prolapsed) uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele, and enterocele)
    • pre-eclampsia (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated with eclampsia, and affecting 7 – 10% of pregnancies)
    • eclampsia (convulsions, coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)
    • gestational diabetes
    • placenta previa
    • anemia (which can be life-threatening)
    • thrombocytopenic purpura
    • severe cramping
    • embolism (blood clots)
    • medical disability requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother or baby)
    • diastasis recti, also torn abdominal muscles
    • mitral valve stenosis (most common cardiac complication)
    • serious infection and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)
    • hormonal imbalance
    • ectopic pregnancy (risk of death)
    • broken bones (ribcage, “tail bone”)
    • hemorrhage and
    • numerous other complications of delivery
    • refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease
    • aggravation of pre-pregnancy diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5% of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)
    • severe post-partum depression and psychosis
    • research now indicates a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments, including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors
    • research also now indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy
    • research also indicates a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary and cardiovascular disease
    Less common (but serious) complications:
    • peripartum cardiomyopathy
    • cardiopulmonary arrest
    • magnesium toxicity
    • severe hypoxemia/acidosis
    • massive embolism
    • increased intracranial pressure, brainstem infarction
    • molar pregnancy, gestational trophoblastic disease (like a pregnancy-induced cancer)
    • malignant arrhythmia
    • circulatory collapse
    • placental abruption
    • obstetric fistula
    More permanent side effects:
    • future infertility
    • permanent disability
    • death.

    All pregnant women, by virtue of their pregnant status,
    face some level of maternal risk. Data suggest that around
    40% of all pregnant women have some complication.
    About 15% … [have complications] that are potentially life-threatening.

    Girls aged 15-19 are twice as likely to die from childbirth
    as women in their twenties; those under age 15 are five times as likely to die

    source: http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/004.htm

    BUT YOU GUYS! The only risk is the social network! That’s the only reason, ever, that a woman might not want to have a baby! The above medical risks aren’t real, nope!

    And neither is being broke, or mentally unable to handle pregnancy, or mentally unable to handle rasing a child, or the desire to focus on a career instead of family, or just the general desire not to have a child. Naaaah, those reasons don’t exist.

    The only reason a woman might not want to have a child is ‘cuz of the fear that society might shun her. That’s it!

  20. Ah, my home state does the world proud again. [/snark]

    Getting caught up on the comments…

    @Elyse: Agreed. I’ll write my legislator and make sure that goes up for vote.

    @infinitemonkey: Add me to the ringing disagreement of your opinion. As Marilove said, the father is entitled to his opinion, and if the situation permits it, he is welcome to state his case to the mother… But the decision should be hers and hers alone.

    “What if she gets an abortion to hurt the father?” I suspect (though of course do not know) that this happens so exceedingly rarely as to warrant very little consideration in this debate… But what if she does? So what? What if he really wanted her not to get a tattoo of, but she does it anyway just to spite him? It’s her body. Period.

    Might it be emotionally traumatizing to some men? Sure, but it makes no difference. It’s nowhere NEAR as traumatizing, both emotionally and physically, as having to bring an unwanted child to term over nine months.

    What if she were secretly on birth control just to “hurt” the (potential) father? Would she have violated his rights? Would he have any right to have her not be on BC? Of course not.

  21. @marilove:

    I agree that the decision is completely the woman’s because it’s her body, and it’s her risk to bear.

    Now if they had some sorta teleportation thingy that could just painlessly (and risk-free) beam the fetus outta there into a artificial womb, then I’d say the sperm contributor has a legal say in the matter. Beam it out, jar it up, and daddy can take it home.

    The pro-lifers need to get to work on that teleporter thingy and artificial womb stuff.

    The entire pro-life/pro-choice debate solved through science!

    Okay, I can go home now, my work here is done.

    Seriously, though – to those arguing with Marilove: The debate over the legal system’s view of a father’s responsibility AFTER a child is born is completely separate of a woman’s choice to abort or not.
    Completely separate issues.

  22. @marilove:

    Yes, because abortion is just oh-so-easy and women just LOVE to get back at men by getting them!

    Um, no.

    That’s classic sexism right there. That’s along the same lines of, “She totally put a hole in the condom to TRAP ME!”

    It sounds to me like you don’t understand how willing some-accent on some, but not all-women are to use their children to get to the man. I’ve known several men who have been coerced into doing stuff by the mother of their children, under penalty of not allowing the father access to their kids.

    That has nothing to do with anything.

    @marilove: What if the father is abusive? What if she doesn’t want to carry the child to term, but he is insistent that she does? Forcing a woman to carry a child to term is unacceptable, period, end of discussion.

    If you’re going to bring up abuse, I’m going to throw it right back at you.

    So basically, you want a woman who is already in a lot of stress and already facing a difficult decision to go on trial and “prove” that she should have an abortion? You do realize that this kind of stuff can take a long, long time — long enough that the abortion could be stalled so that suddenly she IS forced to have a child she doesn’t want, right?

    No, that is not the way I envision it. A better solution would be that upon the abortion, he gets notified. He gets…a week…to decide if he protests or accepts. So, he gets no say in wether or no it happens.

    BTW, @marilove: I’m opposed to every bit of this bill. It does hit on some reforms that I think are nessecary to the divorce laws. Men get taken for a ride way too easily.

    So, you’re wanting to make sure a pregnancy/abortion question is as stress-free to the woman, by having all that stress shifted over to the man. How is that not sexist? Abortion is a tough decision-I get it. But you give the woman an out at every opportunity, but the man gets screwed over. How is “gender equality”. IMHO, there is no benefit to having children or getting married to the man. The woman has everything to gain.

    How very June Cleaver of you.

  23. @greenishblu:

    It’s nowhere NEAR as traumatizing, both emotionally and physically, as having to bring an unwanted child to term over nine months.

    PFFTT! Don’t you know that the only risk of pregnancy is to the so-called social network of the woman? There is no other risk. None. That is the biggest risk.

    I’m being snarky, but I do want to point out that the risks to her “social network” ARE very real. And it’s not as inconsequential as infinitemonkey wants to make it seem. The fear of losing your entire family – your entire support system – is a very real one for many young women.

    Think of the 17 year old girl. I’m willing to bet that she was so afraid to bring the child to term that she paid someone to put her life in danger just to force a miscarriage not because she was a lazy whore, but because she was afraid of her family and perhaps the guy who got her pregnant. She was likely afraid of what would happen if it was found out that she was pregnant. She was probably very frightened of being disowned or otherwise abused.

    This isn’t “just a fear of being shunned by your social network” – it’s serious, and it’s abusive.

    A man will NEVER EVER EVER know this fear, so it probably shouldn’t surprise me that one is taking it and pregnancy as a whole so lightly, but coming from a so-called skeptic, it does surprise me, to the point where my mouth literally dropped when I read that comment.

    Maybe I should just stop being surprised at the misogyny and flippant attitude of pregnancy from even so-called progressive men. It’s pretty rampant, and yet … I’m still surprised when it happens.

  24. @marilove: Hear hear. You’re right on the money on this, and it’s difficult for me to understand how a skeptic can see this issue otherwise.

    @infinitemonkey:

    No, that is not the way I envision it. A better solution would be that upon the abortion, he gets notified. He gets…a week…to decide if he protests or accepts. So, he gets no say in wether or no it happens.

    This is up there with the most absurd things I’ve ever heard. He gets a week to protest? On something that has already happened? To whom? And for what purpose? And what if she chooses not to notify him? What if she is put at risk by having him notified? This is a “better solution” than what, exactly?

  25. @infinitemonkey:

    It sounds to me like you don’t understand how willing some-accent on some, but not all-women are to use their children to get to the man. I’ve known several men who have been coerced into doing stuff by the mother of their children, under penalty of not allowing the father access to their kids.

    Of course you have! And that means it’s soooo common that we must make yet more laws restricting abortion access!

    These are the same exact views that pro-lifers hold. You are stepping dangerously close into pro-life water. Indeed, I’d say you’re about knee-deep right now.

    @infinitemonkey:

    Forcing a woman to carry a child to term is unacceptable, period, end of discussion.

    …And yet, you want a (potential) father to have legal recourse in the decision? Your opinions aren’t lining up at all.

    @infinitemonkey:

    A better solution would be that upon the abortion, he gets notified. He gets…a week…to decide if he protests or accepts. So, he gets no say in whether or no it happens.

    And what happens if he DOES protest? What if his protests alone are enough to force the women to decide to have the child, even if she doesn’t want to? Why does his official legal opinion even matter? This shouldn’t be a legal matter — a woman should be able to decide to have an abortion, with no legal coercion whatsoever.

    If you don’t think a woman should be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, then what is the fucking point of a man being able to object, legally, to it? It doesn’t make any sense. Either a woman should never be forced to have a baby she doesn’t want, or a man has a legal say. You can’t have both.

    This is unrealistic and will not work in reality. Hell, a woman can’t even have a miscarriage — a normal thing — without fear of prosecution!

    Men get taken for a ride way too easily.

    Oh, lols, yeah, my sister isn’t a single mom with two dead beat dads. Nope. This never happens. The women always get rich!

    Oh please.

    So, you’re wanting to make sure a pregnancy/abortion question is as stress-free to the woman, by having all that stress shifted over to the man.

    What stress, exactly, is given to him if she decides to have an abortion when he’d rather her not? A man cannot get pregnant. A man cannot get an abortion. A man can not give birth. The stress is not even close to being comparable.

    Once again, you’re stepping into pro-life waters.

    But you give the woman an out at every opportunity, but the man gets screwed over.

    Oh, yeah, totally. A man gets screwed over when a woman decides not to have a baby. Suuuure. Totally.

    I’d say the risk of a woman being screwed over when it comes to pregnancy, the risks of pregnancy, the risks of abortion (which are actually less than the risks of pregnancy), the risks of childbirth, etc etc etc are far, far greater than any stress or the potential father may or may not ever face.

  26. Study: Recession Hitting Single Mothers Hard.

    I’m sure these single mothers would love to hear that they have it financially easy! That the money is just flowin’ because they are single mothers!

    This view is so fucking ignorant it’s ridiculous, especially coming from a skeptic.

    One of the biggest criticisms of the pro-life movement is the fact that they focus almost entirely on the unborn-fetus, but then cease to care as soon as the child is born.

    Many pro-lifers actively fight against contraception and social services that could help single mothers (and parents in general).

    It is a big fucking fallacy that being a single mother suddenly means you’re financially free.

    These kinds of opinions are seeped in sexism and ignorance.

  27. A couple years ago I was seeing a guy who seemed completely normal until, after some related news story said dead seriously, “If you disappeared I would hunt you down. –Lock you in my bedroom for 9 months if I had to. No sneaky bitch is going to kill my kid.”

    And the gold medals for speed jawdrops and splits goes to Liz. (USA! USA!) If we’d been in a moving car in 6 lanes of traffic, I would’ve opened the door and tuck n’ rolled to get the hell away from that psycho.

    True fact: I am the only person who gets a say in what I do with my body.

  28. @marilove:
    While I agree with the sentiment of your argument, if not the way you’re going about the argument (it’s an issue that hits close to home for you, though, so, fair enough. It’s understandable) – dismissing anecdotal evidence, when you tend to use it so often, is a bit… out of line. eg,
    “Of course you have! And that means it’s soooo common that we must make yet more laws restricting abortion access!”
    Because, yeah. There are fringe cases that make generalized, all applicable statements … not perfect. These cases tend to be hard to deal with and don’t fit generalized rules about the situation. They exist. Trying to apply the normal ideas to it tend to not work. You can’t just discount them as being too minor to matter in some way.
    As I said. I agree, but I’m not entirely discounting the case that’s being presented as being possible, but hard to take care of in general contexts. And shouldn’t be applied to thinking about general contexts.

  29. @greenishblu: ““What if she gets an abortion to hurt the father?” ”

    And you know, that is very, very similar — creepily so — to “What if she cries rape just to hurt the man?”

    It’s the view that women are inherently evil creatures, who go through traumatizing events just because they wants to get back at men. That RARE occurrence becomes The Number One Argument against a woman’s right to choose, or a woman’s ability to prosecute an abuser.

    It’s such a sexist, ignorant, archaic view.

    Sure, fine, some women might do evil shit, but guess what? So do men. People suck.

    That doesn’t mean a woman shouldn’t have the ability to decide what happens to her body because of a few RARE “what ifs”.

    Using these RARE examples as reasons to further limit access to abortion, or to further limit the ability for women to prosecute against an abuser, is a very, very common argument among pro-lifers and misogynists alike. “One women might do it, so we must punish ALL women! One women might do it, so we can’t trust ANY women!”

    Also, it pretty much shows an outright distrust of women. Seriously women do not have abortions for fun! Or to get back at men! Does he really think so badly of women that he thinks they go through abortion — which isn’t easy, or fun, and which holds a LOT of social taboos — just to get back at a man? WHY? It doesn’t even make sense. And if a woman DOES do that (and perhaps a woman or two has, but damn, it’s gotta be rare), she probably shouldn’t be having children to begin with!

    No. Just no.

    My body. My choice.

  30. @marilove: Sorry, but no. The decision is ultimately hers. If he has an opinion, sure, but making it into a legal matter just opens it up to coercion.

    Your reasoning is correct, but it puts men in another position: being forced to be financially responsible for a child they did not want, do not want, and have no care for.

    If a woman gets pregnant without the man’s consent*, the man can be financially responsible for two decades for the child. I don’t know of it being tested in court, yet, but a man who is raped can be held financially responsible for the resulting child according to the current laws, and have no say in whether the child is conceived, much less born.

    While yes, it is the woman’s body and I don’t think that there should be the ability to force an abortion any more than there should be laws denying abortion**, when you make it a legal matter of financial responsibility for a child, you’re going back to the coercion aspect. It is a VERY messy area.

    The Utah law is very fucked up. It ignores medical science, goes Big Brother to a horrendous extent, and destroys the rights of women. And I cannot imagine a scenario where anyone but the woman herself should have a legal say in whether or not a woman can get an abortion. But once that child is born, there are consequences to the man… consequences that he may not have any say in receiving.

    While those certainly are not on topic to the abortion debate, they are on topic to the greater discussion of “Well, how do we take care of this child once/if it is born”.

    *Standard response to this: “He had sex, so he was giving consent.” In general, this is true; “Don’t stick it in anyone you’re not willing to have a baby with” is sound advice. What about when steps were taken, but failed? What about the rare “equipment failure” with a properly applied condom? Or of sabotage (of the condom or diaphragm) or deception (“I’m on the pill”) by his partner who wants a baby? To say nothing of the weird and apocryphal stories that get passed around.
    **Though, except in cases of the health of the mother, I’ll admit to being skidgy on third trimester abortions.

  31. Your reasoning is correct, but it puts men in another position: being forced to be financially responsible for a child they did not want, do not want, and have no care for.

    No, it’s not fair, but life is ultimately unfair.

    One thing that can result from sex and pregnancy is a child.

    You canNOT punish a child because of the choices their parents made. Once a child is born, a child is born, and there is a responsibility for the parents to take care of it, in some way, shape, or form.

    But once that child is born, there are consequences to the man… consequences that he may not have any say in receiving.

    A child shouldn’t be thought of as a “consequence” or a “punishment”.

    Again, no, it’s not fair, but neither is the fact that women can get pregnant and men can’t. Women hold the responsibility of pregnancy and birth. That’s how it is.

    That said, I am for more father rights. I do think it should be easier for BOTH parties to relinquish parental rights. HOWEVER, it’s a very, very sticky subject with no simple answers. The problem is that the threat of coercion is very real – what if a woman can’t afford to take care of the child, but the father forces her to agree to relinquishing his rights, even if that’s not what she wants, or what her and her child needs? The same can happen the other way around, too.

    In the end, it’s a very, very complex issue. More focus needs to be made on making full sex education a requirement, making contraception and medical care in general easier to obtain, and making abortion easier to obtain. There also needs to be more social services available to parents and children alike, instead of going “lalala, they don’t exist, they only exist as fetuses!” like the pro-lifers like to do.

    The views, actions, and opinions of an entire society need to be addressed, and changed, so that unwanted pregnancies and children become less common.

    It’s a huge, complex issue without any easy answers.

    The only simple answer is that it is always the woman’s choice, and no one else’s.

  32. @greenishblu: @marilove: I’m trying to hold an intelligent conversation with both of you, but I don’t think I can.

    I can understand your points of view, and they are completely valid. You do have good point. However, it seems like the both of you refusing to even consider what I have to say. To me, it sounds like “I’m right, you’re wrong-deal with”.

    My whole point is if you’re not going to give the father any recourse, any out, before birth, than you really shouldn’t hold him responsible for the after-birth part either.

    Both of you have questioned my skepticism. Honestly, that feels like an ad hominem. Because you aren’t interested in hearing a differing point of view-or at least you’ve not given the impression as such.

    Now, I will tell you what I agree on with you. A woman has the right to an abortion. No other individual has the right to dictate if she has it. We differ if anyone has the right to influence her decision.

    You’ve purposely misread what I had to say to make me look like some prolifer. I’m not prolife, I’m pro-equality.

    Hoestly, I felt like I was arguing with true believers. Now, I hope this difference in opinion can be understood and gotten past, but as far as this disgussion goes, I’m done.

  33. @Mark Hall:

    I don’t know of it being tested in court, yet, but a man who is raped can be held financially responsible for the resulting child according to the current laws, and have no say in whether the child is conceived, much less born.

    Also, I think I know what you’re talking about, and the reason the decision was made the way it was made is because the child is what was most important in that case, and not the wants of the parents. In the end, even though it seems unfair, I agree with the decision. The rights and needs of a child ultimately trump the wants of the parent. It sucks, but it’s just the way things are.

  34. I question your skepticsm — or rather, your ability to think critically — because of outragious, illogical comments such as this:

    Bear in mind that with all the social safety nets in place, there really isn’t a need to worry about the finances on the part of a woman. the financial risk is all the man’s part. The biggest risk to a woman is her social network. If isn’t at risk for losing the social network-being abandoned by her friends and family-then there is no danger to her.

    And this:

    Its much easier for a woman to take a man for everything he has

    And this:

    And, if you’re going to use a what if, what if she gets an abortion just to hurt the father.

    Etc, etc, I could go on. These comments LIERALLY MADE MY MOUTH DROP. These comments are what I expect to hear from assholes who hate women, not from a so-called skeptic. These opinions are inherently misogynist, ignorant, and archaic.

    My whole point is if you’re not going to give the father any recourse, any out, before birth, than you really shouldn’t hold him responsible for the after-birth part either.

    Nope. Once a child is born, her or his needs trump the needs of the parents. It may suck, but that’s how it is, and that’s how it should be. The reason the father doesn’t have any recourse or outs is because he cannot get pregnant. Ever. It is not his body, and it is not his say. But once a child is born, there is a living, breathing human that has needs that need to be taken care of.

    Sure, there are things that can be done to make it easier for EITHER parent to opt out, but it’s a complicated issue that’s not going to be fixed any time soon, and that entire discussion is so complicated that we’d probably spend days on it. There is already enough pressure – sometimes fatal pressure — on a woman when it comes to pregnancy, birth, and abortion.

    Giving a potential father the legal right to veto an abortion is NOT the way to fix things, for men OR women.

  35. @infinitemonkey: Now, I will tell you what I agree on with you. A woman has the right to an abortion. No other individual has the right to dictate if she has it. We differ if anyone has the right to influence her decision.

    I agree with @marilove whole heartedly on this issue and up until you said the above comment I couldn’t understand or agree with what you are saying.

    My question now is, if we are all on the same page what are we arguing about? A father has the right to an opinion and discuss that opinion with the one who’s pregnant and if this in turn changes her mind, fine! No harm, no foul. As long as the woman understands his opinion and changes her mind on her own terms that is great.

    However, the way your comments originally sounded we are all under the impression that the father has legal rights as to whether or not she has an abortion., which is crazy.

    If that is not what you meant, than ok.

    Unfortunately though, like Marilove said we need to improve on sex education. Biology is biology — it’s unfortunate but a woman is the only one that can carry a baby and it’s up to her whether or not she wants to keep it. Once the baby IS born, it’s another living being and both parents are responsible. It’s not fair, I agree but it is what it is.

  36. @infinitemonkey: Honestly, that’s why I really don’t comment on things anymore. I came to this one hoping to talk about the bubbly snake oil thing and the underlying data but nope, an article mentioned something that could be used to ram the topic back around to how men are bad using boldace italics and the word period as magic argument strengtheners. The things that are good about not only the comments, but the site as a whole are largely being taken away by a true believer. Sad, really.

  37. @marilove: Yes, that is the only simple answer. But standing on a simple answer ignores a complex situation. You say “A child shouldn’t be thought of as a ‘consequence’ or a ‘punishment’.” And I agree, it shouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a consequence, or that some people don’t think it a punishment.

    You somewhat flippantly resolve coercion, especially women coercing men. As you pointed out, the woman always has a choice to terminate a pregnancy… the man does not. At any point in the pregnancy, the woman can decide “I don’t want this child any more” and choose not to have it. This may not be an easy or convenient choice, but it is hers to make. The man has no such recourse; all of his options to end a pregnancy without her consent are pretty repugnant, and he has NO options to end his responsibility to the child without her consent save suicide or homocide. In fact, he can have his parental rights severed with her consent, then have the financial responsibilities reinstated by a judge, without regaining parental rights!

    Yes, men can coerce women. There’s violence, there’s money or other bribery, and there’s blackmail. Thing is, two of those options are illegal, and the second only sometimes might be. For a woman to coerce a man? She just has to choose not to have an abortion. The rest will be taken care of by the sheriff’s department.

    While it’s not fair that women can get pregnant and men cannot, there’s another large inequality staring up from this.

  38. @SKrap: Yeah, because I just love reading stuff like this:

    “The biggest risk to a woman is her social network. If isn’t at risk for losing the social network-being abandoned by her friends and family-then there is no danger to her.”

    In a blog FOR WOMEN.

    That’s just way awesome, as a woman, to come into a space for women, only to see the same old misogynist crap I see everywhere else.

    He wasn’t even making sense!

    “A woman has all the say, always … but the man should have some legal recourse!”

    Er, what? Not logical. I wasn’t the only one who was confused.

  39. I’m running this as a separate post, because it’s a slightly separate idea.

    Let us assume, for a moment, that it is possible for a man to take care of a fetus; we may be talking about a Junior-like artificial womb, or we may be talking an artificial, exterior womb (which can be paid for by anyone, of course). The only catch is that, unless you’re dealing with IVF, it involves surgery for the woman to remove the fetus and put it in the artificial womb. It’s not a difficult or complex surgery, and doesn’t have any notable side effects, but it’s still full-on, put-you-under, cut-you-open surgery.

    Given this, does a woman still have a right to terminate her pregnancy without the father’s consent?

  40. @Mark Hall:

    Thing is, two of those options are illegal, and the second only sometimes might be. For a woman to coerce a man? She just has to choose not to have an abortion. The rest will be taken care of by the sheriff’s department.

    “Just” has to choose not to have an abortion.

    It’s not that simple.

    And “The rest will be taken care of by the sheriff’s department.” is rather simplistic, too. Abuse isn’t that simple, nor is it always “taken care of” by the police.

    As I and Surly Nymph have both said:

    Once the baby IS born, it’s another living being and both parents are responsible. It’s not fair, I agree but it is what it is.

  41. @infinitemonkey: As far as me “questioning your skepticism,” What I said is that I don’t understand how you have arrived at these viewpoints through skeptical reasoning.

    Specifically, your contention is that a father “should have some say whether or not a woman can get an abortion.”

    First off, that is very much at odds with saying that it should be completely her choice. If you think that’s not the case, please reread your own statement.

    Secondly, you have attempted to support this assertion with several claims, which you have been unwilling or unable to support, even when asked to, such as…

    I mean, look at the divorce laws. Its much easier for a woman to take a man for everything he has. This may have been a neccessity back in the 1970’s, when a woman was expected to be a housewife. However, now a woman can be just as successful as a man.

    I’d say that every single sentence in that paragraph is a point of contention.

    And…

    Bear in mind that with all the social safety nets in place, there really isn’t a need to worry about the finances on the part of a woman. the financial risk is all the man’s part. The biggest risk to a woman is her social network. If isn’t at risk for losing the social network-being abandoned by her friends and family-then there is no danger to her.

    Again, every single sentence there needs to be supported with evidence before I’ll accept them as reasonable.

    And…

    While men have the market cornered on physical abuse, women are more abusive in psychological and verbal forms. Studies have shown that men and women are just as likely to be abused by their spouses in their respective categories.

    [Citation needed]

    I am willing to be shown evidence that what you have said is reasonable. You’ve not done so.

    And, I might point out, you’ve been flinging around ad homs yourself, (“How very June Cleaver of you.”)

  42. @marilove: While I admit, I have not seen a case of such happening, I came to that conclusion by extraplation. I’ve seen a lot of women use their children as pawns to sponge off the fathers. I have no reason to doubt that would have started prenatally.

    No-Fault Divorce, to my understanding, allows a woman to divorce a man for no reason. A woman is entitled to half a man’s possession. I probably should have framed that in the context of a divorce. That’s my bad.

    Now, you posted a list of complication, however, I didn’t “ignore” them. I started writing before it updated, then went to lunch, so I didn’t get a chance to address them. Now, some of them are annoying, but not dangerous, a few of them are. Are all on your list considered “complications”? If so, without more information, I can’t say how dangerous pregancy really is, considering the less severe ones would be considered along with the severe ones. Please, clearify this for me.

    However, the quote was designed to go towards your daily interactions. Any type of medical procedure has risk. I’ll be the first to admit that. Now, you and I may be basing our opinions on differing experiences. I come from a rough part of town, so most of the women I know really just want to screw someone over. I understand this is NOT the case for all women, however, if you’re going to make a law, you should cover all your bases.

    I hope that I have shown that these weren’t mysoginistic. I have nothing but respect for women. I don’t think I could put up with the what you go through on a monthly basis.

    I do agree, there needs to be ways for either parent to opt out.

  43. @Mark Hall: I hate these stupid hypotheticals that have no basis in reality. This shit would never actually happen, yet I’m supposed to take it seriously?

    Ugh.

    But she’s still the one who is pregnant. She is still the one who has to decide whether to go through surgery — and I’m questioning your intentions here, since you seem to imply that such a surgery would somehow be less invasive than an abortion, even though it seems quite similar in other respects.

  44. @marilove:
    “A woman has all the say, always … but the man should have some legal recourse!”

    Er, what? Not logical. I wasn’t the only one who was confused.

    Actually, I can see the logic in it. She has the say… but there may be legal consequences to her choice. Not criminal, as the stupid-ass law from Utah tries to enforce, but civil.

    While it is her own body and her own choice, her choice to have or not have an abortion has repercussions for the male. If she chooses to have a baby he wants, or chooses not to have a baby he doesn’t want, no problem; it’s either a straightforward custody matter or a medical procedure. If she chooses to have a baby he doesn’t want, there is existing legal recourse for her to make him do his duty, or to release him from it (though, in the second case, he could still get stuck with financial responsibility, if she’s unable to care for the child or proves unfit).

    But what if she chooses not to have a baby he wants? As the law stands, he has no recourse. But what if we open the door to civil lawsuits? Yes, we’re looking at another form of coercion… “Have this baby or I’ll sue you” … but if a father must assume responsibility for the child he has created, then so must a mother assume responsibility for a child she created, then denied the father through her own choice.

    I can see the logic in this. She has the choice whether or not to have the baby… but her choice may have consequences. Similarly, however, we’d need to create legal structures for women who are “surrogates” in such a situation… ways to gain recompense for lost wages, medical bills, etc, and rules to say when a woman can end a pregnancy and the father has no legal recourse (such as rape, or the health of the mother being at risk).

    It’s a rather cyncial way to have to look at children, but it’s a reality in a world where people have sex and produce children that they are jointly responsible for.

  45. @infinitemonkey:

    http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/02/what-pregnant-women-wont-tell-you-ever/

    Yeah, these things are “just annoying”. Only to you, someone who will never experience them.

    I hope that I have shown that these weren’t mysoginistic.

    Nope, you didn’t.

    They still are.

    You are basing your opinions on rare, rare events, and things women *might* do, or things *some* women do.

    While I admit, I have not seen a case of such happening, I came to that conclusion by extraplation.

    Yeah, you haven’t actually seen such a case happening … but surely, it does, and therefore I must base my entire opinion on this possibility! ‘Cuz … even though I have no actual knowledge of such a thing … I know it happens! So we must consider it!

    Really, dude? Again, this is exactly the same b.s. that misogynist assholes spew every day.

    No-Fault Divorce, to my understanding, allows a woman to divorce a man for no reason. A woman is entitled to half a man’s possession. I probably should have framed that in the context of a divorce. That’s my bad.

    What does this have to do with abortion and pregnancy, exactly? And doesn’t this ALSO mean a man can divorce a woman for any reason? And oh dear! 50-50! Oh, my, now that’s taking a man for everything he’s got! (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

    I come from a rough part of town, so most of the women I know really just want to screw someone over. I understand this is NOT the case for all women, however, if you’re going to make a law, you should cover all your bases.

    You “understand” it, yet you use your limited experience on women for the basis of your entire opinion? Most of the women you know really just want to screw someone over? Really? With abortion? Or pregnancy? Really? What about “most men” that you know – are they always innocent parties in this? Is it always the women out to get the men? Or are you just conveniently ignoring them for the sake of your arguments?

    No, we *shouldn’t* cover “all” basis, using the excuse “some women are evil!” (‘cuz men never are, amiright) to further limit their access to abortion.

  46. I’m going to try to summarize the entire thing and see if it ends up putting everyone here on the same page.

    1. Legal issues concerning fucking.
    Are all participants of legal age to consent? Did all participants give consent? Did any participant knowingly expose another to a STD?
    If the answers are yes, yes, and no then everything should be peachy.

    2. Legal issues during pregnancy.
    Any party has a right to voice their opinion. However, as everything is happening in one person’s body, and all risk is borne by one person, that person is the only one who has the legal decision to terminate or not. The mother is solely responsible at this point.
    The father is not considered a responsible party – unless you’ve heard of a case where the father is required by law to pay for OB/GYN visits or some other similar legal precedent that I haven’t heard about.

    3. Legal issues after child birth.
    The priority is the well-being of the child, who is now an individual in the eyes of the law. There are numerous examples of flaws in this process – but they are separate from the first two items.

    Trying to redress inequalities in item 3 by skewing things in the first two is very well…silly? And it’d make less sense to redress it where the only risk/responsibility is the mothers than to go to where the father DID legally have the same risk/obligation as the mother (the fucking) and require that both parties sign legal documents acknowledging/waiving their rights to all possible consequences of the fucking prior to fucking.

    Might take the romance outta everything, but that would certainly get all that legal nastiness settled early. Might make for an effective form of birth control.

    Then again, I fantasize of a world where every one voluntarily puts themselves on low-risk long-term contraceptives (presuming that someday that’ll be available to both genders) and don’t get off it until they can be as certain (as one can be) that they can properly assume all responsibilities of having a child.
    Daddies getting burned in court and Mommies getting burned by dead-beat dads and such piss me off, but children being had by people that are either incapable or unwilling to take proper care of them pisses me off more.

    Damn, didn’t know there was a soap box under my desk. Neat!

  47. @Mark Hall:

    You cannot see the logic in this.

    Making a woman open to be SUED essentially means limiting her access to abortion even more than it already is.

    Let me point you to the 17 year old girl again, who had someone beat her up so she would have a forced miscarriage, likely because of the parental consent laws that are in Utah. These things would happen even more if there was the threat of retaliation if a woman chose abortion.

    Back alley abortions would be more common than they already are.

  48. @marilove: These stupid hypotheticals have no basis in reality right now. What about 10 years from now? What about 20? Huxley was talking about the idea almost seventy years ago, and while we don’t have the technology now, it’s not unreasonable to assume it may be created in the near future.

    As to my intentions, I think you’ve misread them. I’m not making any bones about the surgery being invasive… I thought I was pretty clear about that. However, the point I’m making is that, currently, there is no option for gestating a child except in a woman… but that the question changes when those options become available.

  49. @greenishblu: http://news.ufl.edu/2006/07/13/women-attackers/

    Now, I fail to understand how the comment about women being as successful as men is a point of contention. While I do admit that there is a pay difference, I’ve not been under the impression that a woman in a given position would have a great deal more stress relating specifically to her situation as a man in the EXACT same situation. (Schooling, children, etc.)

    Now, I don’t know the exact state to state qualifications, however, the “socialized safety nets” I was referencing was the various social support programs. Again, I grew up in a poor area, so every one knew was on something-SSI, Food Stamps, WiC, Welfare. Now, I may have oversimplified, and for that, I understand a severe scolding.

    The “June Cleaver” remark was probably out of line, and I apoligize for that.

  50. @SKrap: Yeah, I think men are bad. [rollseyes]

    @infinitemonkey:

    No-Fault Divorce, to my understanding, allows a woman to divorce a man for no reason. A woman is entitled to half a man’s possession. I probably should have framed that in the context of a divorce. That’s my bad.

    This is incorrect. I believe you are referring to community property divorce. I’ll agree that community property may not be the most equitable method of determining assets.

    But look at what you said: “A woman is entitled to half a man’s possessions.” How can this be taken as anything but an assumption that the sum-total of the married couple’s property belongs to the man by default?

    Look at it another way. Earlier, you said…

    I mean, look at the divorce laws. Its much easier for a woman to take a man for everything he has. This may have been a neccessity back in the 1970’s, when a woman was expected to be a housewife. However, now a woman can be just as successful as a man.

    You say that a “woman can be just as successful as a man.” I’d say that’s a serious point of contention, but let’s assume it’s true here. If the woman is just as successful as the man, how is she getting “half [the] man’s possessions” when the couple’s property is split in half?

    Do you see why some of us are getting a little frustrated by your comments?

    I come from a rough part of town, so most of the women I know really just want to screw someone over.

    Yeah, same goes for all those Jews and blacks, too. [/snark] Do you not see how it is dangerous do draw these blanket characterizations? I know you were trying to apologize or show contrition in that paragraph, but I find that nearly as inflammatory as anything else you’ve said.

  51. @infinitemonkey:
    I do think the father-and only the father-should have some say wheather or not a woman can get an abortion.

    Wow… Seriously? The father and only the father should have some say? Would you care reading that again, please, and tell me if that still makes sense to you?

    *walks away from the computer monitor disgusted*

  52. @marilove: What you are essentially saying then, Mari, is that men have no tie to a child until it is born. That a woman choosing to have an abortion has no impact on a man at all. That they don’t love the child-to-be, that there is no emotional connection, and that men who lose a child-to-be are not affected in any way, shape, or form by the mother’s choice. And I’m talking about choice, not random happenstance of nature or accident.

    Fuck that shit. That is the sort of misandrynous shit that you keep spewing.

    My (now ex-) wife was pregnant soon after we were married. She miscarried. And it fucked BOTH of us up. We’d argued out the names (Harald William and Meghan Amber, in case you’re wondering). We’d talked about child-raising strategies. And it royally fucked me up for months, to the point where I had to go back on heavy medication to feel right afuckingain.

    I don’t want to sue my ex… we’re good friends, and I’m doing what I can to help her out in a rough patch. Her losing the child was in no way her fault. But acting like men are not impacted when women loses a child… either by choice, accident, or nature… is idiotic. And when it is a choice, women should be held responsible for those choices and the impact they have on other people involved. It should not be a criminal matter, but there should be civil recourse.

  53. @Mark Hall: I understand that your experience was traumatic, and I’m very sorry for your loss. No one has said that it is impossible for a man to feel upset or feel a connection to gestating baby, quite the contrary, but marilove and myself have openly said it.

    But it doesn’t change the fact that the decision to end a pregnancy should rest with the person who has to see it through.

  54. @greenishblu: Yes, I do. I thank you for taking the time to stop and point out the holes in my logic. I appreciate that. I feel like I’ve learned more from arguments like that than the ones that just call me a mysogynistic or try to more or less contort what I’ve said. You’ve given me the feeling that I really should re-examine my arguments.

    Now, I feel that @Mark Hall: has said it better than I could-with his previous experience being a father:

    And when it is a choice, women should be held responsible for those choices and the impact they have on other people involved.

    If a man loves and wants his as-yet unborn child, but the woman wants nothing to do with it, shouldn’t he have some recourse? I’d never say to use a criminal recourse, but a civil recourse. Think about it from the man’s point of view.

  55. @greenishblu: That’s one thing we agree on. The woman has the final say. But she could be taking away something that’s very near and dear to his heart. I understand that the woman probably went through a lot also, but if she’s willing to get the abortion, regardless of how much the man swears he’ll be a good father, doesn’t that kinda imply she’s ignoring him?

  56. @James Fox:

    Duh. Sorry. Growing up near the Chesapeake Bay and moving to Western Wisconsin?

    Anyone says “crabs”, I’m thinking tasty, tasty, bay-dwelling crustaceans, heavily steamed with beer and Old Bay. Out here, “seafood” is deep fried walleye or Red Lobster. I can’t begin to describe the wrongness of either of those options.

    But that begs the question…how do you get a condom on one of those crabs? ;)

  57. @infinitemonkey: If a man loves and wants his as-yet unborn child, but the woman wants nothing to do with it, shouldn’t he have some recourse? I’d never say to use a criminal recourse, but a civil recourse. Think about it from the man’s point of view.

    I don’t want this to come across as snarky because it’s not meant to be so. I want to keep this a debate and not a fight so I am really trying to understand your opinion :-)

    By saying your above comment, there is no way you can reread that and think it’s a little weird that someone might find it as trying to tell a woman what to do with her body?

    I understand that the man might want the baby, and I am not trying to belittle that desire or emotional connection, but you would take it to the point that you would force a woman, against her will, to go through a full 9 months of a pregnancy (which can be brutal and change her body for the rest of her life)?

    There are so many medical things that can happen after giving birth to a child and just by going through the birth process she can have complications like urinary concontinence, etc. I am not condoning women not care, not use protection and just get pregnant/have abortions willy nilly, but if a woman is terrified of putting her body through something that might have happened on accident, I don’t see how the man has any say legal or civil, at all.

  58. I also would like to add — if a rare occasion happens such as a woman raped a man (it’s rare but I don’t doubt it’s happened) or intentionally placed a hole in a condom, etc. than I DO think a man has legal discourse to get out of paying child support PROVIDED he has the evidence to prove it.

  59. @infinitemonkey: No-Fault Divorce, to my understanding, allows a woman to divorce a man for no reason. A woman is entitled to half a man’s possession. I probably should have framed that in the context of a divorce.

    And, of course, No-Fault Divorce allows a man to divorce his wife “for no reason”. [Do you honestly think people get divorced “for no reason”? All No-Fault did was remove the requirement of proving a designated “fault” – e.g. infidelity, insanity, fraud, abandonment, cruelty.]

    @greenishblu addressed your statement in part – but even in community property states, a divorced spouse of either sex can only get half of the community property – i.e., that which was earned during the marriage. What either spouse had before marriage or inherited during the marriage doesn’t count. In the other 41 states, it’s pretty much up to the court to decide.

    You would do well to check actual statistics regarding what those conniving women “take” a man for after a divorce. The majority of women find themselves in far worse economic circumstances than during the marriage. States have had to set up ways to compel deadbeat dads to pay court-ordered child support. Your arguments don’t hold water and reveal a depressing lack of research.

    BTW, people – the technology for embryo transfer has existed for decades. We use it on cows. So, @infinitemonkey, should you knock someone up and should she be agreeable, are you ready to spend, oh, say, $100K to hire a surrogate womb and pay for the procedure and other medical expenses, and then raise said child, should the procedure be successful?

    Re: Males who don’t want to be fathers and birth control “accidents”: Do they teach nothing about birth control these days? When I was a lass, it was pretty much common knowledge that condom + barrier + spermicide was fairly fool proof. A sperm had to be ruthlessly determined to get past that. And, come on, lads, “but she said she was on the Pill”? You do know that even that fails, so using a condom never hurts.

  60. @infinitemonkey:
    I don’t know why I bother: each time you post something on this subject you stick your foot even deeper into throat.

    I’ll make a deal with you: when you shit something so big it rips your anus apart, then maybe we’ll talk about this again, hmm k?

  61. @infinitemonkey: Again, we have the burden of proof. If we can prove it than fine! It is completely a crime and the woman should have to deal with the consequences (and if she has a child, I hope they reevaluate whether or not she can properly care for this child.)

    However, it’s unfortunate but we can’t make decisions on hear say. Much like a woman can’t win a rape case either if there is insufficiant evidence.

  62. @Mark Hall: Mark, I so sympathise with how the miscarriage made you feel – I’ve been through that myself and my then-husband and I were devastated.

    But – and I say this a former lawyer – not everything that happens in life can or should be run through the courts.

    There ought to be frank conversations when an intercourse relationship starts, because absent sterilisation, there is always a chance, however slight, that a pregnancy will occur. And, of course, sometimes people change, emotions become engaged or disengaged; we can never truly know how we’ll feel when a situation becomes more than hypothetical. But that doesn’t mean suing someone should be a remedy. Sometimes things hurt; it’s inescapable in life. People we love die, dreams are shattered, circumstances twist us in ways we never thought possible. That is the human condition. Holding the threat of a civil suit over a woman to coerce her to decide against abortion? Would you really want to be that sort of person? And, should something go wrong with the pregnancy and she be permanently disabled or die, would you be able to live with that?

  63. @greenishblu: But it doesn’t change the fact that the decision to end a pregnancy should rest with the person who has to see it through.

    And I’ve never argued that. I’ve argued that if such a decision is made, there should be a legal recourse by others affected… and, in a legal sense, that’s only the biological father (the person who would be legally responsible for the child if it was brought to term).

  64. @DominEditrix: The thing is, Domin, that the coercion already exists, it’s just on the other foot. “I have decided to be pregnant and have sabotaged your attempts to avoid being a parent. You will now subsidize my choice to be pregnant.” While I would not resort to legal action if a woman aborted my child, that does not mean it should not be an option.

    Yes, a frank conversation about children should happen before people have sex… but it isn’t always going to. People make stupid decisions. They rush into sex before they know what the other person (or they, themselves) want out of the relationship.

  65. @infinitemonkey: I’m also pro-equality, but the point you’re missing here is that the burden of abortion is not, nor ever will be, distributed equally. That’s just not the way it is. I would encourage women considering an abortion to talk to the father about it, and I would hope the father would be open to that – but the father does not bear the physical burden and risks. There’s no comparison. And that’s why, legally, we have to default to the woman, who has the larger right because of the larger burden she bears. It’s not necessarily fair to anyone, but that’s how it is.

    For the record, I’m a single mother who receives no financial help from the father. I never did. In fact, I supported him for quite some time. I work really damn hard to support myself and my daughter on my own, and I don’t appreciate the implication that because other women don’t, we all should be subject to fewer rights. Using as evidence anecdotal stories about women who do horrible things in a debate about the right of a woman to choose to bring a child to term is not only offensive and insulting to me personally, it has no place in the type of logical argument you claim you want to have.

  66. Maybe dudes who desperately want to become fathers shouldn’t go around having unprotected sex with women who desperately don’t want to be mothers? Maybe?

    And maybe if desperate dads are having protected sex they can assume things like, oh, I don’t know… at least one of us isn’t ready to have a baby.

    And maybe those same desperate dads should, rather than forcing unwilling women to go through a pregnancy, find a woman who wants to carry his baby?

  67. @Mark Hall: There is a legal concept called “contributory negligence”. If a man has sex with a woman, who accidentally [or even intentionally] becomes pregnant, he has contributed to the situation and must take a portion of the responsibility for the consequences. Making a “stupid decision” doesn’t let anyone off the hook more than ‘I made a stupid decision when I held up that gas station’ does.

    Don’t think, BTW, that coercion doesn’t exist in the other direction. I know of at least two women who were married and became pregnant by their ostensibly willing husbands. When faced with the reality of becoming fathers, these men told their wives that if the fetuses weren’t aborted, they’d file for divorce. One woman got an abortion [and her husband left about a year later, for another woman with whom he has three children] and one didn’t; her husband filed for divorce immediately.

  68. @Chasmosaur: I live on the ocean in the pacific northwest were we have great seafood and our crabs are da best! We also have really good legal protections for safe and available abortions and court systems that seem to focus on the best interests of the child when determining custody issues. A pox or Red Lobster and crap laws that diminish choice and rational decisions.

    And a big shout out to all those guys and gals who have that little pre-banging protection and disease prevention discussion!!

  69. @DominEditrix: Contributory negligence however doesn’t apply to the abortion, however. It applies to the pregnancy itself. Contributory negligence explains why even a man who didn’t intend to get a woman pregnant is responsible for the child, and the responsibility of the pregnancy falls on both people (to one extent or another)… but the responsibility for choosing abortion falls directly on the woman.

    And yes, Elyse, men who want children shouldn’t be having sex with women who don’t. They should be finding women who want children. I’m 100% there on this. But some men may not realize that they want to be dads until they’re told that they’ve made someone pregnant, just as some women may not realize they have no desire to become moms until they’re actually pregnant.

  70. @Jen: @Elyse: @DominEditrix: I’ve been pondering this for a bit. Really re-examining it. to be honest, I don’t like the idea that a when a woman gets pregnany, the man has no say in anything. The view towards him seems to be “you’ve made your bed, now you have to lie in it.” He has no out if he doesn’t want to be a dad, he has no option if he wants to be a dad, and she doesn’t want to have the kid. Maybe she feels like she isn’t ready. Just because he is, doesn’t mean she is also.

    That being said, @DominEditrix: eloquently pointed out that sometimes life isn’t fair. I understand this-but that doesn’t mean that have to like it. I’d love for the to be a way to reconcile our differing opinions, but short of a medical miracle, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    I think I’ve been letting my emotions get in the way of my thinking, but thought I was thinking rationally. There are no blanket statements that can cover all women. Some are hard-working, like Jen, others are slacker. Some are glorified con-artists, while others have the best of intentions, but don’t go about it the right way. The same thing goes for men also.

    I don’t want to offend, insult, or attack anyone. I want everyone to be able to eat their cake and have it too. But that’s not the reality.

    I’m sure my reputation has been damaged beyond repair. I’m not trying to be mysogynistic, archaic, or sexist. But, I’m afraid I’ve given the impression, and there is nothing I can do to change that.

    I hope this has allowed you to understand my thoughts on the matter. I guess no matter how much I don’t like reality, its not going to change. At the end of the day, yes, it’s the woman who has to endure the pregancy. While the man may have an emotional bond, there’s a responsibility he’s never going to have to bear. It may hurt him to know that he won’t have a child, but I’m sure would hurt the woman even more. I have no idea what its like, and there’s no way I ever can know.

    So, please except my humblest apologies. My logic was crap, and I said some things that, while not intentional, did make me seem like a douchebag extrodinaire.

  71. @Mark Hall: I’m really confused by what you’re saying here- to the point that I’ve convinced myself I must be reading it wrong. As I’m reading it, you’re saying that if a woman gets and abortion and the man did not want her to, he should be able to sue her? That sounds like coercion to me. I’ve made career choices that have required my fiance to move to stay with me. If he were unhappy with my choice, should he be able to sue me? (No, I’m not comparing a job to an abortion- it’s just a choice I made recently that had an affect on my partner) Choices for all sorts of things have to be made in life, and they often affect many people, but that doesn’t mean there is a right to sue. This is the woman’s body we’re talking about and it’s her choice. It’s unfortunate that the man might not agree with that choice but that’s the reality of our world. To allow civil recourse for a legal choice is to set a very dangerous precedent.

  72. @Mark Hall:

    Ok… imagine you’re walking down the street, on the way to your lady friend’s house, and you come across a stray dog. The dog starts following you. You try to lose it but it won’t go anywhere. Then you start to love that dog.

    You get to your lady friend’s house, and she says you can’t bring your dog in. You tell her that she’s not only going to let it in, but that she has to keep the dog for you. You explain you want the dog but your lease prevents you from housing it. She tells you she’s taking it to the shelter in the morning. You tell her no, she has to keep it. She explains she has no means of taking care of a dog. She has to travel for work. She can’t afford the vet bills and she’s allergic to dander.

    You say, “Sorry, I really want this dog. I’ll be back in a year to pick it up because that’s when I can move.” You walk out and go to the bar.

    In what world is that okay? When can you ever expect someone to care for your “belongings”, with little to no help from you, for 9 months? And be able to pursue legal recourse if they don’t hold on to them?

    But instead of asking her to hold your dog in her house, you’re asking her to keep it in her body. And it affects her ability to live her life while it’s in there. And you’re insisting you have a legal right to her medical decisions regarding those belongings you left in her.

    Fair? Nope. But hurt feelings < being forced to sign over your medical rights to a guy who just 2 weeks ago didn't want you to take care of his dog.

  73. “I’ve been pondering this for a bit. Really re-examining it. to be honest, I don’t like the idea that a when a woman gets pregnany, the man has no say in anything”

    Want me to back up the Waaaaaaaaaaambulance?

    not to sound insensitive though…

  74. @Mark Hall: While I would not resort to legal action if a woman aborted my child, that does not mean it should not be an option.

    Would that also mean that if a man took legal action to prevent a woman having an abortion and the woman died because of the pregnancy, that he should be tried for murder?

    In my eyes, this discussion is all about men trying to gain control over women’s bodies. As long as women carry the risks of pregnancies, women should have the right to decide whether they will go through with it. Yes, it may hurt a man emotionally if he really wants to become a father, but if that’s the case, as has been mentioned, he should find someone who wants to have a child with him, not force someone who doesn’t want to have a child to go through a pregnancy with all the risks this entails.

  75. @Mark Hall: Uh, Mark, that was my point. As I recall, you were railing against the concept of the “subsidised” child.

    If a man doesn’t want to take the slightest chance of becoming a father, he can a) refrain from vaginal intercourse; b) get a vasectomy; or c) only have sex with women incapable of pregnancy [i.e., those who’ve had a hysterectomy or those who are beyond child-bearing age.] Whingeing about be forced into parenthood just doesn’t match the facts. Two to tango.

    FWIW, women are expected to contribute to the support of the child, as well. My sister had to pay her ex child support, as she had a job and he didn’t, for the time he had the children. It’s proportionate. I got some child support from my ex only because he earned about three times the money I did [Hollywood six figures] and only had our son four days a month*. But the amount he paid was calculated by an equation that factored in time w/parent x/time w/parent y/income of parent x/income of parent y.

    [*His new wife’s decision, not mine.]

  76. Kinda late to the party, but I just wanted to comment.

    Look, I really do understand that it’s awful and horrible and yes, even sexist, that society requires men to take care of/pay for children they didn’t want. I get this.

    But conversely, nature itself is sexist. Only women can have children. Therefore, it sucks, but priority must be given to women, because they bear all the responsibility.

    It’s terrible that some men will have wanted children aborted. It’s too bad that life is sexist this way. But really, the alternative is unthinkable, and even more sexist than nature: putting the choice in the hands of someone who is not the owner of the body, and does not have to live that life. This could lead to scary precedent: that some autonomous adults have control over what other autonomous adults can and cannot do with their lives, without the latter’s say or consent.

  77. Ok, a couple more questions.

    Please define legal recourse for men who had wanted children aborted. What exactly does this mean? Money? Another child?

    What in your mind makes this ok? (Thinking of Elyse’s analogy.)

  78. @infinitemonkey:

    If it makes you feel any better, this bystander thought you were the most reasonable voice in the discussion, and your reputation has only improved in my estimation – enough so to bring me out of lurking for a minute and say so. Regardless of the validity of everyone’s original positions, you at least had the integrity to always try to actually argue your point and never simply declare your opponents statements stupid, even when you were rarely offered the same courtesy. Even better, you managed to tease out some real arguments against your position and use them to reevaluate the issue. Keep up the good work.

  79. I originally had a much longer post; here’s the bit that remains relevant as I worked through it:

    Yes, it sounds like coercion… which is what it keeps coming back to. I’ve gone through, clarified where I think you had misconceptions, and I cannot think of a reason why any of this will change your minds. The idea of a fetus having recompensable value can, in fact, be used coercively to keep women pregnant who don’t want to be pregnant by threatening them with lawsuits. As much as I think there is an inherent legal inequality where a man can be forced to be a father, but not have any recompense when fatherhood is taken away from him, I don’t think there currently exists the means to escape that inequality without leaving the door open to unconscionable coercion… to women being Petaline in Heart of Gold, or something out of Margaret Atwood, because they can’t afford to defend themselves in court, or even maliciously drained of funds when they can afford the defense; if getting girls pregnant, only to sue them when they abort were a valid strategy, it’s one that would be used, and so should be stopped before it’s available.

    The helplessness of a man before a woman’s choice to abort a child he wants but she does not is the sort of thing that feels like it should be correctable… the kind of puzzle that feels like there should be a solution… but a solution that is not worse than the problem escapes me.

  80. @Rebecca: *sigh* I fail! *grumbles*

    @infinitemonkey:
    Please accept my apologies for my short and angry posts.

    The mere suggestion that anyone may have a say about what I can or cannot do with my body or my life (and I’m sure you can appreciate this), is, well was in this case, enough to send me in full “power trippin’ cheetah mode”. It’s ugly and not very eloquent. Sorry you had to see that…

    …all!

  81. I just hope everyone has learned that these are, in fact, not black and white issues, and again and again and again I’m disappointed to see Marilove make every single issue she feels passionately about black and white.

    Skepticism has taught you nothing if not that issues cannot be so black and white.

  82. @Ing213: Assuming your implied statement — that issues can, in fact, be black and white — is true, that still doesn’t change the fact that you’re being pedantic. It’s an expression, and taking everything literally is not the same as my statement, which is simply stressing the importance of not letting one’s passions override their ability to fully see the complexities of a situation.

    You did a great job illustrating what I’m talking about, though. Why try as hard as you can to take something out of context rather than actually try to understand what someone else is getting at?

  83. For what it’s worth, when I discovered I was pregnant I immediately told my husband. I was kind of on the fence, but pretty much knew an abortion made the most sense financially, emotionally, and for the potential kid.

    His response? “It’s completely your decision.” I did insist that we discuss it just to make sure we were on the same page, and he completely agreed with me – kids will be great, one day. Not today. He came with me to Planned Parenthood, held my hand while I suffered through the unimaginable pain of the actual abortion (those cramps caused me to go in and out of consciousness… I think I finally passed out from pain.)

    Had he been really reluctant to abort I would have really sat down and considered our options if we were to have a baby. It would not have been easy and would mean some serious life changes that we probably aren’t ready for. I think we would have reached the abortion conclusion, anyway, but I would have been willing to research and discuss it if he wanted to.

    All this is because I married a man who is a partner, who shares things equally with me and who respects my opinions. We had discussed previously that we want kids eventually, but now is not a good time. I was on birth control pills, and they failed. It happens (very rarely).

    While holding the pregnancy test in my hand, laughing at myself in that “NO FUCKING WAY” kind of way, I did initially consider having the abortion and not telling him. I am very very fortunate to have a husband who treats me as an equal, and one who has been willing to have frank discussions with me about sex and pregnancy and the like. I realized I didn’t need to keep it from him, because I knew he would be supportive of me, and I really wanted to know his opinion.

    Some (many?) women are not so fortunate. I was reminded many times during the whole abortion process how so many women suffer more than necessary during this time. It’s a tough decision for anyone who does want kids, and it’s not an easy process (again – the CRAMPS FROM HELL). Add to that a spouse/boyfriend/?? who is not there for you or is in opposition to you and it becomes a traumatizing decision and process. Several times my husband had to leave the exam room so that the nurse/doctor/etc at Planned Parenthood could talk to me alone. I was fine with him in the room, but they do it to protect women who are there out of coercion. I think that’s when it really hit home how essential Planned Parenthood is and how terrible it is that some women have to do this alone.

    Abortion is completely the pregnant woman’s decision.

    I do agree that laws surrounding babies born to fathers and mothers who don’t want them should be reformed. Just as some of you know men who have been screwed over by the mothers of their children, I know mothers who would love to cut ties to the fathers of their children. For these women, they keep in contact with the father because they NEED the money, not to torture him.

    Both situations are equally unfortunate. Our entire society treats babies (even wanted ones) as though they are an 18-year or more disease or inconvenience, and that is not helpful to anyone.

  84. @ Sporefrog.

    Ok, look. Gray area that has some black and white/right and wrong elements: Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

    Area where things are very black and white: Is a tomato a bulldozer?

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