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August 19, 2004

Abortion: An Individual Right?


First of all let's clarify something about rights. I say they are the gift of the strong. Others might say they exist independently, we just have to recognizen them. I disagree.

I could claim that God created a right for me to read your mind, but until the device is created that enables me to do so, does that right exist? If I claim God created the right, then it exists in perpetuity since the beginning and to the end of mankind, but I can't exercise that 'right' until I have the capability. Once that capability is expressed, then law springs up around it as does political rhetoric. Rights evolve owing to the relative importance they have in society.

Understand here that abortion is an invention. It is a medical invention that adds to the convenience of modern women such that they don't suffer the responsibility of childbirth and rearing if they choose not to. There are a lot of good reasons and bad reasons for this choice. But to speak of it as a right, I think mischaracterizes it. Rather I think of it as an enabler, or perhaps a consequence of the expression of something that more resembles a right which is sexual gratification.

Humans need sexual gratification. It's way down on Maslow's Pyramid. But there are also a huge number of choices there too. And I wouldn't be so quick to talk about a woman's right to choose abortion without talking about a woman's right to choose lesbianism or marriage or masturbation. Which is more fundamental, the sexual needs of the body or the need to be free of childbearing and childrearing?

Abortion is brutal contraception. Sure you have a choice, and I defend wise choice, but I don't give license.

One more thing that I want to add to this stew is the question of where one body ends and another begins. A woman cannot get pregnant on her own. She must have possession of someone elses genetic material in order to conceive. So it is inevitable that the other person has some 'right' to determine the fate of the development. A child, or an embryo, or a fetus or whatever you want to call it inside a woman's body is not hers exclusively. It is only half hers. So her individual rights are compromised the moment she becomes pregnant.

I say this because whether or not one agrees that a fertilized egg is a person, it could conceiveably be brought to term outside of the body in which it was fertilized and still exists as 'joint property' of the two parents until it reaches some measure of selfhood. It could go into another woman's body. It could go into an artificial womb. It could go into storage. Hell, it might even go into a pig or a cow or the bloody Matrix for all we know.

So if a woman's right to abort is absolute, then it stands in direct opposition to a man's right to sire. So what if he's a rapist. So what if she's a murderer? One person is still plotting to deprive the other.

Posted by mbowen at August 19, 2004 09:17 AM

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COBB COMMENTARY - Abortion: An Individual Right? from Booker Rising
Cobb argues no. “Rather I think of it as an enabler, or perhaps a consequence of the expression of something that more resembles a right which is sexual gratification.” [Read More]

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Estrofem Estradiol from Marc
Thank you! [Read More]

Tracked on January 8, 2005 08:53 AM

Triphasil Trifeme from Veronica
That really helps. [Read More]

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Phentermine from Klaus
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God gave everyone "free will". Free will gives you the choice to do what ever you want if that choice exists. God gave you this free will in order for you to determine the fate of your life. These choices can be good/bad or right/wrong. Therefore, all because you have a free will or choice does not mean that your choice is right. Therefore, all because abortion is a choice and it exists does not mean it is right. Guns exist, so does that mean it is ok to go and kill someone with it.

Tavares Forby @ www.blackpundit.com

Posted by: Tavares Forby at August 19, 2004 11:11 AM

I agree with Tavares. I also agree that a woman cannot get pregnant on her own. For the men who are strongly opposed to abortion, what else do you have to offer to the woman who is struggling with the decision to bear a child or not, other than your opinion. I don't believe abortion should be used as a method of birth control nor should it be considered an easy solution to an incovenient situation that some find themselves in. I wonder how many men who are aware of the life that they have helped create offer to take full custody of the child if the woman will decide against abortion. What about the many children who have ended up in foster homes, whose mothers decided not to abort. Who placed them there, the mother, father or both. If it was the mother, why didn't the father go and get his child(ren). What about the 7 American children found in Nigeria in an orphanage. They spoke of the mothers (who did not abort them) but where are the fathers? I agree, that abortion is not favorable in the eyes of God but neither is abandoning your children and placing them in harms way, nor beating & starving them until there is no more life in their helpless bodies (as happened in North Texas twice within this past month). This is just a few of the atrocities that happen to children on a much to regular basis. The arguments against abortion are not as simple as some make them appear to be.

Posted by: Tam at August 19, 2004 11:38 AM

Tam: I agree that the responsibilities of the male parent (I won't cheapen the term "father" by using in reference to those who aboragate their moral responsibilities) are important, it shouldn't escape you that from the moment of conception the legal responsibilities of the male are explicitly recognized and unavoidable. It is a dichotomy, then, that there are no legally recogized responsibilities of the female with respect to the embryo/fetus, just a legally recognized "choice" to absolve herself of all responsibility without consideration of the other contributor. Abortion is a difficult moral mess (or at least it should be), and while I'm not a far-right lifer, I agree with Cobb that there is something wrong in any legal situation that levies great responsibility to one party while bestowing great authority on the other when the main difference is plumbing.

Now, I am sure there are many who will jump up and say "it's her body and she will have to cary the child, so it should be her decission alone." But are we legally free to do whatever we want with our bodies? If I decided tomorrow that I didn't like my left hand, could I go to the doctor and have it removed? If I removed it myself (as some people do) I would most likely end up in a mental hospital. Before people submit to sexual reassignment surgery there is usually required psychological screening. Why is it different before a woman can undergo an admittedly irreversible proceedure that has the net result of preventing another human from being born? Again, I'm not saying abortion should be banned, but I do think there is something dead wrong (pardon the pun) with the "unrestricted abortion on demand" ideal that is trumpeted by many.

Posted by: submandave at August 19, 2004 11:59 AM

You said it. I started to get into this subject a week or so ago because I thought there was a conservative argument about male responsibility that had been left off the table - it turns out that the legal responsibilities for men are fairly hefty regardless of marital status. I'm going to stick it into the next post regardless, and then I'll poke it full of the holes I found.

Bottom line is that I think that there are a lot more interesting ideas buried beneath the pro-life surface than we might expect and a lot of that does indeed fall on male responsibility, more than I thought. It leads me to believe that male contraception, a 'male pill' would be just about as revolutionary as anyone can imagine. And I think with that explored we'll truly open up some interesting concepts about what is really at the base of both pro-choice and pro-life arguments.

Posted by: cobb at August 19, 2004 12:12 PM

I originally was going to post this under the heading 'The Death of Single Parenthood', but as I learned about what single women can do to lasso the male parent, I was surprised at the comprehensiveness of the law. I didn't want to be, at that moment, an advocate of making that lasso more effective so I dropped my point - but here you can see me building up to it:

It occurs to me that social conservatives will inevitably make huge glaring errors in the consistency of their rules because they treasure loyalty over principle. Such a huge glaring error slapped me about the face the other day when I was mulling over the question of abortion and social decline in America. Social conservatives bemoan the problem of illegitimacy and wish to encourage marriage but they have overlooked the matter of money and punishment of men.

Simply stated, the biggest incentive for men to remain married is the disincentive of divorce, or in the immortal words of Johnny Taylor, "It's cheaper to keep her." Many men will, of course, choose to bear that cost and unburden themselves of women they consider unfit for continued marriage. They pay their dues and move on.

But what creates single parenthood? Generally, it is a triple failure. It is one failure of contraception and two failures of nerve. The contraceptive failure could be anyone's fault, but the failure of nerve is generally gender specific. It is a woman's failure to go through with an abortion, and it is a man's failure to go through with a marriage. According to social conservatives who claim to be the enemies of single parenthood, only a few of these failures are worth punishing.

Assuming that I know what I'm talking about, the social conservative would much prefer marriage. This suggests to me that they are not so afraid of sex as one would guess. Failing that, single parenthood would be preferable to abortion, abortion being that horrible thing to be avoided at all costs. But the costs of male freedom they are apparently willing to bear. My other leap of faith is that deadbeat dads are only considered deadbeats if they are married.

I'm not sure that male freedom can be taken for granted and it seems to me that a whole lot of other baggage is brought into this discussion.

Posted by: cobb at August 19, 2004 12:20 PM

Yes, a "male pill" would be revolutionary, but it still wouldn't relieve the woman of her responsibilities in casual encounters. If the man is lying to get in her pants, there's nothing to stop him from lying about "the pill". And, as everyone recognizes, the woman has the greatest biological stake in keeping it safe.

While I am not a biologist, there are several important issues that have always plagued the development of a male pill. First is that while teh female version has but to stop a single egg once a month, a male variant needs to stop millions of sperm everyday. Also, the female is born with her entire compliment of eggs already there, so in her case you just have to stop the timed delivery. In the male, however, the sperm have to be fresh to work, so the factory runs 24/7. If you interrupt the factory, it affects a number of things (including performance). Likewise, you can't stop delivery, as then the act looses meaning (if you know what I mean). I would imagine a male pill would more likely affect how the factory works, basically sabotaging the product so that they are ineffective (in technical terms, increasing the rate of degenerative forms), such as producing sperm with no tail. While it would not eliminate the ability of the sperm to fertilize the egg, it would make it much more unlikely (a fact many couples in infertility therapy can attest to).

Posted by: submandave at August 19, 2004 12:26 PM


Until the shug becomes available there is a heat treatment (keep the sperm over 115 oF for 90 minutes every day for 3 weeks) that has been shown to kill adult sperm cells, the effect should last for months.

Any discussion of abortion, birth control, and child support should also address the massive paternity fraud committed by women. Depending on the study, between 10% and 30% of children do not know their real fathers. In order to list a man's name on a child's birth certificate two of three conditions must be met: A) the man must be married to the mother, B) the man must pass a paternity test, or C) a surrogate mother contract must exist between the mother and the father.

Until men have a reliable method of birth control (condoms are 80% at best) and post copulation options like women (choice for men or C4M) condoms with heat treatments and DNA testing is the way to go.

Dexter M. Duck

Posted by: Dexter M. Duck at August 19, 2004 04:32 PM