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Busy-body state

Aunt B., in a post entitled Slowly, Slowly, These Gun Nuts Work Their Way With Me, says it’s not the nanny state we have to worry about but the busy-body state:

Holy shit. This isn’t just a “nanny state;” this is a “busy-body state.”

So, I’ve been thinking all morning about what it might mean to think about the busy-body state. I hate to use the word “reframing,” but I think it fits. What if I reframe the way I think about judging appropriate government intervention as the difference between encouraging a busy-body state and not?

Which brings us back to the gun nuts, in the first place. I’m interested in hearing their take on this, because I think this has been their big complaint and I just didn’t get it. See, I’ve been thinking about the whole gun issue as a broad, panicked public safety issue–guns are dangerous, therefore we must get guns off the streets–and haven’t been too concerned with the implications of that.

Uncle concurs, generally. However, I don’t see how the abortion thing is only busy-body type stuff. As I’ve said many times: abortion is a heinous, disgusting and deplorable practice but it can only be made worse by criminalizing it. I don’t buy that opposition to abortion is a matter of being a busy body because it ends a human life (and arguing about whether that life has really started or not is just details). Criminalizing it will not stop abortion. You just open up an unregulated black market where, instead of a sterilized and safe doctor’s office, women will go to some shack where there’s a guy named Snake holding a pointy stick. And that would endanger two lives. And one thing a ton of pro-choice folks do that annoys me is assert woman this or woman that when there’s also the issue of the man involved and what say he has in the whole thing. Takes two to tango but only one to make a life altering decision that will lead to a life time of regret? Feh, no thanks. Aunt B. buys into that line of thinking as well, when she says:

Here you have a moral issue that has been turned into a legislative issue by people who believe that women cannot control themselves and that sweeping legislation must be enacted to make all women’s lives difficult, even though women have many legitimate reasons for needing abortions and what those women do almost never adversely affects the anti-abortion people.

Now, I know a lot of anti-abortion people (who I also disagree with). Not a single one has ever said that women can’t control themselves nor have they ever expressed desire to control women. They just take issue with the whole ending a human life thing. So, I don’t buy the whole guns and abortion are equal in terms of the impact of busy bodies because, while my gun ownership affects no one else really, abortion does affect others.

But guns, tobacco, drug, and a whole host of other laws are entirely busy body in nature.

41 Responses to “Busy-body state”

  1. Sailorcurt Says:

    Criminalizing it will not stop abortion. You just open up an unregulated black market where, instead of a sterilized and safe doctor’s office, women will go to some shack where there’s a guy named Snake holding a pointy stick. And that would endanger two lives.

    Should we decriminalize anything that is more dangerous by virtue of being criminal? How about robbery. Robbery already endangers the victims but since it is illegal, some people think they should try to stop it when it occurs; this endangers the perpetrators as well. Shouldn’t we just decriminalize it so we’re putting less people’s lives in danger? Criminalizing robbery hasn’t stopped it either. Should we de-criminalize anything that laws don’t stop? How about murder?

    I don’t buy that opposition to abortion is a matter of being a busy body because it ends a human life (and arguing about whether that life has really started or not is just details).

    Exactly. And that’s why it should be illegal, just like robbery and murder. Just because it is more convenient for it to be legal is not a valid reason for continuing to condone it.

    The biggest excuse I hear (other than the basic, narcissistic argument “it’s MY body and I can do with it what I want”…sorry, you already DID with it what you want, now it’s time to accept the consequences (pregnancy and the unborn child within you) of doing with your body what you wanted) is “who will take care of all the unwanted babies?” What makes that argument specious is that the legalization of abortion didn’t reduce unwanted babies or illegitimacy, it only increased abortions.

    Sorry, I gotta disagree with you here. Murder should be illegal in every case, not just when perpetrated against someone who happens to be post-natal.

  2. SayUncle Says:

    It has developed over a matter of just weeks, and appears to be building

    As a general rule, I’d say so if it doesn’t affect others. Robbery does affect others. And I’m fully aware of the inconsistency there but I’d see more issues arising out of abortion’s criminalization and there’s no guarantee it would curb the number of abortions significantly.

  3. ben Says:

    I’m with Uncle on this. Although if abortion was illegal, I bet more women would go out of their way to avoid getting pregnant, what with the two options of having an unwanted child or going to snake for a visit. Door number three is just a little too easy.

    But still, while I hate abortion, it is not up to me to decide if a woman can or cannot have one. If the guy who got her pregnant has a problem with that, well that’s what you get for sleeping around, tough shit.

    I draw the line in two cases: First, nobody will ever make me pay for an abortion, that means government funding of the proceedure is out. Second, no late term abortions. Have the damn thing done as soon as you find out. No using the pregnancy as a tool in a relationship dispute (I’ve seen this done by a 15 year old, it was disgusting) only to have the abortion later.

  4. George Rand Says:

    As usual, the far left has distorted this issue into something it is not. The Constitutional amendment is not about banning or criminalizing abortion. It is reversing Tennessee’s activist Supreme Court decision and stating clearly that there is nothing, penumbras or otherwise, that guarantees a constitutionally protected right to abortion. It would properly return the issue of abortion to the legislative arena, to be decided along with other morally based laws such as murder, robbery and perjury.

  5. ricketyclick » Blog Archive » Rape, Abortion, and Guns Says:

    […] (Tiny Cat Pants via Say Uncle […]

  6. Sailorcurt Says:

    If the guy who got her pregnant has a problem with that, well that’s what you get for sleeping around, tough shit.

    I know we can “what if” this to death, but this comes from personal experience:

    How about if the person who desires an abortion is a wife who wants an abortion because she was having an affair and doesn’t want to face the consequences in the event that the child ends up being her lover’s rather than her husband’s? (sorry about the run-on…you can breathe now)

    Should the wife be able to abort the child without even telling the husband…who has a 50% chance of being the child’s father?

    Let’s just say that I take this issue a bit personally.

    Just for the record, I’m not a utopist.

    In a perfect world, society would recognize that the sanctity of an innocent, unborn child’s life is significantly more important that the physical or emotional convenience of an irresponsible mother.

    But this isn’t a perfect world and, in this imperfect, morally relativistic world, abortion will never become universally illegal.

    That doesn’t mean that I won’t argue the point that it SHOULD be, only that I’ve resigned myself to the reality that it WON’T be.

    Personally, I already think it’s covered adequately in the Constitution in the 5th Amendment: “No person shall be…deprived of life…without due process of law…” The only problem is the definition of “person”. In my mind, an unborn child is a person…period. (Yes, that means no exception for rape…the child is a victim too. Since when do victims get the death penalty for being victimized? The only unquestionable exception would be the health of the mother…i.e. self-defense. Incest is debatable due to the propensity for birth defects…I just don’t know about that one at this point).

    Unfortunately, I don’t get to make the rules. Since that is so, I agree with Mr. Rand in that it should be decided in the legislative arena and, since it obviously has nothing to do with interstate commerce, at the State or Local level.

  7. Masked Menace© Says:

    If the guy who got her pregnant has a problem with that, well that’s what you get for sleeping around, tough shit.

    So if a guy doesn’t want a child, he shouldn’t have sex. If a girl doesn’t want a child she can have all the sex she want and get an abortion. Her choice, his responsibility. I guess girls are just more equal than boys.

  8. _Jon Says:

    … I’m having a hard time wording my thoughts – it’s been a long day, sorry.

    But, my basic principle, point, and thought on this is to apply the laws towards the beginning-of-life as we do to the end-of-life. If a person who is incapable of self-support has delegated their life-support rights to another person, then the decision on continuation of life is theirs. In the case of a fetus, the defacto “patient advocate” is the mother.

    In the US we don’t prosecute someone for murder because it is “immoral” (even though it is). The legal basis for imprisoning someone who is guilty of murder is that the perpetrator has violated the victim’s constitutional right to life. Similarly, I don’t believe a fetus attains such protection until it is considered “alive” by the laws of the mother’s state. Some states specify that “alive” is ‘breathing’. For others it is ‘heartbeat’, and some it is ‘mental activity’.

    If abortion became illegal in the US, then the wealthy people who wanted abortions would leave the country to a nation where they weren’t illegal. Then only poor people would be visiting ‘Snake’.

    I think “late-term” or “partial-birth” abortions are heinous murders. I think if the fetus can survive without being within the mother and only requires medical care, then it should be protected under the Constitution.

    The court decision of Roe v Wade is annoying to me because I think it took the decision away from the citizens. We don’t get to debate legalities or pass laws – the court decided for us. That pissed me off.

    … Ugh that’s a bumpy read. I need alchohol and sleep. :/

  9. Manish Says:

    So if a guy doesn’t want a child, he shouldn’t have sex. If a girl doesn’t want a child she can have all the sex she want and get an abortion. Her choice, his responsibility.

    I actually had this debate on an email list where I argued your point. However, someone made a really good point…child support, by law, is about substituting money for parenting. A woman can give up parenting her child (to say the grandmother) in return for paying child support to that person. Once the kid is born, it becomes about whats in the interests of the child. That would dictate both parents paying to help raise the child. The circumstances of birth are not in the childs hands.

  10. HARD RIGHT Says:

    Prohibiting Homicide

    My Uncle Say has a snappy little retort for the illustrious Aunt B:As I?ve said many times: abortion is a heinous, disgusting and deplorable practice but it can only be

  11. Masked Menace© Says:

    A woman can give up parenting her child

    The problem is that the woman can give up parenting her child by paying child support, adoption, or abortion. The guy can only pay child support. She gets 3 choices, he still gets none.

  12. Manish Says:

    After the baby is born, the issue is not about what rights the woman had or the man didn’t have. The issue is whats in the best interest of the child…and that dictates child support.

  13. tgirsch Says:

    Sailorcurt:

    Just because it is more convenient for it to be legal is not a valid reason for continuing to condone it.

    There’s a difference between a practice being legal and condoning that practice. That smoking is legal does not mean that the goverment (or the people) condone smoking.

    In a perfect world, society would recognize that the sanctity of an innocent, unborn child’s life is significantly more important that the physical or emotional convenience of an irresponsible mother.

    In a perfect world, people would recognize that the problems with unintended pregnancies run well beyond just that. If the choice is between an early-term abortion and a living, breathing abused or neglected child, I’ll take the former, thank you very much. This isn’t to say that this is always the case, but often enough it is. I want every child to be a wanted child, so I’d rather have a woman abort than to give birth and hold a grudge. (And I suspect anyone who holds up adoption as a viable alternative doesn’t know anybody who’s actually gone through the process of attempting to adopt.)

    Personally, I already think it’s covered adequately in the Constitution in the 5th Amendment: “No person shall be…deprived of life…without due process of law…” The only problem is the definition of “person”. In my mind, an unborn child is a person…period.

    There are a myriad of problems with this definition. For starters, you’d have to investigate every miscarriage as possible manslaughter or reckless homicide. You’d have to extend dependent deductions to pregnant women. And IVF clinics would have a world of legal trouble! I hear the 5th amendment argument all the time, but I don’t know anyone who wants it evenly applied to the unborn — they just want to selectively apply it where it suits them.

    Ben:

    Although if abortion was illegal, I bet more women would go out of their way to avoid getting pregnant, what with the two options of having an unwanted child or going to snake for a visit.

    You bet wrong. Worldwide statistics show that the legality of abortion has no bearing whatsoever on the pervasiveness of abortion, nor does it have any effect on rates of unintended pregnancy. And you forgot option 3: the dumpster.

    Masked Menace:
    So if a guy doesn’t want a child, he shouldn’t have sex.

    There’s this thing called a “condom.” Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Not to mention pulling out, vasectomy, etc. Of course, nobody (male or female) should ever have sex with someone they don’t trust, nor should they have sex without some understanding of what they’d do if the act resulted in pregnancy.

    _Jon:
    The legal basis for imprisoning someone who is guilty of murder is that the perpetrator has violated the victim’s constitutional right to life.

    I don’t think that’s true at all. The reason we have laws against murder is not to prevent murder — it doesn’t. It’s because we as a society have decided that murder is bad, and should not be legal, and need to legally define the consequences of murder. The laws prohibiting murder aren’t there to prevent murder, but to proscribe punishment.

    I think “late-term” or “partial-birth” abortions are heinous murders.

    Based upon what? Depending on how you define “late-term,” abortions of that type are remarkably uncommon. Fewer than 1% of abortions are performed after 20 weeks (I believe the record for preemie survival is 23 weeks, and that’s not what most reasoning people would call “viable”), and there are no good stats to indicate how many of these late abortions are “convenience” abortions, rather than ones that are performed for medically necessary reasons (or in cases where the fetus is already dead, for example).

    As to “partial-birth” abortions, I’ve never fully understood the furor surrounding this, given that no matter what the method is, you still wind up with a dead fetus. To my mind, the method is only morally questionable if there’s an equally safe and effective but less trying method available. Apart from that, the rightness or wrongness of the abortion has nothing to do with the method used to perform it.

    The court decision of Roe v Wade is annoying to me because I think it took the decision away from the citizens. We don’t get to debate legalities or pass laws – the court decided for us.

    No more than the second amendment (correctly interpreted) takes the “decision” away from the citizens to pass gun bans. Taken to its extreme, your argument would give us a system of governance in which legislatures have the right to ban any personal behavior. Personal autonomy goes out the window. And for what it’s worth, the Court has repeatedly stated explicitly what conditions would be necessary for an abortion ban to pass constitutional muster, and the GOP has killed at least one “partial birth” abortion ban (sponsored by Democrats) that would have been constitutionally allowable.

    All:

    As to the male / female divide, I’m a bit sympathetic to the idea that the potential father has some rights in these cases, but those rights are dwarfed (rightly, in my opinion) by the wants and needs of the woman who has to go through the pregnancy. If the man could take the burden away from the woman, I’d grant him more rights, but he can’t, so the decision has to rest mostly with the woman. There’s no other way that makes sense.

  14. jesse Says:

    Based upon what? Depending on how you define “late-term,” abortions of that type are remarkably uncommon. Fewer than 1% of abortions are performed after 20 weeks (I believe the record for preemie survival is 23 weeks, and that’s not what most reasoning people would call “viable”), and there are no good stats to indicate how many of these late abortions are “convenience” abortions, rather than ones that are performed for medically necessary reasons (or in cases where the fetus is already dead, for example).

    A friend of mine works for a organ/tissue bank and almost quit last week after being asked to process an infant that had been born alive at 34 weeks in the middle of a late-term abortion. The reason he was aborted? He had a cleft pallet. Other than that, which is repairable, he was fine.

  15. tgirsch Says:

    Jesse:

    I never said it never happens. If you want to ban that sort of abortion, I have no problem with that. Assuming, of course, that your third-hand anecdote is even true.

  16. Standard Mischief Says:

    tgirsch Says:

    There’s this thing called a “condom.” Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Not to mention pulling out, vasectomy, etc.

    Wait, there’s even more different kinds of birth control for women. Even if one was effective 99.99% of the time and had no side effects, I would assume you would never use it to deny a woman her reproductive rights. So why are you making the argument that because condoms exist, men don’t have any reproductive rights?

    Of course, nobody (male or female) should ever have sex with someone they don’t trust, nor should they have sex without some understanding of what they’d do if the act resulted in pregnancy.

    Of course any agreement or understanding won’t last one moment during a child support case. People of both sexes do funny things under hormones or stress. Frankly, if a woman uses her choice to carry to term, she can pretty much decide if the father ends up being the sperm donor, sperm donor and supplemental income, or full partner in the raising of the child (with the father’s consent).

    As to the male / female divide, I’m a bit sympathetic to the idea that the potential father has some rights in these cases, but those rights are dwarfed (rightly, in my opinion) by the wants and needs of the woman who has to go through the pregnancy. If the man could take the burden away from the woman, I’d grant him more rights, but he can’t, so the decision has to rest mostly with the woman. There’s no other way that makes sense.

    She doesn’t have to go through the pregnancy, remember? We’re both pro-choice, I assume?

    I have no doubt that if recognized, male reproductive rights would shake society far more than roe v. wade ever did. That’s not a valid reason, however, to deny those rights.

  17. tgirsch Says:

    So why are you making the argument that because condoms exist, men don’t have any reproductive rights?

    I’ve never made any such argument. I brought up condoms and vasectomies in response to your asinine assertion that men have no choice about whether or not to get a woman pregnant. I would make the same argument against a woman who engaged in voluntary sex without using birth control and claimed she had “no choice” in the matter.

    Frankly, if a woman uses her choice to carry to term, she can pretty much decide if the father ends up being the sperm donor, sperm donor and supplemental income, or full partner in the raising of the child (with the father’s consent).

    All the more reason to be exceptionally careful where you stick it. I’m not saying it’s fair, but life’s not fair, and most of the alternatives are even worse.

    She doesn’t have to go through the pregnancy, remember? We’re both pro-choice, I assume?

    Yes, we are. What I’m saying isn’t that the woman must go through the pregnancy, period. I’m saying that she’s the only one of the male/female pair who can go through the pregnancy. So when you have a man and a woman in conflict about whether or not to carry the baby to term, the woman’s will has to take precedence, because it’s not as if the man (who wants the baby) can simply relieve the woman of the burden. He can’t. Her body; her medical expenses; her risk; her time; her pain, suffering and inconvenience; therefore, her choice. It seems straightforward to me. A man can no more rightly force a woman to carry a baby to term than he could rightly force her to abort.

    A man who has irresponsible sex risks financial responsibility for the child that results. There’s simply no way around that. It’s a risk you take every time you engage in the nasty. And it makes sense, in a way: since the woman has to take on all the physiological consequences (whether she continues the pregnancy or not), it’s not all that much to ask the man to take on the financial consequences. It takes two, after all.

    I’m cynical of most of the arguments you’ve made against this because I’ve seen them used by less scrupulous people to try and give men a “get out of responsibility free” card.

  18. Standard Mischief Says:

    All the more reason to be exceptionally careful where you stick it. I’m not saying it’s fair, but life’s not fair, and most of the alternatives are even worse.

    I like it when a “lean lefter” argues “life’s not fair”. I’m waiting on your endorsement of the rollback of the right to vote for women and the removal of most of the civil rights legislation. As for alternatives being “worse”, you would have to expand on that a bit.

    So when you have a man and a woman in conflict about whether or not to carry the baby to term, the woman’s will has to take precedence, because it’s not as if the man (who wants the baby) can simply relieve the woman of the burden. He can’t. Her body; her medical expenses; her risk; her time; her pain, suffering and inconvenience; therefore, her choice. It seems straightforward to me. A man can no more rightly force a woman to carry a baby to term than he could rightly force her to abort.

    We are in complete agreement here. Exactly what did I say to suggest otherwise?

    I’m cynical of most of the arguments you’ve made against this because I’ve seen them used by less scrupulous people to try and give men a “get out of responsibility free” card.

    Yup, glad you made that distinction, my moral integrity is just fine, thanks.

    Seeing as we’re both pro-choice, there are no responsibilities to get out of here, because it’s not a child yet, right?

    I’m not endorsing child abandonment here at all, but it is curious to note that in many states the mother can, within a few weeks of birth, drop a kid off at the hospital and walk away from all parenting rights and responsibilities. It’s suppose to help prevent those tragic “dead baby in a dumpster” incidents. She’s not gonna have to endure 18 years of child support payments. The phrase “equal protection under the law” springs to mind here.

  19. Standard Mischief Says:

    tgirsch Says: I’ve never made any such argument. I brought up condoms and vasectomies in response to your asinine assertion…

    Whoops, not me. I made no such assertion, asinine or otherwise.

    You must have me confused with someone else.

  20. Glen Dean Says:

    Aunt B says this is a moral issue that has been turned into a legislative issue. BULLSHIT. This is a moral issue that has been turned into a JUDICIAL ISSUE. The Supreme Court took away our right to decide this issue through the Democratic Process 30 years ago.

    Say Uncle, please tell me that you don’t agree with that bogus Supreme Court ruling. Believing that abortion should not be outlawed is one thing, but supporting the idea that a court should bypass the legislative process is something else.

  21. SayUncle Says:

    Never said any such thing. I’ve long held that Roe was crap.

  22. tgirsch Says:

    Glen:

    I don’t see why that’s any more absurd than supporting the idea that a state legislature has a right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body…

  23. tgirsch Says:

    Uncle:

    Which means that you hold Griswold is crap, too.

  24. tgirsch Says:

    Standard Mischief:

    Mea Culpa. It was Masked Menace who made the asinine assertion to which I was referring, not you. Apologies for the confusion, but the point stands. Let me correct the text:

    I brought up condoms and vasectomies in response to Masked Menace’s asinine assertion that men have no choice about whether or not to get a woman pregnant.

    Moving on:

    I like it when a “lean lefter” argues “life’s not fair”

    Why should that be surprising? I didn’t realize that left-leaners were precluded from recognizing this basic fact. I must have missed that in my Leftist Reprogramming session.

    As for alternatives being “worse”, you would have to expand on that a bit.

    Well, how do you suggest we enforce the “male reproductive rights?” If a pregnant woman wants an abortion, but the biological father wants her to have the baby, are we to forbid her from aborting on that basis? And if a woman gets pregnant and wants to keep the baby, but the biological father doesn’t want her to, do we give her a choice of “abort or absolve the biological father of all responsibility?” These options seem less fair than the “unfairness” they’re intended to correct!

    Maybe you have better ideas than these, but I just don’t see how you could enforce “male reproductive rights” without coming up with something far more intrusive and inequitable than the status quo.

    Exactly what did I say to suggest otherwise?

    Well, maybe it’s me understanding you. You suggested that the biological father has “rights” in these cases, and the only rights I can imagine that they don’t currently have are the right to be absolved of responsibility, or the right to override a woman’s choice in the matter. Since you’ve taken both of these off the table, I guess I’m totally confused as to what “rights” you might be talking about, and how they might be enforced / protected.

    The phrase “equal protection under the law” springs to mind here.

    If the state laws in question require that the mother and only the mother be the one to drop off the infant, then you might have a point about equal protection. More often than not, in these cases, it’s going to be the mother, because the father is long gone, but for equal protection requirements to be met, all that you need is the ability of a single father to do the same thing.

    Also, if a mother could legally dump the baby off with the father and absolve all rights and responsibilities, without his consent, then, too, you’d have an equal protection case. But she can’t, so you don’t.

  25. Xrlq Says:

    I don’t see why that’s any more absurd than supporting the idea that a state legislature has a right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body…

    It’s slightly more absurd, as asserting a woman’s “right” to kill her kid in the womb would seem a bit more ambitious than merely asserting she has a right to do as she pleases where only her own body is involved. In any event, if you consider it “absurd” for states to be allowed to tell men and women what to do with their own bodies, then you must find it even more absurd that the Supreme Court hasn’t extended the “right to privacy” to nullify all victimless crime laws, any of which would easily be upheld 9-0 if challenged under a Roe-like theory of privacy and/or autonomy.

  26. Standard Mischief Says:

    tgirsch: They obviously taught you how to take comments out of context in said reprogrammming sessions

    Standard Mischief said: I like it when a “lean lefter” argues “life’s not fair” I’m waiting on your endorsement of the rollback of the right to vote for women and the removal of most of the civil rights legislation.

    Why should that be surprising? I didn’t realize that left-leaners were precluded from recognizing this basic fact. I must have missed that in my Leftist Reprogramming session.

    Taken in context, Women didn’t have the right to vote, but we both don’t have any problems with laws correcting those injustices.

    Well, maybe it’s me understanding you. You suggested that the biological father has “rights” in these cases, and the only rights I can imagine that they don’t currently have are the right to be absolved of responsibility, or the right to override a woman’s choice in the matter. Since you’ve taken both of these off the table, I guess I’m totally confused as to what “rights” you might be talking about, and how they might be enforced / protected.

    We we both realize, I think, that we have gotten off topic, but it seems we aren’t on the same different topic. The woman with four names posted about what I’m talking about:

    I am a big fan of the idea that men should also have the right to decide whether they want to be parents when an unplanned pregnancy occurs. If the guy doesn’t want to be a father, and tells this woman this early enough in the pregnancy for her to have an abortion if she chooses, then I think he should not be on the hook later for child support. I think it’s extremely unfair that a woman can currently lie to a man about her fertility and then force him to pay for a child he never wanted to have.

    If the state laws in question require that the mother and only the mother be the one to drop off the infant, then you might have a point about equal protection. More often than not, in these cases, it’s going to be the mother, because the father is long gone, but for equal protection requirements to be met, all that you need is the ability of a single father to do the same thing.

    The mother can have a child and give it up without even informing the father that she was pregnant in the first place. I don’t think it’s too intrusive that in normal cases (i.e. not rape) that the biological father should have first dibs on parenting rights here.

    Quoting myself:

    SM: Frankly, if a woman uses her choice to carry to term, she can pretty much decide if the father ends up being the sperm donor, sperm donor and supplemental income, or full partner in the raising of the child (with the father’s consent).

    As is now, a woman could become pregnant, move to the next town, and never inform the biological father. Do you think that’s right?

    She could also move back after five years, sue for support, and she would likely only have to turn the kid over during alternative weekends. What about those five years of fatherhood the man lost? Not to mention the fact that she would likely be awarded back years of child support, plus interest. Is there anything here that sounds fair here to you?

    About now you are probably thinking of the child welfare angle; say, doesn’t the kid have any rights? Well there’s absolutely nothing keeping the parent with primary custody from uprooting the kid from regular contact with the other parent and moving halfway across the country. Is that what’s really best for the kid? Who decides?

    But getting back to what Jacqueline said: The only thing that pro-choice supporters would give up by supporting men’s reproductive rights would be the ability of women to entrap men into doing the “right thing” and marrying (child support is second prize) when she becomes “accidentally” pregnant. I know all about “slippery slopes” but in this case I don’t think women are giving up any actual rights here. (I’d love to hear some feminist argue the “right to entrap”) What they are gaining by supporting male reproductive rights would be probably a near doubling of active pro-choice supporters. Probably a good idea with Roe v. Wade threatened.

  27. tgirsch Says:

    Xrlq:

    It’s slightly more absurd, as asserting a woman’s “right” to kill her kid in the womb would seem a bit more ambitious than merely asserting she has a right to do as she pleases where only her own body is involved.

    You will of course disagree, but until the “kid in the womb” becomes capable of surviving outside the woman’s body, it has to be treated as part of the woman’s body, because there’s no other realistic way to treat it. Of course, since you seem to like heavy-handed rhetoric, I guess it’s better to make women slaves to their wombs, with few rights that trump the “rights” of the residents of their wombs, from the day they conceive.

    Standard Mischief:

    Your right-to-vote example was ignored because it was an exceptionally poor one. Granting women the right to vote didn’t disparage or infringe upon the rights of anyone else. Everyone who could vote before still could vote after the correction, and in the same manner as before. You can’t say the same thing about parental rights, because giving the man more legal say in how the woman handles pregnancy directly diminishes the rights of the woman involved.

    In other words, the laws that corrected those injustices didn’t replace old injustices with new, bigger injustices. I contend that this is precisely what would happen in recognizing a broader “male parental right” to unborn children. Apples and oranges, dude.

    The mother can have a child and give it up without even informing the father that she was pregnant in the first place. I don’t think it’s too intrusive that in normal cases (i.e. not rape) that the biological father should have first dibs on parenting rights here.

    The issue here is mostly pragmatic. You could probably make a good case for such laws being unconstitutional, but look at the problem they’re intended to solve. Adjusting the law as you suggest would far more likely result in women simply bypassing such programs (and back to the dumpster problem) than actually complying and attempting to notify the father. Adding such a requirement would effectively kill the program, and I don’t think that’s what anybody wants.

    But taking your logic further, this would seem to imply that any pregnant woman if virtually any circumstances ought to be required by law to notify the father that she’s pregnant. That’s a huge can of worms that I’d frankly rather not open. Once again, it seems to me like any additional “justice” that comes from such a requirement would be far outweighed by the injustice introduced by it.

    As is now, a woman could become pregnant, move to the next town, and never inform the biological father. Do you think that’s right?

    Not necessarily (it would depend greatly upon the circumstances), but as I began to explain above, I think the cure is worse than the disease. What if the pregnant woman moved to the next town to escape an abusive relationship? She hasn’t been raped, but she has been abused. Introduce such a requirement, and now the burden of proof is on her to demonstrate that the relationship was abusive. How many abused women do you know who would be willing to undergo that burden of proof? Shit, most of them never even press charges! And that’s just one example that springs to mind.

    Now admittedly, we’re talking about exception cases here, but that’s kind of my point. The way to correct an infrequent injustice isn’t to impose requirements that create larger, if less frequent, injustices.

    And I should also note that I’m not unsympathetic to your concerns. My brother years ago went through a nasty divorce in which his ex-wife used their daughter much more like a bargaining chip than like a child. Many of your concerns are real, and legitimate. The problem is, as I’ve tried to explain at length, that I don’t see any legal solutions to those problems that aren’t ultimately worse than the problems themselves.

    The only thing that pro-choice supporters would give up by supporting men’s reproductive rights would be the ability of women to entrap men into doing the “right thing” and marrying (child support is second prize) when she becomes “accidentally” pregnant.

    #1, I don’t oppose men’s reproductive rights! I only think that at least up until childbirth, the woman’s rights necessarily outweigh those of the man. #2, I think you’re incredibly naive to think that this is the “only thing” that pro-choice supporters would give up, or even that supporting such rights would put an end to that ability. #3, You sound like you speak from experience — like some woman burned you or someone close to you, and that you therefore have an axe to grind.

    What they are gaining by supporting male reproductive rights would be probably a near doubling of active pro-choice supporters.

    I seriously doubt that assessment. If women were considerably more likely than men to be pro-choice (or, better stated, if men were considerably less likely than women to be pro-choice), then I could see how that might follow. But that’s not the case.

  28. Standard Mischief Says:

    tgirsch:

    Wow, I’m gonna start off with this quote, because it’s the real meat of the matter.

    #1, I don’t oppose men’s reproductive rights! I only think that at least up until childbirth, the woman’s rights necessarily outweigh those of the man.

    You do oppose men’s reproductive rights, or at least you have a very strange view of those right are. Perhaps you define “men’s reproductive rights” as narrowly as the right to reproduce, assuming you can talk someone in to letting you.

    Heck, a pro-life person (not me) could easily say (twisting around what you said,) “I don’t oppose women’s reproductive rights! I only think that at least up until childbirth, the baby’s rights necessarily outweigh those of the woman’s” Then the pro-life person defines life as the moment of conception, and everything, BC, EC, abortion, RU-486, up to but not including banning condoms gets outlawed. God frowns on even those, I suppose (although my God is a mighty God, and a thin sheet of latex would instantly snap at the mere quiver of His Noodly Appendage).

    But I’m not going to put words in your mouth, so go ahead and tell me what rights men have, reproduction wise.

    The rest of this stuff is just window dressing. I’m with you on the “dumpster babies”. I’m just pointing out a womans right to abandon a baby (not a fetus!) as an counter example to your comment about men abandoning “babies”.

    You sound like you speak from experience — like some woman burned you or someone close to you, and that you therefore have an axe to grind.

    Classic ad Hominem attack. But just for the record, I don’t have any (that I know of). I just don’t want to breed right now, but I don’t want to give up sex. Is that so bad? Is it only bad when it’s a man?

    We could argue about the amount of “converted” pro-choice supporters, but that’s pretty pointless. Rights are to protect the minority. As for me, pro-choice is far, far below the RKBA on my lists of causes. Men’s reproductive rights being embraced by the pro-choice might change that. Then I really have a significant stake.

    But taking your logic further, this would seem to imply that any pregnant woman if virtually any circumstances ought to be required by law to notify the father that she’s pregnant.

    I would never endorse this radical position. In fact I did specifically exempt rape in my previous comment.

    Your right-to-vote example was ignored because it was an exceptionally poor one. Granting women the right to vote didn’t disparage or infringe upon the rights of anyone else. Everyone who could vote before still could vote after the correction, and in the same manner as before.

    But the point was that both you and I do not object to passing laws to protect people’s rights (right?).

    You can’t say the same thing about parental rights, because giving the man more legal say in how the woman handles pregnancy directly diminishes the rights of the woman involved.

    I’m not trying to infringe on the rights of woman. I’m just requesting in a normal (again, this means stuff like no rape) case, if a woman becomes pregnant, and she wants the biological father to support the child that she intends to bring to term, then sometime before she delivers that child, she has to inform said future dad that he’s the father, and that guy must agree to want to support and share custody of that child. If he doesn’t want to be a father then the woman has the time and the choice to abort the fetus, place it to be adopted, or bring the child to term and raise the child herself. She can abort without telling anyone, that’s her right to privacy. If she can’t be bothered to tell the future father, she looses the right to rectoactively extort cash from him at a later time.

    So what’s wrong with that? Yes it’s totally radical, yes it will turn society upside down, (but you progressives can handle that, right?) just like Roe or safe and effective birth control did. But how exactly would that infringe on the rights of a woman?

  29. Xrlq Says:

    You will of course disagree, but until the “kid in the womb” becomes capable of surviving outside the woman’s body, it has to be treated as part of the woman’s body, because there’s no other realistic way to treat it.

    Sez you. But you missed my larger point, which is that even if we were to suspend logic and pretend that a developing fetus is part of its mother’s body, it still wouldn’t follow that the mother would have an unfettered right to kill it. And no, my use of the word “kill” is not “heavy-handed rhetoric,” just an accurate description of what an abortion – oops, I mean, a “choice” – involves. Even where the issue clearly is one’s own body, e.g., drug abuse, prostitution or suicide (assuming the person committing these acts is not pregnant), you still don’t have a right to do with your own body as you see fit.

  30. tgirsch Says:

    X:

    However you want to put it. Once pregnant, slave to the womb. Got it. As to the right to do with your own body as you see fit, in most of those cases, you ought to have that right.

    SM:

    I’m frankly not sure where we can go from here. You seem to support nebulous “men’s reproductive rights” with little regard for what the consequences of legally recognizing certain rights would be, and when this is pointed out to you, you accuse me of not supporting men’s rights. For the record, I support pretty much every legal right male parents have today (which, contrary to your rhetoric, is much broader than the “right to reproduce assuming you can talk someone into letting you”), and would even support some reduction in the automatic legal preference that’s given to mothers in custody disputes. But ultimately, you’re changing the subject. I’ve listed some very specific rights I don’t support, and explained in detail why I don’t support them. The question, then, is what additional rights you do support, and why you think there won’t be significant problems introduced by such recognition (or, at least, why the recognition of said rights is more important than any injustices such recognition may cause).

    Heck, a pro-life person (not me) could easily say (twisting around what you said,) “I don’t oppose women’s reproductive rights! I only think that at least up until childbirth, the baby’s rights necessarily outweigh those of the woman’s”

    They could certainly say that, but it does not follow. 🙂

    I’m just pointing out a womans [sic] right to abandon a baby (not a fetus!) as an [sic] counter example to your comment about men abandoning “babies”.

    #1, I’m not quite sure I’d classify it as a “right.” Not all legally allowable things are “rights.” #2, I’m pretty sure the latter happens exponentially more frequently than the former.

    Classic ad Hominem attack.

    It honestly wasn’t intended to be. It’s just that you seem really bitter and angry about this, the type of bitter one only gets from experience. Apologies for misinterpreting your tone.

    I just don’t want to breed right now, but I don’t want to give up sex. Is that so bad?

    Not inherently, but like it or not, breeding is a potential side effect of sex. All the more reason to take precautions. Do like I did when I was a teenager: wear a condom and pull out. If you’re that worried about it, get your partners to sign a release before you bang them. Although I suspect that might put a damper on the pickup routine! 🙂

    Hell, I don’t want to gain weight right now, but I don’t want to give up Mexican food. Is that so bad? 🙂

    Rights are to protect the minority.

    Wow, I didn’t realize men constituted a “minority.” 🙂 I guess you learn something new every day!

    Men’s reproductive rights being embraced by the pro-choice might change that.

    And we’re back to this again. Name them. Give specific examples of rights that you don’t think men have right now, but should.

    I would never endorse this radical position. In fact I did specifically exempt rape in my previous comment.

    That’s why I said “virtually any circumstances.” Barring rape, and say, incest, all pregnant women should be required by law to notify the father (or all potential fathers)? That doesn’t sound terribly libertarian, frankly…

    But the point was that both you and I do not object to passing laws to protect people’s rights (right?).

    Right. But in my case, I do object to passing such laws if they create more inequities than they correct. And that was my point. Perhaps you missed it.

    So what’s wrong with that?

    I can’t believe you’re even asking that question in good faith! Despite your protestations to the contrary, it puts virtually ALL of the power in the man’s hands, and puts all of the responsibility in the woman’s hands. You’re giving the man full power to demand that she either abort or absolve him of all responsibility. Basically, in your scenario, the man’s responsibility to the woman ends as soon as he ejaculates, unless he chooses to take on the responsibility. And you believe this is even remotely close to fair?

    Side note: Child support = extortion? Give me a friggin’ break!

    See, this is where my allegations of bitterness and anger come in. And the more you talk, quite frankly, the more it sounds to me like outright misogyny. The only scenario in which your “logic” make sense is the one in which women are conniving little tarts who use pregnancy to “entrap” men into supporting them, and who get pregnant intentionally for that purpose. In no other case can I even conceive of how this might be perceived as being more fair than the status quo.

  31. tgirsch Says:

    Just to clarify on that last paragraph, if you’re going to bring me around to the idea of recognizing a wider “men’s right” here, you’re going to have to explain to me how you’re going to fix those relatively few cases where the mother is taking advantage of the father, without essentially giving the father a “get out of responsibility free” card. It seems to me that your proposal would shift the balance from being mildly slanted toward the woman to being massively slanted toward the man. That just doesn’t make sense to me.

  32. Standard Mischief Says:

    Yea, frankly I think we’re pretty far apart on this one. Briefly, on the mall-wart/plan b, we BOTH wanted easy widespread access, we differed only on how to accomplish that. You want to force every pharmacy to stock it, I wanted to deregulate it to the status of aspirin, so every Quik-E-Mart COULD stock it, and wait and see if that was enough to do the trick. That boils down to the essence between libertarians and liberals there.

    That’s why I said “virtually any circumstances.” Barring rape, and say, incest, all pregnant women should be required by law to notify the father (or all potential fathers)? That doesn’t sound terribly libertarian, frankly…

    Wow, I didn’t realize men constituted a “minority.” I guess you learn something new every day!

    Well, as a matter of fact, men are the minority. (I trust I don’t need a cite) but I wasn’t talking about men as much as I was talking about an individual. The smallest minority is an individual, and that’s a pretty libertarian idea, even if it’s not a Official Libertarian Party Plank.

    (And off the bat, I’m not sure what to do when there’s multiple potential fathers. Maybe she could inform all the potential fathers and they could sign conditional contracts, pending a DNA test. Maybe one would chose to adopt, even if he was not the father. Good question.)

    And we’re back to this again. Name them. Give specific examples of rights that you don’t think men have right now, but should.

    Well this little comment pissed me more that the blanket assumptions and the personal attacks. Could I ask you please to scroll up? Throughout this thread I’ve been stating male reproductive rights, you’ve attempted to pick them apart without outright stating your belief that men don’t have any reproductive rights at all. You have merely dropped weaselly quotes like this:

    I don’t oppose men’s reproductive rights! I only think that at least up until childbirth, the woman’s rights necessarily outweigh those of the man.

    Yea, some people are “more equal” than others.

    But in the interest of a freaking long-ass post, I will:

    1. I’m not trying to infringe on the rights of woman. I’m just requesting in a normal (again, this means stuff like no rape) case, if a woman becomes pregnant, and she wants the biological father to support the child that she intends to bring to term, then sometime before she delivers that child, she has to inform said future dad that he’s the father, and that guy must agree to want to support and share custody of that child. If he doesn’t want to be a father then the woman has the time and the choice to abort the fetus, place it to be adopted, or bring the child to term and raise the child herself. She can abort without telling anyone, that’s her right to privacy. If she can’t be bothered to tell the future father, she looses the right to rectoactively extort cash from him at a later time.

    Please note, it’s only “extortion” when she fails to inform the father of the impending birth. This is not an onerous requirement! That is not too much to ask! I’m beginning to think that you don’t support the idea of planned parenthood, oh, except for when it’s in regard to a woman. I suppose that she could send a process server, if she wished, and of course she could get out of this requirement with a “pre-date” contract. That will go over well in the free dating market.

    2. As a default action, a birth out of wedlock or after divorce, parents ought to be awarded joint custody, without compelling evidence otherwise.

    Again this is the assumption that certain people are not “more equal than others”, and the libertarians clearly own that plank.

    3. Child support payments are for the child. Therefore, both parents ought to be paying into an account in the child’s name, with the withdraws recorded and available for inspection to the other spouse.

    In practice, this really isn’t any more complicated than record keeping for your Flexible Spending Account, or the twenty seven and a half year rate I have to depreciate my new roof with the IRS. It applies to everybody, not just men. This issue, “trust but verify”, is owned by Reagen, but he’s dead, so he won’t mind me borrowing it.

    Despite your protestations to the contrary, it puts virtually ALL of the power in the man’s hands, and puts all of the responsibility in the woman’s hands.

    Nope, it just kinda equals it out a bit more. the system we have now is once a woman is pregnant, she holds all the cards. Again, now she gets to decide if the father ends up being the sperm donor, sperm donor and supplemental income, or full partner in the raising of the child (with the father’s consent). What’s fair about that?

    And the more you talk, quite frankly, the more it sounds to me like outright misogyny. The only scenario in which your “logic” make sense is the one in which women are conniving little tarts who use pregnancy to “entrap” men into supporting them, and who get pregnant intentionally for that purpose.

    Nope, those are thankfully in the minority, just like rapists and child molesters. I will admit that this is an onerous requirement (but not an “injustice”) for those few “tarts”, but not from the vast majority of couples who use foresight before conception.

    …without essentially giving the father a “get out of responsibility free” card.

    You have lost the idea that each egg in a uterus has a ball and chain attached, it’s time to realize that each sperm doesn’t have one attached either.

    …but like it or not, breeding is a potential side effect of sex. All the more reason to take precautions. Do like I did when I was a teenager: wear a condom and pull out.

    I’m ending on this because it’s the money quote. Again, twist this around and it says “That little slut had her choice, she could have chosen not to spread her legs!”. Now neither of us agrees with this or that other quote I twisted around (above), but I bring them up because that is exactly the type of quote people have used to deny a womans right to chose. That’s a right neither of us want to see go away. but it’s time to recognize a man’s right to chose whether to reproduce too.

  33. Standard Mischief Says:

    Whoops, the quote

    You have lost the idea that each egg in a uterus has a ball and chain attached, it’s time to realize that each sperm doesn’t have one attached either. was mine, not yours.

  34. Standard Mischief Says:

    2. As a default action, a birth out of wedlock or after divorce, parents ought to be awarded joint custody, without compelling evidence otherwise.

    Again this is the assumption that certain people are not “more equal than others”, and the libertarians clearly own that plank.

    Yea, I’m quoting myself, whatever.

    Another thing occurred to me, libertarians want past wrongs fixed (i.e. calling for default joint custody in most cases) They’re not the type to demand a law requiring a certain amount of fathers being awarded sole custody just to “right” past injustices, just to “prove” that fathers can be every bit as good a single parent as a mother.

    I think we can all agree that Affirmative Action for dads is a bad idea.

  35. tgirsch Says:

    The smallest minority is an individual

    Egad, citing Ayn Rand? Abandon all reason, ye who enter here! 🙂

  36. tgirsch Says:

    I’m not trying to infringe on the rights of woman.

    Maybe you’re not trying to, but as I’ve been trying to explain repeatedly, that would be precisely the effect of the policies you claim to support.

    I’m just requesting in a normal (again, this means stuff like no rape) case, if a woman becomes pregnant, and she wants the biological father to support the child that she intends to bring to term, then sometime before she delivers that child, she has to inform said future dad that he’s the father, and that guy must agree to want to support and share custody of that child.

    See, it’s only that last part that I have a problem with. The part about the father having to agree to want to support the child. That she is pregnant is half his responsibility. Unless he can conclusively demonstrate that she gave him assurances prior to intercourse that he would not be held responsible for any child that resulted, I don’t see how you can absolve him of any responsibility on the simple basis that he doesn’t want it. If he wasn’t willing to take on the responsibility, he shouldn’t have had the sex! It’s his right to say “no” to sex as much as hers. And it’s his right to use his own birth control, and to pull out.

    I’m also not too sure about putting a time limit on informing the father. We’re going to put an eight month “statute of limitations” on fatherly responsibility? That simply doesn’t make sense to me.

    In any case, in “normal” circumstances, the father is notified in a timely fashion the vast majority of the time! I thought libertarians opposed using government to fix “problems” that really aren’t all that common…

    As a default action, a birth out of wedlock or after divorce, parents ought to be awarded joint custody, without compelling evidence otherwise.

    Contrary to your assertion that I oppose zero rights for fathers, assuming both parties want some custody of the child, I have no problem at all with this.

    Child support payments are for the child. Therefore, both parents ought to be paying into an account in the child’s name, with the withdraws recorded and available for inspection to the other spouse.

    Do you have any idea how un-libertarian this sounds? Sheesh, talk about nanny state!

  37. tgirsch Says:

    the system we have now is once a woman is pregnant, she holds all the cards.

    What can I say, other than I disagree?

  38. tgirsch Says:

    The problem with your idea of giving the man the “right to choose whether to reproduce” is that it creates the exact converse of the problem you hope to solve. Right now, you complain, a woman can choose to abort a child without the father’s approval, and can choose to force the father to support the child.

    Your “fix” would make it so that any father could post-hoc say “I don’t want the child” and force the woman into a choice of either aborting or going it alone without his support. It is this problem that you have yet to address.

  39. Standard Mischief Says:

    The problem with your idea of giving the man the “right to choose whether to reproduce” is that it creates the exact converse of the problem you hope to solve. Right now, you complain, a woman can choose to abort a child without the father’s approval

    This is intellectively dishonest, tgirsch. At no point have I said that male reproductive rights infringe on a woman’s domain over her body.

    Your “fix” would make it so that any father could post-hoc say…

    I don’t think you are using “post-hoc” correctly. Wikipedia: Post hoc, also known as “coincidental correlation” or “false cause”, is a logical fallacy which assumes or asserts that if one event happens after another, then the first must be the cause of the second.

    …“I don’t want the child” and force the woman into a choice of either aborting or going it alone without his support. It is this problem that you have yet to address.

    intellectively dishonest, you are leaving out a third choice.

    (regarding the right of parents to know that their child support payments are being spent on their child) Do you have any idea how un-libertarian this sounds? Sheesh, talk about nanny state!

    OH NOSE! my libertarian street cred! I’ll “salvage” it somewhat by saying this should be the default when one of the adults is acting like a child. Consenting adults can agree to other arrangements, but this is the gold standard of spending other people’s money, you account for it. Do you think you will successfully argue that you don’t need to account for your travel related expenses when you are on a business trip for your employer?

    Egad, citing Ayn Rand?

    Perhaps you should create tgirsch’s law: As an online discussion about human rights grows longer, the probability of a “Ayn Rand” being brought up approaches 1. 🙂

    by SM:the system we have now is once a woman is pregnant, she holds all the cards.

    What can I say, other than I disagree?

    You could, um, state what “cards” a man holds, once a woman is pregnant.

    A woman has reproductive rights after conception. a man ought to also, as long as those rights don’t interfere with a woman’s right over her own body .

  40. Lean Left » A Continuation of Comments Says:

    […] There’s an ongoing debate over at SayUncle concerning “male reproductive rights,” and what relative rights men and women ought to have in disputed pregnancies. Or at least, it was ongoing, until Uncle’s oppressive no-comments-after-7-days rule kicked in. […]

  41. Men’s parental responsibilities, distilled down to a simple logical argument. at Standard Mischief Says:

    […] be on the hook for 18 years of child support. So it’s pretty clear that moms get a “get out of responsibility free” card […]