“When you do the thing that makes babies…”

One common argument in favor of keeping abortion legal goes like this: We don’t force people to donate bone marrow, even if they are the only match and the other party will die without the donation, so why would we force a woman to donate her nutrients, oxygen, and body itself to sustain a zygote, embryo, or fetus? This argument, though, does have a weakness, as illuminated in this comment a reader recently left on a post about abortion:

I can’t even be bothered to read the long responses to pro-life arguments here in the comments since so many start with the illogical thought process of something like the following: “A fetus is a person, but no person has the right to live inside another person’s body without that person’s ongoing consent.” Newsflash: When YOU do the thing that makes babies, don’t be surprised when it makes a baby — INSIDE YOU. Stop hating your biology and deal with it, without shooting the messenger, so to speak.

In other words, this reader argues that the analogy to bone marrow donation fails because when a woman has sex, she is consenting to the possibility of being pregnant, and thus inviting the fetus in. But does having sex necessarily equal giving consent to become pregnant?* Let’s examine this question by way of analogy.

Cars, Sex, and Taking Precautions

Being involved in a car wreck and thereby sustaining injuries is a possibility every time someone gets in a car. In some sense, getting in a wreck and thereby being injured can be seen as the natural consequence of getting in a car. After all, without precautions, wrecks and injuries sustained from wrecks would be quite common. We take two types of precautions when it comes to driving cars:

  1. We have traffic lights, drivers ed, and other things that help prevent wrecks from occurring.
  2. We have seat belts, air bags, ambulances, and other things that help minimize damage in case of a wreck.

Having sex is similar in several ways. After all, without any precautions, pregnancy and having to carry to term would be the natural result of having sex. Fortunately, we have two types of precautions when it comes to having sex.

  1. We have condoms, the pill, IUDs, and other things that help prevent pregnancies from occurring.
  2. We have abortion to help minimize the damage in case of an unwanted pregnancy.

While the first set of precautions have lowered the number of car accidents that occur, just as the analogous first set of precautions have lowered the number of unwanted pregnancies that occur, they have not eliminated them. Car accidents can happen because of human error on a driver’s part, or because a driver refuses to adhere to the general precautions (think drunk driving), or through no one’s fault at all. Similarly, unplanned pregnancies can still happen because of human error in using birth control, or because of rape or birth control sabotage,  or through simple birth control failure. And of course, just as some people drive when they’re tired or drunk and thus open themselves to greater risk of wreck, even so some people go without birth control entirely or use it only sporadically and thus open themselves to greater risk of pregnancy.

“Natural Consequences”

Saying that we should do away with plan B or abortion because they enable people to engage in risky sex without having to face the natural consequences (i.e. pregnancy) is like saying that we should embed knife-like spikes into cars’ steering wheels in order to cut down on risky driving behavior (because a driver being slammed forward would be automatically impaled).** After all, things like seat belts and air bags decrease the risk of injury when getting in a wreck and thus lead to more risky driving. Even so, things like plan B and abortion (which, let me point out, are not identical) decrease the potential harm suffered by an accidental pregnancy and thus, it could be argued, lead to more risky sex.

Legislating that a person involved in a car wreck could not have medical care would likely also lead to a decrease in risky driving. In fact, it might even lead to a decrease in driving at all, which would then bring  the number of accidents down. Or, we might simply legislate that people who get in wrecks because they were driving drunk, ran a red light, or fell asleep at the wheel should be denied medical service. After all, this is exactly the suggestions made by those who argue that making pregnancy the natural consequence of sex (i.e. decreasing access to birth control and abortion) would bring down the rate of premarital sex (and probably marital sex as well, come to think of it) or that only women who have become pregnant as a result of rape or incest should have access to abortions.

In a Nutshell:

Saying that pregnancy is simply the consequence of sex is like saying that getting in a wreck is simply the consequence of getting in a car.

Saying that having sex means giving consent to carrying  a pregnancy to term is like saying that getting in a car means consenting to bleeding to death without assistance in the case of a wreck.

Birth Control and Traffic Signals

Of course, some people who oppose abortion also oppose birth control. This is like thinking that not only should people involved in wrecks be denied the aid of seat belts, air bags, and medical attention, but also that people should not have the benefit of drivers ed and traffic signals. In other words, that getting in a car should bring a very grave likelihood of being in a wreck and sustaining injury. That people should not get in cars unless they are open to getting in wrecks and sustaining injuries. Or, to translate that for sake of the analogy, people should not have sex unless they are okay with becoming pregnant and having children. Or, to move in the opposite direction, saying that sex should naturally result in pregnancy is like saying that getting in a car should naturally result in getting in a wreck.

When we speak of driving in these terms – that we should eliminate precautions taken to make it safer and should simply see wrecks and injuries as the natural result of getting in a car – people see it as ludicrous. Yet some people think that talking about sex in these terms – that we should eliminate precautions taken to make it safer and see pregnancy and children as the natural consequence – makes sense.

Concluding Thoughts

I have to admit that until I stumbled upon this analogy I was a bit stumped by the argument outlined in the beginning of this post. As I thought about it I realized that the fact that having sex does naturally lead to getting pregnant does in some sense make it look silly when a sexually active woman seeks an abortion for an unintended pregnancy. Didn’t she know that having sex is “the baby-making thing”? Didn’t she realize that getting pregnant was a real possibility of being sexually active?

But the reality is that just like getting in a car does not have to result in a wreck, so too having sex does not have to result in getting pregnant, and just like getting in a wreck does not have to result in bleeding to death on the side of the road while passers by refuse to help because “he knew that was a possibility when he decided to get in a car” or “he wasn’t wearing a seat belt so it really was his fault,” even so becoming pregnant does not have to result in carrying the pregnancy to term because “she knew that was a possibility when she decided to have sex” or “she wasn’t using birth control so it really was her fault.”

If the government banned drivers ed, turned off stop lights, took down street signed, banned air bags and seat belts, required car companies to embed spikes into steering wheels, and prohibited doctors, nurses, and EMTs from giving medical assistance to those injured in car wrecks, I would conclude that their goal was to make driving so dangerous that no one would do it. And so, when people advocate banning comprehensive sex education, limiting access to contraception, banning plan B, and outlawing abortion, I can only conclude that their goal is to make having sex so risky that no one will do it. 

———

* There’s another approach here too. If a person signed a contract saying they would give bone marrow if he is a match for someone who needs it, and then later wanted to get out of the contract after being notified that he is, indeed, a match for someone badly in need of bone marrow, I would be in favor of letting him out of the contract. In my opinion, forcing someone to give bone marrow would, regardless of prior consent, be violating their bodily autonomy.

** I am aware that comparing becoming pregnant to getting in a wreck and carrying a pregnancy to term to sustaining major injuries may be offensive to many. Yet I think it’s important to realize that for a some people, and for most people during certain periods of time, the idea of becoming pregnant is looked on with no more fondness than the idea of getting in a car wreck.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    “When we speak of driving in these terms – that we should eliminate precautions taken to make it safer and should simply see wrecks and injuries as the natural result of getting in a car – people see it as ludicrous.”

    Yep. And that’s because people don’t generally see anything wrong with getting in cars. Everybody knows there’s a slight amount of risk involved, but it’s just seen as one of the many risks you take by going about living a normal life. People don’t see the decision to get into a car as a reflection on a person’s character. They don’t shame people for choosing to get into cars often, or keep count of how many cars people have gotten into in their lives. They don’t use a person’s driving history, or history of riding in cars to judge whether or not they should be able to get medical care if they ARE in an accident. If a couple of teenagers are driving somewhat recklessly and get in to a wreck, the response is “I hope we can save those kids so that they don’t have to pay such a high price for their youthful carelessness” not “Youth is no excuse–those dumb kids were asking for it and now they’re just going to have to deal!”

    Driving is seen as morally neutral, a routine part of life. You don’t necessarily have to do it, there are other ways of getting around (although they might be extremely difficult and complicated and restrictive for some people, depending on the situation), but why not do it? There’s nothing wrong with it.

    What if people thought about sex this way? Would we still be hearing a lot of crap about women making their own beds by “doing the baby-making thing?” I think not. These arguments only fly because we, as a society, are uncomfortable with sex in general.

    • SophieUK

      I think there is a slight weakness with the car analogy in that if we do choose to drive, and inadvertently kill someone, then we would still expect to suffer the consequences, even if it had been due to a momentary loss of concentration or some other error that would have seemed completely inconsequential had it not led to a death. Could this be seen as the equivalent to being young and stupid and failing to use contraception when drunk and getting pregnant in this way?

      Clearly failure of your breaks etc should be enough to establish your non-guilt, but what if you were actually at fault for bad driving, failing to take adequate safety precautions etc?

      I am pro-choice, but have been pondering; in a world where rape/coercion didn’t exist and where contraception was 100% effective, is there a legitimate case to be made against abortion out of a responsibility issue? I think I would still be pro-choice, because circumstances can change and I would still believe in bodily autonomy, but what does everyone else think?

      • Aurora

        I’ve pondered the same thing. Here’s my take on it.

        I don’t like abortion. I used to be strongly pro-life before becoming pro-choice due to a multitude of reasons, most of which have been discussed here at some point. I don’t necessarily believe that a fetus is a person and that abortion is murder, but I don’t see it as fully morally neutral, either. It’s just that in many, many cases, it is the better option.

        But if unwanted pregnancies were completely, 100% preventable–something that obviously could never happen in reality–what then? The only way someone could get pregnant without wanting to would be if they failed to use some form of contraception. But there are any number of reasons why that could happen. Maybe they got caught up in the moment and didn’t have anything available, maybe they can’t afford it (especially if this hypothetical 100% effective contraception is a specific type that is sort of expensive), maybe they just forgot, maybe they didn’t feel there was sufficient risk, or maybe they simply didn’t receive sufficient education to realize it was important or even possible. Should they be “punished” for that? In the case of lack of education or money, of course not (though I’ve noticed many pro-life people seem to imply that poor people should not be allowed to have sex). In the case of willfully choosing to be irresponsible? Maybe, but not by forcing them to have a child. Maybe the fear of unwanted pregnancy and the decision making that has to be done is enough of a consequence that they’ll do better next time. In any case, we shouldn’t want to start a child’s life on the basis that their parents deserve to have a kid because they were irresponsible. What sense does that make? If anything, we should be opposed to allowing irresponsible people to have kids (don’t take this the wrong way; I’m not saying failing to use contraception makes you unfit to be a parent, I just think the premise of irresponsible = should be forced to have a kid is bizarre).

        So I think even then it should still be legal, though I could see implementing a deterrent clause, where any woman seeking an abortion should be given some form of information detailing responsible use of birth control, and offered financial assistance if she can’t afford it (like Planned Parenthood). So, not a deterrent to having an abortion right now, with this pregnancy, but to reduce the likelihood of another unwanted pregnancy and, thus, another abortion. Then, as now, our efforts should be focused on reducing abortion rates through education and contraceptive use, NOT by scaring or guilting women into having unwanted babies. In fact, if we implemented the real sex ed that conservatives are so horribly opposed to, the rate of abortions would drop quite a bit, but then we’d have to admit that people have sex, and we couldn’t possibly allow that, could we?

      • Rebecca

        Sophie, I think the car analogy can address your points:
        The consequences of causing a car wreck (through reckless behavior or honest accident) in which someone else dies may be likened to negative physical or mental health effects caused by abortion. Not all women who choose abortion suffer negative health effects, just as not all car wrecks cause significant injuries and not all injuries are fatal and not all fatalities result in convictions. Are infertility or depression adequate “punishment” for the reckless sex driver, or is nine months the mandatory minimum?
        A world of zero rape and 100% effective voluntary birth control is a world of 100% non-wrecking self-driving cars. The only possible way to have a wreck is to manually disengage the autopilot and drive off the road. It’s not possible to drive manually on the road, so there’s no chance of responsible self-driving car passengers being hit by a reckless human driver. When the reckless driver wrecks into a tree, does emergency response stand around watching him smolder and say “well, you knew that would happen when you left the road,” or do they try to keep him alive?
        “Taking responsibility” is just a pretty way of saying “suffer punishment,” which is not an appropriate use of babies. Seriously, say “punishment baby.” “Punishment” means “baby.” Baby is no longer a person. As Aurora points out, it’s not likely treating a baby like a punishment will make a bad situation better.

      • sara maimon

        That’s incorrect because some woman do initially desire pregnancy and change their minds for whatever reason. It makes absolutely no difference how someone got pregnant or not. The how and the why do not affect the person’s rights over their body.
        If you believe that a woman has the right to decide over her own body, why the heck would the circumstances of her getting pregnant matter?

  • jose

    1 – Protest against sex ed, condoms, birth control, etc. keeping kids in ignorance, and then ban abortion because if she didn’t want a pregnancy, she should have put in practice all those things you learn in sex ed.
    3 – Even better: ban abortion AND sex ed because sex is only for reproduction! This is so blatantly false it’s funny to see the religious making the claim.

    • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

      [quote]1 – Protest against sex ed, condoms, birth control, etc. keeping kids in ignorance, and then ban abortion because if she didn’t want a pregnancy, she should have put in practice all those things you learn in sex ed.[/quote]

      “All those things” of course being, “Don’t”.

      And if sex is only for reproduction, WTF have I been doing for the last five years?

  • BabyRaptor

    In short: No. the fact that I consent to having sex with my fiance does NOT mean that I’m agreeing to get pregnant. It means I’m agreeing to get physically intimate with the man I love. Two entirely different things there, fundies.

    • ScottInOH

      Exactly.

      And usually we understand this sort of difference intuitively: By consenting to go bungee jumping, I’m not consenting to break my neck (although I know it could happen). By consenting to teach elementary school, I’m not consenting to get sick from all the germs in my classroom (although I know it could happen). And so on. Heck, we treat smokers for lung cancer, reckless drivers for injuries sustained in crashes, and much more.

      The difference with sex and abortion (at least for the argument Libby Anne is addressing in her post) is what Petticoat Philosopher points out in #1 above: Lots of people believe there is something wrong with sex if the participants don’t want a baby. As best I can tell, that is an entirely religious argument and therefore an insufficient basis for a law in this country.

  • http://jesusandvenus.com Ryan Stauffer

    Your analogy is faulty; unlike with driving a car, when women use contraception that they control, there are no “other drivers” who can cause them to get into a wreck even though they are doing everything else right. You could argue that putting the onus of contraception on women is unfair, but that definitely starts to stray from the analogy, true though it may be.

    • Attackfish

      Rape is “another driver”. So is the abusive boyfriend who sabotages his girlfriend’s birth control. So is the doctor or pharmacist who forgets to tell their patient that such and such medicine interferes with hormonal birth control. So is the faulty condom or the failed hormonal birth control that was used correctly, but wasn’t perfect.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Ah yes, Attackfish, I can’t believe I forgot to mention rape as an “other driver.” Very not like me! Thanks for bringing up that doozie.

      • The_L

        I was recently put on another medication by a neurologist and specifically asked if it interfered with The Pill. He looked relieved–because he was about to tell me that the meds he was putting me on have a high chance of causing severe birth defects and wanted to make sure I wasn’t intending to become pregnant in the near future! And no, my medications don’t interfere with each other at all. :)

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      No analogy is perfect but there are factors out of a woman’s control that are comparable to “other drivers”–things like birth control failure and birth control sabotage, like Libby mentioned. Both these things and “other drivers” can usually be avoided if one is careful oneself, but not always. Also, there’s just plain old making mistakes because one is young and inexperienced, which both new drivers and newly sexually active people do, occasionally with major results. But we seem to judge one far more harshly than the other. With one, our concern is for the wellbeing of the person who made the mistake, with the other, out concern is that the person who made the mistake PAY! Why is that? Like I said, this is about sex-negativity at its core.

      • smrnda

        Perhaps a good analogy could be mechanical failures in cars, particularly ones caused by manufacturing defects or bad engineering, the type of thing where even if you were doing all sorts of routine maintenance, could still cause trouble.

      • Rae

        Or maybe a good analogy would be deer? Because you can do everything right, you can even be careful to drive on roads that nobody else is driving on at the moment, but none of that will prevent a 100+ lb animal running at half the speed that you’re driving from jumping in front of your vehicle.

    • Rosie

      Until we devise a contraceptive that is 100% effective, there’s always the possibility of failure. “Other drivers” in the analogy might be interference from other prescription medications (which the doctor or pharmacist may or may not know about or remember to mention), or perhaps a partner failing to use the contraception (generally a condom) properly. Even tubal ligation isn’t 100% effective; sometimes a woman’s tubes grow back together and of course she doesn’t know it until she ends up pregnant. I think the analogy holds.

    • Rosa

      sex without “another driver” is masturbation. That’s not even part of what’s being discussed.

      Also I think here we have another problem with people not understanding consent. Just like a person can consent to an act ahead of time and then withdraw consent mid-act (whether the act is sexual, medical, legal, financial – I can accept a job and then quit, even mid-shift, because we don’t allow slavery or peonage anymore), a person can consent to pregnancy and then withdraw consent. Either because of new information – like, whoah, I had no reason to expect that I’d suffer organ failure from my pregnancy! – or new circumstances – we planned to have a baby but I got fired in my first trimester – or just a change of internal feelings.

      That’s something I think a lot of conservatives don’t agree with liberals and libertarians about. From people who think that there should exist marriages without the possibility of divorce, to people who think you can preconsent to things like sexual access (not believing in marital rape) to financial commitments (arguing morally against legally declare bankruptcy for debt relief) to future belief (you swore to be a member of this church and raise your children in it), there are people who make this same argument: you made this decision in the past, you should not be able to undo it. Not you ARE not able to undo it, as a person who consents to surgery and then is under anesthetics, or a person who commits a crime and then is entangled in the legal system, but that you SHOULD not, because I feel that you should be morally and legally bound.

    • Chris Buchholz

      There are other drivers in sex, there is chance, there are antibiotics and other drugs that cause the pill to not work or make you even more fertile, there are condoms that break. etc.

      Secondly, you don’t need “other drivers” when driving to get into a wreck, precisely because it is IMPOSSIBLE to “do everything else right”. No human is capable, no matter how careful. That is how drivers hit pedestrians, bicyclists, parked cars, etc. And they say “but he/she/it came out of nowhere!”

      Experiments and studies have shown we are incapable of paying attention for even a full minute. Every time you get in a car you are a danger to others, and could cause the death of someone else. Yet Americans see driving as a god-given right, and they all think they are better than average drivers. And they think it’s ok and not their fault when things go wrong, because they did everything right.

      So the first thing you need to disabuse yourself of is the notion that you “did everything right” because none of us do, ever. (which is kinda the point of the Gospel I always thought)

    • John Small Berries

      The problem with analogies is that if there is even one detail which is not shared across the two cases, there’s always someone who will argue that this invalidates the entire analogy. (I suspect that these are often the same people who respond to hypothetical questions with “But I wouldn’t let myself be in that position, so your question is meaningless.”)

    • Uly

      The “other driver” is human error and failure in the contraceptive. Everything in this world has a failure rate, every method of contraception has a real-world failure rate that takes human error into account (yes, that includes abstinence).

    • Keljopy

      Also, even if there are no other drivers, say someone driving too fast on an icy road skids off into a tree, we STILL don’t argue that we should let that person bleed to death.

  • Attackfish

    The idea that by having sex, any person with a uterus is consenting to pregnancy only fits comfortably into a world where consent, once given, can’t be revoked, as in the bone marrow contract example. This idea, that consent cant be revoked is so common in rape apologist arguments (she consented to sex with him before, it can’t be rape now, she wanted to have sex and tried to change her mind, so it wasn’t rape, she kissed him and then tried to back out, it’s not rape, hell, she had sex with someone, somewhere, before, so she can’t ever be raped, etc.) that I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that people who just don’t get consent should try to argue that we’re consenting when we aren’t. The idea that by having sex with one person, letting them into my body, I’m consenting to let some other completely different person use my body for nine months, only makes sense in a world where consent functions in the way rape apologists think it does.

    • Rosa

      Exactly! I should have read your comment before I typed up my own.

    • http://kagerato.net kagerato

      Indeed. Consent must be provisional, otherwise people lose the freedom to change their minds. The kind of world that would exist by forcing everyone to permanently live with the consequences of misinformed or bad decisions would simply be tyranny.

  • http://eschaton2012.ca Eamon Knight

    Heh. A few months ago we got in to the abortion argument with a Catholic friend, and *she* invoked the car accident analogy, ie: if you cause a car accident in which another person is injured, you are obliged to provide them proper care. She even posed the hypothetical that, if they received kidney damage, and you happened to be a match, you might be obliged to donate your kidney (missing the point that, whatever you might consider your moral obligations to be in that case, we were talking about whether there should a *law* restricting abortion).

    Given that none of her seven kids were exactly planned, I found the analogy of pregnancy to a car accident to be hilarious.

    • http://noadi.etsy.com Noadi

      If you cause an accident you are generally required to pay for their medical care but you are under no legal obligation to provide care physically and certainly not donate an organ. Your friend seriously confused a moral or ethical obligation with a legal one. I see this all the time with issues like abortion, people not able to separate what they would personally do with whether everyone should be required by force of law to do. If I caused a car accident (unlikely since I can’t drive) I would feel a personal responsibility to donate my kidney to that person if I was a match and the accident caused the damage, I would however be outraged to have the government tell me I had to give up an organ to another person or go to jail.

      • http://eschaton2012.ca Eamon Knight

        Yes, that’s the *other* thing wrong with her argument. She is very confused.

      • A

        –If I caused a car accident (unlikely since I can’t drive) I would feel a personal responsibility to donate my kidney to that person if I was a match and the accident caused the damage, I would however be outraged to have the government tell me I had to give up an organ to another person or go to jail.–
        Why? If you are generally required to pay for their medical care, why not also a kidney donation?

  • Judy L.

    After all, without any precautions, pregnancy and having to carry to term would be the natural result of having sex.

    Pregnancy may be the natural result of having sex, but it does necessarily not follow that having to carry to term (i.e. being forced to remain pregnant) is a natural consequence of having sex. Pregnancy is a natural, by which I mean automatic, process that generally progresses on its own unless it’s interfered with, but as the reality of our species is that we become consciously aware of our physical state of pregnancy and are capable of interfering with that process, pregnancy that is not enforced by others becomes a matter of choice.

    And to Erin, who said the following:

    And I can’t even be bothered to read the long responses to pro-life arguments here in the comments since so many start with the illogical thought process of something like the following: “A fetus is a person, but no person has the right to live inside another person’s body without that person’s ongoing consent.” Newsflash: When YOU do the thing that makes babies, don’t be surprised when it makes a baby — INSIDE YOU. Stop hating your biology and deal with it, without shooting the messenger, so to speak. The fact that you’re okay with killing your own baby is an entirely different matter, of selfishness and evil, and many other such things — as though that zygote/embryo/fetus created itself. Such logic is laughably tragic.

    My argument that persons don’t have the right to live inside other person’s bodies without their ongoing consent isn’t ‘illogical’, and calling something illogical without demonstrating how it is illogical is a poorly structured argument and quite ineffective. Not wanting to become or stay pregnant is not ‘hating one’s own biology’, and there is not messenger being shot here. There is nothing laugably tragic about the biological reality that zygotes actually DO create themselves inside our bodies, quite without our conscious knowledge or involvement. On a purely biological and evolutionary level, sperm and ova create whole human beings as a vehicle for creating more sperm and ova (DNA exists to replicate itself – that’s the ultimate meaning of life). What is tragically hilarious is your lack of both knowledge of biology and philosophical imagination. And if there’s anything selfish and evil going on here it’s your attitude and gleeful condemnation of other people’s choices.

    The overwhelming majority of the sex that people have, and have had since the beginning of time, is non-procreative, i.e., not resulting in procreation nor for the express purpose of procreation. Consensual sex is primarily unitive and recreative, and consenting to sex is not signing a contract to conceive, gestate, or birth children. (However, legally, for men, having sex is taking the risk of being financially obligated to any children conceived and born. But this is simply the nature of our biology when it comes to coitus, and the law exists to protect and support children, not to punish and control men, and only complete assholes hold the opinion that the imposition that child support makes on a man’s wallet is the same as forcing a woman to remain pregnant and birth a child. As clever animals we have figured out all sorts of way to both attempt to prevent conception and even more ways to engage in sexual behaviours that don’t result in semen being deposited into a vagina.)

    • Judy L.

      *no messenger being shot here.

    • http://kagerato.net kagerato

      Good response. Many of the anti-choice arguments we encounter out in the wild end up being the naturalistic fallacy, as this one was. “Is” doesn’t lead to “ought”. If you think it does, that means you have the moral obligation to abandon all civilization and all technology, as these are mere artificial constructs built by humanity.

      There are some significant criticisms of the child support system in the U.S., but none of them match up with the typical tirades you will find on the internet. (I made a semi-comprehensive list back in this comment last month: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/09/what-does-it-mean-to-be-anti-woman.html#comment-35518 .) What you won’t hear from most of the people trying to tear down the child support system is advocacy for more social welfare programs and higher taxes to support them. Nor can you expect to hear criticism of the wage gap and sector-based employment imbalances that cause much of the wealth imbalance between men and women to begin with. Mainly, what I’ve seen is a lot of whining about how women get predominant custody of children, without any analysis of why that is and whether it can really be considered any kind of advantage.

      • Judy L.

        The reality now, at least in Canada, is that fathers are actually slightly more likely to receive sole custody of children than are mothers. The custodial parent bears more financial responsibility and must make a greater investment of time and resources than the non-custodial parent. Unless it’s been changed recently (and I don’t think it has) a parent paying child support can claim a tax deduction but the parent receiving the child support must claim it as income and pay tax on it.

        My experience with MRAs is that few of them would happily take full custody of their children; they just simply hate the idea that the money that they are ‘forced’ to pay to keep a roof over their children’s heads is the same roof that also covers their ex’s head. Most MRAs aren’t about asserting parental rights or having more access to their children, but are simply men who like to whine about not being able to force women to have abortions, not being able to control how a woman spends the child support she receives from him for the care of their child, and not being allowed to simply abandon children that they don’t want without consequence.

      • Rilian

        “Unless it’s been changed recently (and I don’t think it has) a parent paying child support can claim a tax deduction but the parent receiving the child support must claim it as income and pay tax on it.” –Judy L.

        That’s seriously how it is in canada???? It’s the OPPOSITE in texas!

      • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

        Income Tax and Child Support Orders

        What are the tax rules for child support?

        Since May 1, 1997, child support payments made under a court order or agreement are tax exempt for the recipient. The paying parent cannot claim the child support as a tax deduction.

        What does Canada Revenue Agency consider as child support payments?

        To be considered a child support payment by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the payment must be payable on a “periodic” basis. That means the payment is part of a series of payments that may be payable monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. The payments must be in a court order or an agreement filed with the court and the order has to set out the timing of the payments. Only a new order or agreement can change the payment schedule.

        CRA does not recognize support payments based on money that individuals give or receive without an order. Generally, lump sum payments are not considered child support, but you should check with CRA because there are some exceptions.

        What if my child support order was made before May 1, 1997?

        When the Child Support Guidelines came into effect the tax rules for child support changed. Parents with existing orders or agreements (made under the Divorce Act prior to May 1, 1997 or made under the Family Services Act prior to May 1, 1998) can agree to keep the old tax rules. Under the old rules child support had to be claimed as income by the beneficiary and was tax deductible for the payer. However, the parents may jointly elect to apply the new tax rules without changing their child support order by filing a form with Canada Revenue Agency (Form T1157, Election for Child Support Payments). If for any reason either of the parents later changes the order, it would automatically come under the new tax rules and the Child Support Guidelines. Once you have made this change, you cannot go back. To determine what is best for you, you may wish to consult a tax specialist or a lawyer.

        Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) refers to beneficiaries as “recipients” and they refer to support payments or awards as “allowances”. For more detailed information about tax rules, you should check out the bulletin on Support Payments on Canada Revenue Agency’s website http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/p102/p102-e.html#P173_priority.

        What if my child support is included with spousal support payments?

        If your court order or agreement includes both child and spousal support you will have to determine the amount that is considered child support. The portion of the payment which is designated for child support is not income for the recipient and it is not deductible from the income of the payer.

        http://www.legal-info-legale.nb.ca/en/index.php?page=child_support

        In New Brunswick, at least, since 1997, child support payments are neither taxable nor tax-deductable.

    • Ibis3

      However, legally, for men, having sex is taking the risk of being financially obligated to any children conceived and born.

      May I point out, preemptively in case any male supremacist MRA types come by, that women are equally subject to this same legal responsibility. The fact that the woman, under most circumstances, has the *final* veto on whether a child will result from any given sex act is just an accident of biology and has no bearing on legal obligations to one’s offspring.

      • Rilian

        No… It’s not the same responsibility. After the baby is conceived, the woman can choose to abort.. or adopt. The man is at the mercy of her decision. Sometimes the father can get custody if the woman wants to give the baby up for adoption.

      • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

        I thought biology was not destiny. Is that not the point this article has been trying to make? Is that also not the point I have been hearing hammered into our collective psyche for at least 30 years now?

        You really don’t want to take this in this direction. If you can claim a benefit due to women’s biology, an equally potent counterclaim can be made that because of an accident of biology, she has no choice but to carry that fetus through a pregnancy to birth. After all, abortions and birth control methods all interfere with “accident of biology”.

      • Amyc

        What I usually like to point out in this argument is that if a man doesn’t want a child then he should do everything in his power to stop from having that child including: wearing condoms, communicating with their partners before sex about the possibility of pregnancy, getting a vasectomy. If a woman doesn’t want a child, then she should do everything in her power to stop from having children including: using birth control, communicating with their partner about the issue, getting an abortion. Notice how the last of the three are all more drastic then the other two? That’s because they are the ones that virtually guarantee a pregnancy either won’t happen or won’t be carried to term. Men have options, they just don’t use all of them.

      • Ibis3

        @ The Other Weirdo

        Biology isn’t destiny, except when it is. We are free to do whatever we can* with technology to change what biology presents to us: we can wear clothes, build skyscrapers, take out appendixes, fly planes, take birth control pills, have vasectomies or abortions. We can’t breathe water, live without a functioning brain, regrow limbs, or grow babies in vats instead of in women. If men were the pregnant ones, they’d be the ones to have the final say. If we had foetuses develop in eggs instead of people, then both parents would have entirely identical rights with respect to the foetus. But until that happens, that can’t happen. Why? Because both men and women have an entirely equal right to bodily autonomy. That right trumps the right to life of any organism dwelling in one’s body. It’s not a special privilege women have been granted.

      • Anonymouse

        Wrong, Rilian. If the woman gives birth and does not want custody of the baby, the biological father doesn’t have to adopt it, because he is already the father. Assuming the parents are not married, the father simply receives custody (if he chooses).

    • Rilian

      Men shouldn’t be forced to pay money for a kid they didn’t choose to have. The woman should decide whether to keep the baby based on her own ability to support it. Obviously she can factor in whether other people are willing to help, including the father, but no one should be forced to.

      • Ibis3

        Wrong. Both parents have an equal obligation to provide for any children they produce. That obligation is attached to the child, an independent person. There’s no reason why the mother should have more legal rights and responsibilities than the father.

      • Rosie

        I’m not sure where things stand now, with accurate paternity tests widely available, but 18 or 20 years ago when my cousin got pregnant and left her husband, a man could indeed relinquish all responsibility toward his offspring by relinquishing all his parental rights. In this particular case, even though they were legally married at the time conception occurred (and possibly even at the time of the birth; I’m not sure how long it took for the divorce to be final), he was never named father, and never had any rights or responsibilities regarding that child. He could have fought to gain those things (both together, not one or the other) if he’d wanted, but he never did.

      • sara maimon

        Kinship is one of the few things that is not by choice.
        Child support is not a punishment, but a function of your parental relationship.

  • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

    I don’t hate my biology or my (assumed) fertility. I respect it so much I have an IUD.

  • Steve

    Fundamentalists just need some punishment for sex. Sex without possible punishment can’t exist for them. Be it STDs or pregnancy. That’s why they are against HPV vaccines, contraception and abortion. If those were easily available, sex might just be too much fun.

    • http://kagerato.net kagerato

      Ah yes, fun. Religion’s age-old nemesis.

    • Attackfish

      Hey now, if sex were so much fun, everybody would be doing it.

      Wait…

  • Sarah

    Although I totally agree with you, Libby Anne, the flaw I see with this analogy (from a hypothetical fundie standpoint) is this – Car wrecks are awful and no one would ever want to be involved in one, but babies are precious gifts from the Lord and if you don’t want one, you’re immoral/selfish/evil.

    • Anat

      So? The plurality of those seeking abortions *are* mothers. Doesn’t mean they should have more children than they feel comfortable with, even to the detriment of their existing children. In any case, even if not wanting to carry any pregnancy to term were selfish, we do not make *laws* based on which sentiments or character traits we want to inculcate or eradicate. I thought the right wingers were opposed to the nanny-state?

      • Sarah

        “I thought the right wingers were opposed to the nanny-state?”

        Only for men. Men make great decisions 100% of the time. It’s the poor half-witted women who NEED these confusing decisions taken out of their frail little hands.

      • Ibis3

        And why wouldn’t they want to weed out all the potentially selfish, depraved women from having responsibility for the natural born SINNERS who have to be beaten into submission innocent little baaaybeeees? Aren’t they better off in Heaven?

      • Ibis3

        I’m trying this again… natural born SINNERS who have to be beaten into submission innocent little baaaybeeees?

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    The problem is you have 2 sides with different views of sex- one side believes sex is something you can totally choose to do with a consenting partner, regardless of whether it’s in the context of dating/ hooking up/ marriage- if this is true, then women definitely need to have access to abortion, because they might not be in a position where they are able to deal with being pregnant and raising a kid. The other side says sex is only supposed to happen between married partners (who would presumably be able to deal with having a pregnancy/ raising a kid, since they’re committed to supporting each other)… and unmarried people aren’t supposed to have sex, but they have the freedom to do that if they want, as long as it’s not hurting anyone- but in the case of abortion, it IS hurting the “baby”.

    As far as I can tell, that’s why there is a controversy about abortion- because there are 2 different stances about sex, and the 2 different views on abortion follow very clearly from those. And I don’t see a way to change that.

    • Rosa

      and the “pro-family, pro-marriage” side thinks that marriage magically fixes everything – the married partners never have financial problems, or medical problems, or domestic violence.

      To me this seems like it sets up marriages and even churches to fail – since getting married doesn’t magically cause agreement between partners, erase personal problems or mental illness, or really do anything else, people get married without addressing these issues and are caught blindsided by them – and then they feel betrayed by their parents and religion as well.

    • Ashton

      As if married women never have abortions.

    • Judy L.

      Most women who have abortions already have children (and from anecdotal evidence I’ve read, about 40% of them identify as ‘pro-life’). I don’t know what exactly Evangelical (or CP) marriage vows entail. Catholic marriage vows require the commitment to welcome children, but I’m not aware that other religions require this. Just like sex, marriage isn’t a contract to have children either; just because a couple has made a commitment to support each other does not automatically entail welcoming or supporting children. Marriage currently exists to create a legal next-of-kin relationship between the partners. In the past, marriage mostly existed to confer ‘legitimacy’ onto children, to create a legal relationship between a father and his children for the purposes of inheritance. Non-legitimate children had no legal claims against their fathers for support or inheritance. Thankfully, we’ve gotten to the point in our culture’s maturation that we recognize, at least at the civil level, that children have rights and legal claims against their parents regardless of whether or not their parents were married or are married (in Catholicism, where there is no divorce, children are made illegitimate when their parents do an end-run around the divorce prohibition and get their marriage ‘annulled’).

      I’m sorry to have to tell you this, perfectnumber628, because my intention is not to insult you and I can tell that you put some thought into what you wrote, but your premise is entirely faulty: This isn’t an issue of ‘two sides with different views of sex’. There are not simply two sides nor simply two views of sexuality and procreation and thus your argument that there are two positions on abortion that ‘clearly follow from…2 different stances on sex’ doesn’t hold up. Your perception that there are ‘two sides’ to the abortion issue is valid (that is what you perceive, ‘as far as you can tell’) but your perception is not borne out by the reality of the multi-faceted positions regarding abortion and the right to either choose abortion for oneself or to right to impose one’s will onto others by restricting them from choosing and accessing abortion for themselves.

      • Joanne

        Judy L, you are either not Catholic or don’t know about annulments. A request for annulment indicates that there are serious and severe reasons for a church marriage to be dissolved. And no, children do not automatically become illegitimate when an annulment happens; that’s a myth.
        From the website American Catholic.org “Understanding Annulments”:
        An ecclesiastic annulment is a declaration by the Church that a marriage which was thought to be valid was not legally binding. This might be because of some defect in the consent given on the day of the wedding, or possibly a defect in the psychological capacity of one of the parties. When an annulment is granted, the Church is not saying that there never was a marriage. The …legal contract on which it was based turned out to be invalid. Canon law declares that all the children born of an annulled marriage are legitimate. The …designation “illegitimate” is…technically reserved for those born out of wedlock, which is certainly not the case in an annulled marriage.

    • http://AztecQueen2000.blogspot.com AztecQueen2000

      Not all married women can, or should, have every child conceived in wedlock. Otherwise, we’d see more 20-kid families.

      • thalwen

        And a lot more dead mothers.

    • Rosie

      Getting married may have made it “ok” with my parents, grandparents, in-laws and church for me to get pregnant and have a baby, but to my everlasting surprise it didn’t make it ok with ME. I still feel the same aversion to babies and small children I have always felt; I still feel terrified of having one of my own; I still feel that my life would be over in every meaningful sense if I were to have a child. A car wreck would be far preferable to me, and marriage didn’t change that. I’m also sure this makes me a terrible terrible person not deserving of life in the eyes of many “pro-life, pro-family” people. I guess my choosing to continue to live rather than suicide is a symbolic middle-finger to their supposedly loving deity.

      • Anonymouse

        Ah, but suicide is a no-no, so…I dunno. In their belief you should pray for death?!? Have children anyway knowing you didn’t want to and the children knowing you didn’t want them?

        Or, you can be happy in knowing that you are making the best choice FOR YOU, no matter what they say.

      • Rosie

        Anonymouse, my ancestors who felt like I do went with the latter option, and that’s why I’m here. I suppose that was, until very recently, the only socially acceptable option. Though I’m pretty sure that at least one suicided too, after having the kids. If the culture puts enough effort into making the misfits miserable, Hell starts looking not so bad after a while. Though I heard a story a few weeks ago on NPR–maybe on This American Life?–about people, mostly women, who would commit murder (usually of a child) in order to be given the death sentence and thereby circumvent the prohibition against suicide. Apparently this was a common problem for several centuries in Catholic Europe.

  • smrnda

    Abortion aside, the usual arguments against birth control is that it’s interfering with a natural process. I don’t see why this is a point since we interfere with natural processes all the time. It’s usually treated as different since, unlike taking pills to stop allergies, taking pills to prevent conception is seen as wrong since the allergy symptoms are bad but that the capacity for pregnancy is an inherent good (at least in some people’s moral calculus.)

    The problem with that is that it’s a statement that asking “why” just leads to some massively convoluted arguments that never really give a hard reason. The capacity for reproduction can be good, and is necessary, but it doesn’t mean that it’s always good any more than it’s always good for it to be raining. Without rain,we would have no food, but it doesn’t mean it’s somehow morally wrong to not want rain for a few days, and if we had the technology, I don’t think it would be say, morally wrong for someone to use technology to prevent it from raining in a place when some big outdoor event was going on.

  • Rae

    Also, if consent to sex is consent to pregnancy, that should converse give rape victims and any woman under the age of consent the absolute, unambiguous right to have an abortion. Otherwise, the pro-life lobby who uses that argument is really basically saying “If you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex, and just hope that no man forces you to have sex either. Because if he does and you do get pregnant, too bad, you can’t do anything about it.”

    • Monimonika

      Let’s not forget the inevitable uptick in false claims of rape in order to secure an abortion. Innocent men get their lives ruined and trials will cost everybody involved time and money. If instead some imaginary stranger is claimed to be the rapist, there will be wasted time and resources spent by police on trying to find the nonexistent perp. Women with legitimate claims of rape will be doubted amidst the frequent false claims. And since a lot of the claimants will likely be too poor to afford a lawyer, the court appointed ones will be even more swamped with work than they already are.

      No one wins.

  • Saraquill

    I would hate to be the child who was told that s/he was only carried to term not because s/he was wanted, but was a punishment to be endured.

    • Rosie

      Agreed. Doubly so as people in my family were in pretty much exactly this position growing up, and I’ve seen the damage it does. Yet somehow the people shouting “but what about the BABY” never seem to consider this possibility, which would be a likelihood if abortion were even more difficult to acquire than it currently is. Or maybe they think a lifetime of emotional abuse is preferable to being aborted? I would disagree.

  • Rilian

    It’s so stupid that they say “stop hating your biology”. That’s like telling someone to stop hating the fact that they have, like, kidney failure, and just let it kill them.

  • Ibis3

    But sir, you consented to the risk when you signed up to play football. Concussion? Life threatening brain injury? Natural consequences of engaging in such risky behaviour. Sorry can’t help you. You gotta pay to play.

    • http://eschaton2012.ca Eamon Knight

      It’s probably worth clarifying the terminology surrounding the issue. When you drive/bungee jump/sky dive/play contact sports, you are not consenting to get injured per se; you are consenting to *take the risk* (where P<100%) of getting injured. And the calculus of risk assessment includes both 1) minimizing the chance of things going wrong and 2) the understanding that there is medical and social support for the casualties if things do go pear-shaped.

      • ScottInOH

        Right, and Libby Anne’s point is that for most activities we think the appropriate, moral thing to do is to (1) decrease the likelihood of a bad outcome (not forego the activity entirely) and (2) treat/eliminate the bad outcome if it happens. With sex/BC/abortion, a lot of people want to pretend it’s fundamentally different.

  • Bre

    A teenage friend of ours was driving up the road near my house. He was teasing his girlfriend by swerving around when he lost control of the car. He wasn’t wearing a seat belt, and was killed when he crashed the vehicle. His girlfriend, who did have a seatbelt on, was completely fine (physically). Everyone was very sad and showed much empathy and support to his family, who were (obviously) devastated. The city even put up a sign there: In Memory of Kid’s name- wear your seat belt. This couldn’t be more different from the things I’ve heard young women say about continuing an unplanned pregnancy that drive me nuts: “well, I’m the one who opened my legs so I have to step up and take responsibility” and so on. Very good post, Libby Anne.

    • Rilian

      I don’t get the analogy. Or anti-analogy. Can you explain?

  • http://ErikBerggren.webs.com Erik

    Woman sitting in waiting room with one day old baby (born yesterday) ..waiting for “doctor” to legally euthanize her unwanted, unintended, (oops) “baby”.

    • Squire Bramble

      You tripping there, mate?

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Can you at least give us something with both a subject AND a predicate if you expect us to respond to this nonsense?

    • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

      Okay, that’s a strong visual. I give you props for that. Who knew Buffy was so useful? But does it mean and when has that ever happened or even been proposed?

  • Adele

    In general I like the analogy and think it works very well. The problem I have with it has nothing to do with the presence of “other drivers” or lack thereof. My problem is that sometimes getting pregnant is the desired outcome of having sex. I can’t think of any situation where getting in a wreck is the desired outcome of getting in a car. Also, the risk of an accident is a risk we are willing to take in order to gain other benefits from getting in a car, namely a quick and convenient mode of travel. The people who think the argument this analogy is refuting is valid are never going to accept the analogy because they believe the only valid reason or benefit of having sex is to procreate, so it makes no sense to them to make getting pregnant parallel with the risks of getting in a car instead of the benefits. To them saying having sex is accepting the risk of pregnancy is not at all like saying getting in a car is accepting the risk of an accident. To them it is more like saying getting in a car is accepting the risk of arriving at your destination and finding out you don’t want to be there. Hmm . . . continuing this train of thought . . . I think outlawing abortion would be analogous to making a law saying that once you drive someplace you have to stay there nine months whether you like it or not. Only if you are female of course. Men would just have to pay the cost of finding alternate transportation home. Yes, I know I am just being silly now. :-)

    • Judy L.

      Adele, you are awesome.

  • Adele

    I do think the analogy of letting people who are in car wrecks bleed to death is excellent. That is what restricting and outlawing abortion is really – denial of medical care. People don’t like to think about it, but women have always been able to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, if only by killing themselves (in most societies, even ancient ones, women had a few other options than that). Modern medicine has made this much safer for the woman – it didn’t invent the concept. I and others have said it before on this blog – a baby is NOT a natural automatic inevitable end result of conception. It is the end result of nine months of nurturing (whether voluntary and aware or not) by a woman. Making abortion illegal is an attempt to coerce women into providing this nurturing by making the choice not to provide it as risky to the woman as possible, while at the same time aggressively misleading women into thinking it is not a choice at all.

    • Judy L.

      Adele, you really are awesome. :) I loved your comments.

  • murollavan

    Solid posting Libby. I grow more irritated and tired of the slut shaming argument #2 all the time.

  • ButchKitties

    I think that the comparison to organ donation is more of a legal argument than a moral argument, which means that legal precedents are germane to the discussion. Fortunately, we have a legal precedent to examine in McFall v Shimp.

    For those unfamiliar with the case, it’s basically this: Robert McFall was a man in need of a bone marrow transplant to live. He asked his family to be tested for donor compatibility. After the initial round of testing there was only one match, a first cousin named David Shimp. However, at this point Shimp decided he did not want to donate, and declined to participate in any further testing or eventual donation. McFall sued to try to compel Shimp to donate. The courts sided with Shimp, saying: “For our law to compel the defendant to submit to an intrusion of his body would change the very concept and principle upon which our society is founded. To do so would defeat the sanctity of the individual, and would impose a rule which would know no limits, and one could not imagine where the line would be drawn.”

    One detail worth highlighting is that McFall only knew that Shimp was a good candidate for donation because Shimp consented to that initial round of testing. Unlike having sex, HLA type testing is not something that is done for any reason other than as a first step towards becoming an organ/tissue donor. Organ donation is the intended result of HLA testing, with much more certainty than pregnancy is the intended result of sex. There is no other reason to consent to HLA testing than to become a donor, whereas there are a myriad of reasons to consent to sex that have nothing to do with procreation.

    Legally speaking, if consent to HLA compatibility testing is not consent to bone marrow donation, then I think it is completely consistent to extend that to say that consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. Potential living organ donors are presented multiple opportunities to back out, and can back out at any time during the evaluation period, because risk of coercion is high. Consent to one step of the process is not treated as consent to every step that follows. The importance of maintaining each person’s bodily autonomy is just too great.

    • Judy L.

      Well said.

  • Sue Blue

    At the very bottom of all the antichoice arguments lies the idea that sex (for women) is a nasty necessity meant for procreation, and that no decent woman should ever enjoy it. This is why the antiabortion crazies are also rabidly against birth control and sex education – because that would make sex easy and fun! It’s supposed to be a married woman’s onerous duty!
    I wonder how really anti-choice the men in the anti-choice group would be if their patriarchal “moral” legislation passed and every sex act really did have to result in an enforced pregnancy. If their wives only had sex with them when they planned to get pregnant, and refused to have sex at any other time…and if there were no mistresses or hookers to relieve their Viagra-enhanced needs because said mistresses/hookers have no access to birth control or abortion and thus find sex just too much trouble, I think you would rapidly see an amazing turnabout in “morals” and “morality” legislation. Just a thought.

  • http://www.queereka.com Yessenia

    Liver cirrhosis is a consequence of selling someone alcohol, but we don’t require that bartenders donate their livers to any bar patrons that need a transplant.

    The mere fact that you contributed to another person’s need for life-sustaining organs does not actually entitle them to use your body as they see fit. If you hit another car and the result is someone in that car needs a heart transplant, it doesn’t mean they get your heart.

    A person could, however, theoretically sue another person for damages in some analogous instances, but would be difficult to argue that a fetus was damaged by sex a woman had prior to its existence.

  • kwilson

    This is absolutely one of the most consistently intelligent comment sections, on this subject, that I’ve had the pleasure to read in the last three years. Thanks, folks. Much appreciated.
    :)

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  • stardreamer

    The argument which is a perfect parallel to this one is the one that says once a woman has consented to any level of sexual behavior — even flirting or kissing — she has therefore consented to sexual intercourse, and therefore if she’s raped she has only herself to blame. In fact, the argument you’re dissecting here often flows smoothly from the first one. She “led him on”, so of course she was raped (because, y’know, men are such uncivilized beasts that they can’t control their own sexual impulses), and then she got pregnant, so she DESERVES to be punished for it by being forced to raise a baby — all by herself and preferably in poverty and squalor, because God forbid we do anything to help single mothers escape their PUNISHMENT.

    When you stop to think about what those arguments actually say about (1) men and (2) babies, it’s not pretty at all.

    • Twist

      And (3) the people making them! Thinking of having to raise a child alone and in poverty as a fitting punishment for a woman who *gasp* has sex demonstrates an extremely warped mind, and no consideration at all for the “innocent baby” forced to grow up in poverty with a mother who may well resent it.

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  • jill pasternak

    What I find shocking is the “me, me, me” orientation to your whole mindset.

    You don’t think an unborn baby has rights? Not a person? Fine. That’s your decision.

    However, don’t be surprised (or complain) when someone with that same “me, me, me” orientation puts a gun in your face and shoots you in the head for whatever you have in your purse.

    What’s the difference?

    “Me, me, me”

    • “Rebecca”

      There’s nothing wrong with a bit of selfishness. Individual liberty is the foundation of many kinds of human rights. The way you’re looking at it, having an abortion is an act of selfishness. But isn’t a fetus’s unwanted occupation of someone’s uterus, depriving her of health and personal liberty, also a kind of selfishness? Why does anyone need to put up with a parasitic relationship with a fetus?

      • jill pasternak

        Rebecca: “Why does anyone need to put up with a parasitic relationship with a fetus?”

        One might ask “why does anyone need to put up a with a parasite like Rebecca?”

        You never did actually address the point I was making. Notice how I’m still trying to make it?

        I’m not surprised.

        Try to actually make a rational case for your position, if you can.

      • Rosie

        Um, “Rebecca” is not a parasite; she’s physically independent and educated enough to type grammatically correct English into a computer. A fetus is a physical parasite. There’s a big distinction there, and glossing over it won’t make it magically disappear.

      • “Rebecca”

        Jill, I’m not a parasite. I’m an autonomous person. I’m not invading anyone’s body and my existence isn’t causing anyone long-term illness or excruciating physical pain. If I was doing those things, they would have the right to rid my presence from their lives at their earliest convenience, including the use of lethal force if necessary.
        An unwanted fetus is literally a parasite and a pregnant woman has every right to expel a parasite from her body for any reason. Your analogy of a shooter isn’t valid, as is the case with virtually every type of analogy involved in abortion arguments. A person walking down the street minding their own business isn’t putting anyone’s life or well-being at risk the same way a fetus does and so no one has a right to shoot them.
        I’m still not clear why you think that the selfish nature of getting an abortion is a problem. Of course it’s selfish. People have the right to act in their own self-interest when another person or being is encroaching upon their bodily integrity.

    • phantomreader42

      Ah, death threats! Such a shining example of christian love from you, Jill!

      And no, that is NOT sarcasm. Your cult constantly spews lies, threats, and bigotry, while being dishonest, brainwashed, or stupid enough to pretend your vile actions qualify as “love”. You are a perfect example of what a cesspool of filth christianity has become.

      • “Rebecca”

        I’m not surprised at all. There is no level pro-lifers won’t stoop to when arguing with pro-choicers. Deceit, threats, and manipulation are all considered perfectly acceptable techniques, since in their minds there is literally nothing worse than abortion. Any sense of perspective was abandoned long ago when Pro-lifers decided to anthropomorphize embryos so badly, they can’t perceive a difference between the worth of a grown woman and a developing person-in-progress that has literally no awareness of its own existence.
        Even the less nasty pro-lifers have no interest in keeping the Jills in line, since anyone who opens fire on pro-choicers is “fighting for the babies” no matter how malicious their arguments are.

      • jill pasternak

        1. I didn’t make a death threat. I made a comparison.

        2. I’m not a Christian, nor religious.

        3. You need to learn to read and comprehend.

      • Rosie

        Jill, your comparison is bogus, because *I am not physically occupying another person’s body*. If I was, they would indeed have every right to evict me, even if I died in the process. It’s a much different situation from somebody on the street shooting me to steal my purse.

    • Anat

      The difference, as was pointed out to you, is that a fetus is a physical parasite of its would-be mother the way a born child is not. Therefore the woman’s rights always supersede those of the fetus, but not of a born child. What is so hard to understand?

      • phantomreader42

        The reason it’s so hard for fetus-fetishists to understand is because they don’t WANT to understand. They can’t sustain their delusions without willful ignorance.

    • Twist

      So women who think they have the right to bodily autonomy and that their rights outweigh whatever rights a fetus might have deserve to be shot in the face? What a charming individual you are.

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  • Kellen

    “…I can only conclude that their goal is to make having sex so risky that no one will do it. ”

    Well, yeah. I’ve concluded that since I was 12. Even when I “knew” (read: was told and never allowed to question) beyond a shadow of a doubt that life began at conception, the agenda was obvious to me. It’s only now, one March-For-Life and many years later, that I’ve realized what a poisonous agenda it is, but it’s not like it was ever a secret.


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