An anonymous commenter asked:
This is a little off topic but as a pro-choicer do you believe a man should have the right to opt out of parental responsibilities? It seems that if a woman has the right to choose whether or not she is to become a parent then a man should have that same right as well. Not trying to be a jerk just wondering if any pro-choicers have thought about this. Why should a man be held responsible for a choice he didn’t make?
I’m pulling this out as its own post, because I don’t want an abortion discussion to start eclipsing the transhumanism/ethics discussion in the other thread. And frankly, I don’t really want this post to become open season on abortion arguments, so I’d really like it if commenters limited themselves to the scope of the question.
Ok, on to my answer. There’s a really easy way for men (and women) to opt out of parental responsibilities, and it’s called not having sex. If you choose to have intercourse, you can’t opt-out of responsibility any more than you can opt-out of an STI if your protection fails or you used it improperly. Wearing a seatbelt and taking appropriate precautions doesn’t let you opt-out of being injured in a car accident, it just improves your odds. If you have consensual sex with a woman and she gets pregnant, no matter how careful you were, you’re on the hook for child support or half the cost of the abortion, depending on her choice.
If you can’t tolerate a risk of either of those responsibilities, good news! No one ever died from not having sex. If you are willing to be on the hook for one of either child support or an abortion, but one of those strikes you as practically or ethically unconscionable, you’ve still got options: never have sex with someone if you disagree with them about how to handle an unexpected pregnancy.
This is also my solution to casual sex culture, by the way. Fine, go have sex with people whose names you don’t know, but only if you’ve already had a conversation about your respective feelings about abortion. Don’t feel comfortable enough to have that conversation with a stranger? Then no sex for you! Too tipsy to get through the chat? No sex for you! The other person brushes you off when you bring it up? No sex for you (and what a lucky miss)! Clear that hurdle, and we can get into discussions about consent and communication and not objectifying or disrespecting your partner (and I don’t buy into the ‘it’s ok if we’re both treating each other as sex objects’ argument). But if you don’t clear agreeing-on-abortion hurdle, tough beans.