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Stef's rants: number 1 of a series

In this entry I invited people to suggest topics for me to rant or blather about. Here is the first rant, suggested by snippy, who wrote:
What is your opinion on giving men an option to disclaim their rights and obligations to a fetus before birth, a kind of abortion of legal relationship? Any other thoughts on reproductive responsibility?

It seems reasonable for men to have the option not to support a child they had no intention of creating, as long as they didn't force or coerce the sex that caused the pregnancy. But it's also imperative that women have the choice whether to bear a child if they get pregnant. That leaves the question "what about the child, if a child is born?" Currently society has it that children are financially provided for by parents or guardians, and the government steps in only if there are no parents or guardians available (or if a parent/guardian applies for assistance). This puts single-parent children at a disadvantage, and gives the government a stake in making sure that children have two guardians. If the government or some other entity guaranteed a certain amount of financial support to every individual (or every child), then it would not perceive one-parent children as an extra financial drain and wouldn't need to legally coerce unwilling biological fathers to pay up. In practice, of course, some women don't name a father on a child's birth certificate, thus absolving/depriving the father of rights/responsibilities; also some fathers avoid their financial responsibilities. That's not a good solution because it leaves the father at the mercy of the mother and leaves the mother with fewer options if the father isn't helping financially. From this angle, I think allowing men to legally absolve themselves of paternity rights/responsibilities would only work if there were some changes to how society views its responsibility toward children, so that children born in such situations had a better chance of doing well.

Other thoughts on reproductive responsibility: There should be better birth control measures for everyone, they should be free because providing birth control is cheaper than providing abortion or helping a person who's financially insolvent to raise a child, and there should be as-close-to-mandatory-as-we-can-make-it sex education.

My more fascistic side says there should be temporary sterilization of all people at the age of puberty, to be unlocked only when they are deemed financially and emotionally ready to be a parent. In other words, "If you need a license to drive a car, you should jolly well need one to raise a child." Of course that's impossible given the level of prejudice in our current society.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
the_siobhan
Jun. 22nd, 2004 06:29 am (UTC)
I recall a court case a couple of years ago where the woman actually took the condom out of the garbage while the man was asleep and impregnated herself.

He was found to be financially liable. That is injustice.
krasota
Jun. 22nd, 2004 10:41 am (UTC)
I know someone that this actually happened to (more than a couple years ago). I agree, it is injustice.
ailbhe
Jun. 22nd, 2004 07:33 am (UTC)
The temporary sterilisation would work even now if it could be voluntarily reversed at will for free - say upon reaching voting age. It would have to be an arbitrary thing like voting age, because otherwise prejudices would come into play very quickly.

Beta.
(Deleted comment)
hfnuala
Jun. 22nd, 2004 11:26 am (UTC)
I'm quite extreme in this. If a man is not willing to accept a woman's decision about what she should do if she does get pregnant, he shouldn't have PIV sex unless he is sterilised. It's not like there aren't alternatives.
(Deleted comment)
hfnuala
Jun. 22nd, 2004 12:38 pm (UTC)
If they are comfortable with that risk, don't have PIV sex. It is an act which has consequences. Luckily nowadays the consequences don't include being ostracised/stoned/wearing a red letter, but they still exist. I realise I'm an exteremist on this, but if someone can't accept this reality, they should find other ways to get off.
leback
Jun. 22nd, 2004 05:38 pm (UTC)
Sounds not unlike arguments I've heard in opposition to a woman's right to an abortion...
hfnuala
Jun. 23rd, 2004 10:54 am (UTC)
True (extremes become a loop!) However, I think my point really is because it's the woman's body she has the ultimate say so and I wish there was some way to get men[1] to acknowledge that before each sex act. This is aimed both at the 'she forced me to provide for the kid' crowd and the 'she had an abortion without including me in the decision' crowd, because they are different aspects of the right to chose.

I'm trying to share the consequences around.

[1] I realise many men do. But not all.
leback
Jun. 22nd, 2004 05:35 pm (UTC)
My more fascistic side says there should be temporary sterilization of all people at the age of puberty, to be unlocked only when they are deemed financially and emotionally ready to be a parent. In other words, "If you need a license to drive a car, you should jolly well need one to raise a child."

But you don't need a license to drive a car--you need a license to drive a car on roads that are the property of the government.

I'm all for requiring licenses to conceive children in bodies that are the property of the government. I just don't know any such bodies. :-)
firecat
Jun. 22nd, 2004 06:28 pm (UTC)
Well put.

Although it could be tweaked to "licenses to raise children if you are going to make use of any property of the government in raising said children."
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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