September 5, 2013

"I am not a huge fan of abortion, but we both had sports careers, plus we could not financially handle a baby."

Said Udonis Haslem, who is now a professional basketball player (for the Miami Heat). At the time, he was a senior in college, training for the N.B.A. draft.  We're told he had "struggled with supporting Kedonis, the son he had in high school, who is now 14 and who lives with his mother." (That link goes to Life News, a Pro-Life site, and it's decrying this NYT wedding story for "celebrating" an abortion.)

Haslem's fiancee, Faith Rein said:
"Udonis appreciated that I was willing to have an abortion.... I found him caring, supportive, nurturing and all over me to be sure I was O.K. I saw another side of him during that difficult time and fell deeply in love. He had a big heart and was the whole package."
We've had some heated discussions on this blog in the last couple of months about the problem of the purported lack of equality arising from the woman's right to have an abortion and the man's inability to extricate himself from financial responsibility for the child he doesn't want and lacks the option to abort.

In that light, let's look at Udonis Haslem. Perhaps he wanted little Kedonis, perhaps he would have aborted him. In any case, his high school liaison did not abort, Kedonis was born, and Udonis has paid child support. Later, it happens again. A woman becomes pregnant with his child. Let's call him Xdonis. Udonis cannot force Faith to have an abortion. You can cry with outrage over the man's lack of equality here, but it's the woman's body — as I said in last summer's arguments over men's reproductive rights — and she gets to decide whether to submit her body to the forces of nature that have found purchase within. 

But Haslem reads the playing field and applies his skills to the situation at hand. You fight for your rights with the law you have, not the law you might want or wish to have at a later time. A man who would like to exercise the right to choose to abort must exercise his powers of persuasion upon the mind of the woman. She controls the womb inside her body, her mind must make a decision. He may not act upon the womb. He must act upon the mind.

What did Udonis Haslem say to Faith Rein? We can only infer from her report of how it felt to her: He appreciated her willingness to have an abortion. Men who want to exercise a right to choose, operating with the law we have, can dilate and extract some ideas. Don't say: I want you to have an abortion. Admire her mind (that mind that will make the decision). Aren't willing women beautiful? Pro-life people speak of willingness to bear the child. There's a corresponding willingness to have an abortion. A baby seems much more lovely than an abortion, so it's tricky. We don't know exactly how Haslem made Rein feel that way. But I infer that he adored her beautiful mind.

She "found him caring, supportive, nurturing and all over me to be sure I was O.K." It's all about her. Men who want a right to choose, take note! Don't make it about you, even if that's what you're really thinking. It is about her, because she will make the decision. Don't talk about the baby and how much trouble it will be for you. Stay away from the womb. That's her domain. Don't look down there. Her mind is up here. Care for her, support her, nurture her, and be all over her. Make sure she is okay.

I saw another side of him during that difficult time and fell deeply in love. He had a big heart and was the whole package. What would it take to make her feel like that? You're all about love and caring. And she has the abortion!

54 comments:

surfed said...

Why hasn't science come up with a male "pill"? T'would seem easy enough and certain to be profitable endeavor. Further query - Why does NOW not support the research to develop or market a male birth control pill?

MadisonMan said...

What a romantic story.

Let's posit that the man in question was not pulling down a pro basketball salary.

I think it would play differently.

Udonis is just one of many men who can't figure out how birth control works. Pathetic man.

Franklin said...

Goodness, that is a profoundly confused argument.

Everyone ought to be able to see the logic in the argument that if it's a woman's choice to have a baby when the man doesn't want it, then it should similarly be a man's choice whether he wants to pay for it. As you might say: Stay away from his wallet. That's his domain.

Though your argument seems to be that his right to choose is little more than his right to be persuasive, which doesn't seem to have any discernible logical foundation.

EDH said...

I don't think anyone argued a man should be able to compel an abortion on a woman.

It was a debate whether a woman should be able to force parental obligations on a man, at her sole discretion.

If the logic being if "reproductive rights" means a woman can give a child up for adoption, unilaterally, with no further obligation on her part, why shouldn't a man?

As I understand it, the biological father often has a certain "first right of refusal" in those cases if he chooses to be a parent to that child.

The question is whether men and women who decide unilaterally to give a child up for adoption are treated equally.

Specifically, are woman who sought to give a child up for adoption routinely compelled to pay child support to the single biological father who decides to exercise his parental rights?

A much rarer circumstance, I'm sure.

But I think that's as far as the equitable argument can go. For a host of reasons Althouse has elucidated, the "if she can kill it, I should be able to walk away" argument is not sound public policy.

Matthew Sablan said...

"[I]t should similarly be a man's choice whether he wants to pay for it."

-- It is in society's interest that babies be cared for. The choices are the state pick up the tab, the family pick up the tab, or the biological parents pick up the tab.

If the man doesn't want to pay for kids, he has plenty of options to avoid the situation entirely. (Assuming, of course, we're leaving out the incredibly rare cases where a woman rapes a man and becomes pregnant, in which case there was nothing he could do to avoid the situation.)

Ann Althouse said...

@Franklin Think harder about the part of the post that says:

"You fight for your rights with the law you have, not the law you might want or wish to have at a later time. A man who would like to exercise the right to choose to abort must exercise his powers of persuasion upon the mind of the woman. She controls the womb inside her body, her mind must make a decision. He may not act upon the womb. He must act upon the mind."

Frankly, I think the rest of us are hurt by the fact that the most skilled and intelligent men will be able to do this, and we will lose the benefit of their children. The men who can't do this produce the next generation.

But Rein and Haslem did go on to have other children, and they were born into a financially well-off family, instead of to an unmarried college student (or perhaps college drop-out).

They now have 2 sons. Perhaps the second of those 2 sons would not have been born if the aborted child had lived. Perhaps neither would have been born. Who gets to be born and why?

I've linked to the key abortion case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and the arguments that you say have no discernible logical foundation are in fact founded on the case law. I'm living in the real world here, not in some "logical" place you'd prefer. Once I take the real-world fact of the Supreme Court's doctrine as foundation, everything I say from there on is logical (especially if you absorb the satire and adjust for that).

Men need to learn to talk to women! Whining about wanting more rights and drawing attention to your desire to hang onto your money is such a major conversational fail, except to the extent that this failure might make the woman decide she doesn't want to put her reproductive and childrearing work into the product of your genetic material.

C Stanley said...

I'm finding it hard to believe that a law professor's argument is that an individual's rights are contingent upon that individual's ability to persuade another individual from usurping those rights.

Real American said...

the baby's body is most certainly NOT the woman's body. she is carrying it and has an obligation to keep the child safe from harm. the mother should be no more able to extricate herself from whatever inconvenience her own choices and behavior hath wrought than the father should. that's equality.

jacksonjay said...

I think your argument is as follows, "if you can sweet talk that baby into her, you gonna have to sweet talk that baby outta her!"

Did the Professor go eugenics on us here?

"...the rest of us are hurt by the fact that the most skilled and intelligent men will be able to do this, and we will lose the benefit of their children. The men who can't do this produce the next generation." Really??

SGT Ted said...

As you might say: Stay away from his wallet. That's his domain.

That is my reply. I have no demands on female anatomy or autonomy in regards to their reproductive choices. They are adults, they have a right to choose.

But, the insistence that males MUST be held to a legally enforced chivalric standard of pregnancy,birth and parenting that women can reject as obsolete when it is applied to them is the problem. The current legal structure regarding responsibility for pregnancy is fundamentally sexist.

It isn't about equality at that point, but rather, it is about maintaining sexist notions of Female Privilege that benefit them and financially enslaves males to their unilateral decisions. It is maintaining inequality in requiring involuntary servitude of men to a woman exercising her rights. That is the evil. No other right requires involuntary servitude as part of its exercise.

If men are to be held to the old pre-equality standard of supporting the child, regardless of choice, then women should be subject to having to marry the man should she choose to keep the baby. That was the old standard of premarital pregnancy; man knocks you up, he marries you, because having the baby was expected. Now, having the baby isn't to be expected.

If I cannot force anybody to buy me a rifle to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights, why should any man be forced to pay you cash for your decisions?

So, women, time to put on your Big Girl pants and take sole responsibility for your sexuality.

We are tired of the childish prating from purported adult feminists to female "empowerment" and "independence" that are little more than justifications to maintain one-sided sexist opportunities to extract money from men they don't want to live with or sleep with again.


Gabriel Hanna said...

@Ann:You fight for your rights with the law you have, not the law you might want or wish to have at a later time.

The discussion that caused the late unpleasantness was not over what the law is, but what the law ought to be.

We all already know what the law is.

Ann Althouse said...

On any given occasion facing you now and in the near future, unless you are working on long-shot litigation, you will have to play on the field that exists, and I am telling you what it is.

Failure to face this reality makes your comments here repetitive of conversations we had last month.

Let's move on to the issues raised in this post.

Let's talk about the world that exists, which includes legal doctrine that has existed for a long, long time about abortion and state laws that put the interests of children above the father's philosophical yearnings for equality.

There are new issues raised in this post.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

Funny, when I read Althouse's points on this issue, I am left with the same impression I have when reading others' arguments against same-sex marriage. Men have rights... just different rights! Of course they are different... men and women *are* different and there is no getting around that. It's the law we have! Don't fight the law, laws are important so work within them. Spousal benefits? Really? Is this all about your damn wallet?? What about the children!

Gabriel Hanna said...

Let's talk about the world that exists, which includes legal doctrine that has existed for a long, long time about laws that put the interests of children above the mother's philosophical yearnings for equality.

Ann Althouse, circa 1863, addressing a group of suffragettes.

C Stanley said...

I think the new issues you are raising are stupid, and dangerous in that you seem to advocate that people plead for their rights rather than work to redress inequities in the law which put them in that position to begin with.

Strelnikov said...

He had a big heart and was the whole package.


Who wouldn't love this guy who is now making millions but had to kill his child for reasons of convenience? Perfect husband and father.

C Stanley said...

Looking at this another way though, I certainly wish that more men would argue the women they impregnate out of abortions. This seems different to me because the existing law grants a right to the woman to kill (which I believe is unjust) and it is certainly moral and pragmatic to try to convince someone out of this. My hunch is that the abortion rate would be greatly reduced if men chose to do so because i tend to think that many women abort due to lack of support (both financial and emotional) from the fathers.

This converse situation doesn't suffer the same risk as the situation in the article, because it is about dealing with an immoral law by applying support for moral choices, rather than trying to right an immoral legal framework with further immorality. It isn't about the rights of the individuals, but the moral choices.

Broomhandle5000 said...

Let's talk about changing the world that exists. That's what life is.

Matthew Sablan said...

I think the problem is that people are stuck thinking the money goes to the woman; the money is for the kid. The kid has done nothing wrong, and the father owes the kid to fulfill his responsibility, not the mother.

Deirdre Mundy said...

"I love how he puts personal ambition ahead of the well-being of his children!" said no woman, ever.

This marriage is going to end in divorce. I hope she got a good prenup.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Matthew Sablan:I think the problem is that people are stuck thinking the money goes to the woman

Because it does. If the woman chooses to spend it on herself or new boyfriends and neglects the kids, nobody checks up on that money. There is little a father can do but go to court and try to get custody.

I am intimately familiar with the situation where the mother misuses the child support money and the father can do little about it. It happens. The laws are stacked in favor of it happening.

MayBee said...

I think the problem is that people are stuck thinking the money goes to the woman; the money is for the kid. The kid has done nothing wrong, and the father owes the kid to fulfill his responsibility, not the mother.



That's true-ish. There is no doubt, though, that a woman who gets NBA-style child support, even if she had the child before he was in the NBA, is going to live an extravagant lifestyle along with the child.

MayBee said...

I don't support this couple talking publicly about having an abortion if they plan to have children together in the future.

Gahrie said...

It's all about her.

......and some of us are getting a little tired of it.

Care for her, support her, nurture her

Whether or not she plans on caring, supporting or nurturing your (and her) child.

Jane said...

Reading the article, I'm not so sure he had to do a lot of persuading. It felt more like she was perfectly fine with the abortion, but was choosing to frame it as something she was doing "for his sake" in order to feel like it was a generous, rather than selfish, act.

But it is absolutely the case that there is a new Double Standard, and that men should be far more motivated not to procreate (or potentially procreate) than (pro-choice) women, since a prochoice woman can have an abortion as a back-up birth control, but men can't. Should we focus our message (of contraception or abstinance, your choice) on young men instead of young women?
http://www.janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2013/08/sex-and-new-double-standard.html

Gahrie said...

Why does NOW not support the research to develop or market a male birth control pill?

Because women fully expect men to behave like women, and don't trust us.

Gahrie said...

Men need to learn to talk to women! Whining about wanting more rights and drawing attention to your desire to hang onto your money is such a major conversational fail, except to the extent that this failure might make the woman decide she doesn't want to put her reproductive and childrearing work into the product of your genetic material.

Once again, women has rights (the right not to listen to men's "whining") and men have responsibilities (Men must talk to women in a manner that pleases women).

LarsPorsena said...

Is an 'Udonis' the opposite of an 'Adonis'?

BarrySanders20 said...

Deidre said:

"I love how he puts personal ambition ahead of the well-being of his children!" said no woman, ever.


If he said that, she never heard that. She heard "I love how he puts ME ahead of the well being of his children."

That's what made her crazy love emerge. That's what Althouse is celebrating. He made HER the focus and then got what he wanted, and she still thinks it was all about her.

So, men, all you have to do to get what you want from women like that is to make it all about her.

MayBee said...

She was on a track scholarship. Of course the abortion was to her benefit as well. So who knows how much he had to talk her into it. Then she went on to have two more kids, with him which saved her from her boredom of being a stay-at-home girlfriend (according to the story). Finally, after he has supported her and them for years anyway, they are now getting legally married.

I always feel sorry for the kids who see their famous father having an exciting life with his "other" family. And I would personally have a very hard time looking at my kids knowing I'd chosen to abort their sibling. I don't think the kids should know their parents did that.

MayBee said...

Actually, thinking about this story, it seems the message is: make a woman feel financially insecure and she will have an abortion.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Because it does. If the woman chooses to spend it on herself or new boyfriends and neglects the kids, nobody checks up on that money."

-- Then we should fix that. The law is broken in application there, but the intent is right.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

People who successfully use strategic deception and tailor their coummunication to their target and purpose are more likely to obtain the outcome (or decision) they want. Yes, true, I'm sure we all agree. And?

Any individual man will likely have more success in talking an individual woman into an abortion if he takes Prof. Althouse's advice than he would if he sutbbornly insisted on what he sees as his rights and her responsibilities. True again, I'm sure.

Those two assertions, however, don't really say much of anything about whether the "men's rights" discussions/debates are worth having in general, nor even whether the terms of those debates have been the "correct" ones. Is Prof. Althouse saying men (or those on the "men's side") should drop that debate altogether and instead focus on learing to psychologically manipulate women to convince them to take whatever action them men want? I agree that if such a movement is successful the need to change the current law and moral landscape wouldn't be as pressing (although those men who weren't as good/didn't learn this lesson as well would suffer in relative terms) but that doesn't strike me as a very compelling case for such a change -- nor a particularly feminist argument. An unkind paraphrase might be "you won't change the law by having a public debate and arguing like a man but if you learn to talk to individual women the right way you can get what you want anyway."

At any rate if men could learn to talk woment into abortions at will (the men's) then why couldn't they talk the women into supporting the men's preferred changes to existing law? There seems to be a logical composition error in extending a discussion over how to best approach talking a woman into an abortion and how to best approach arguing for change to the legal and moral landscape of abortion.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

"He appreciated her willingness to have an abortion. .... I infer that he adored her beautiful mind."

If she naturally (of her own mind) wanted the abortion, then there's not much to be inferred about his persuading her to abort. Persuasion would be irrelevant.

On the other hand, if she did want the child, then if his approach was to make sure she would be loved emotionally if she were willing to abort, but not else, that's morally suspect. And that arguably is what her comment most suggests, because she could have said merely that he appreciated her need to do what her mind decided on its own should be done.

Females and girls in particular, when feeling toward a male what may in their estimation be love, often have a catlike tendency to want to feel or act on hate toward another, just to make sure addiction hasn't made such hate impossible, which would be suggestive that the supposed love be unnatural, e.g., as a result of depraved potion introduced by sodomy that makes everything seem loveable.

Males should never try to force females into killing. It might appear to be a danger, because if a male controls a female in a clean way merely by not loving her unless she be obediently homicidal, her being forced will tend to make her more want to test to see whether she can be hate and kill. Of course, the main danger though is guys forcing girls to kill unrelated people, not forcing them to kill their mutual children or embryos (which along with having sex for no reproductive reason at all does seem highly confused and absurd to my nature).

What is right is what matters insofar as the behavior of a good person is concerned. What is right, though not necessarily legal and though often contrary to the spirit of lawmakers, does depend on what is legal and how much laws be enforced, much more so than what be good. It's highly wrong for males to force females to kill, and if a society practicing human sacrifice doesn't appreciate this, that may well be what dooms it. Once people led by abominable snowmen feel girls should kill even though they don't want to unless punished into it, it opens up the door for not at all snowy sodomizers to justify forcing people by depraved torture, etc., into becoming killer zombies, a situation that never ends well.

Fortunately, the dog-like tendency of girls to enjoy other girls being controlled by a lover if and only if such control is merciful protects against the cat-like tendencies (at least if several girls are involved—it's hard for a girl to be cat-like and dog-like simultaneously). Just lately, at least with your more snow-like girls, I've been thinking a second defense humanity has may be that girls just don't find being loved directly pleasant when in cat mode like they would ordinarily. If a lover or would-be lover has loving emotional feelings toward her, I'm figuring that instead, just from a nature she has evolved to possess, his loving feelings magnify whatever pleasure or displeasure she gets from her cat feelings, which somehow seems safer. But this last theory (of the second defense) feels still rather off and malformed, and in a confusing way, too, whose consequences if too hastily and extensively explored could make refinement of the theory difficult. I would suggest a real danger in thinking about the last theory as exactly stated with such serious gravity or persistence that it creates a bad habit in how to look at things, like unto an ungainly all too persistent bigfoot track in the snow.

David said...

Another example of a man who wants the woman to have the abortion. It's hard to have sympathy, especially for a second offense again unmarried.

Also another example of avoiding the tough question, the situations where the man wants the child and would love and care for it. Back in the day we called them husbands and fathers. Now they are fathers only if the woman so decides.

You don't usually avoid the toughest cases, Althouse. This time you did.

Marshal said...

Matthew Sablan said...
"Because it does. If the woman chooses to spend it on herself or new boyfriends and neglects the kids, nobody checks up on that money."

-- Then we should fix that


Fixing this is a "War on Women", which makes it unfixable.

etbass said...

Any discussion of women's or men's rights are trivial compared to the right of the child to life.

Making that the preemptive matter solves these problems of which parent's rights ought to trump. Anyone who cannot see that the right of the child to life completely overwhelms any others' rights in the abortion issue is blind to any morality and I'm sorry, but I can pay no attention to such a person.

wildswan said...

There's hundreds of thousands of abortions every single year because men get it across to women that they aren't going to be there. This guy got an abortion by saying he'd would be there for her. But I am certain that the number of abortions would fall sharply if generally in that situation the guy was all over the girl with concern and promises of support whatever her decision might be.
I think that guys are thinking about the hook-up culture in which they are not that concerned about the particular woman who they might hardly know. Yet that unknown woman might suddenly acquire power over all their future earnings and they think that isn't fair. They think that the hook-up culture should have no consequences because that's the premise and they think the law should be changed to reflect the culture. But reality just can't be made to work according to the premises of the hook-up culture. If there are no consequences for them then there will be consequences for someone else - the child who is murdered, the woman who suffers ill-health far more frequently than Planned Parenthood acknowledges, the next woman the guy meets, the next man the woman meets, the future children, the broken families, the thug from the broken home who beats the guy up at some later date - etc.
It would be pretty to think this could all be avoided while the hookup culture continued to flourish.

Smilin' Jack said...

Frankly, I think the rest of us are hurt by the fact that the most skilled and intelligent men will be able to do this, and we will lose the benefit of their children.

"Hurt"?! We're devastated! Those men aren't merely "skilled," they're skilled at the art of persuasion, and their children aren't merely "children," they're the potential future lawyers and politicians that we so desperately need many more of! Oh, the humanity!

John Lynch said...

I'm amazed that some people benefit at the expense of others, and can rationalize it to themselves after the fact.

What an insight into human nature.

jr565 said...

Matthew Sablan wrote:
It is in society's interest that babies be cared for. The choices are the state pick up the tab, the family pick up the tab, or the biological parents pick up the tab.

If the man doesn't want to pay for kids, he has plenty of options to avoid the situation entirely. (Assuming, of course, we're leaving out the incredibly rare cases where a woman rapes a man and becomes pregnant, in which case there was nothing he could do to avoid the situation.)


And yer society has Safe Haven laws which allow women to drop babies off at hospitals and forsake their parental rights, no questions asked.

If we are allowing this, why are we still talking about how fathers must be responsible for women's choices? Mothers don't have to be responsible for being mothes, even if they decide against abortions. And we withold judgement on it. Yet guys are assholes if they don't want to be dads.

Give me a break.

Gahrie said...

(guys)think that the hook-up culture should have no consequences because that's the premise and they think the law should be changed to reflect the culture

Because of course no woman participates in the hook up culture, or wants to have sex with no consequences.

Those of us who want the law changed merely want to equalize the rights and responsibilities of men and women. Personally, I would like to make the women more responsibile for their actions, but if I can't do that, I'll settle for giving men similar rights as women.

jr565 said...

If we are allowing a woman to drop off a baby at a hospital anonymously and give up all parental righs, why are we saying that dads cant give up their rights before the baby is born?
This is from a safe haven site:
"Baby Safe Haven Program—a project of the National Safe Haven Alliance
In 1999 an overwhelming number of infant abandonments took place. Never before in a single year had so many mothers decided that they couldn't care for their children—and then disposed of their newborn infants in an unsafe and tragic way.
In response, a group of dedicated people worked together to create a law that would guarantee no mother ever had to secretly dispose of her newborn infant. This law would protect the mother and assure her that she would not be prosecuted for relinquishing her baby. So long as the baby was safe and given to a responsible adult at a designated location, the mother would be free to go anonymously.
Since its inception, over 2,000 babies are known to have been positively impacted by the Baby Safe Haven program.


Women don't hVe to keep their kids.and we can't even be judgmental about it. No recriminations, just drop ot off at the hospital. We need to pass laws to help these poor women who don't want to be mothers. But dads? You better pay up. Assume responsibility. You're an asshole if you don't.
Again, for women its about rights and for men its about responsibilities.

What bullshit.

Kirk Parker said...

Matthew (and Althouse):

"The kid has done nothing wrong, and the father owes the kid to fulfill his responsibility, not the mother."

Why is the same not true of the mother? Abortion is completely irrelevant in this part of the scenario. A mother can choose to give birth, and then walk away scot free. Don't bring up the asymmetry of pregnancy, as it no longer applies once the child is born. The mother can walk away from the living child with no obligation--why can't the father?

Inga said...

Responding to SGT Ted@9:50,

Female Privilege? How interesting. It's the privilege that nature has given us, to carry, give birth or to abort. All three happen in the woman's body. It's a "privilege" to abort an unwanted baby, or carry and give birth to one? Unwanted is the optimal word here. If the impregnator has found a method to transfer the pregnancy to his own body, then he is ON the hook. It was not pregnancy by immaculate conception, he participated.

Man up. Support your girlfriend or wife, she isn't a human vessel for you to pour your biological fluids into.

n.n said...

So, a human life is merely a commodity until it isn't. Hilarious. The consequences of this mindset is the cause for mass murder, rape, and discrimination on an unprecedented scale throughout the 20th century and now in the 21st century.

If you do not want a child, or you cannot afford to raise another human being, then don't have sex. You do not have the right to devalue human life. This is a gross violation of human rights. It is the reason why we have less freedom today. Every decent man and woman should fear the effort to normalize this dysfunctional behavior. They should reject the exhibition of extraordinary or fundamental corruption.

Liberty is only suitable and possible for individuals capable of self-moderating, responsible behavior.

Strelnikov said...

The question that needs to be asked after fathering two illegitimate children is does he even know what is causing this? The worst aspect of abortion is using it as "back up", literal birth control.

Unknown said...

N.N.: "Liberty is only suitable and possible for individuals capable of self-moderating, responsible behavior."

Yeah, that line of thought is going to cool down a couple of drunk teenagers.

Mark Trade said...

Ann, I was thinking just a few days ago how your argument was patriarchal in this fashion: it is the man's responsibility to control his woman. Neither force of law nor direct physical force should do it for him. He must use his virtues to press upon his woman's will, and if he is not successful, then he is not a real man and does not espouse enough masculine virtue to be able to affect his woman in the way he desires, so he deserves what he gets.

Of course saying your view is "patriarchal" only makes sense if patriarchal virtue is finally determined by women and not by men. So the interpretation is a bit contrived.

Nonetheless, you make the same mistake you always make by giving special agency to women *outside of the womb* that you do not allow for men.

A woman wants control over a man's pocketbook. Okay, so why doesn't she try to persuade him? Admire his mind, because that will make the decision. Aren't willing men handsome?

Stay away from his pocketbook. That's his domain. His mind is up here. Care for him, support him, nurture him. Make sure he is okay.

Women who want the right to choose, take note! Don't make it about you, even if that's what you're really thinking.

Ann, men already have the right to choose, it's just not protected by the law. Your reasons for why this particular unequal protection in the law skews the way it does smacks of a patriarchal element, which is that women have no opportunity for virtue. Their reproductive decisions are like those made by animals or are forces of nature and must be protected from punishment in any case. That is the same result as assuming all women to be virtuous.

Assuming all women make virtuous reproductive decisions a priori is equivalent to dismissing their moral agency in reproductive choice. The best they can do is feel impacted by a man's moral decision making, not their own, which fits well with your view, if not accurately describing it.

Remember your argument is with pro-choice people. We fully recognize a woman's dominion over her womb so don't strawman us. (Strawman. Now there's a sexist word. I hope I didn't straw-woman you.)

Saint Croix said...

So much of our abortion fight is done at the level of propaganda and rhetoric. For instance, I say that abortion is a forced miscarriage. Isn't it? I don't see how pro-choice people can disagree with that. And yet pro-choice people never talk about abortion in those terms.

A "forced miscarriage" is truth. And this truth, this reality, forces you to recognize other realities. When you think about forcing a miscarriage on a pregnant woman, you quickly realize that is not a healthy, or nice, or romantic thing to do.

If Udonis was jamming a coat hanger into Faith's vagina to force a miscarriage, I doubt she would say, "I saw another side of him during that difficult time and fell deeply in love." Far more likely, they would be ashamed, and would not want to speak about the ugly thing they had done.

We can only be romantic about abortion if we deny the truth of what an abortion is. It's like the romantic version of slavery in the antebellum South. We feel this need to suppress the truth, which is ugly and brutal. And so we suppress it and deny it. And by doing so, the ugly and barbaric thing continues.

What is the abortion fantasy? You go to the doctor, he puts you to sleep, and you wake up not-pregnant. It gives us the illusion that we're just making a pregnancy disappear. It's "choice."

It's a fantasy. Or, to use harsher terms, it's a lie. The reality is that the doctor is causing a healthy pregnant woman to have a miscarriage.

Of course a doctor forcing a miscarriage is safer than you or I doing so. The doctor is more precise. He has better tools than a coat hanger. But he's still prying open the cervix, still trying to kill the baby and scrape her out of there. The doctor is slicing open a healthy patient, potentially damaging her reproductive system. She might become infertile, she might develop Asherman's syndrome, and down the road she might get breast cancer.

The doctor, the authority figure, gives us the illusion of safety. Of course he's violating the Hippocratic Oath, and risking damage to a healthy body. He's not healing anybody. But we call him "doctor" anyway.

And of course we hide the dead baby. We don't want to upset the poor feminist dears who might faint if they saw the violence that their propaganda requires.

Of course pro-lifers have our own set of rhetoric, and our own vision of reality. We might accuse pro-lifers of having a baby fantasy.

Yet if we're trying to determine what reality is, shouldn't we look at ultrasounds? Which side wants to show photographs of the unborn--facts, science, truth--and which side wants to hide this evidence? Which side calls an ultrasound a "rape"?

Pro-lifers have this odd idea that science is on our side. We appreciate photographs of an abortion because it reflects reality. The New York Times can't be bothered to do this journalism. They are too busy spinning a happy Orwellian fantasy, and hiding the truth.

Kirk Parker said...

Getting back to Althouse's admonition to "talk about the world that exists"... the trajectory of the discussion reminds me of what happens over at Volokh any time Orin Kerr posts something on the Fourth Amendment: people simply can't stay on the subject, despite repeated pleas from the host to do so.

But it's not hard to understand why commenters insist on veering off from the IS to the OUGHT in either case--the reality is simply too ghastly. I imagine similar discussions transpired about slavery in the 1850's.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Because you should always provide support for a woman about to murder her own child.

Selective child murder is not a basis upon which to build society, even if it IS empowering to women.

paul a'barge said...

Save the Trees and
Kill the Babies

jr565 said...

Kirk Parker wrote:
Getting back to Althouse's admonition to "talk about the world that exists"..

in the world that exists there are Safe Haven Laws that protect women who give up their parental responsibility while remaining completely anonymous. Thy simply dump their baby on a doorstep or at a hospitsl.
And Althouse never mentions those laws when she talks about how guys are jerks for saying they don't want to be dads simply because the woman chose him to be.

If laws allow for that, even after abortion, what is the argument against fathers choosing that same position prior to a baby being born.

If the man is not there, she can alway drop the baby off at a hospital and we'll be sure not to judge her, the poor darling.