Two Men, No Uteruses: My Bloggingheads Conversation With Will Saletan


What is common ground? Can pro-lifers embrace birth control? Can pro-choicers embrace abortion’s moral complexity? Should we pay women not to have an abortion? Why must Obama lead us toward common ground? Will Saletan, of Slate, and I consider all the complicated questions.

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  • invalid-0

    The discussion at around 42 minutes: Abortion statistics come out with a 3-4 year lag. He’ll be in his second term before the results on his first term are in.

    Obama can take the Republican’s tactics with Supply-Side Economics. There doesn’t have to be empirical justification if you’re playing to people’s deep-seeded feelings. Maybe that’s cynical… He can also remind people that Bush’s economic policies and the resulting recession, also resulted in the largest increase in abortion over the last quarter-century.

    Also, the pro-life community certainly has never held anyone accountable for actual results. It’s hard to say that the reduction in abortions we’ve witnessed is due to any of the restrictions on access that have taken place due to Republican efforts.

    And isn’t the contraception problem solved by proffering two pieces of legislation, one on contraception and one on common ground issues? The pro-lifers in the middle, who might actually vote for Obama, don’t care about contraception. Me thinks you doth protest too much.

    Obama should get pro-life credit for the impact of health care reform, the expansion of child care subsidies, promoting adoptions, etc. To me, that’s what the Common Ground initiative is all about. If he does, and it helps get him re-elected, it will preserve the Roe decision for another generation.

  • aspen-baker

    Nothing wrong with dudes talking about abortion…Just wish it came from a personal place of experience. This is the voice that’s needed most.

    • paul-bradford

      Aspen,

       

      I shared my abortion experience in response to Father Schroth’s column.  (Read the second half of it).  I’m not sure that people really care about a man’s experience.  I think people are much more interested in what women have to say. 

       

      Paul Bradford  Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    Why not protect Roe v. Wade? Why not have equity in insurance policies that cover birth control, tubal ligations, and elective abortions for female patients if we already cover Viagra and vasectomies for men without a blink? Why not additionally go on to help financially support the very life from which these abortions had been paid not to take place? Why? Why? WHY?

    It really perturbs me when men – who obviously will never personally experience pregnancy and childbirth, let alone being female – gather to discuss what really is a root maternal issue when women’s concerns continue to be shrugged off and alienated. We are facing further restrictions with what little reproductive choice we do have left, and still under the shadow of extremist violence (the murder of Dr. George Tiller, e.g.).

    Instead, why not discuss with your fellow brethren on what MEN can do to help ensure that the women in their lives have these choices and their welfare protected? That’s the conversation you SHOULD be having because after all, it DOES utlimately affect you as well.

    • paul-bradford

      I think that there’s a great deal that a man can do to guard against the possibility that his child will die as a result of an abortion.  First of all, before having sex with a woman, he needs to have a conversation with her.  He should tell her what he’s doing to prevent an unintended pregnancy and he should ask her how she would respond in the event their attempts at preventing conception are ineffective.  He needs to tell her that he asks on behalf of his child and would want to know what sort of supports she would need in order to decide to carry that child to term.

       

      Obviously, there are women who would elect to abort no matter what sort of support is offered.  Perhaps she’s not ready to become a mother.  Perhaps he should ask himself whether he’s ready to have sex with a woman in that situation.  It sucks to be horny.  It sucks worse to lose a child.

       

      By the way, I support ALL efforts to help women prevent conception if they don’t want to become mothers (or become a mother again).  Don’t say that it’s none of my business.  When an unwanted child is born s/he becomes a burden to everyone in the society.  When an unwanted child is aborted it’s a tragedy for everyone who cares about human rights.

       

      Paul Bradford

      Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    So I was just wondering, because you guys didn’t really answer this. Why is it important to reduce the number of abortions? Why is there a moral dimension to abortion?

    That just seems very hypocritical to me. It’s like a serial killer saying “Well I’d like to reduce the number of people I kill, after all, there is a moral dimension to it.”

    So I would be very interested to know why it’s important to reduce the number of abortions.

    • invalid-0

      Largely because it’s a medical procedure that can often be avoided. It’s better to not get pregnant in the first place, not to mention safer and easier on the woman’s body. Abortion isn’t free of the risk of complications, which can threaten her life or her fertility.

  • invalid-0

    Largely because it’s a medical procedure that can often be avoided.

    Aye. Talk about a silly question to ask in the first place! Everybody can understand why, say, brushing your teeth regularly to avoid dental work is a good thing, without saying that dental work is morally bad. (Uncomfortable, yes, but then, what medical intervention isn’t?) But when the subject of abortion comes up, suddenly everyone throws out their intuition and common sense and starts asking crap like “but if abortion isn’t a bad thing, why not have more of them?”

    I swear… abortion doesn’t kill babies, it kills I.Q. points.

  • invalid-0

    First of all, before having sex with a woman, he needs to have a conversation with her. He should tell her what he’s doing to prevent an unintended pregnancy and he should ask her how she would respond in the event their attempts at preventing conception are ineffective. He needs to tell her that he asks on behalf of his child and would want to know what sort of supports she would need in order to decide to carry that child to term.

    Paul, I think this is a fantastic idea. I think it’s safe to say that if the woman doesn’t share the man’s concerns about his potential child, this little conversation will reduce the risk of said child being aborted (actually, the risk of any child being created at all) to exactly zero.

    I heartily encourage all those men out there who, like Paul, are deeply worried about their potential children, to have this conversation with their sexual partners. (Er… potential sexual partners.)

  • invalid-0

    It’s better to not get pregnant in the first place, not to mention safer and easier on the woman’s body. Abortion isn’t free of the risk of complications, which can threaten her life or her fertility.

    .

    Yes it is better not to get pregnant in the first place, just as it is better not to have a blocked artery in the first place or a cavity.

    But note that safe, early abortion is safer than pregnancy, labor and delivery. It is in those places where abortions are illegal and unsafe that there are the greatest threats to life and/or fertility. As someone who has worked in clinics overseas, I feel it is important to point this out.

    MaryTess

  • invalid-0

    I’m a pro-life conservative Catholic. Thank you for giving this question the respect that it deserves and earnestly looking for common ground. I agree that attempts to provide incentives for women to carry to term and choose adoption may have potentially perverse side effects.

    But what about the other participant in the sex act? As it is, substantially all of the consequences of promiscuous sex and out-of-wedlock pregnancy fall on the woman. Some of this unfair burden can never be mitigated – women seem to suffer more emotional trauma from “meaningless” sexual encounters, for example. But isn’t there some way to create disincentives for aggressive and irresponsible male behavior?

    P.S. If you’d like to understand the connection that Catholics see between contraception and abortion, read Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae” (if you haven’t already), or Archbishop Charles Chaput’s Cliff’s Notes “Of Human Life” – very relevant to the question of male incentives and disincentives and whether he views the woman as an object or as her own subject.

    You can find it here:

    http://www.catholic-pages.com/morality/chaput.asp

  • paul-bradford

    I’ve floated this idea on this ‘site and others: Why not make it a crime for a man to impregnate a woman against her will?  The penalty wouldn’t be jail time but compensation from him to her for the pain and suffering she has to endure bringing an unintended pregnancy to term.

     

    A lot of what I hear from abortion rights advocates boils down to this, "Women are the ones who suffer with the troubles of an unwanted pregnancy so you men ought to shut up about abortion."  I try to give people credit when they’re right about something and abortion rights advocates are right that it’s not fair for a woman to suffer and for a man to slide away without consequences.  No one can change the laws of biology, but wouldn’t it be nice if men had as much motivation to avoid an undesired pregnancy as women do? 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice