Where Have All the Pro-Choice Men Gone?


The Daily Beast has an interesting column by Hugh Ryan on men in the abortion debate. Ryan notes that "A 2009 Gallup poll found that only 39% of men identified as pro-choice—a drastic 10 percent decrease from 2008." He also notes how much more willing men on the anti-choice side seem to be about voicing their opposition to abortion than men on the other, pro-choice side. Pro-choice men see it as a women’s issue, and therefore not really their place, while anti-choice men see it a religious issue. On this point I agree with Ryan, though I would go further on the anti-choice side and say that
these men are more vocal in their opposition because of male privilege,
which is fueled by religion. These aren’t synonymous so much as
complimentary. The Christian doctrine that informs and fuels the
anti-choice side has more than its fair share of sexism, from
reinforcing the traditional male-female binary and opposing women
behaving as anything more than accents to their husbands. This segues
seamlessly to opposition of abortion, since women aren’t supposed to
rule their own lives. However, I have to believe that, while
Christianity provides a worthy script for this sexism, that what is
really influencing men’s participation as vocal anti-choicers is the
male power dynamic that also finds such a cozy home in Christianity.
It’s this same power play that puts Viagara on insurance policies and
not birth control, and the same one that has gendered terms like whore
and slut as being necessarily female (hence the need for the ‘male’ in
front of slut to describe the man that had sex with the woman).
Furthermore, by placing the heart of male anti-choice sentiment with
male privilege, it gives more space to the crucial pro-choice religious
community, like Catholics for Choice and Daniel Maguire’s Sacred Choices, which chronicles the pro-abortion elements of the 10 major world religions.

After reading Ryan’s post, however, the big question for me wasn’t so much why men are openly anti-choice as why so few men are openly pro-choice. This isn’t an issue that men will ever directly experience, but it’s still an issue they need to support. Just as gay rights needs straight
allies and civil rights needs white supporters, abortion rights need
men. If you know and love a woman then you should care about access to
abortion. Maybe we need to remember what feminists have been saying all
along, that women’s issues are human issues – family, agency, equality.
Denying the right to full reproductive health care shouldn’t be an
issue just for the unborn. It should be an issue of justice for the
half of the population that it directly effects, and therefore an issue
for everyone who trusts women.

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  • haltkr

    Ms. Crinion,

    I fully agree with your point on allies — and I work hard to teach my students that those with social privilege have greater power to challenge oppression. White people speaking about racism are heard by other whites. Men speaking about sexism/reproductive rights/etc are heard more than women. (Even though most revolutions happen because of oppressed people taking a stand).

    Keep on writing!

  • rccrawfordswbellnet

    Do males view the pro choice argument differently?
    I have invested thousands of dollars of my own money in the Pro Choice movement and feel it has largely been wasted. I have testified before the Texas Legislature, written a book, participated in online discussions, advocated for “Pro Choice” in face to face discussions, run for office and have been supportive in evey way I can be —up to a point. That point was reached recently when after years of work for the movement I realized the movement is closed to men. I do feel that the Pro Choice movement is largely closed to men and will remain so for reasons I cannot understand. I see pro lifers accepting all people, both male and female, and that leads to building of their base. But the pro choice movement actively rejects the ideas and suggestions of persons of somewhat different opinion. Until that problem is solved, and room is made for men like me, I will remain on the sideline, still supporting the cause, but without vigor.

    The graph I use rather than a photo depicts the decrease in births prior to Roe v Wade and the increased births after Roe v Wade, ending forever the concept that abortion is wrong. "Pro Choice" leads to more life and "Pro life" yi

  • prochoiceferret

    That point was reached recently when after years of work for the movement I realized the movement is closed to men. I do feel that the Pro Choice movement is largely closed to men and will remain so for reasons I cannot understand.

    Huh? People with penises (as well as those who think and act like people with penises) have always been welcome in the pro-choice movement. There must be some reason that you haven’t understood for this…

    But the pro choice movement actively rejects the ideas and suggestions of persons of somewhat different opinion.

    Ah, there’s your problem. If you call yourself "pro-choice," but you don’t believe that women have their own agency, control over their own bodies, and the competence to exercise same, then you’re not actually being pro-choice—you’re being a concern troll. An example:

     

    You: I’m pro-choice! But I really don’t think women should be having so much sex. It would be a lot better if they saved themselves for marriage.

     

    Us: Begone, wannabe anti-choicer!

     

    So what is this "somewhat different opinion" that you hold, anyway? You think abortion is okay, but only if the woman feels really bummed about it? Or only if she had used proper contraception that had failed? Or what?

    Until that problem is solved, and room is made for men like me, I will remain on the sideline, still supporting the cause, but without vigor.

    Given that part of the problem in the pro-/anti-choice debate is the control that people want to exert over women, I’d take a good, long look at the "support" you are offering to see if you’re not lusting after that same control yourself.

    • tthomas

      It is my hope that support from men is down.  We must make our point–one that is gaining momentum, and one that you will not listen to until you see that you have truly ignored a growing voice in the pro-choice movement.

      We want choice too: the choice to abort paternal and financial obligation to an unborn fetus.

      A man can be raped, slipped drugs, aroused in his sleep, have sperm stolen from a discarded condom, contracetion failure, molested as a youth by adult female etc.—regardless of the circumstance he is forced by the courts to pay.

      We want rights that do not infringe upon a woman’s right to abort or keep the fetus.

      We are tired of hearing “you have the right to keep it in your pants.”

      We are frustrated by your saying, “Well, women’s wages lag mens and so…

      Or the even more troubling, “When a man can give birth then…

      This is not a pro-choice v. pro-life issue that is pulling the support of men away.  Current law has been in effect long enough for us to see by trial and circumstance that we are getting shafted.

      This is a rebellion within the pro-choice movement.

      Men want the right to not be forced into 21 years of endentured servitude.

      We want our own voice, our own choice.  Support that and we will return to supporting you

  • crowepps

    The graph I use rather than a photo depicts the decrease in births prior to Roe v Wade and the increased births after Roe v Wade, ending forever the concept that abortion is wrong.

    Although some people argue that ‘abortion is wrong’ based on the selfish idea that they are entitled to force other people to have children they don’t want so that there will be a majority of White people in the country, or someone around to take care of them when are old, or sufficient growth in the population to keep the economy humming, those people are a tiny minority of the pro-life movement.

     

    If your ProChoice position is based on the premise that some women can be allowed to have abortions because women overall are having sufficient babies, then your use of this chart to argue policy questions contains the inescapeable corollary that if the total number of births was not increasing but instead actually falling, then abortion should indeed be banned.

     

    The ProChoice position is ALWAYS personal, and is invested in the individual woman, and does not acknowledge any collective responsibility of women to fulfill a duty to society by having children whether they want to or not.

     

    The ProChoice position is not even about whether abortion is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but rather a position on the question of WHO DECIDES.

  • rccrawfordswbellnet

    Your answer is a perfect example of why men such as myself are being run out of the movement. I don’t believe any of the things you accuse me of believing. I am for women’s rights and believe that as a rule only a woman has the right to control her body. I entertain no exceptions to that rule. 

    You said " You think abortion is okay, but only if the woman feels really bummed about it? Or only if she had used proper contraception that had failed? Or what?"

    I believe it is a woman’s right to do with her body as she pleases without my input in any manner.

     

    You said "So what is this "somewhat different opinion" that you hold, anyway?"

    My opinions are documented in my book "The Living Book on Abortion". I have offered to donate the entire profit from the book to the Pro Choice movement. Basically I believe that it is natural law that a woman is endowed with full control over her body. I lay out what I see as the natural laws that govern her rights and make it clear that if her rights are violated, society pays a price. Choice is natural and cannot be removed or limited without damaging society as a whole.

     

    You said "I’d take a good, long look at the "support" you are offering to see if you’re not lusting after that same control yourself."

    I want no control.

     

    The graph I use rather than a photo depicts the decrease in births prior to Roe v Wade and the increased births after Roe v Wade, ending forever the concept that abortion is wrong. "Pro Choice" leads to more life and "Pro life" yi

  • rccrawfordswbellnet

    crowepps said:”If your ProChoice position is based on the premise that some women can be allowed to have abortions because women overall are having sufficient babies, then your use of this chart to argue policy questions contains the inescapeable corollary that if the total number of births was not increasing but instead actually falling, then abortion should indeed be banned. ”

    Your answer is a perfect example of the reason men feel unwanted in the Pro Choice movement. I don’t believe any of the things you accuse me of believing.
    The purpose of the chart is to prove that the Pro Life failed to save any lives in the period before Roe. And it is a fair representation of that fact. Reading other information into the chart simply destroys the relationship I have with the Pro Choice movement. I can use my time to develop my ideas or use that time to defend myself against attacks that are waged against me. I have chosen to simply not participate. As have many men. In the long run I am afraid that you will lose your rights simply because you view all men as evil. And that would be a shame. I will testify before the legislature and do what I can from the outside to help stop the pro life movement. But I will not waste my time attempting to lay a winning foundation jointly with the pro choice movement that will protect the rights of women.
    In the long run the pro choice movement will win. But it is a fact that the movement is risking losing every thing they have gained. Perhaps they should learn to work with those who wish to help and not exclude people with valuable ideas.

    The graph I use rather than a photo depicts the decrease in births prior to Roe v Wade and the increased births after Roe v Wade, ending forever the concept that abortion is wrong. "Pro Choice" leads to more life and "Pro life" yi

  • crowepps

    Your answer is a perfect example of the reason men feel unwanted in the Pro Choice movement. I don’t believe any of the things you accuse me of believing.

    I didn’t say anything at all in my post about what YOU believe.  I just reread it again to be sure.  I said "if your opinion is based on" and then  I pointed out an inherent flaw in the reasoning behind that premise.  The usual response in a discussion is to explain that premise is not the basis and to give the correct premise.  If I understood your other post, your premise is actually ‘natural law’ giving women control of their bodies.  What does that have to do with your chart?

    The purpose of the chart is to prove that the Pro Life failed to save any lives in the period before Roe. And it is a fair representation of that fact.

    Your chart may be 100% accurate.  It also has nothing to do with the issue at hand because whether ProLife had an effect on the number of abortions before and before Roe is not so far as I am aware the issue. 

    Reading other information into the chart simply destroys the relationship I have with the Pro Choice movement.

    What relationship?  It seems to me you’re stating that you will participate only so long as ‘the ProChoice movement’ praises your contribution, allows to take center stage, and refrains from pointing out possible errors.

    I can use my time to develop my ideas or use that time to defend myself against attacks that are waged against me. I have chosen to simply not participate.  As have many men. In the long run I am afraid that you will lose your rights simply because you view all men as evil.

    Pointing out a problem with your position, particularly one which may not have occurred to youm is not an ‘attack’.  I don’t ’view all men as evil.’  Consider that perhaps ProChoice people with whom you have been in contact don’t want to work with you because you’re a black and white thinker, have grandiose ideas of your own importance to the movement, and seem to me to be verging on paranoia.

    And that would be a shame. I will testify before the legislature and do what I can from the outside to help stop the pro life movement. But I will not waste my time attempting to lay a winning foundation jointly with the pro choice movement that will protect the rights of women.
    In the long run the pro choice movement will win. But it is a fact that the movement is risking losing every thing they have gained. Perhaps they should learn to work with those who wish to help and not exclude people with valuable ideas.

    How are we supposed to understand your ideas when you don’t want to answer questions about them?  How are we supposed to evaluate them for accuracy and persuasiveness and value based on only your short synopsis?  Based on what you’ve said so far you haven’t even sold me on the idea that reading your book would be a worthwhile use of my time.

     

  • rccrawfordswbellnet

    Crowepps said: "How are we supposed to understand your ideas when you don’t want to answer questions about them?"

    My ideas have been on the internet for years. Check me out on Yahoo Answers and Facebook. But don’t expect to see anything recent, I am tired of being abused. And my book has been available for months. I don’t feel that there is a lack of me answering questions, there is a lack of compassion for my work for the movement. And if you don’t like the way I feel that is tough.  

     

     

     You said " How are we supposed to evaluate them for accuracy and persuasiveness and value based on only your short synopsis? "

    Rather that implying that I am a pro lifer and a person faking my concern for women’s rights you might ask questions and get real answers. But attacking me and implying that I believe things I don’t believe is simply foolish. I have had enough of people like you.  That is why I have refused to invest in the movement any further and why I advise other men to be careful.

     

     

    you said: "Based on what you’ve said so far you haven’t even sold me on the idea that reading your book would be a worthwhile use of my time."

    I could care less whether or not you or anyone else with your attitude reads my book. (I don’t need the money from my book and I don’t care if it sells.) It is your loss and your foolishness if you don’t. What I have to say is of no value to a person like you. I will continue to try and repair the damage caused by people that run men out of the movement, but I do not expect to have much success because it is a fact men must be careful in their support.

    If you think I do what I do for self serving reasons, you are a fool. I do what I do because it is my duty as a human. It is a fact that pro choice women are running men out of the movement. And many of those men will no longer support you because of your attitudes. You better watch out or you will find yourself back in the alley and out of the limelight. Not because of what I do, because I have no power, but because of what you do to yourselves.

     

     

     

     

    The graph I use rather than a photo depicts the decrease in births prior to Roe v Wade and the increased births after Roe v Wade, ending forever the concept that abortion is wrong. "Pro Choice" leads to more life and "Pro life" yi

  • crowepps

    I’m afraid you overestimate your fame.  I’d never heard of you and I’d certainly never heard of your ideas.

     

    At this point, I’m going to join the rest of ‘the movement’ in respecting your unwillingness to ‘be abused’ by ending this exchange of posts.

  • rccrawfordswbellnet

    crowepps said: “I’m afraid you overestimate your fame. I’d never heard of you and I’d certainly never heard of your ideas. ”

    My response, I have no fame, I only have the ability to help the pro choice movement, or to not help. The central idea of the article is an exploration of the facts surrounding why men are dropping out of the movement. And I am on the balance point of dropping completely out and letting you “win”.
    By winning you will eliminate me from the movement along with my money, time and influence.

    You said “At this point, I’m going to join the rest of ‘the movement’ in respecting your unwillingness to ‘be abused’ by ending this exchange of posts. ”

    I think the whole idea of my post was to notify you of one of many of the reasons that men are dropping out of the movement. I could care less that you drop out, I have already dropped out. And according to the article that is the basis of this exchange there has been a 10 percent drop in participation by pro choice men. I guess by running out your fellow supporters you will at least condense your remaining supporters.

    The graph I use rather than a photo depicts the decrease in births prior to Roe v Wade and the increased births after Roe v Wade, ending forever the concept that abortion is wrong. "Pro Choice" leads to more life and "Pro life" yi

  • rccrawfordswbellnet

    The pro choice movement is made up of women that seem to think that they will always have the right to choose. And that would be true except for the fact that pro choicers are running off supporters of the movement in droves. Those who are offended by the treatment they receive will not be likely to help when times get tough. Do those of us that support the pro choice movement want to hurt the movement? No, but we are called fake pro choicers, people that want special treatment and are abused by the nutcakes in the pro choice movement. I had for years thought that the movement would be open to support by men like me. I never guessed that I would be attacked when I attempted to help. I never guessed I would be treated as an outsider. I have given money to the movement, paid for abortions for women I don’t even know and have spoken before legislative bodies in support of the movement. I thought I would be thanked for my support. Instead I am accused of being in it for glory.

    If you expect to have grassroots support you should thank your supporters and pat them on the back. We are giving to you, you are not giving to us. Your terrible attitudes will come back to bite you. I have spent hundreds of hours of work for you at no cost. To say thanks is not cowtowing to me or treating me with undue respect, it is simply good manners.

    The graph I use rather than a photo depicts the decrease in births prior to Roe v Wade and the increased births after Roe v Wade, ending forever the concept that abortion is wrong. "Pro Choice" leads to more life and "Pro life" yi

  • ahunt

    The pro choice movement is made up of women that seem to think that they will always have the right to choose.

     

    Horseshit! The pro-choice movement is made up of people terrified that women will lose the right to legally choose…to the point that an underground is already developing…

  • ahunt

    My response, I have no fame, I only have the ability to help the pro choice movement, or to not help.

     

    This is profoundly annoying. If you get offended here on RHRC…will you take your cookies and go home?

     

    Pro-choice is a commitment to women…not liking your implicit conditional "commitment" threats.

  • rccrawfordswbellnet

     Ahunt said:

    "Horseshit! The pro-choice movement is made up of people terrified that women will lose the right to legally choose…to the point that an underground is already developing… "

    If you feared losing the battle you would be open to help from those of us that are strong enought to help you win. You clearly think you don’t need our help.

    Pro lifers who have lost in the past welcome help from both men and women.  Go to their sites, they pat each other on the back, even if the other person is a jerk.

    Once you lose, maybe you will be open to help.

     

     

     

    The graph I use rather than a photo depicts the decrease in births prior to Roe v Wade and the increased births after Roe v Wade, ending forever the concept that abortion is wrong. "Pro Choice" leads to more life and "Pro life" yi

  • ahunt

    Oh Good-Lord-I-am-too-old-for-this!

     

    Uh…it occurs to me that if you are sooo strong in the commitment…a little constructive discussion would not have you issuing threats.

  • rccrawfordswbellnet

    I am not issuing threats, I have already dropped out and intend to not give any more money, write any more books or support you in public. I will continue to speak before the legislature and to vote for you. But I will also tell people to not give money and to not support you in public unless they want to be abused.

    If you will take a look at youtube, yahoo answers and facebook, all sites I used to support you, you will find what I say to be true. I no longer participate in support of your movement. So don’t consider anything i say as a threat. I have already acted and you cannot change my views by accusing me of playing games. You’ve lost me and you will lose others. I am just one person that is a part of that 10 percent that has dropped out.

    As a man, if you have a right to your body or no right to your body is of no consequence if you have no respect for my rights.

    You treat me with respect and I will treat you with respect.

     

    But you have no respect for your male supporters. So_________ 

     

    So, do it by yourself.

     

     

    The graph I use rather than a photo depicts the decrease in births prior to Roe v Wade and the increased births after Roe v Wade, ending forever the concept that abortion is wrong. "Pro Choice" leads to more life and "Pro life" yi

  • ahunt

    Oh for cryin’ out loud…

     

    Please drop out. With friends like you…

     

    Ridiculous!

  • rccrawfordswbellnet

    As I said, I am already gone. Perhaps your invitation will help another man leave.

    —–If instead of this extended conversation a person had simply said I was welcome to participate and that my past help was appreciated, things could have been different. Thanks for making my choice to leave look like the right choice. If you do not welcome me into your group, I certainly don’t want to be here.
    Soon the pro life wolf will be at your door. Good luck.

    The graph I use rather than a photo depicts the decrease in births prior to Roe v Wade and the increased births after Roe v Wade, ending forever the concept that abortion is wrong. "Pro Choice" leads to more life and "Pro life" yi

  • prochoiceferret

    If you expect to have grassroots support you should thank your supporters and pat them on the back.

    Oh, is that what all this is about?

     

    Well, fine, then. I’ll thank you, and pat you on the back.

     

    Thank you! *pat* *pat* *pat* You’re a goooood little pro-choice activist!

     

    For good measure, I’ll also pat you on the head:

     

    *pat* *pat* *pat*

     

    I’ll even be extra nice, and scratch your tummy. (I love it when people do this to me, so I’m guessing you should like it too):

     

    *scratch* *scritch* *scratch* *scratch* *scritch*

     

    There, now you should be all thanked up. Now, go on and fight the good fight! Women are losing the right to choose out there! The fact that you are not in possession of a uterus matters not—pro-choice activism is 100% penis-compatible. You just have to be careful to avoid thought patterns that are, unfortunately, fairly common among those in possession of a penis.

  • jayn

    RCC, it would be a lot easier to take you at face value if ‘face value’ didn’t look a lot like attention-whoring.  "Find my sites!  Read my book!"  You can’t even be bothered to give us a short summary to know whether or not you’re worth the effort–the one sentence you did post was so vague as to be meaningless.

     

    You may feel you haven’t received the respect you deserve, and for all I know you haven’t–but your attitude here certainly hasn’t earned you any.

  • colleen

    "Find my sites!  Read my book!"

     I got as far as the facebook page for the book. It contains no information, no discussions and a total of two fans.

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • princess-rot

    As a man, if you have a right to your body or no right to your body is of no consequence if you have no respect for my rights.

    Indeed. Which is exactly why your bloviating is bullshit. If I had a dollar for every dude who wanted cookies for deigning to lower himself to offer lukewarm "support" for us sub-humans and our trifling problems, a feat which we should be eternally grateful for, no less, I’d be able to buy a Bugatti. I do not like men who think they have an obligation – nay, a right – to explain how women should think and behave, then remind us that our humanity is dependent on pleasing them and we are also to blame for any nastiness that happens to us by-the-by if they are not sufficiently mollified by a display of submission to their evidently superior will.

    You sound exactly the conservative types who spout the argument that women would have no rights if men hadn’t "given" them to us, completely ignorant of all the work (and the beatings, imprisonments, humiliation, violence and violations that happened and continue to happen worldwide) women did to have their voices heard. This supposes that human status is a zero-sum game for women – that we are not humans by default, but instead we are false beings that are accorded humanity by a dominant class of "real" people, and that status is dependent on pleasing that class. Which is exactly the kind of attitude we are fighting against. I daresay the pro-choice movement does require vocal men, but it does not need men who pander to the dominant paradigm that women’s humanity is negotiable in any context.

    What is clear from your posts is that you do not view women as totally human with full autonomy, but a sub-class of "others" whose problems are to be identified with as long as it benefits yourself to do so. You would not have thrown a fit at Crowepps’ for making reasonable points about the holes in your arguments if you did not. You would not be issuing mordant threats that the movement will fail without your input. Implying that we are useless and stupid unless we bend over backwards to accomodate you by patting you on the back for doing something as basic as realising women are human too and should have full bodily autonomy speaks volumes.

    The blindingly obvious fact that you want immediate praise from a bunch of women on the internet who have never met you and your only basis for stomping in here and demanding this thanks is that you claim to have done some stuff sometime. Well, big hairy deal. It’s not like all women’s bodies haven’t been battlegrounds for centuries and all females on this thread have been living with that all our lives and doing the activism to be seen as full human beings, no, it matters more that some random guy gets his rightful praises sung. It stinks of hubris and makes you look like a phoney douche, like men who latch onto animal rights, not because animal wellbeing is important, but because they think it’ll help them score with some hot vegan chick and gain them cool progressive points.

    I wouldn’t go onto a gay rights site as a het woman and start explaining to them what they should think and feel and how they should thank me for explaining this to them. Sometimes one can fall into that trap without realising, because you benefit from your sex/class/race/orientation/able privilege in myriad little ways… BUT it takes an adult and a real ally to realise when you’re being a fuck,back off and admit you’re wrong. There are thousands of men and women in the pro-choice movement who campaign ceaselessly and tirelessly every. single. day., often at the risk of their physical safety, who don’t get recognition or kudos because what they are doing is just essential. Sorry, but we’re not interested in crybabies who flounce when they don’t get their own way. Our enemies are enough. Maybe the reason you keep getting rebuffed – if you are at all – is that there is not something wrong with women, or the pro-choice movement, but that there is something wrong with your attitude.

  • rccrawfordswbellnet

    Princess Rot said: “You sound exactly the conservative types who spout the argument that women would have no rights if men hadn’t “given” them to us, completely ignorant of all the work (and the beatings, imprisonments, humiliation, violence and violations that happened and continue to happen worldwide) women did to have their voices heard. ”

    I said: I believe all rights are natural and not given by any person. The rights of women, children and men are equal by nature.

    You said” The blindingly obvious fact that you want immediate praise from a bunch of women on the internet who have never met you and your only basis for stomping in here and demanding this thanks is that you claim to have done some stuff sometime.”

    I said: I simply want to not be attacked on a daily basis such that I may focus on helping you defend your rights. I am wasting my time attempting to defend you if I spend more time defending myself. I think we all agree you don’t want my help. So lets leave it there. I get to keep my money and time, you get to defend yourself without my help. We both win.

    The pro lifers will clearly raise more money and be more sucessful simply because they are more open to differing opinion as long as it supports their cause.

    YOu said: “Sorry, but we’re not interested in crybabies who flounce when they don’t get their own way.”

    Then we will both be happy.

    The fact remains, people are leaving the movement because of people like you. I responded to this posting to inform you why I left the movement after being a “small part” for the last 20 years. The hope was that you would listen to what I say and stop the loss of supporters. You clearly don’t care how many you lose. So my advice is wasted.

    I believe a wise organization would thank its volunteers and people that support its cause.

    Good luck in the future.

    The graph I use rather than a photo depicts the decrease in births prior to Roe v Wade and the increased births after Roe v Wade, ending forever the concept that abortion is wrong. "Pro Choice" leads to more life and "Pro life" yi

  • paul-bradford

    rccrawford,

     

    I’m also a guy who has spent a lot of time pouring over demographic statistics.  I noticed, as you did, that the birth/fertility rate did not plummet when abortion was decriminalized in 1973.  Even when you examine the birth/fertility rate among unmarried women you see only a tiny drop and that may not even be statistically significant.

     

    What does seem evident to me is that the abortion rate itself spiked in the ‘seventies.  My conclusion has been that decriminalization did not reduce the incidence of ‘forced birth’ since the birth rate itself did not go down.  It did, however, radically increase the rate of unwanted pregnancy.

     

    You and I don’t differ about choice, because I support decriminalization, but you would not call yourself Pro-Life as I do.  You get hit as hard as I do by the posters here, though.  Which I find very interesting. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

     You get hit as hard as I do by the posters here, though.  Which I find very interesting. 

    Perhaps you might want to consider why that is.

     

    Looking over his posts, gathered neatly here together, while they do mention briefly the importance of a ‘Big Idea’, the idea is actually entirely peripheral to the issue in dispute and counterproductive when parsed for its underlying presumptions which imply that women as a class are obligated to produce ‘enough’ children for society.

     

    Most of his time is spent on his own inflated view of his importance to ProChoice, how underappreciated he is by those who don’t recognize that his support is vital to success, his emotional reaction to what he sees as disrespect but actually was being treated equally and his claims that he has wasted his time because his efforts did not result in fame and adulation.

     

    Don’t we recognize what an honor he has done us by supporting ‘our’ issue?  Don’t we realize that we need him to ‘save’ us?  How can a bunch of women possibly think that they can accomplish something without some men to ‘lead’ us?  Don’t we realize that we’re cutting our own throats because now he’s annoyed with us and he’s going to tell other people we all hate men?

     

    Could any of these problems be perceived also in your posts?  I guess each individual reader would have to check for: One Big Idea – Egotism – Claims of being disrespected – Assertion of involvement being vital to the movement – Protests against emotional wounds – Warnings of being enraged – Predictions that our uppitiness will doom the movement

  • claire-keyes

    At least 600,000 men pass through the doors of abortion clinics every year. That gives abortion providers tremendous access to men every day that their clinic is open. If we reach out to men, provide accurate information for them to read, videos on the procedure and explanations such as Northland Family Planning has developed, we will gain (or retain)as supporters almost all who enter our clinics.

    Staff who work in abortion clinics are fierce supporters of reproductive rights and most realize that without our partnering with men, that right may be lost in the next few years. Check to make sure that your clinic is as male friendly as it can be. Thank them for coming, for supporting their partners. Share post-op instructions with them so that they can help both us and the woman they came with. If the woman agrees, invite them into a part of the counseling session so that their questions are answered too.

    At the very least, refer men to MenAndAbortion.com. Factual information on Medical, Spiritual, and Emotional issues is presented in an easily accessible format. We want and need men’s support and want to include them in the abortion process!

  • grayduck

    All the evidence indicates that nearly all abortions occur because pro-choice men refuse to expend any resources on the women they impregnate (and the extremely rare exceptions are not controversial). Why would such men expend resources in order to protect the right to not expend any resources? Doing so would defeat the purpose of being pro-choice.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • prochoiceferret

    All the evidence indicates that nearly all abortions occur because pro-choice men refuse to expend any resources on the women they impregnate (and the extremely rare exceptions are not controversial).

    Where is your evidence for this statement?

  • elisabeth-sowecke

    Well thought, Colleen. By and large, I do believe that many individual men are thoughtfully making strides to support the reproductive justice movement. However, I work at a male-friendly clinic and find male support apathetic and silent at best. I’m am consistently disturbed by the majority of asserted male viewpoints that span from indifference to abuse. Sadly, I believe the movement toward a balanced majority starts with the men-involved who are currently grossly lost. The activism we long for comes later…

  • grayduck

    ProChoiceFerret on February 15, 2010 – 7:21pm: "Where is your evidence for this statement?"

     

    Guttmacher did a study on the topic several years ago. Their conclusions included the following. "The themes of responsibility to others and resource limitations, such as financial constraints and lack of partner support, recurred throughout the study." I saw no evidence in the study that the fathers did not know about the resource limitations at the time of impregnation or that the men were doing everything in their power to support the mother. Quite the opposite. For example, here is a quotation from the study. "More than half of the women in the qualitative sample cited concerns about their relationship or single motherhood as a reason to end the pregnancy. Relationship problems included the partner’s drinking, physical abuse, unfaithfulness, unreliability, immaturity and absence (often due to incarceration or responsibilities to his other children). Many of these women were disappointed because their partner had reacted to the pregnancy by denying paternity, breaking off communication with them or saying that they did not want a child." In addition, most of the women citing resource limitations said that being unmarried was such a resource limitation.

     

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.html

     

    Here is a quotation from the results of the study. "The reasons most frequently cited were that having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%); that she could not afford a baby now (73%); and that she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems (48%)." The second two sets of reasons demonstrate my point manifestly; there is rarely a reason that a father cannot marry the mother and provide the resources and support that she needs to raise his child. With regard to the first set of reasons, it is theoretically possible that a woman could have a supportive husband and yet still want to prematurely end a pregnancy for education, work, or caring for dependents reasons. (As an aside, I support laws that would make it easier for pregnant women to pursue education and employment.) But the data do not allow the possibility very often. For example, Minnesota’s abortion statistics show that eighty-five percent of the women are unmarried and that many of the married women were impregnated from adultery. National statistics show that unmarried women are six times as likely to abort a pregnancy as married women. If these men are fully supportive, why are they not marrying the mothers of their children? Getting married is not an expensive or time-consuming process.

     

    http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/abrpt/2008abrpt.pdf

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • prochoiceferret

    Where does it say that "nearly all abortions occur because pro-choice men refuse to expend any resources on the women they impregnate?"

    there is rarely a reason that a father cannot marry the mother and
    provide the resources and support that she needs to raise his child

    What if she doesn’t want to marry? What if she feels that he would not make a good father? What if he is abusive, or in jail, or has other women in the same position? What if he just doesn’t want a kid? (Oh, wait, nevermind—he had sex, so according to you, he wants to become a daddy.)

    With regard to the first set of reasons, it is theoretically possible
    that a woman could have a supportive husband and yet still want to
    prematurely end a pregnancy for education, work, or caring for
    dependents reasons … But the
    data do not allow the possibility very often.

    So of course, it should be made illegal, then.

    For example, Minnesota’s abortion statistics show that eighty-five
    percent of the women are unmarried and that many of the married women
    were impregnated from adultery. National statistics show that unmarried
    women are six times as likely to abort a pregnancy as married women.

    Nice correlation you’ve got there. I have a correlation for you, too: Did you know that the rise in the earth’s temperature has been inversely proportional to the decrease in people in the ninja and pirate professions?

    If these men are fully supportive, why are they not marrying the mothers of their children? Getting married is not an expensive or time-consuming process.

    Divorce lawyers ♥ gray ducks

    • squirrely-girl

      Did you know that the rise in the earth’s temperature has been inversely proportional to the decrease in people in the ninja and pirate professions?”

       

      There is also a statistically significant positive correlation between murder rates and ice cream sales. :)

  • crowepps

    I haven’t noticed any huge rush by single men in general to expend resources on the women they impregnant, whether they’re ProChoice OR ProLife.  I have heard a lot of fulmination about women having ‘no right’ to abort their baby, but ironically it tends to come in combination with a lot of grumbling about how unfair it is that he is being ‘ripped off’ by having to pay child support to ‘that woman’.

  • tthomas

    It is my hope that support from men is down.  We must make our point–one that is gaining momentum, and one that you will not listen to until you see that you have truly ignored a growing voice in the pro-choice movement.

    We want choice too: the choice to abort paternal and financial obligation to an unborn fetus.

    A man can be raped, slipped drugs, aroused in his sleep, have sperm stolen from a discarded condom, contracetion failure, molested as a youth by adult female etc.—regardless of the circumstance he is forced by the courts to pay.

    We want rights that do not infringe upon a woman’s right to abort or keep the fetus.

    We are tired of hearing “you have the right to keep it in your pants.”

    We are frustrated by your saying, “Well, women’s wages lag mens and so…

    Or the even more troubling, “When a man can give birth then…

    This is not a pro-choice v. pro-life issue that is pulling the support of men away.  Current law has been in effect long enough for us to see by trial and circumstance that we are getting shafted.

    This is a rebellion within the pro-choice movement.

    Men want the right to not be forced into 21 years of endentured servitude.

    We want our own voice, our own choice.  Support that and we will return to supporting you

  • elyzabeth

    Yes, a surprising number of women are desperate enough to live like queens off of child support payments that they artificially inseminate themselves with a turkey baster using sperm they stole from a discarded condom. 

     

    True story.

  • ahunt

    How surprising…as in bizarre outlier or trend?

  • tthomas

    Hi there–thanks for your remarks.  I am not saying that men should have the exact same scenario for rights as women do.  The biological circumstances are different.  I believe that as a reasonable compromise to gaining at least some rights, a man should: be held accountable for any promise he has made to have a child with a woman.  This would be near impossible to enforce so… (brainstorming) perhaps a quick and easily acquired contract, internet downloadable and leagally binding, could be filled out by both parties prior to engaging in sexual relations that would make him finacially liable for any resulting pregnancy. The absence of said contract would default to non-binding status.  Marriage might also serve as a binding contract.

     

    What has happened, you see, is that in the absence of any rights of refusal whatsoever, bizarre situations as I mentioned in my last post can and do occur.  The courts do not take the individual circumstances of how the pregnancy happened into consideration.  They have always relied on the position of “what is in the childs best interest.”

     

    There is a plethera of documented court cases that prove just that.  Research it for your self.  You will find cases involving most of the scenarios I mentioned in my last post to include the statutory rape of a 14 year old boy by his 17 year old baby sitter.  It happened in Kansas.  The court ordered the boy’s parents to pay child support until he turned 18, at which time he became responsable.

     

    I am not advocating for the “dogs” of the world, but instead for otherwise honest, decent guys who are victomized By a broad-brush enforcement code that leaves them trapped with no options.

    When the pro-choice movement is ready to truly be pro-choice for both genders then you will see a marked increase in support from men.  We are all in this together and we need eachothers support if we are to repell the forces that want to return to the old way of doing things.  I for one want to move forward not backward.  The ball is in your court–lets play and try to be respectful of each other.

  • julie-watkins

    The courts do not take the individual circumstances of how the pregnancy happened into consideration.  They have always relied on the position of “what is in the child’s best interest.”

    I think this is a symptom of much of what is wrong about how USA goverment works. It’s a Golden Rule thing: big business has the Gold, and they get to make the laws (profits! profits!). Rather than social spending that would give us decent safety nets (it used to be much better 30 years ago) social programs are always cut first, rather than money that goes to corporate welfare cheats. And one of the excuses is to say it’s not the government’s responsibility, it’s deadbeat parents!!!

    .

    Unfortunately, within the current circumstances, the threat of “child support” and (for older men) “statutory rape” women and young girls would be much more at risk from opportunistic male entitlement behavior than they currently are. I realize most men and boys are moral, but the few who aren’t cause great damage. Looking at history, times when local laws and culture allowed men to abandon mistresses & children the results were horrid.

    .

    Relationships are a risk. Everyone’s particular risks are individual, and we learn how to cope. If you have a good relationship, decisions won’t be one sided. The way unwilling fathers can defend against a “baby trap” situation is to not get involved with someone with the kind of personality that would do that. Get a vasectomy. Don’t let a relationship go toxic. (Nearly all the bad divorces I’m personally aware of, there were indications before the wedding that one or the other or both didn’t play well with others.) The cases you point to I think happen much less often than what the child support laws imperfectly prevent.

    .

    In my own case, Folo & I were already five years married when my IUD failed and I got pregnant. He said “if you really want to …”, but I could tell he didn’t. I think he was more sure of the abortion decision than I was, but as I discovered feminism and started deconstructing all the sex-role conditioning I’d been raised with, and I became more aware of how parenting & me wasn’t a good fit, I became more sure of my decision. (I got a tubal. He would have gotten a vas, but I figured tubal was added safety.)

    .

    Since you’re not advocating for the “dogs”, I think almost all bad situations of non-dogs being taken advantage of can be guarded against by being very careful in relationships. In the same way that “parential notification” laws don’t do the job that good parent/child communication should do.

  • elyzabeth

    First, I appreciate how you are trying to meet us halfway here, tthomas, but I have a few problems with your premise.

     

    We can definitely agree that no one of either gender should ever be forced or coerced into sex.  Most definitely, no rape victim should ever be forced to support a child resulting from the rape.

     

    Regarding the case of the underage boy and his babysitter, however, the description I found stated that the two had consensual sex and the sitter got pregnant accidently.  Because of the age difference, it counted as statutory rape, so it was unjust that the boy was punished for a crime that had been committed against him.  In cases without the age difference, I take issue with the idea that men should be shielded from responsibility for accidental pregnancies resulting from contraceptive failure when women have no such protection.  You say you want men to have the legal option to “abort responsibility” in those cases, but that is not a viable alternative since in too many places in this country women are not afforded a full range of reproductive choices due to their lack of resources, transportation, and community or family pressures.

     

    With a few bizarre tabloid-worthy exceptions, women do not get pregnant to milk a guy out of child support.  Ask any single mother–if the payments come at all, they are not enough to live comfortably off of.  Yes, a few unlucky guys have been conned by crap dishonest women pulled using the legal system, but the concept that a large number of women are scary sperm-sucking succubi is laughable.  That idea is also one of the central tenants of the Men’s Rights movement, which is why I am leery of anyone who professes that opinion.

     

    In my experience, men aren’t prochoice because of either religion or some twisted quasi-libertarian idea of personal responsibility, as in “if a woman chooses to be a slut and have sex, then she needs to deal with the consequences.”  In fact, your precept that the prochoice movement scares away men since, according to you, men can’t escape responsibility for the child resulting from being forced into fatherhood against their will, isn’t logical.

     

     

  • crowepps

    There should be some guidlines and restrictions on it. Females have none for abortion.

    Are you trying to assert that there aren’t ANY restrictions on abortion? Really?

  • tthomas

    Thanks for your remarks.  They seem sincere and well intended.  A few clarifications, if I may: I used extreme examples, which do happen, to drive home the point that the courts give zero consideration to males on this issue.  The vast majority of cases just plain and simple involve guys where contriseption failed or was not used–and we can agree on this. The point is this: men deserve a say in whether or not they choose to be a “dad” or to financially support A child when the female chooses to carry it to birth.

    There should be some significant guidlines and well defined restrictions on it.  Females have few for abortion.  This is the comprimise due to biological realities.

    If the goal is to win male support for the pro-choice movement, if the stated belief is that you need support from men to strengthen your existing position and maintain current law.  Then plainly stated–you must give men a voice and a choice common in purpose to your own.

    We can argue all day long the same old tired arguments that only polarize us.  Or you can accept that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and give up a little to keep what you have.

    Again–our postion that gives a man some rights does not infringe upon a woman’s right to keep or abort.

    I will not sling mud or engage in outdated arguments.  We are here, we are now.  We have nothing to loose by not supporting you, for all the legal choice is in your control.

    It will be painful for the movement, and uncomfortable, and create some problems that will have to be addressed as they unfold.  But if the movement is to survive, it must be willing and open to change.

    I have no more to say–peace to you

  • crowepps

    The vast majority of cases just plain and simple involve guys where contriseption failed or was not used–and we can agree on this. The point is this: men deserve a say in whether or not they choose to be a “dad” or to financially support A child when the female chooses to carry it to birth.

    If the guy didn’t use contraception, on what basis do you assert that he wasn’t choosing to be a “dad”? Is it your belief that men are unaware that having sex without contraception pretty consistently results in pregnancy?

  • tthomas

    edited for the prpose of correction–Thanks :)

  • tthomas

    Read all three of my posts–contemplate them–combine their overall meaning—realize they are a very rough template with lots of room for molding—search your hearts—see the truth of it—it is the eventual realization of a true pro-choice movement that serves all and will be supported with strength.

    Don’t over anylize or knit-pick points

    see the bigger picture

    see the strength of unity in a true duel-gender-alliance

    This Kung-foo is strong :)

  • prochoiceferret

    Don’t over anylize or knit-pick points see the bigger picture see the strength of unity in a true duel-gender-alliance

    Women, and the men who [are too dumb to think of using contraception to avoid unwanted fatherhood when they have sex with] them?

  • tthomas

    In order to understand a thing, one must rest objectively outside of it, rise above the entirety of it, and look in toward it with eyes that see and ears that hear.

    As men and women we must see beyond our individual self-interest and act toward the common good.  Men can be given SOME rights (with well thought out guidlines and restrictions) that provide them with enough “choice” to bring them into the movement and to feel that they too are stakeholders with something to gain or lose.

    You will not get male support with any strength in numbers and voice until you accept this.

    Think outside the box

    Dare to fail in order to win

    Trust in trust and cooperation

    No one is an island

  • crowepps

    So women who believe other women should have the right to make their own decision about abortion should join with promiscuous men who believe that they should have the right to have sex without responsibility and then coerce women into abortion by putting economic pressure on them?

     

    It doesn’t seem to me that we have the same goals at all.  We are trying to eliminate coercion and you are trying to institutionalize it.

  • crowepps

    There’s a sucker born every minute
    Trust me, I’m here to help you

  • rebellious-grrl

    I think I understand your frustration. Everyone wants the choice to be a parent or not. I’ve know a few men who have found themselves in the situation of a one night stand, sans-birth control, turning into a parenthood. What I’ve told (and continue) to tell my male friends is; wear a condom every time you have sex and use more than one form of birth control. Invest in lots of condoms and spermicide. It’s just good practice to use a condom because it helps prevent against STDs. If you are afraid of a woman stealing your sperm from the condom, dispose of the condom yourself. Before you have sex, discuss birth control. If you don’t trust someone, don’t have sex with them. I don’t mean to sound flippant about this but, have sex with prochoice women. I don’t have sex with anti-choice men. Sex can be great and a fling can be great but just know what you’re getting into. Sex is complicated. If you know the facts and protect yourself, sex can be awesome. Prochoice men and women need to come together to work to protect reproductive freedom.

    If you are really worried about getting a woman pregnant there are plenty of other sexual things you can do that don’t involve any chance of getting pregnant. Prochoice and pro-sex, but not pro-gettting pregnant.

     

  • tthomas

    If your voices are representative of the common voice in the pro-choice movement then decline in support from men will continue.  Hate and resentment, mistrust and victomization will unify some.  However , it will not have lasting staying power nor will it have healthy growth.

    We must move beyond these self-limiting philosophies. If your goal is to marginalize men and continue to proceed with “business as usual” you will not get their support in any great number.  How many times do I have to say this.  If you do not want men in the movement -OK. That is your choice.  I am responding to this article.

    If the pro-choice movement cannot find ways to unite both genders in a common cause, then the pro-life movement will continue to gain strength.  They have a recipe that includes both genders who believe they are fighting a just cause.

    The pro-choice movement is fighting with one hand tied behind its back and must find a way to unite PEOPLE in a common and just cause.  If you have better ideas than the one I have mentioned–Bring them forth and good luck to you.  One definition of insanity is to try the same thing over and over and expect different results.

    The voice I hear from you is poisonous and self-defeating. I bare you no ill-harm nor do I advocate such by suggesting rights for men.

  • ahunt

    Actually tthomas…I’m all over the right of men to opt out of parenthood. I’ve made it absolutely clear to our three sons that grandma and grandpa will maintain cordial relationships with the hypothetical mothers of the unwanted children sired by our boys, and see to the financial and emotional well being of our grandchildren…all of which will impact on the grandparental time, energy and financial resources available to the children our sons DO want.

  • elyzabeth

    “If your goal is to marginalize men and continue to proceed with “business as usual” you will not get their support in any great number.”

     

    The women talking to you don’t exist in a bubble of estrogen, with you as our only window into the male mind.  We love the men in our lives (family, friends, lovers, etc) and we do not want them to be unfairly persecuted by the legal system or our culture in any way.  Guys who have eight brain cell’s worth of human empathy also give us the same respect, no-questions-asked, no-strings-attached.

     

    We have the support of great numbers of men–but we build the relationships and friendships on the personal level because reproductive choice is a very personal matter.  

     

    Tthomas, I’m glad you took your time to give us your opinions, but your statements about men’s feelings concerning the prochoice movement do not match the reality that all of us have observed.  You call us poisonous and self-defeating, insane, whatever, but you suggest for some reason that you have yet to elucidate, that we feminists tailor our agenda to fit the desires of some small, unrepresentative sample of people that have been working against to undermine us. 

  • julie-watkins

    The vast majority of cases just plain and simple involve guys where contriseption failed or was not used–and we can agree on this. The point is this: men deserve a say in whether or not they choose to be a “dad” or to financially support A child when the female chooses to carry it to birth.

    It’s a baaaaaaaad and risky idea — for both girls and boys — to have sex with someone you don’t have good reason to implicity trust each other so if contraception fails (& the “contraception” might be “I hope she/I don’t get pregnant) the two can come to a mutually agreeable decision. As I said earlier, I think goverments come up with child support laws for the wrong reasons, so they could be more fair. It’s also unfair all the laws treat women like property, and interfer with contraception, abortion, and birthing choices of women. We’ve had a lot of conversations here about Rape Culture and OB doctors using Roe v. Wade to dictate to women about VBACs and interventions on the pretext of “for the benefit of the fetus” when it’s for the doctor or hospital’s agenda. I think what “problems” there are with support laws are less than what they prevent. [edited to fix the quoting]

  • tthomas

    Thank-you to those who responded with grace.  My last post was made before reading the kinder responses.

     

    “We have the support of great numbers of men–but we build the relationships and friendships on the personal level because reproductive choice is a very personal matter.”

     

    It is a very personal choice for self-respecting men also.  We have hopes of being dads and choosing the mother of our children.  We want to build a life for ourselves, our wives, our children.  We are caring and compassionate.  It is important for you to understand that reproductive mistakes happen and have negative impact on both genders. I will never attempt to say that I can understand what a woman goes through when she is facing an unwanted pregnancy.  I can only feel secure in the knowledge that the law gives her choices which she can utilize to achieve a result for her own self interest on the issue.

     

     ”You call us poisonous and self-defeating, insane, whatever, but you suggest for some reason that you have yet to elucidate, that we feminists tailor our agenda to fit the desires of some small, unrepresentative sample of people that have been working against to undermine us.”

     

    Over the years, I have spoken to many men on this issue and am convinced that I receive a level of candor and honesty which is witheld from most women.  That sample, although small, I feel is representative of a great many men who struggle with the pro-choice movement.  The common thread among all my conversations is that men feel a sense of powerlessness, of being cornered without a voice once an unintended pregnancy occurs, of having their dreams with Mrs. right dashed, of being financialy imprisoned for many years.  Women once felt that powerlessness before the law gave them a choice to excersise.  I know your stuggle continues, but many men feel little connection to it when they contemplate their own sense of loss stemming from their lack of options once the mistake has occured. 

    I am in spirit pro-choice but will not actively support it without receiving some choice in return.  You underestimate male pride and our unquenchable desire to control our own destiny.  You are mistaken if you think my position is not important to many men.  Their are aspects to the male mind that you will never know. Believe it–this is important to men.

  • julie-watkins

    Over the years, I have spoken to many men on this issue and am convinced that I receive a level of candor and honesty which is witheld from most women.  That sample, although small, I feel is representative of a great many men who struggle with the pro-choice movement.

     

    Part of frustration comes from diverging world views. In some of the toxic divorces I wrote of earlier there were different expectations of both parties as to what was acceptable behavior; the one toxic divorces I knew of that involved a child (in the past, only have his side of the story) — from what he described, the marriage shouldn’t have happened. There were warning signs. Last year, I overheard a conversation on a city bus — the one man was talking very loudly — and he was very frustrated at his partner or wife because “she wants to wear the pants”. When there was the “rape culture” discussion there was someone who essentially admitted to date rape — but he was disputing the definition of what was or wasn’t rape.

    .

    I have seen often an attitude (in online coments and ranting) from men who complain “the deck’s stacked against me!!” and treat any potential relationship as a trap, she’s an enemy, and therefore all’s fair in love & war … and take the “unfairness” of child support laws as an excuse for being a selfish jerk.

  • tthomas

    Thank you all for giving the time for this exchange of ideas.  I planted a seed (no pun intended) in your minds for your consideration.  There is little else for me to say.  We can respectfully agree to disagree.  What we can agree on perhaps is this.  For as long as our species has existed the genders have remained to some degree perplexing to each other.  Yet that perplexity draws us to each other for the promulgation of our numbers.

     

    The pro-life movement has some advantage in that they submit to a way of thinking that provides an order and discipline to life to which they willingly accept.  This allows the genders to work cooperatively, for better or worse for a common goal.

     

    The pro-choice movement, in some ways, is a voice of rebellion against the tyranny of oppression.  This can sometimes and in some ways place the genders at odds with each other, because the oppressor and the oppressed are widely considered as men v. women.  It may be the natural case that mens numbers will wax and wane in the movement based on this tumultuous dynamic. 

     

    I think it is important though for the pro-choice movement to embrace strategies of inclusiveness for men.  After all we are 1/2 of the equation and a pretty tough bunch of nuts.  For all our faults and simplistic crotch scratching habits, we have strong kung-foo. 

    And I know that no matter what I say some of your most squeeky wheels will proclaim… “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” 

     

    I consider myself to be thoughtful and openminded.  I am eager to better understand the core mentality of the pro-choice movement.  I would like to be a part of discussions for gaining male support.  If you like, I can be reached at tbonehampton@yahoo.com 

     

    Good luck to you all,

    Tom 

  • crowepps

    The common thread among all my conversations is that men feel a sense of powerlessness,

    That is precisely the point all of us were trying to get across to you – it is not the responsibility of women to provide men with a sense of being powerful merely because men have the illusion that women are the ones whose subservience might provide that feeling.  Women are actual real people who want to live actual real lives according to their talents and interests, not placeholders useful to men in service to their myth that omnipotent is both possible and something they can all individually achieve.

     

    If men feel powerless to ‘control’ what happens in their lives, welcome to the club.  So do women.  Bad things happen to good people all the time.  Negative and positive events happen randomly with little hope of preventing them all and we have to deal with their effects on their lives.

     

    Attempting to control the behavior of others, whether women, children or other men, does NOT give a person invulnerability to the whims of fate. 

  • crowepps

    I think goverments come up with child support laws for the wrong reasons

    Governments came up with child support laws entirely so that the support of the children in question would no longer have to come from tax monies and for no other reason.  It doesn’t have anything to do with ‘fair’ but rather with ‘you play, YOU pay’.

  • tthomas

    “That is precisely the point all of us were trying to get across to you – it is not the responsibility of women to provide men with a sense of being powerful merely because men have the illusion that women are the ones whose subservience might provide that feeling.”

     

    My postion advocates no such thing.  It is having a legal voice and a choice to excersise that will provide empowerment.  This has nothing to do with a woman’s abortion or decision to keep the fetus.  That is her choice and her’s alone.  That is her empowerment.

    I understand that reading and absorbing the same dogmatic messages over and over again can narrow ones mentall vision.  And I see that by this forums inability to grasp my concept or to see that it is a viable solution, or to understand that I am a progressive working toward the next logical step to reach true pro-choice for both genders.

    Almost all of your concerns can be addressed by placing restrictive conditions under what circumstances a “right of refusal” can be legal

    No gain for one vested interest can be accomplished without its counterpart giving back a little in return. 

    The quality of men who will be attracted to the movement are not those that want women to be subservient.  On the contrary, we want them to be autonamise and free to support their reproductive choices–both emotionally, and for the long-term financially.

    This is not an attempt to gain a carte-blanche escape from all finacial considerations.  But it is pressing to achieve liberty from 21 years of forced finacial bondage.

    Since my topic has never been truly considered, its end form could have any number of obligatory financial conditions for which the man would be held accountable,

    rough examples: He could be compelled to pay for the abortion; he could be held responsible for doctor bills and the cost of delivery;  he might be required to pay a lump sum of money to help mom get on her feet, etc.

    The goal here is not to avoid all responsibility, but is rather to be free of the yoke of a punitive system that punishes men for years and years.

    Comprimise is the key ellement here.  When one side desperately attempts to hold on to all control regarldless of the unsound principles in it,  they are at risk of loosing it all to an enemy with a better game plan.

    Suggestion: Take a break from reading all the female generated literature, which believe me does not have insight into all of the male mind, and go ask some men youselves.  Do a survey–given to men who have left the movement or who ride on the fence over supporting it.  Ask the men who are in the movement.  Get all of their feedback.  They need to feel included.  Propose my solution as a possible way to gain male support.  Be open and non-judmental to their answers.  Find out for yourselves if what I am saying is true.

    And at the very least, it might make a good article in a pro-choice journal.  It would show that you care what men think and that you are attempting to find ways to be more inclusive.

  • ahunt

    Here’s your problem, TT.

     

    I’m old, but not so old that I will not do everything in my power to protect and support my grandchildren. The family dynamic will get very ugly, very quickly, if one of our sons were to abandon a child he helped create….with the arguments you put forth.

     

    The ponies have bolted the barn. There is a kid that needs love and support, and I can guarantee you that grandparental advocacy for the paternally abandoned child WILL come at expense of the parental support of the son, and those children he does want. Every cent will come out of his share of our not inconsiderable family estate…and grandparental time and energy will go to the “fatherless.”

     

    IOWs…you are advocating an ugly solution to very real concerns.

  • tthomas

    “I’m old, but not so old that I will not do everything in my power to protect and support my grandchildren. The family dynamic will get very ugly, very quickly, if one of our sons were to abandon a child he helped create….with the arguments you put forth.”

     

    I am not advocating for any man to abandon a child he has already fathered with a woman.  My proposal concerns a fetus, and by definition it is not living and by definition has no rights.  The “right of refusal” would have to be inacted during the same period of time in which a woman can get an abortion.  Existing children would be granfathered in under current law.  My proposal would have a lawful inactment date and would be an optional choice for a man after that date.  Educational literature could go out to the masses well in advance of this to inform the public of changes to the law.

    In some ways this could be liberating for all pro-choicers.  A woman would know well in advance of the mans intent to participate or not in the rearing of a child she has not yet decided to keep or abort.  The number of “dead-beat dads” would be reduced.  A clean break could be made between the two parties and they can move on with their lives-both having excersised a legal “choice” in the matter.

    Feminism at its very core openly proclaims that its goal is to achieve equality between the genders–equality of choice and in the pusuit of happiness.  To individually be able to have legal mechanisms to control our own destiny and be free from the bondage of sexist oppression.  This is a two-way philosophy, as stated in the founding doctrines of the early movement.

    Women have made great strides in securing my above remarks. It would not be as bad as you seem to think.

    The traditional family unit is bankrupt.  Divorce has crested the 50% point and will continue to rise.  The last fifty years have seen to that.  We must rethink and create a new model.  There is no going back.

    Your conservative view in this issue is outmoded and clings to a dependancy on men you must be willing to break free of in order to have your legal abortion choice achieve true fruition and definition. 

    Many men today feel that they have been relagated to being sperm donors and money machines to a system of choice in which they have no legally vested voice.

    All of my posts, all of what I have said is designed to attract more men into the movement. Thats all.

    An all or nothing attitude will not accomplish this.

    Peace to you. 

     

     

  • ahunt

    You miss the point.

     

    Once a grandchild exists, the circumstances of how, when and what was agreed to at the time of limblocking become irrelevant. At least from this grandma’s perspective.

  • tthomas

    Thank you for continuing the discussion. It seems evident that you are passionate about your children, grand-children, and children in general.

    Perhaps, you would rest more comfortably in the philosophical camp that would allow men to press a woman to give birth in the event he can insure the courts that A) he qualifies to parent and B) can support the child and provide a safe home environment.

    This is a more sure position to prove one loves children by giving more of them the best chance to live and experience a life of their own and be able to have their dads mom make the same remarks about her grandchildren as you do. 

    That is the position I started with many years ago and soon found out that the pro-choice movement would sooner murder me than ever consider that option.  There is a relatively healthy movement supporting a mans right to his unborn child in the event that the woman chooses to abort.  But it has not gained any traction and probably will not.  It encrouches upon a womans right to privacy to her own body and reproductive choice.  I would probably feel better their–it just will never happen though.

    So, I deal with the reality on the ground as it is and have embraced a smart and well thought out pro-choice philosophy for men.  This is the only scenario I can think of that will give men some legal choice and avoid invading upon a woman’s rights.

    My position is one of reason and logic, and I must set aside my emotional brain (the one that would place me in the above camp)

    I am compelled by my theoretical support of pro-choice to find ways to include men in the movement–to give them voice, choice and to be real stakeholders in the cause.

    We will get their someday, I am sure of it.  Just what form those rights will take, is yet to be determined.  The one I advocate creates the least amount of collateral damage while still giving both genders choice options.

     

    Thank you dear grandmother.  Your sincere love for your children is heard and appreciated.

     

  • crowepps

    Many men today feel that they have been relagated to being sperm donors and money machines

    So protest this outrageous denial of your basic liberties! Keep your sperm to yourselves. You are absolutely in total control of who has access to it.

  • tthomas

    Why don’t you turn that statement into a poster and display it to all the men, as the article says you need, and of whom you are just a little baffled as to why they are leaving or not joining.

    “Good and decent Men–Join the pro-choice movement!!  But keep your sperm to youself or suffer the consequences!”

     

    Let me know how it works for ya :)

  • ahunt

    I’m not following. How would my determination to see to the well being of my grandchildren translate into support for a hypothetical  philosophical camp that would allow men to press a woman to give birth in the event he can insure the courts that A) he qualifies to parent and B) can support the child and provide a safe home environment?

  • crowepps

    I almost hate to point this out, but good and decent men who have strong feelings about their potential to create children and want control over the process ALREADY keep their sperm to themselves. You might want to consider just why it is that so many men who do NOT do this are so indignant when their own personal failure to use birth control results in a pregnancy they don’t want.

     

    It doesn’t make any sense to me to assert that “women can’t be trusted” and “women conspire to trap men economically through pregnancy” and then through carelessness or fecklessness cede to these unreliable agents all the responsibility for birth control.

     

    Mind you, I’m not saying men shouldn’t be having sex, just that if something is really important to you, it’s smart to take care of it yourself.

  • ahunt

    “women can’t be trusted” and “women conspire to trap men economically through pregnancy”

     

    To TT’s credit…I think he has honestly tried to avoid the pitfalls of MRA rhetoric. What I think he is missing is the impact on extended family dynamics of the “Choice for Men” arguments.

     

    I actually like his idea of downloadable consent forms, if only for humor’s sake…reminds me of a “That 70′s Show” episode that had me peeing my pants: essentially…a condom waiver based on guarantee of oral contraception ingestion.

  • tthomas

    “Good and decent men–join the pro-choice movement!”

    • But if your condom fails aprox. 5% of the time you have no say in any resulting pregnancy
    • Get a vasectomy-that will prevent pregnancy over 99%–you never wanted kids in the future anyway.
    • Join us guys-your minor sons can be molested by the sitter or a teacher, he probably enjoyed it  so pay up
    • We need you!–but remember no matter how the pregnancy happens, under either benign or extreme circumstances, you have no say–so pay up.
    • Come on fellas–march with us.  Every single one of us is trust worthy and has your best interest at heart too! 
    • Yeah-Yeah!  Join us
  • ahunt

    Again…what would you have me do?

     

    We are talking about my hypothetical grandchild here.

     

    Support my son’s reproductive rights while simultaneously assuming his traditional paternal financial and familial obligations?

     

    What would you have me do?

  • tthomas

    I assume it was randomly determined by nature that you had sons and not daughters.  And so, if your daughter wanted an abortion, regardless of your input, but the daddy of that fetus legally compelled her to keep it and let him raise it, then his mom would be loving those little grandbabies and have similar grandparental feelings as your own.  And life would have survived to celebrate.  And guess what–all evidence suggests that neither the man or his parents would demand child-support from the mom.

  • crowepps

    There are people in the Pro-Choice movement who believe all sorts of different things. Most of the time we manage to get along fairly well even when we disagree about individual issues.

     

    Your argument seems to be that unless the Pro-Choice movement enshrines in their ‘doctrine’ that there are lots of women out there who are predatory, and that the Pro-Choice movement should agree it’s appropriate to punish those women (and their children) by allowing men to ‘choose’ whether they feel like chipping in support.

     

    So men as a whole don’t care whether women as a whole (their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters) have reproductive rights unless they get a financial benefit for themselves? For men it’s always all about the money and whether they maintain control?

     

    I think better of men than that, and I don’t believe your beliefs are representative of the majority.

  • tthomas

    Stay out of your sons business just the way you demanded your mom to keep out of yours once you were an adult.  You overstep your bounderies.

    Once your children are grown your role in their lives must change from being a law maker and enforcer–to–a wise councelor who gives advice (when it is asked of you) 

     

  • ahunt

    Please believe that the well-being of my grandchildren is most definitely my business, and I will step in on their behalf.

  • crowepps

    So Mom’s endure the pregnancy, go through labor and delivery, invest 18 to 22 years of time, effort and financial support, and then once boys are grown we’re irrelevant, we should ”stay out of their business” even when that business is allowing their kids to starve?

     

    Boundaries are reciprocal.  Once her son is grown she has no further obligation to listen to him, or to provide him with a place to stay, money or an inheritance, or to respect him if he doesn’t fullfill his obligations, and if she prefers to spend that money on a grandchild he doesn’t care to support, good for her.

  • ahunt

    Again, you are making  logical leaps that elude me.

     

    Get me from A) My hypothetical daughter chooses abortion…to…B) the hypothetical babydaddy vetoing the decision.

  • ahunt

    Starve?  Well, there’s WIC but I’m inclined to see to something over and above minimal standards of survival…

     

    Also, college funds, possible down payments on starter homes…that sort of thing….

     

     

  • tthomas

    Dear crowepps,

    I am sure you are a nice person.  You seem incapable of understanding my position even though I have written thousands of words and made great effort to clarify my position.  It’s OK  It is not easy to be logical or employ reason instead of emotion to work through a concept.

    Every single response you have made to any of my posts has failed to grasp my intent.  I would blame myself if we had had only a short correspodence.  But I have gone to great length to expound my position and still you respond as if this were our first conversation.

    At its core, my position is the same as the pro-choice movement.

    It is a bout the law and having access to it to excersise choice.

    You are trapped in an emotional prison of bashing men and victomizing women.

    My poster segment was satire–can you differintiate?

     

    Peace to you

  • crowepps

    And guess what–all evidence suggests that neither the man or his parents would demand child-support from the mom.

    The law is absolutely neutral on this, women as well as men are obligated to pay and do pay child support, and enforcement is just as strict in either case if the custodial parent is on welfare.

     

    http://singleparents.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=singleparents&cdn=parenting&tm=30&gps=282_131_985_522&f=10&su=p284.9.336.ip_p504.3.336.ip_&tt=11&bt=1&bts=1&st=24&zu=http%3A//www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-237.pdf

  • ahunt

    And I’m letting you know, TT…that there are ramifications to the “exercise” of your choice that you might want to consider.

  • tthomas

    I admit I got lost a little in that one myself. :)

    But lets talk about leaps of logic.

    1) Do you have a loving healthy relationship with your sons?

     

    2) If not–I would focus their before leaping over to the grandkids.

     

    If your relationship with your boys is healthy and loving, and you involve yourself with the children he mistakenly helped produce.—Good for you

    But If you are to some degree estranged from your boys and have a relationship with those grandkids against their will and this further estranges you from your sons—then you are leapfrogging, logically speaking. And have foresaken your primary role as a mom to support your own bull-headed belief system, and reinvested your maternal affection inappropriately in your grandkids.

     

    I hope this is a wrong conclusion.  It is not my business–but you did bring it up and detract from the main topic

     

     

  • crowepps

    Unfortunately, I still do not understand your position and you seem to be unable to state it in a way that will clarify it for me.  I will try one last time.

     

    To me, you seem to be limiting your ‘plan’ to two scenarios that are not equivalent in any way.

     

    Ban abortion so that women are obligated to continue their pregnancies and continue the present system of men (maybe) paying child support.

     

    Let one group of women continue to ‘choose’ abortion (so that no child is born at all) and at the same time let DIFFERENT men (not the fathers of those aborted fetuses) ‘choose’ to abandon their children who are born to DIFFERENT women who actually completed their pregnancies.

     

    You structure this as ‘equal rights’ but you seem to be missing the fact that you are mixing two entirely different populations of women and two entirely different populations of men.  It does not equalize ‘rights’ to extend the economic freedom of the men whose fetuses were aborted to the men whose fetuses were not, or to violate the economic freedom of the men who agree with their women that abortion was wise but could no longer obtain abortion to the same onerous position.

     

    Each of the two groups of women is not responsible for the behaviors of the other and neither are each of the two groups of men.  Your theory bundles all the men and all the women together and then talks about how the ‘rights’ of the entire groups need to be equal, as though a gain by ‘the women’ group must be a loss to ‘the men’.

     

    Instead women who want abortions and men who want them to have abortions are one part, women who don’t want abortions and men who don’t want them to have abortions are another part, women who do not want abortions and men who want them to have abortions are a third section, and women who do not want abortions and men who do want them to complete the pregnancy are a fourth.

     

    Both the last two four groups are outside of the ProChoice parameters, since while most of us would support a man being able to persuade a woman to make the choice to continue the pregnancy we do not support men being able to use the law to FORCE women to complete unwanted pregnancies, and while most of us would support a man trying to persuade a woman to abort, we do not support men being able to use the law or economic coercion to FORCE women to abort.

     

    The reason that I give the woman the choice in those scenarios is that if the woman continues the pregnancy, it’s her life that’s at stake, and if she aborts the pregnancy, if her life that’s safe.  He may be perfectly willing to take the chance she’ll die, but the person most immediately involved is the one who has to decide what risk they’re willing to take.

  • tthomas

    I believe my position is strong.  I believe it will attract men to the movement.  It is a theoretically sound argument.

    But also, I am not sure of its long term effect on the social fabric of our nation.

     

    But lets be clear.  Review for yourselves the legal arguments used against the Roe v. Wade decision, both during the trial and leading up to it.  The arguments had a great concern for the future moral fabric of our society, for the institution of family, marriage etc.  There was also alot of sexist nonsense included like, “If a woman does not want to get pregnant then she should keep her legs closed.”

     

    I see shockingly similar remarks arguing against my proposal.

    Men will one day have rights, because there is no lasting legal argument to avoid it.  The pro-choice movement can engage the debate and help to shape those rights and mimmize its negative impact on women.  Or it can standbye and do nothing and become subject to male-choice laws it would not help shape.

  • ahunt

    You cannot be serious. You cannot possibly be suggesting that because I may have failed my son by raising him to believe that his equal reproductive rights trump the well-being of any guppies he might spawn…I should then fail my grandguppies by not acknowledging  their existance?

     

    What kind of a mother do you think I am?…Good God, my head is exploding here!

  • crowepps

    Could you explain that primary role specifically?

     

    It sounds as though you’re saying she should get approval of her belief system from her child before she puts it into effect, that he should be able to approve or disapprove of her behavior, and that her primary role as a mother is to prove her absolute unconditional love by NOT loving her grandchildren if he doesn’t want her to do so.

     

    I hope this is a wrong conclusion.  Personally, if my son walked away from a child he had “mistakenly produced”, that would produce an estrangement whether I ever laid eyes on the grandchild or not.  I would hope my son would have more decency than to do that to a child.

  • crowepps

    After all, even though you were an authority figure when he was little, now that he’s all grown up he’s supposed to be telling YOU what to do!

  • ahunt

    Well here is another theoretically sound approach.

     

    Women know…going into any sexual relationship…that they are on their own. Men have no rights and no responsibilities for the procreative consequences of the deed.

     

    If there is a pregnancy…women are on their own.  Women can choose to abort w/o interference…or carry to term.

     

    Here’s where men’s reproductive rights kick in…”Dad” will have a 90-day period from the day of being informed of pregnancy continuation…to “opt in,” acknowledge paternity…and be a father.

     

    It is an affirmative act. No action…no responsibility, no rights and no paternal obligation whatsoever.

     

    Women will know…going into any sexual relationship…that they alone in it…and men will have equal reproductive rights.

     

    This actually works for me, but for reasons you might not expect, TT. What do you think?

     

  • tthomas

     

    It all depends on how much it effects your relationship with your own chidren.

    But hey.  If I were in the same spot as your sons, and you continued to see the kids.  That would be fine with me, as long as you did not bug me and harrass me about it.

    Now if those kids were ones I meant to have, commited myself to them and then walked away—shame on any man for that

    But if they were an accident and she new I did not want kids, we were not married but just dating—-then go ahead ma, just leave me out of it and please, please don’t harrass me.

  • ahunt

    It all depends on how much it effects your relationship with your own chidren.

     

    As in…a profound loss of respect…

     

    then go ahead ma, just leave me out of it and please, please don’t harrass me.

     

    It is entirely likely that such an arrangement could work very well for me…as I doubt there would be much to talk about anyway.

  • tthomas

    That pretty much sums up the intent of my proposal, as long as when you say paternity–you also mean financial.

    I felt a bit of bitterness in your wording, so your mental image of how this would play out legally may be different from my own.  But I think your on the right track.

  • tthomas

    Let me see if I get what your saying:

    Option 1- both want to keep

    Option 2-both want to abort

    above two options fall within pro-choice parameters

     

    Option 3-he wants to abort, she wants to keep

    Option 4-he wants to keep, she wants to abort

    These options fall outside of pro-choice but are protected by law

     

    I proclaim that all 4 choices are fully a part of the pro-choice movement because the movement legally advocates and fights hard for all those scenarios and for the woman’s advantage in 3 & 4.

    Fortunately, my proposal does not violate any of the above options.  But instead is only concerned with option 3.

    In the event a pregnancy occurs and the man wants to abort it but the woman wants to keep it.  I create an option where both parties get to excersise a choice.

    A) She gets to carry the baby to term and have her child as is her desire.

    B)  He gets to Abort his parental rights and financial responsibility

     

    Now is that asking too much? Of all the possible scenarios mentioned above  mine just tweeks one of them and does not force a woman to do anything she doesn’t want to do

    It is that simple

  • tthomas

    I should have stayed out of this one all together “Ahunts” business with her kids is her own not mine.

    My apologies to you all for remarking in any way.  It has detracted from the main conversation.

    It is a tough spot for her to be in.  Different people deal with situations in different ways.

    Big hug

    Tom

  • saltyc

    I haven’t been keeping up with the discussion here, but I’ll stick my neck out tentatively and say I agree with this. Maybe it’s just seeing from my own position, when I had a child I had no illusions that the dad would do anything at all, he was not reliable.

    I think if it were legally understood, that the man (or woman for that matter) can opt out, then hopefully the government will step up with better support for single mothers to fill in the gap.

     

    Most of the time, men who don’t want to support don’t. So why operate under the illusion that the government can force them to do what they don’t want to.As a society we tell mothers that if they need help, go after the dad.

    I like the idea of not pretending that every child needs a dad. If the buck doesn’t stop at the dad, it will have to fall on society. Also this would help get abusive men out of the picture, and take a way motivation for men who attack their pregnant girlfriends.

  • tthomas

    Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation.

    If you care to, read all our posts. It’s been an evolution :)

    Your points smack of a simple “life in the real worldtruth.”

    I really do think that this would appeal to many men and open a path for them to join the pro-choice ranks.

    And you know…some of us guys are very very stubborn but also softhearted undrneath our Rhino hide.  It may be that once a liberating choice for guys is made available, some of them, not all, maybe not many–but some who would otherwise feel trapped, angry and prone to a rash break and run decision, would while in that limbo period of free chioce, have a change of heart and want to be involved.  And as for the rest, at least every one involved will know up front what the deal is and how best to proceed.

    Freedom to choose your own path can work wonders on the soul sometimes.

  • julie-watkins

    I said up thread:

    I think this is a symptom of much of what is wrong about how USA government works. It’s a Golden Rule thing: big business has the Gold, and they get to make the laws (profits! profits!). Rather than social spending that would give us decent safety nets (it used to be much better 30 years ago) social programs are always cut first, rather than money that goes to corporate welfare cheats. And one of the excuses is to say it’s not the government’s responsibility, it’s deadbeat parents!!!

    .

    Unfortunately, within the current circumstances, the threat of “child support” and (for older men) “statutory rape” women and young girls would be much more at risk from opportunistic male entitlement behavior than they currently are. I realize most men and boys are moral, but the few who aren’t cause great damage. Looking at history, times when local laws and culture allowed men to abandon mistresses & children the results were horrid.

    so I think this is pragmatically pie-in-the-sky:

    I think if it were legally understood, that the man can opt out, then hopefully the government will step up with better support for single mothers to fill in the gap.

    I have no “hope” the government would “fill in the gap” — there’s no profit for Big Business. I’m leery of giving men/boys a “get out of child support free” card. Even with the current threat of child support there’s still so much predatory behavior & rape culture. Plus, “Reforming” support laws might have the “unintended consequence” of making women more vulnerable.

  • tthomas

    Julie,  I can see and do understand the points you make.  They are a real concern.  I do believe some of the “male-entitlement” concerns you bring up could be greatly reduced by crafting a proposal that has limited application, but is still weighty enough to provide a narrow band of choice for men.

    Would any of you ladies be willing to bring the topic up in the organizational meetings(if any) you participate in?  And as I said before, it might make for a good article in a feminist journal for the purpose of public feedback and to show men you are interested in entertaining ideas to increase their participation in the pro-choice movement.

    I am new to the scene, as far as any active participation goes, but would be willing to carry my idea forward.  Can anyone offer advise on what org. would be a good place to start?

    Also, can anyone share with me some of your own ideas for increasing male participation?  I am open and eager to hear other ideas apart from this one that has been pounding in my head for decades.

    ever hopeful,

    Tom

  • crowepps

    this would help get abusive men out of the picture, and take a way motivation for men who attack their pregnant girlfriends.

    The minority of men who are abusive, including men who attack pregnant girlfriends, may not have this particular motivation to be violent, but believe me, this would not change their behavior. They would instead of abusive for some other reason.

     

    A pattern of abusive behavior arises out of the psychological problems of the abuser and has nothing to do with either real world problems or the character or condition of people with whom they have relationships.

  • crowepps

    This side issue brought up an important point, however.  Your assumption was that the man who under your scenario made the choice not to be a father was also making this choice for all of the child’s other paternal biological relatives.

     

    Obviously, in some cases that might be true, because if he was able to keep it secret, his family wouldn’t even know the child had been created.  But what if his parents, siblings, relatives are acquainted with and perhaps like the woman, what happens then?

     

    Just how is it going to be explained to a 7-year old that Grandma and Grandpa are his biological relatives but that guy who provided the biological link and looks so much like him ‘chose’ to remain legally childless so HE’S not considered to be a relative?

     

    Can ‘I don’t want this kid’ change his mind later and decide when the kid is 20 that (when there’s no risk of having to shell out child support) NOW he wants to be considered Dad?

     

    In addition, I believe you have been talking about an unmarried couple.  Wouldn’t equal rights and being ‘fair’ extend this same right to married men?  How would a family work if only the woman was a ‘mother’ and the biological father/husband decided he didn’t ‘choose’ to be a father in a particular pregnancy?

     

    Would two biological parents end up with ’her kids’ and ‘our kids’?

  • squirrely-girl

    Yay! I’ve been reading all of the comments thus far and I am extremely exited about the last two posts if only because I think the “issue” has finally been identified. 

     

    As to what I perceive to be your position (definitely correct me if I’m wrong please) – I’m honestly on the fence. I can absolutely think of scenarios where she wanted to keep and he didn’t and he also wanted to be able to move on without financial responsibilities and/or obligations. There have been two situations I’ve been an observer to where this has happened without any legal involvement. (Just to be clear, these weren’t clients but rather people I’ve known over the years.) In each of these cases, both the man and the woman (not talking minors here) had similar financial situations and/or potential. In one they were both really poor, he had enough legal problems and she still cared enough about him after the break that she didn’t want to start MORE legal issues with unpaid child support because she knew he just couldn’t afford it (and the stress wouldn’t do his mental health any good). The other case involved a couple that had already split when she found out she was pregnant. They were independently financially stable. Quite honestly she didn’t need his financial help to raise a child on her own and she felt it “was time” to be a mom with or without himiuo. These “agreements” came together through communication between the couples not the courts. Given the outcomes I’d say these have both worked out pretty well… so far. :)

     

    But I can also think of a couple of scenarios where it didn’t “work itself out.” In one case, her morals and religious beliefs wouldn’t “allow” her to have an abortion and he knew this when they started having sex and went so far as to claim he shared similar values as well. She gets pregnant, he changes views and then wants to bail. He has the ability but no desire to contribute to the costs of raising a child and she feels it’s his obligation given her and his(?) beliefs. In yet another situation, he “changed his mind” about wanting to be a dad in the third trimester and she got screwed. Big time. He made significantly more money than she did and would very likely continue to do so. 

     

    In which of these scenarios should a man be able to negate his contribution to the equation? I really just don’t know. Yay for moral dilemmas! I personally think a couple of these situations were “dick moves” but whatever. I’ve also witnessed a few situations where the guys offered to provide some limited financial support agreed on by the couple and she just didn’t press the issue legally even though she “could have gotten more.” 

     

    I’m sorry that I can’t link you to some magical website or news article or research study to “cite” this information, but I assure you that ALL OF THESE SCENARIOS EXIST! I think I just have an appreciation for reflective listening and the “life story.” But I digress. For that matter, I’m sure there are many more situations that we can ALL think of. Unplanned pregnancies happen. And unplanned pregnancies often have unplanned reactions and unplanned results. What I guess I’m trying to express is that it either happens or it doesn’t and I don’t think this is a situation that can be easily or “fairly” or “equally” legislated or ordered. Rather, I just don’t think there is a uniform solution to this problem because so many interpretations of these “options” or scenarios exist. These are people we’re talking about here and you can’t always “plan” for the human element. :)

     

    I feel like child support laws “attempt” to navigate and/or organize this issue yet I realize that there are SO MANY flaws to current systems that are desperately in need of reform and/or tossing (on both “sides”). But I also feel that child support laws are just that – CHILD support. I can totally sit here and present individual scenarios or hypotheticals, but the reality is such that there are MANY situations where children lose out on their other parent’s desire/obligation to contritute some financial support once they are actually alive. I guess I just feel that once a child is here there is an obligation to care/provide/raise. And I REALLY don’t think the state should end up paying for basic life needs or standard of living that one or both of the parents are ABLE to pay for even if one just “didn’t want to.” 

     

    Ultimately, any financial arrangements other than agreeing to “halfsies” on the abortion will be about a CHILD.  

  • tthomas

    Thanks squirrely for chimming in. 

    I think legal wording could be crafted to prevent your latter two scenarios.

    Especially the third-trimester bail out.  His time frame for choosing not to be involved should clearly exist only during the early stages of pregnancy.  There must be ample time for the woman to debate her option to keep or abort the fetus.

    In the instance where he stated a shared value to not aborting a pregnancy before having sex with her then pulled the fast 180%—that needs to be debated and somehow restricted as a way out.

    I have suggested a pre-sex quick contract that a guy could carry.  If signed by both parties prior to having sex, it would legally allow him to opt out of any resulting pregnancy.  Its a crude, undeveloped idea but the brainstorming wheels are turning.

    I was laughed at for that idea.

    But guess what,  after all these thousands and thousands of words have been written by all participants, no one else has made any substanative suggestions on how to increase male support in the movement.  Not even a squeek or hint of a fresh idea.  Just mostly attempts to invalidate my proposal.  Great work people!

  • tthomas

    Thanks squirrely for chimming in. 

    I think legal wording could be crafted to prevent your latter two scenarios.

    Especially the third-trimester bail out.  His time frame for choosing not to be involved should clearly exist only during the early stages of pregnancy.  There must be ample time for the woman to debate her option to keep or abort the fetus.

    In the instance where he stated a shared value to not aborting a pregnancy before having sex with her then pulled the fast 180%—that needs to be debated and somehow restricted as a way out.

    I have suggested a pre-sex quick contract that a guy could carry.  If signed by both parties prior to having sex, it would legally allow him to opt out of any resulting pregnancy.  Its a crude, undeveloped idea but the brainstorming wheels are turning.

    I was laughed at for that idea.

    But guess what,  after all these thousands and thousands of words have been written by all participants, no one else has made any substanative suggestions on how to increase male support in the movement.  Not even a squeek or hint of a fresh idea.  Just mostly attempts to invalidate my proposal.  Great work people!

  • tthomas

    It seems we have exhausted any interest or ideas on this topic for now.  Thanks to all for letting me join in the discussion.  I make no claim that my ideas for increasing male support are the best or only ideas that exist.  This forum has not produced any other than mine, and I think that- that my be symptomatic of the larger problem in the pro-choice movement.

    Some food for thought.  I have come to understand over the years a few basic differences in how men and women bond to the children they produce–generally speaking

    WOMEN: As biological, chemical changes occur in a women who is pregnant, she begins to form a bond with the potential life growing in her womb.  Strong natural forces are at work, so by the time the baby is born she is already in love with it and connected to it on a level men will never fully understand.

     

    MEN: The bonding process, especially for a man who did not want a baby, happens after the child is born.  And that initial kick-start to bonding is often directly connected to how he feels about the woman.  This is just a simple truth.  If the woman is combative, rude, disrespectful to his feelings or dismissive of his role, this negatively impacts his desire to connect with the baby. Sometimes he is just an immature, callous jerk. Nevertheless, he needs to hold the infant, feel the miracle of life that he helped to create.  He needs to see himself and the momma in that child. This bonding is also natural and very strong, but it also takes time and possitive reinforcement.

     

    I share this belief with you in hopes that it will give you some insight into the male condition on how men process the bonding experience.  Again, this applies most specifically to men who did not want a pregnancy to reach term or exist at all.  You may already know these things, and I am not trying to teach, but rather just share the things I have learned as a man and from intimate conversation with them over the years.

     

    I hope the pro-choice movement can succesfully develop strategies for gaining increase in male support and strengthen the movement for continued future success.

    Respectfully,

    Thomas Hampton

  • julie-watkins

    Didn’t answer because RL has been busy … and the conversation seems to have ended in the mean time. Mostly, as I’ve said, people need to be careful with relationships (of all kinds) and wanting laws to take care of people not being more careful is, eh, not something I’d like to see. I’m afraid the proposals you’re suggesting would cause more harm than good. Don’t really need to restate again what I’ve already written upthread. Good luck.

  • tthomas

    All my remarks pertaining to taking a “position” on Ahunts role as a grandma were made off the top of my head and were initially an emotional response.

    As I thought more about it and looked objectively in at the situation, I realized that my words were weak and not well thought out.  But more importantly it’s not my business.  Families can deal with this in a number of ways, and Ahunt was dealing with her own situation the best way she knew how and in a way that was right for her.

    I have known men who were in the same postion as Ahunt sons. In one case the G-parents did not know the woman well.  It was a short fling.  So when their son refused to support a child he did not intend to help create (she said she was on the pill and still got pregnant) they held back from forming any relationship with the woman or the baby she gave birth too.

    In another case, the G-parents new the woman and were fond of her, so when the baby was born they became involved with the grand-child.  The dad, who from the beginning never wanted a child, vascilated in and out of the childs life kind of “luke warm” in his involvement.  He bowed to the pressure his parents placed on him, yet stubornly refused to be a full partner to a child he never wanted.

    No easy answers-but I have seen it played out a couple of different ways.

     

    I am sure there are real stories of the reluctant dad having a change of heart over time based on the urging of his parents.

     

    As far as this happening in a marriage.  I believe that is different.  I’m not sure how or why but it should be.  Marriage is a contractual agreement and should carry more weight towards holding an individual responsable for any children produced as a result of that union.

    Although personally, I have strong negative feelings toward marriage.  It has statistically become a bad investment.  With a 51+% failure rate and no-fault divorce.  The legal downside and emotional pain from the ever increasing decay of social values, is just too high a price to pay for me.  Their is very little “till death do you part” or “love you through thick or thin” left in this world.  People bail too easy and feed a ravenous legal system with the messy raw meat of their torn lives.  Lawyers seem to make out fine though.

  • crowepps

     their son refused to support a child he did not intend to help create (she said she was on the pill and still got pregnant)

    Your “she said she was on the pill” implies she was lying. She may have been on the pill and still gotten pregnant – the pill has a failure rate and people on the pill do get pregnant.

     Marriage is a contractual agreement and should carry more weight towards holding an individual responsable for any children produced as a result of that union.

    Men get married who do not want to have children and even if the wife says she is on the pill and really is, she also could still get pregnant.

     I have strong negative feelings toward marriage.  … The legal downside and emotional pain from the ever increasing decay of social values, is just too high a price to pay for me. 

    Marriages are entirely individual and any particular one has absolutely nothing to do with the “ever increasing decay of social values”.  You get out of marriage exactly what you put into it.  If the people involved are mature and adult, choose their partners well and put in an honest half of the commitment effort, it is unlikely they will be one of the failures.

     

    Based on your assertions that women have to remember to be subservient and respectful and understand that HE makes all the decisions, I’d say for you avoiding marriage is probably a good plan.

  • tthomas

    Why then does this logic not apply to women.  The pro-choice movement has fought long and hard to make abortion available to a woman under ANY circumstance.

    They do not have to notify, or confer with the man.  Minor daughters do not have to notify parents (correct me if I’m wrong), women can use abortion as a birth control method.  

    I have no argument with this in principle. 

     

    If you say that “people” need to be careful about creating a pregnancy and that you do not want laws that “take care of people” for not being more careful, then why is it, using your logic, not a prudent idea to place restrictions on abortion.

     

    Because what you really mean when it comes down to it, is that “People” means men!!

     

    Your logic would suggest that women should be restricted from abortion if they are getting one because “oops birth control didn’t work and I just don’t want a baby right now.”

     

    Your logic would suggest that if her health is at risk by carrying to term, or the fetus is severely damaged, or she has been raped, etc…  then these would be worthy conditions to allow abortion, for she is not at fault.

     

    But women have a law, a legal choice that covers them for the “oops oh shit” factor.  It’s already there.  You already see it.  You just won’t admit it.

     

    You want to hide behind an argument that if any restrictions are placed on abortion then, that chink in your iron-clad-right will be threatened.  You all ride the victom train and it works–great, good for you

     

    There are similar arguments about gun control and not placing any restrictions on it whatsoever in fear of loosing existing rights.

    Don’t you think the arguments against gun control are paranoid, fear mongering?  I and many other people do

     

    So how is the abortion issue different?

     

    Women have free access to abortion even when there is absolutely no other reason to get one than “I just don’t want a baby right now”

    According to your logic, that is providing a law to someone who was potentially “not careful” in their actions. 

     

    You still have a way out.  Men do not.

     

    You can make any flimsy argument you like to say that there is somehow a difference.  Many men who ride the fence on supporting the pro-choice movement see the hypocrosy in this postion.

    And we want our way out too.

     

    It does not have to be a way out that is as wide-open as a womans, because we understand, appreciate and respect the biological-physical burdon you carry.

     

    Feminists continue to want a woman to have every perceivable right for an abortion and every right to take a man’s money from him but insist that a man  have absolutely no rights-even ones that do not encroach upon your rights!  You see fit to block and otherwise punish the large majority of good decent guys, and hold us accountable for the minority of scoundrelous bastards who hurt women.

     We are no more responsible or accountable for them than you are for the neurotic, wacked-out abusive women in our country,  And we have no more say or control over their behavior than you do.

     

    Your language is carefully wrapped in concern concealing your own arrogance, woven intricately around a core model of abuse and victomization.  You wear blinders that prevent you from seeing the strength and beauty of the real men who want to support you, yet yearn for their own dignity, voice, and choice.

     

    Many of us do not buy the all to common, hypocritical double-standard that the feminist movement continually vommits forth.  Many of us would join you because we support your right to get an abortion.  But until you quit blowing smoke up our *** and fight for us to have some choice too, you can fight the battle on your own and just deal with our dwindling support.

     

    No offense intended–I’m just keeping it real

     

     

  • princess-rot

    Although personally, I have strong negative feelings toward marriage.  It has statistically become a bad investment.  With a 51+% failure rate and no-fault divorce.  The legal downside and emotional pain from the ever increasing decay of social values, is just too high a price to pay for me.  Their is very little “till death do you part” or “love you through thick or thin” left in this world.

    I find it rather… interesting that it is the mere existence of statistics and no-fault divorce that makes you leery of relationships.

  • tthomas

    I have gone way beyond the call of duty to share ideas.

    I have used reason, logic and have been polite.

    But conversing with you people is like communicating with someone who has a learning disability.

    Your blind, single-minded, lack of ability to think outside of the box that you have mentally and emotionally trapped yourself in has, I am afraid to say, become a malignancy that is untreatable at this time.

    My last word on the abortion topic can be found near the bottom of (page 2) in response to Julie’s remarks.  She is at least civil, but also inflicted with the same disease as the rest of you little minds.  That last post is entitled “Double-Standard”

     

    You have consistently, over and over impuned my character and twisted my words to fit your pre-conceived notions.  I can see that it is hopeless to think that any real cooperation can exist if this mentallity is prevailent in the pro-choice movement.  It seems that you are just a bunch of man-haters-plain and simple. 

    And you wonder why boys build treeforts and post signs–no girls allowed

    The sad thing is, some of you are probably educated.  That makes it extra troubling to experience your pure lack of debating skills.

    I am through with you and wipe my feet off as I exit the door.

    I have cast my pearls among swine and been goard by the tusks of your vitriol for my efforts.

    God–you people piss me off

    Oh yeah—Peace to you

  • squirrely-girl

    tthomas – I had a chance to read the “double standard” post and started writing a very thoughtful reply before my 15month old started playing with the keyboard and deleted it all :( I am a little distracted with things right now but I do plan to rewrite my reply later because I think we may be on the same page about a couple of things and I DO want you to know that we’re not all completely dismissing you :) Stay tuned…

  • julie-watkins

    The mistake I was talking about wasn’t “oops, birth control failed” but “oops, bad relationship”. You want to talk about a limited case; I’m talking about “Child Support” and “Statutory Rape” laws together, as a deterrent — because the danger I see is to the whole picture rather than the specific case. You’re talking theory and I’m taking pragmatic, looking at what happened historically when there was the social norm of “child support optional”. Upthread I wrote:

    Relationships are a risk. Everyone’s particular risks are individual, and we learn how to cope. If you have a good relationship, decisions won’t be one sided. The way unwilling fathers can defend against a “baby trap” situation is to not get involved with someone with the kind of personality that would do that. Get a vasectomy. Don’t let a relationship go toxic. (Nearly all the bad divorces I’m personally aware of, there were indications before the wedding that one or the other or both didn’t play well with others.) The cases you point to I think happen much less often than what the child support laws imperfectly prevent.

    For example, 30 or more years ago a guy I know peripherally, he and she got caught in a blizzard returning to town one winter. I can’t remember how long they were stranded before rescued, but it was counted in days not hours. He told her: “If we get through this alive, I’ll marry you.” OK, that was a way to hold it together through a life-threatening crisis. Once they were rescued, feeling obligated wasn’t a good reason for him to marry the gal and adopt her daughter. The marriage didn’t last long, he had to pay child support for 12 years. The guy, I’m sure, wasn’t legally forced to marry the gal, I’m sure it was social pressure — but the warning signs were there and he shouldn’t have, and he wishes he hadn’t.
    .

    Gals also have to be careful about relationships, or some entitlement-behavior guy (who is a scoundrel) is going to pressure her for sex or might try daterape drugs if she’s reluctant, and decide, after he decides she’s the girl for him, that she BELONGs to him and she’s a bitch if she won’t “give him a chance” … and maybe try to kill her if she tries to leave, or stalk and harass and try to kill her if she succeeds, because she’s HIS. If the cultural norm is that there’s a “get out of child support free card” then I’m afraid the current bad situation is going to get worse. For sure, it will be the scoundrels that push and take advantage of the Free Card, and make any safeguards moot. I’ve read too many horrid domestic violence news reports. When the Rape Culture discussion was happening here, all sorts of examples in popular culture, laws, churches, advertising keep pushing that the purpose of girls is to do what the boys want them to do. Someone doesn’t have to be a scoundrel/rapist to validate rape culture, just has to let other guys make jokes and make light of it without protest.

    .

    I’m sorry you think I’m advocating a double standard, but I don’t want to debate something outside of the context of the larger picture when (judging from past history) there’s lot of potential for unintended consequences, as I discussed upthread so won’t repeat again.

  • crowepps

    And you wonder why boys build treeforts and post signs–no girls allowed

    You might want to reconsider using this as part of your rant, since it pretty clearly explicates that your purpose in coming here wasn’t to have an actual discussion in which each person tries to persuade the other but rather to open another battle in the gender wars.

     

    We are not failing to adopt your idea because we don’t think men should have ‘equal rights’ or because as women we are all ‘irrational and stupid’ but rather because we can see serious problems with your solution as you have structured it.

     

    Your inability to address that problems, to me at least, indicates that you haven’t really thought the idea out but instead are focused pretty tightly on ‘if some women can choose abortion then sex shouldn’t have any responsibilities attached for any men at all’.

     

    You might also note have the argument needs more work because that argument was not persuasive to the Court in Dubey v Wells based on the fact that the PURPOSE of abortion is not that the mother shouldn’t have to support a child but rather instead that she shouldn’t have to endure a PREGNANCY if she has reasons which are persuasive to her not to do so.

     

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/6th/062107p.pdf

    “Moreover, Dubay’s claim that a man’s right to disclaim fatherhood would be analogous to a woman’s right to abortion rests upon a false analogy. In the case of a father seeking to opt out of fatherhood and thereby avoid child support obligations, the child is already in existence and the state therefore has an important interest in providing for his or her support. See Kulko v. Superior Court of California, 436 U.S. 84, 98 (1978); Clark, 486 U.S. at 462 (noting the state’s interest in ‘ensuring that genuine claims for child support are satisfied’). When a woman exercises her right to abortion, the pregnancy does not result in a live birth and there remains no child for the state to have an interest in supporting. If the state allowed a mother to unilaterally disclaim the legal rights and obligations incident to motherhood after the child was born, then the law would be extending a right to mothers which it does not afford to fathers. However, the Michigan Paternity Act is clear that both ‘parents’ of a child must provide support to the child once it isborn. Mich. Comp. Laws § 722.712(1).

    “The woman’s right to abortion is not solely, or even primarily, based upon her right to choose not to be a mother after engaging in consensual sexual intercourse. Rather, the right to abortion, as articulated in Roe, derives from the woman’s right to bodily integrity and her privacy interest in protecting her own physical and mental health.”

  • tthomas

    Yes I’m still here despite my last tirade—Because Damnit I care

    In response to Julie:

    You fear that bad men will take advantage of the “get out of fatherhood free card” and you address issues that are real and perillous.

    That is why I have stated several times that there must be very restrictive and narrow application legally built into any “refusal rights” men would have.  It would be fair to place the burden of obtaining that “legal refusal mechanism (whatever it looks like in end form) on each individual man who wishes to utilize it.  Furthermore, it would require explicit permission from each individual woman he chooses to apply it to.  In short: he has to provide the legal (lets say for now-document) she has to approve in advance of sexual relations and endorse it.

     

    In response to Crowepps:

    Your citation of Dubey v. Wells is different from my proposal in one technically important way.  It assumes that a man is attempting to opt out of fatherhood and avoid child support AFTER a child exists.

    My proposal (I’ll state again-crafted with severe restrictive application to avoid abuse) would only allow a “refusal right” to be administered and agreed upon by both parties prior to the sexual act.

     

    I have modified my proposal somewhat to address your concerns.  But even before this modification I advocated for a “refusal right to be administered only in the early part of the pregnancy in order to fully inform a woman of his choice so that she could weigh this into her decision to abort or carry to term.  No child exists during this time either.

     

    So yes–I have further modified my proposal to:

    A) The man must obtain legal agreement from the woman in advance of having sex.

    B) No Child or fetus or potential life exists when this right is secured

     

    And yes, yes, yes–If the document (or whatever legal mechanism that we hash out and becomes law) is legally administered as per regulatory guidelines, Then the full weight and responsibility of any resulting pregnancy rests firmly on the woman who entered into this agreement.

     

    There–That is pretty tightly worded.

    This is an extremey narrow endorsement.  But it would attract men of quality and leave out the surly characters that cause you so much fear.

     

    Whew!  I feel cramped, but I can live with it.

    A smart guy will truly be in the know—if she doesn’t agree to participate, move on fella or accept responsibility for any baby that is created.

  • ahunt

    What TT…tired of preaching to the choir?

     

    Just so you know…your assumptions are semi-incorrect. I do have up close and personal experience with grandparental anguish…but it is not my heartache…and I intend to make damn sure it never is…

     

    You were gracious in your misapprehension…huge credibility points…and then you blow the impression with the widely mocked “male flounce out of the room.”

     

    Ya have some chops, TT…and we are listening…if only to give you grief. Hang tough. We all might learn a thing or two.

  • tthomas

    ahunt–thanks for the shout out.  And yes, I can be gracious in my wording or hard-hitting and mad.  Make no mistake about it, I am not a metrosexual guy.  Whatever I am, I certainly do not like pot shots.  I know it is difficult to accurately convey the “emotional message” in the written word, but I can not help but feel the sting of some of the sharp replies.

    When it comes to human behavior, take a long look at the chimpanzee.  Watch their social behavior in the wild.  It is interesting to see and to reflect that beneath all of our intellegence and refinery, we are separated from them by only a 2% difference in our DNA.

    I sometimes feel like the brooding male, sitting off to the side as females and children romp and carry on with the activities of daily living.  Like that brooder, I put up with alot of harrassment, but at some point pound my chest in frustration. 

    I have suspected that many more observed than who actually participated.  So have a good laugh–its good for the soul. :)

    By the way, have you examined the Bonobo apes–an interesting compare/contrast to the chimp-and indeed to the human equation.  But I digress…

    Its in the mystery of the 2% that fascinates me most.  There is so much to explore and discover about our potential and to ponder how so much can rest in so small a difference. This is who we are–the 2% and this is our struggle to win or loose.  Male and female, we are in it together.

    I gaze at the stars, contemplate the known universe, ponder the wonders of what we have and have yet to discover…and then pound my chest when I’m pissed off.

    We can quote court cases all day, but the greatest trial as of yet is the 2% v. 98% —and the verdicts still out.

     

  • crowepps

    My proposal (I’ll state again-crafted with severe restrictive application to avoid abuse) would only allow a “refusal right” to be administered and agreed upon by both parties prior to the sexual act.

    The problem is, I’m not sure that the law allows the potential mother to give up a right which actually belongs to the potential child.  If a child is taken into State custody for some reason, then BOTH the parents owe child support to the State.  If the child goes and lives with Grandma or Aunt Lucy, the child support is due to them.  It is not a reward for having a baby or a salary meant to pay the woman to mother.

    Certain rights and responsibilities attach upon designation as the “legal” father. For example, child support is an obligation owed to children by both parents, and the right to receive child support belongs the child; a parent cannot waive a child’s right to support.

     

    http://www.family-law-illinois.com/services/Prenuptial_Agreements.html

     

    I do think, however, that the pause to download, negotiate, locate a Notary Public and formally sign these contracts just might persuade some people to rethink whether they want to have sex at all or remind them to use birth control (perhaps the Notary could also provide condoms?) which might be helpful in reducing the overall unplanned pregnancy rate.

     

    Second legal quibble – are contracts legal if they are signed by a couple of people who are intoxicated?

    “refusal right to be administered only in the early part of the pregnancy in order to fully inform a woman of his choice so that she could weigh this into her decision to abort or carry to term.  No child exists during this time either.

    If no child exists, then he doesn’t owe child support.  There is no provision that I know of for child support to be due during a pregnancy or for the father to have to pay pregnancy expenses or provide support to the mother during the pregnancy.  The only way that he could ever owe child support is if a child DOES exist.

     

    I really do understand where you’re coming from – a man is at the mercy of chance because he is entitled to have sex without worrying about conception, yet his partner could betray him or birth control could fail and sex may result in a pregnancy and child.  Of course, this is also true for women who are not willing to have abortions.  Your solution, however, doesn’t seem to me to be workable under the present state of the law regarding children.

     

    I did see an interesting news story about the reversible ProVas in the roundup, however, and tracked down more information.  The successful 20 year track record of its use in China is impressive!

     

    http://www.malereproduction.com/13_nsvasectomy.html

  • crowepps

    If you like apes, I highly recommend everything by Robert Sapolsky.  I also recommend The Woman That Never Evolved by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy.  Have not yet read Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape The Human Species but the library is trying to get it for me.

     

    If you really want to understand human consciousness, there are a lot of insights in those instances where it goes awry as described in all of the books by Oliver Sacks and other books for the general public on clinical neurology such as Toscannini’s Fumble and The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing

  • tthomas

    The article you provided offers compelling info for protection.  It does say that a vasectomy is revearsable, but that it should only be done by those men who are sure that they do not want children later—reversability is not guaranteed.  Suppose I could freeze some semen as it suggests– with a label “caution: do not mix with popsicle supply”  LOL  Or one that reads: “Not a frozen desert”  or labeled  “Use only in case of a spermergency.”

     

    On a more serious note: Existing law is what has to be changed in order to make this work.  I have never assumed that something could be crafted and just slipped into the ”abortion rights” file.

    Here is an example:

    I knew a guy at a previous job who was in a real pickle.  At that time, he was happily married and had four wonderful little kids with his charming wife.  They stuggled financially to make ends meet as is often the case, and he had just been hit with a devasting law suit and judgement he could in no way avoid.

    Years ago he had married a young lady.  They were both fresh out of highschool and full of puppy love.  They soon discovered that they had made a horrible mistake.  They had nothing in common and had grown to dislike each other intensely.  But oops she got pregnant–damn the timing.  Anyway, they decided to split forever and never see each other again.  He bore no real ill toward her, so when she said she wanted to oneday find a man who would adopt the baby she was determined to have, he agreed to craft a legal document, through a lawyer, that would sign off his paternal rights to the child.  This would free-up any adoption process down the road.

    Well, time went by–14 years to be exact, and here he is struggling with the financial burden of supporting a family and providing for his children.

    Here comes the kicker.  Highschool sweatheart tracked him down, got a lawyer and sued him for back child support.  She won an $82,000 judgement and his waiges were garnished by the State.  His lawyer said that there was nothing to be done.  The law was concrete and without flexibility on this issue.

    His Lament turned somewhat to hope, as he contemplated the child he never knew.  He pressed for the right to know his daughter.

    Her lawyer sent him a copy of his  “sign-off of paternal rights” form.  He had no paternal rights.  But when his daughter turned 16, she could legally seek him out if she chose to.

     

    I knew this man shortly after having his waiges garnished.  He was in a bad place emotionally. 1/3 of his net pay was to be garnished for many many many years to come.  His wife was forced to work nights while he stayed home with the kids (they were small children) and he had zero access to his  daughter from the first wife. 

     

    Conclusion: With God as my witness, I will fight to stop this kind of abuse.  If a man can legally sign off his paternal rights, then I will not rest until some form of financial relief is made available to midigate these outrageous occurances.

    My idea, or someones idea needs to be fought for tooth and nail, so that eventually, over time, men can have ready access to some kind of insurance safeguard to avoid the broad-brush punative system of current forced financial support.

    stepping off soapbox,

    Tom

     

  • ahunt

    This is devastating, TT

     

    and he had zero access to his  daughter from the first wife. 

     

    Dad does not even get to know his kid. His daughter does not even get to know her Dad. Horseshit…and now we are talking, TT. I’m wildly reluctant to make support contigent on parenting time…but if ever a case called for it…

     

  • crowepps

    Certainly women who keep Daddy on the hook for child support while excluding him from the child’s life because the child “should bond with my new husband” are massively unfair to both father and daughter, as are those women who take the kids and move some impossible distance away.

     

    I live in Alaska, and I know a LOT of dads who have little contact with their kids because Mom couldn’t hack the winters here and moved “back home”.

     

    I am also aware of mothers who use visitation as an extortion tool – “the kids would love to spend the day with you but I just don’t see how I can okay that unless you take them shopping for school clothes” kind of thing.

     

    I understand your frustation with the present system absolutely.  Just like all the other legal systems we have set up it can be manipulated by people of ill intent, but so far it’s the best we’ve got.  You might also consider that you got the “facts of the case” from only one side, which may have been biased, and that the man involved did something really stupid – he didn’t ask the lawyer whether the agreement they crafted and HE ALONE signed got him off the hook legally for child support.

  • julie-watkins

    my filing system is a mess. So I’m going to babble on and hope I’m remembering reasonably correctly.

    I sometimes feel like the brooding male, sitting off to the side as females and children romp and carry on with the activities of daily living.  Like that brooder, I put up with alot of harrassment, but at some point pound my chest in frustration.

    I’ve read comments about “the problem of bare branches” (it’s a public policy problem in China, so many unmarried young men. Your comment about apes seems to place it as a “biological” problem, but I’ve wondered if it’s also an intended consequence of the People in Power pushing  (perhaps unconsciously) certain expected gender roles, through the millennia. I got a squicky feeling watching video of someone talking about Problems of the Inner Cities — it was about missing fathers (they’re in prison) and boys growing without their fathers to teach them how to be men. OK, I’m not black, I grew up in a privileged suburb of a big city (& carefully taught to be scared of the big city), and maybe I shouldn’t be going there. But I’m wondering if that’s sexism, if there’s a “divide and conquer” aspect to expecting the boys (not the girls*) to get “in trouble” & go to prison, that the police are targeting boys. And teaching everyone about gender expectations makes it easier to control the dissatisfied rabble by distraction. The real problem is the income gap, rich people entitlement behavior, and government being about making profits for the people who buy the laws rather than serving the public. There’s a former council member in my town who I’ve heard rant about how this and that Block Grant money goes to “make downtown more attractive for shoppers” and the sidewalks/streets/sewers in the poor areas of town keep falling farther and farther behind with deferred maintenance. (* I know girls also go to prison, but I think they’re less in numbers and are treated as “exceptions” where the boys are more painted as a problem in general.)
    .
    About  the proposal, I agree with what crowepps wrote about legal rights of a born child … and I have another reason. There’s some bad side effects of “covenant marriage” (available in a few states in the south) which I think would point to similar bad outcomes with your proposal. One of the “problems of modern secularization” right wing pundits like to rant about is “no fault divorce”. There was a sad whimper of an essay I read once about how it was getting increasingly difficult for good Christian men to find good Christian women to marry. Heh, maybe they don’t want to be servants. Anyway, covenant marriage makes divorce harder. And the article (I can’t find it) discussed how the woman married very young and much influence by her church’s teaching and her husband, who acted like he owned her, said “If I hit you with an open hand that’s not ‘abuse’ and not grounds for divorce.”  If your proposal had “restrictive and narrow” requirements about when a man could have “refusal rights”, it’s the scoundrels that would figure out how to put it to use. Doesn’t matter that the judge might say “no you can’t”, by the time the courts come in the scoundrel  has already done his damage. Also, scoundrel’s would also use the fact that “refusal rights” exist as part of their abuse, and they would intimidate women from pursuing support when the case isn’t within the “restrictive and narrow” requirements.

  • crowepps

    “The guy I was married to informed me that as long as he doesn’t hit me with a closed fist, it is NOT abuse. And it would not result in a felony arrest. And even if it DID, as long as HE didn’t want to divorce, guess what? I would not get a divorce. And this is how the courts here are interpreting the law. It is scary and frightening.”

     

    http://marriage.about.com/cs/covenantmarriage/a/covenant_2.htm

    Or perhaps this one?

    http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/1/2/144759/0661/Diary/Dominionism_pro_cancer_pro_birth_defects

     

  • julie-watkins

    Especially if it was cross-posted on Daily Kos. I used to follow dogemperor when I had more time. I save files & put them in a more findable place this time! Thanks again.

  • crowepps

    Thank you for giving me an opportunity to google

  • crowepps

    The article you provided offers compelling info for protection.  It does say that a vasectomy is revearsable, but that it should only be done by those men who are sure that they do not want children later—reversability is not guaranteed.

    There isn’t any guarantee that a man will have any useable sperm at the time he does want a child later even if he doesn’t have a vasectomy.

     

    My point is, if a man really, truly does not want children now and it is very important to him, he should keep control in the issue by using his own birth control and deal with any possible side effects, just like women have to do when they use birth control for women.

     

    Maybe I’m a control freak, but it just doesn’t seem to me to be logical to ceed the entire responsibility to someone else and then gripe because they didn’t do it right.  When the outcome of something is vitally important to you, the only way to control what happens is to do it yourself.

     

    I would tell women exactly the same thing – it doesn’t matter if he says he’s sterile or says he has a vasectomy or whatever, if it vitally important to you, continue to use your own birth control as well.

  • tthomas

    Ok-My idea has tanked for now.  I placed it in a time capsule and  buried it under the walkway in front of NOW headquarters.  I had a nice bronze plaque made though, which reads: “To be opened only if all hope is lost and ‘choice’ for our members is in dire peril of being undone–Or, in the event that women and men decide to work cooperatively and are seeking fresh ideas to create a pro-choice movement with enlightened, inclusive principles for all”  LOL :)

     

    LOL :) =  not mad or bitter; laughing at the satirical mental image; please do not bite.  You know me by now–I’m a kidder

     

    NEW DIRECTION: I want to support the pro-choice movement.  I believe women should have unfettered access to terminating a pregnancy.  Put aside our previous exchange and lets converse anew–block one, square one.

     

    Scenario:  I am a guy who has never been active in the movement, but I am interested. I’m a  little leary and shy to commit.

    Q:  How do you, as an active member, spark my interest and help me to feel welcome and to feel that I have something of value to offer?

     

    A: ?

  • crowepps

    It was very valuable to me personally to be reminded that men have a real stake in the issue of reproduction and that the discussion has to include their issues as well.

  • tthomas

    Thanks–squirrely

    I look forward to your remarks, though if you read down thread you will see that my idea has been thwarted.  I refined it as much as I knew how, and it was still shut down.

    Maybe it’s an idea for the next generation, so as per my later post I buried it in a time capsule.  I thought the mental visual was kinda like a Gary Larson single panel comic–meant to invoke laughs not angst.

     

    Anyway… I have informally surveyed my idea to both men and women over the years.  I get a mixed response, but there does seem to be a stronger leaning of approval from younger women. 

  • ahunt

    Heyya TT…just blindly and uncritically accept everything I say…and we’ll be fine! 8-)

     

    Seriously…take a cyberstroll around the site…nothing intense…just a looksee.   You’ll get familiar with some of the issues and an innocent question won’t get you one of my snarky “out of patience” one-liners.

  • prochoiceferret

    Q: How do you, as an active member, spark my interest and help me to feel welcome and to feel that I have something of value to offer?

    We’ll invite you to be a judge at the next Planned Parenthood wet T-shirt contest!

     

    (In the old days, we would have asked if there were any women in your life, and if you cared about them beyond the fact that they often look pretty and can be fun to have sex with. But then one day we realized that there’s a lot of men out there who don’t really give a cuss about womens’ reproductive health and freedom, but nevertheless want to be hip and trendy by saying they support progressive causes. So we’re reaching out to this new demographic.)

     

    (No, not really.)

  • tthomas

    Look, it’s not that tough.  Ask yourself, “What do people want?”

    Answer: The same things you want.

    1) Freedom

    2) The ablility to control the out come of the events in their lives

    3) Not to be forced to adhere to a social system of beliefs or historical behaviors that they do not agree with.

     

    Sound familiar?  Hello–pro-choice.

    Now since we are operating under the assumptions that my previous idea is not ready for acceptance, then we get close.

    Because everyone, all of you included, is first of all vested in their own self interest–psych 101

    Example Slogan:  “Her choice is your choice”  meaning that most men riding the fence on the pro-choice position, would not want his girlfriend to carry a pregnancy to term if it happened by mistake.  You have to focus on that.  This is where men can find the only avenue available to them to exercise something in their own self interest.

    He has every right to persuade her to get an abortion and is often succesfull.  But if pro-life has their way even his option to persuade her will be taken away.

    This may sound harsh.  It is not intended to be. It will attract men. Remember this important point: Men and Women want the same things, we just get from point A to B taking different paths.

    You may hope that he would support whatever decision she makes.  And if she decides to carry it to term then he should do everything to support her and be a great dad.  Or if she wants to abort he should support that too and accept that the choice is hers to make.  You already have those guys. They are the 39% of male support

    We, however, are talking about the holdouts–the guys on the peripheral.  These guys don’t think like that.  At least a considerable portion of them do not.  They need to be motivated by self interest.  They have a “Whats in it for me?” attitude.

     

    So emphasize:  “Her choice is your choice” and place your focus on her having the right to an abortion in some way is to his advantage too.

    Guys will get it–you just have to learn as a Venetian to speak the language on Mars.

  • prochoiceferret

    So emphasize: “Her choice is your choice” and place your focus on her having the right to an abortion in some way is to his advantage too.

    Guys will get it–you just have to learn as a Venetian to speak the language on Mars.

    Okay, cool idea. Can you come up with some Martian-speak slogans for the pro-choice issues of not shackling pregnant women during labor and childbirth and availability of VBAC?

  • tthomas

    I read the articles and all the comments.  Thanks for providing the links.  I am so new to all of this. I was completely unaware of these issues.  If I choose to comment on them, I will do so in the appropriate forum.  However, I know so little of the larger picture for each of those topics, that my remarks would be knee-jerk, emotional reactions. 

     

    Please do not take offense, but you really blasted into “rccrawford” back on page one and did a pretty good job of character asassination on him.  I do not want to be labeled as a “concern troll” or to have my sincere and honest feelings brutally pounded into the earth–it hurts. 

     

    So let me ask you an honest question.  And please do not take offense.  Are you baiting me, or are you honestly seeking my input?

     

     

  • prochoiceferret

    However, I know so little of the larger picture for each of those topics, that my remarks would be knee-jerk, emotional reactions.

    Or well-intentioned suggestions that nonetheless reveal your narrow grasp of the bigger picture.

     

    Could we use more pro-choice men? Yes. Do we want the “support” of men who are in it out of pure self-interest? Not really, no. Why is that, doesn’t every little bit help? Not with shackled pregnancy, not with VBAC, not with contraception in foreign aid, not with the bajillion other issues of pro-choice concern that don’t have to do with men (in this country) getting laid.

    Please do not take offense, but you really blasted into “rccrawford” back on page one and did a pretty good job of character asassination on him. I do not want to be labeled as a “concern troll” or to have my sincere and honest feelings brutally pounded into the earth–it hurts.

    You want to help, but you’re not listening. You’re presuming that advocates in the field haven’t thought of what you’re thinking. You think you know what the pro-choice movement needs to do better than the people that make it up. You’ve got good intentions, perhaps in spades even, but you’re sorely lacking in humility.

     

    Remember what we (the U.S.) did to Native Americans? At first, we enslaved them. Then, we killed them. Then, we decided that they needed our help, so we put them into boarding schools and turned them from “wild savages” into “proper gentlemen.” In other words, we switched gears from old-fashioned genocide, to cultural genocide. What value did our good intentions have then?

     

    Do you know about “White privilege”? Do you know how many times a White person has tried to advocate for an oppressed class, speaking for them and presuming to know what they need, without actually listening to people in said class? (Hint: Muslim women have much bigger fish to fry than the whole burka thing.)

     

    You’re not going to get very far in pro-choice and progressive advocacy in general if you don’t engage in a little self-examination. Because a lot of what we’re fighting against, already has a firm foothold in your psyche. That’s what it is to grow up in a flawed culture.

    So let me ask you an honest question. And please do not take offense. Are you baiting me, or are you honestly seeking my input?

    I’m telling you, in a roundabout way, that you’ve got a lot of homework to do before you can come in here and say “Guys, you’re going about all this the wrong way!”

  • tthomas

    I do have alot to learn, and it’s not a lack of humility, I hope, that has driven my remarks to this point.  Although I believe that I chould be humble more often and grateful for what I have.

     

    I attended a college that was 60% black, 80%women, and very liberal.  I am familiar with the points you bring out.  I was definetly a minority as a white male.  I had to be torn down and rebuilt as a new person.  I hope that I am a better man for the experience.

     

    For me white privilege means: Being able to advance through life and career based on one’s merit and character without racial interference from the institutional and cultural barriers blocking one’s progress.

     

    I do however, have a considerable lack of knowledge in the pro-choice movement, and that is precisely why I may be of help in suggesting advice to strengthen support from men—most guys who are not involved know very little too.

     

    I suggest that many of you have become so wrapped up in layer after layer of knowledge, and thus have a complexity of thinking that is deeper and perhaps (nautiously overanylized) so much—that you have a buit-in disconnect from your average joe walking through life.

     

    So you may want to ask:

    1) How do we attract new men to the movement

    2) How do we, once we have them interested, assist them to understand and sympathize with the depth and breadth of issues we champion?

     

    Remember when you were a freshman in college–eager to learn but stubborn to change?  Remember that arrogant self inflated P.h.d. professor who thought he/she was the spring-well of knowledge from which your life flowed?

    If you talk to guys like that you’ll lose them.  They are not paying for your course or sucking up for a good grade.

    You got to start with a “Hook” and get thier attention.  Then guide them along into more complex issues. Meet each one at his level of need.

    Plain and simple–it’s an indoctranization process.

    The Military does it

    Religion does it

    Liberal colleges do it

     

    Does the pro-choice movement do it?  I don’t know.  If they do, according to the article, it’s not working very well.

    Who did FDR hire to clean up the stock-market mess that caused the Great depression?  The very guy who caused the mess–Joseph Kennedy.

    Obama is doing something similar with Barney Frank.

     

    Sometimes the best way to catch a fish—is to ask a fish

     

     

  • prochoiceferret

    I do have alot to learn, and it’s not a lack of humility, I hope, that has driven my remarks to this point.

    Hate to disappoint you…

    Although I believe that I chould be humble more often and grateful for what I have.

    Being humble right about now would be nice.

    For me white privilege means: Being able to advance through life and career based on one’s merit and character without racial interference from the institutional and cultural barriers blocking one’s progress.

    Which tells me that you know very little about White privilege. That’s like saying, “For me, art means: oil paintings.”

     

    Hey, look, there’s an invisible knapsack floating behind you!

    I do however, have a considerable lack of knowledge in the pro-choice movement, and that is precisely why I may be of help in suggesting advice to strengthen support from men—most guys who are not involved know very little too.

    How very generous of you to offer us the gift of your ignorance. We will graciously have to decline, since we already have a few million others just like it, and the store won’t take them back.

    I suggest that many of you have become so wrapped up in layer after layer of knowledge, and thus have a complexity of thinking that is deeper and perhaps (nautiously overanylized) so much—that you have a buit-in disconnect from your average joe walking through life.

    Much like any other large subject area on which one can become educated. Those climate scientists, it’s like they’re not even human beings!

    So you may want to ask: 1) How do we attract new men to the movement

    Actually caring about the women in their lives, and the issues they have to deal with, would be a start.

    Remember when you were a freshman in college–eager to learn but stubborn to change? Remember that arrogant self inflated P.h.d. professor who thought he/she was the spring-well of knowledge from which your life flowed? If you talk to guys like that you’ll lose them. They are not paying for your course or sucking up for a good grade.

    Oh my God, we would never have guessed that an overly didactic approach is self-defeating! I guess we were just too wrapped up in all our knowledge to see that.

    You got to start with a “Hook” and get thier attention. Then guide them along into more complex issues. Meet each one at his level of need.

    “Duuuude, like… I don’t give a s*** about this feminism stuff, I just wanna get laid and not have a baby. So, like, yeah, abortion rights are cool.”

    Does the pro-choice movement do it? I don’t know. If they do, according to the article, it’s not working very well.

    Yeah, it’s just a marketing problem. With a sharp campaign, and the right tagline, we can totally get 90%+ support for a woman’s right to choose!

  • tthomas

    Ms. Ferret,

    I am truly sorry that my words envoke such a negative response from you.  It is not my intention.  I am trying to have a conversation.  I try to avoid insulting people as much as I can.  It doesn’t always work as evidenced by one of my posts where I lost my temper.  So I understand–your frustrated.  I’m not sure why exactly–perhaps you perceive my tone to be condensending.  I’m not trying to be, and I apologize for coming across that way.

     

    I am trying to do something I’ve never done before–engage in conversation with people from the pro-choice movement.  Well that’s not exactly true.  I had some conversations with pro-choice ladies in college.  Those were much more civil and seemed to be open to hearing each other out and attempting to appreciate the other person’s viewpoint.  It never devolved to what our exchange has.

     

    I think that it may have something to do with distance communication and not having the other person standing in front of you.  It may be that the dynamics of conversation change dramatically with the safety of anonimity.  You know, kind of like how you would never consider just bluntly cutting in front of someone in the grocery store line but have no problem cutting them off with your car in traffic.

     

    I hope that you will accept my apology.  I am told that I’m not so offensive once you get to know me.  I guess too that when one is typing words to express oneself, condensing thoughts into words is done to conserve time and space. Without the physical prescense of the other person standing in front of you then you cannot read the person and must assign meaning based soley on what is typed.

     

    Again, I apologize and seek no quarrell. 

     

    As I have said, I try hard not to insult someone while in on-line conversation.  I expressed this same desire to a gentleman on a different topic on a different site.  He continued to be nasty, so I invited him to meet in person and work through the issue man to man and see how the disagreement played out when we were standing toe to toe.  He backed off and we proceeded as gentlemen should.  We even learned some things from each other.

     

    I will not extend that same invitation to you.  You are a lady and I will appeal to you differently.  Please lets start over.  And please know that I will not write anything intended to insult or belittle you in any way.  I am only trying to have conversations with pro-choice people and to test the waters to see if further involvement with the organization is something I wish to pursue.

    Respectfully,

    Tom

  • prochoiceferret

    So I understand–your frustrated. I’m not sure why exactly

    Because you’re still not listening. Read your previous post. You acknowledged that you don’t know much about the pro-choice movement, and yet you still tried to offer suggestions about how we should do things differently! You even went as far as to say that being ignorant made your advice valuable! And now you say that you don’t know why you’re getting a good response. You’re so steeped in White privilege, I almost feel pity for you. Cluelessness this bad has to be developed over the course of a lifetime.

    I am trying to do something I’ve never done before–engage in conversation with people from the pro-choice movement.

    No, you’re trying to come in and say what the pro-choice community is doing wrong, and how it should do things differently, without knowing very much about it. How well do you think “engaging in conversation” this way with airline pilots, or heart surgeons would work out?

    I think that it may have something to do with distance communication and not having the other person standing in front of you. It may be that the dynamics of conversation change dramatically with the safety of anonimity. You know, kind of like how you would never consider just bluntly cutting in front of someone in the grocery store line but have no problem cutting them off with your car in traffic.

    Maybe. In real life, if the person you’re talking to has nothing better to do, s/he might spend forty-five minutes explaining to you why your “advice” isn’t so helpful. On the Internet, however, most folks would rather just play Farmville, so the most you get is snark.

    I hope that you will accept my apology. I am told that I’m not so offensive once you get to know me. I guess too that when one is typing words to express oneself, condensing thoughts into words is done to conserve time and space. Without the physical prescense of the other person standing in front of you then you cannot read the person and must assign meaning based soley on what is typed.

    The apology is nice, but it’s worth little if you just try articulating your “advice” again, thinking that if you step on eggshells carefully enough that you won’t get roasted.

    I am only trying to have conversations with pro-choice people and to test the waters to see if further involvement with the organization is something I wish to pursue.

    I suggest you postpone the “conversations” part, go into radio silence for a while, and read the hell out of all the articles on this site. Read the “Invisible Knapsack” essay and look into some of the feminist blogs, too, for good measure. After a few months of doing that, you might begin to realize why your “advice” was so poorly received here.

     

    Oh, and enough with the “I didn’t mean to offend, I’m a nice guy, etc.” lines. The problem isn’t a lack of “niceness” on your part, it’s the humility thing again. Humility means not only that you realize you’ve got a lot to learn, but also that you stop trying to do stuff that requires you to know what you’re talking about, like offering “advice.” Humility means you finally realize that with everything you say, you’re only digging yourself further into a hole, so perhaps it would be a good idea to close your mouth, open your mind, and start reading.

  • tthomas

    Your right ferret.  I plowed into this forum and started rambling my ides without having a grasp on the bigger picture. Initially I was angry and that is never a good start. Thank you for sticking with me until the point was driven home.

    It is important for me when I engage in any form of volunteer work to bring my existing world/edu exprience with me, learn new knowledge through study and exchange and debate, and to make friends of those with whom I interact.  You have pointed out that I am sorely lacking in knowledge and should shut my mouth until I learn more. I will humbly honor your request and educate myself while reserving the right to not be under any gag order.  I hope too, during my journey of discovery, to find some friends to make along the way. I’ll keep looking–some will come along when the time is right.

    good-bye and Peace to you.

     

  • tthomas

     

    Some of the mens groups groups that exist have similar ideas to my own.  I wonder if there could be opportunity for future alliences?

    I did not know they were out there as organized groups–hmm

    still reading this site too–interesting stuff

  • colleen

    Some of the mens groups groups that exist have similar ideas to my own. I wonder if there could be opportunity for future alliences?

    Please, I beg you, go for it. Explore this option.

  • tthomas

    Hi Colleen, How are you?

    I suppose that what I meant was: could there ever be an alliance between any of the mens groups and the pro-choice movement?

    Or are the ideas in each so fundamentally different that cooperation would be impossible?  I am reading in both venues and do see a clear break in philosophy in many key areas.  My own experience in this forum has given evidence to that.

    I try to think in terms of possibilities even when they don’t seem probable.  The groups have been fighting for so long.  The bitterness and anomosity is palpable.  Is peace possible?  I guess that I just wish that compromise could be reached and forces could be joined to stave off the growing power of anti-choice.

     

    As ferrit pointed out, there is alot for me to learn.  I hope that once I become fully informed from the variety of sources out there, I will still have hope that working together is something that can be accomplished.

    That is one of the reasons I like President Obama–working together for change for the better.  Pulling in as many diverse views as possible to work toward the common good of all.  :)

     

    ps.  Go ahead and slap me around if you choose.  I would not be here if I couldn’t take a punch.  I would rather be friends though.

  • colleen

    When you say:

    Some of the mens groups groups that exist have similar ideas to my own. I wonder if there could be opportunity for future alliences?

    What you really mean is something quite different, namely:

    could there ever be an alliance between any of the mens groups and the pro-choice movement?

  • crowepps

    I think you’re trying to promote ‘cooperation’ between two groups with not just different philosophies but actually opposing philosophies. The Reproductive Choice activists are trying to keep control of the uterus and the right to make decisions about its use with the woman in whom it exists.

     

    The Men’s Rights groups talk a lot about ‘equal rights’ and ‘equal partnership’ and then their positions on individual policies tend to focus on how in every instance where women are doing well, the women’s success must mean that men are being discriminated against (domestic violence shelters only help women, most of the homeless are male, men die earlier, women get custody more often, more women graduate college).

     

    I can certainly see their point, there are negative social indicators for men in certain areas, but the idea that this is all because of sexism and that women have “more rights” than men seems to be a bit of a stretch to me. Particularly when the ‘solution’ to this purported sexism and the plan to make things ‘more fair’ focuses on taking rights AWAY from women and returning ‘control’ to men.

  • tthomas

    I,m a dreamer and probably naive.  But if such a union could be achieved, the political power-play would be a master stroke.

    ps. How do you highlight quotes in light blue?  Yeah, I know. I,ve tried desperately to errase the big L on my forehead.  Alas, it just scabs over and returns. :)

  • crowepps

    If you get the Comment box that’s just a box, you type <blockquote> in front of the quote and </blockquote> at the end of it.  If you get the Comment box with the gadgets in the bar at the top, you highlight the quote and then click the - ” – button to the left of the scissors.

     

    Highly recommend using “preview” before posting, because it gives you a chance to see and fix stuff!

  • tthomas

    I had an idea that is presented in this forum.  I later read that it is a big chip for mens groups. It is not a perfect idea, but it does from a legal choice viewpoint keep us out of each others hair, so to speak.

     

    I wonder if a single issue treaty could be made, and from that– agreements to vote in lock-step on strict abortion rights issues.

     

    ps. could you help me on my up-thread post concerning blue highlighting?

     

    Thanks

  • crowepps

    it does from a legal choice viewpoint keep us out of each others hair, so to speak.

    The problem with the idea is that there are more than two groups involved – there is the man, who wants to choose whether he’s a father – there is the woman, who has the ability to choose whether she remains pregnant – and then there is the third group, the children themselves.

     

    I don’t see anything in the idea which addresses the needs of that third group. Try to think of some way in which your idea can provide that the children also get a ‘choice’.

     

    Just as a starter to a conversation consider what would happen in a situation where, without any attempts at ‘alienation’ whatsoever, the child decides he/she doesn’t ‘choose’ to have a man be his father or a woman be his mother. How can we give that child the freedom to choose? Does the child get the choice to refuse visitation or bring a petition to repudiate a parent and eject them from his life?

  • tthomas

     

    I’ll have to think on that, and wrap my mind around what your saying.

     

    I wish that every child born had two loving parents.

     

     

  • crowepps

    I wish that every child born had two loving parents.

     

    The odds of that increase when abortion is a legal choice, that’s one reason why I support keeping it legal.

  • tthomas

    Think–Think–Think

  • ahunt

    Well done, Young Man….you are alive…after the wicked PCF takedown.

     

    What I most enjoy in you…is that you appear to give a shit about people in general and individuals in particular.

     

    And you think.

     

    Just so you know, the folks here often do not agree with one another, but are united in the commitment to reproductive freedom.

  • tthomas

    Sam Sedaei, a staff blogger for RH Reality Check addresses this issue in support of mens rights.

    I am finding this argument all over the internet from P.h.d.’s down to average joes.

    I knew it was gaining momentum–but wow!

     

    It started for me years ago while writting a paper in college.  I had no idea that men were flocking to this in such great numbers.  It seems to have really picked up in the last few years.

     

    I’m still thinking about your conversation starter and giving a child a right to choose.  I do not know how to respond—can you explain it again.  I am kinda slow.

  • crowepps

    Well, I think it kind of logically follows once you sever parenthood so comprehensively from biology.

     

    Women have a right to decide whether they will remain pregnant and to have an abortion if they decide they won’t.

     

    Women have a right to decide that they are not going to act as mothers by offloading the infant onto society through one of the ‘safe surrender’ laws or by giving it up for adoption. (Both of which actions at least provide the child with the likelihood of alternative parents).

     

    Men want to have an equivalent right to ‘choose’ whether or not they are considered a father by being able to repudiate their connection to biological children and be financially free from any duty to support them. (Offloading responsibility onto the mother herself or society in general).

     

    All of the adults get to have sex without using birth control and at the same time sever any connection to the logical consequences by having second chances to back out of their relationship to the child they’ve created.

     

    So at what point does the child themselves get a right to ‘choose’ whether they want to have these parents?

     

    Can children refuse visitation on the grounds the parent they don’t want to see is “too mean” or “too weird” or “too stingy”?

     

    Can children decide that Dad or Mom is such a jerk they’d as soon strike their names from the birth certificate and only have one parent?

     

    Make a decision that their home life is substandard and they’d as soon ‘choose’ to go live with Aunt Mary or Grandma or their best friend’s family down the block where they are always treated decently?

     

    Since the adults are saying that they have a right to ‘choose’ because the biological relationship alone can’t be considered enough to impose any financial obligations or duty to sustain a relationship, why should the children consider themselves to have any reciprocal duty to sustain a relationship?

     

    If Daddy can say he didn’t want to have a kid with his first girlfriend and walk away from a first child, why can’t a later born child say Daddy isn’t what he had in mind and insist that they don’t ‘choose’ to be related anymore?

     

    If relationships between parents and children are going to be based not on biology but on whether parents ‘want to be a parent’, I think it’s only fair that children also be able to also ignore biology and make some decisions about whether they ‘want that person to be my parent’.

  • tthomas

     

    when women legally gained full controll over the decision to keep or abort a fetus and the courts decided to leave men out of any decision in regard to that choice and also saddled men with support even though they are allowed to sign away paternal rights and even though they may have used all resonable methods to prevent a pregnancy—A huge can of worms was opened and a big pool for potential abuse had its foundation laid all those many years ago.

     

    By the nature of the situation a festering potential was hatched.  Men are not quick to rally and join organizations or band together in large numbers.  However, a couple of generations have passed and many guys personally know a friend or acquantence who has been the recipient of these circumstances.  It is starting to become personal and men have begun to band together.

    Men have seen women make significant strides in equality of education and income.  A voice is forming in the collective mind of men that says:

     

     ”Fine, if she wants to carry a pregnancy to term even though it was a mistake, birth control failed and she can choose to abort and thus be free from the obligation, then go ahead keep it or abort it, the decision is yours.  In fact using birth control is a public declaration that you do not want a baby, but now you change your mind.”  The man then says, “Not only did I not want one, but I did not want one with you at this time or perhaps ever.”

     

    Wrong -right-or indifferent, this is a growing voice that will gain political standing.  It is happening now and is exploding through the male consciousness.

    Men can not think like women.  Men can not be women.  Men can only be men and think like men and advocate for the tough spot that the above situation has shackled them in.

    This is a new generation of men, distanced in time from the “Leave It To Beaver”  family model of their forefathers.  They have become liberated from the bondage of that social construct too.

    Your question concerning the childs rights and the way you pose it is a female consideration.  It is the consideration that blooms once you choose to carry a fetus to term.

     

    I could not wrap my mind around it, because it is a consideration that exists outside the relm of the right men are fighting for.  We don’t want the baby that was a mistake.  We can not begin to ever consider any rights it should have as long as we have no rights.  The best I can come up with is that the child should be thankful to be alive because the woman and the woman only could have chosen to abort it.

     

    I am pro-choice.  Most of those men are pro-choice.  We support the right for a woman to get an abortion.  Many men who would rather see their intimate partner get an abortion when they have contraception failure.

     

    I am sorry to convey these thoughts to you.  They are but the bitter truth of how many many men feel.  We do not want to control you.  We do not want to force you to keep or abort a child.  We wish you liberty, freedom and atonomy.  The last few decades have been yours to shine in.  You are doing great.  There is still a long way to go and we got your back.  Its time to stand on your own and stop compelling the unwilling to financially support your reproductive choice.

     

    You have heard my proposal.  It was tweeked and constricted to have a very narrow application.  Not all guys will want to use it but some will.

    And the child has no say in this, because when this refusal right is inacted no child exists.  So, when you choose to have a baby afterward those issues are between you and the baby.

    If the woman chooses to carry the child to birth, then any rights apply only to them–between them.  The guy is out of the picture.

     

    I know that this will make many of you angry, but this is the reality for men to have rights.  We have thought it through.  It is sad.  But it is the only option for us to have rights

  • crowepps

    We don’t want the baby that was a mistake.  We can not begin to ever consider any rights it should have as long as we have no rights.

    That’s certainly clear.  Perhaps you’d like to revive the ancient tradition of having the father decide whether the child should be abandoned in the hills so the gods can choose whether it survives?

     

    Perhaps I can’t “think like a man” but to me this all sums up as the idea that men don’t want children but they’re still entitled to all the sex they can get whenever they want it, and also entitled to shove all the responsibility of preventing conception onto the woman involved.

     

    Frankly, if guys want to be “out of the picture” on reproduction, the solution is in their own hands.  They can personally take responsibility by using a method of birth control that they control, whether through abstinence, reversible vasectomy or consistent use of condoms.

  • tthomas

     

    I do.

    I have lost a lot of sleep over this issue, because it is such a canundrum.  And it leaves me feeling sick.  Part of me hopes that it will never happen, but the other part of me, the side that believes in individual liberty, can think of no other way to work through it.

     

    On a private note–I have not had sex for at least a year, and I admit that I am not fit to be in a relationship and I really don’t want casual sex.  Casual sex is a big part of the problem.  People commit the ultimate intiment act that can be shared between a man and a woman, and many treat it as if it were just a piece of gum to be chewed until the sweet is gone and then tossed.  I do not want that for myself or for the lady I may yet one day share myself with.  No–for now I’m just a lonely fool of a man with too much time on his hands.

     

    I value the conversations we have had, therefore I must drop this topic for now and continue learning from this and other sites about the pro-choice movement.  I will endevour to find the “spark” to fire-up my motivation and be active.

    You all seem like such caring ladies and I am tired of arguing

  • ahunt

    Be well, Slim…

     

    And if you take away anything from this board…please believe we agree that people have an obligation to be good to one another…

     

    Visit occasionally, and let us know how you are faring in your journey.

  • crowepps

    Casual sex is a big part of the problem. 

    You might find it useful in resolving your conundrum to do a little investigation into the question of balancing “individual liberty” with “responsibility to society” in more general terms.  There are a number of places on the web that focus on those issues, which you can google by using those terms or perhaps ‘freedom versus obligation’.

     

    There is a funny but thought provoking article here on the distinction between freedom as ”not subject to external restraints” and freedom as “immunity from obligation”.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/tripp07042003.html

  • prochoiceferret

    I have lost a lot of sleep over this issue, because it is such a canundrum.

     

    ca·nun·drum /kaˈnʌndrəm/

    –noun 1. a conundrum of Canadian origin. The perennial candundrum of which McKenzie brother was funnier.

     

    If you’re so gung-ho on not having a kid, vasectomies work pretty well. Either that, or a Fleshlight.

    On a private note–I have not had sex for at least a year

    You know, they say you shouldn’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Making arguments to make it easier for men to have sex without consequences, when you’re “starved” in that sense, seems to present a similar peril.

    I really don’t want casual sex. Casual sex is a big part of the problem. People commit the ultimate intiment act that can be shared between a man and a woman, and many treat it as if it were just a piece of gum to be chewed until the sweet is gone and then tossed. I do not want that for myself or for the lady I may yet one day share myself with.

    If sex is that big a deal for you, if it really has to be that special or else it’s being devalued, then the prospects for your future sex life are pretty dim.

    I value the conversations we have had, therefore I must drop this topic for now and continue learning from this and other sites about the pro-choice movement. I will endevour to find the “spark” to fire-up my motivation and be active.

    As long as it’s more than the hope of getting laid with some horny pro-choice chick, you should be good.

  • tthomas

    Big hugs to you too Ferret.

    Your spot inspections leave me blistered, humble, and accutely aware of my vulnerability.

    Fotunately, I have developed a taste for bitters as I have aged into the mature man that I am. So, in my most serious and profound voice I say:

     

    I am rubber and you are glue.  The things you say bounce off me and stick to you.

    :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :) :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)  :)