Member Rara Avis
Jason, your original question was:
My question is philosophical. If a woman has the right to abort, should the man have the right to abort parental rights and responsability?
The instant you used the word "parental," you injected a presumption that turned your question into another abortion issue. There are no parental rights and responsibilities, for the man or for the woman, until it is recognized that a child exists. The moment that recognition is given, neither the man nor the woman has the legal right to end the child's life. In short, the mother and father have essentially the same rights and responsibilities under current law.
What you say does not for a moment make the questions of this thread invalid. It may show that different people disagree upon which questions should be asked, but that's nothing new.
"Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" is very rarely a valid question, Stephen, because it is based on an unspoken assumption and ANY attempt to answer the question is an implicit acceptance of that assumption. The questions asked in this thread are of the same ilk. Any answer, either for or against a man's rights, will only affirm the contention that a child exists. Remove that supposition, and the questions here make little sense. Should a man be consulted before a woman seeks treatment for a STD? An argument cannot be convincingly won simply by assuming it has been won.
If you're trying to convince all sides that they shouldn't feel the way they do ... or even that they shouldn't try to convince others by persuasive argument, then I simply disagree.
What I'm arguing, Stephen, is what I usually argue: the need for trying to understand both sides of an issue.
Would you kill to protect those you love from otherwise certain death? Okay, now, would you kill to protect those you love from torture and maiming? Mmm, getting into some gray areas, yet? Would you kill to protect those you love from psychological damage? From sustained hunger and deprivation? At what point does the life of a stranger become more valued than the cost of your family's safety and comfort?
Now, at what point does the potential for life become more valued than the cost a woman might have to pay to become a mother?
ALL of these questions are essentially the same, and NONE of them should be easy to answer. Indeed, most can't be honestly answered until actually faced. Why should the life of your family be worth more than the life of the terrorist trying to kill them? Why should a woman's social, mental, and economic well-being be worth more than an eight-week-old fetus? The questions are not unrelated and, in spite of what some might like to believe, the answers are NOT self-evident. You can perhaps justify killing a terrorist because you likely believe his own actions have lessened the worth of his life. I very seriously doubt the terrorist would agree. A woman can justify the termination of a fetus if she can, as you did with the terrorist, lessen the worth of its potential life. For her, for you, for all of us, it all comes down to one thing being worth more than another.
Abortion didn't suddenly surface with Roe versus Wade, nor will it ever go away should that decision be reversed. Some battles will never be won in the courts because, ultimately, you cannot legislate morality unless the vast majority of the people already agree with the legislation. Abortion will continue, either legally and relatively safely, or illegally and with great dangers, as long as women place less value on a fetus than they do on their own perceived well-being. Those who argue for the sanctity of life will never convince anyone of anything except, in most cases, their own hypocrisy.
Convincing others to place greater value on a fetus is only half the battle, and I fear in most instances, it's a misguided effort. Merely claiming value for something doesn't impart value, and it takes a truly remarkable writer to make others accept one's own valuations as personally and universally relevant. We can call a fetus a child all day long, but until a woman feels like a mother, our impact will be minimal. It's an uphill struggle, at best, a tilting at windmills, at worst.
The other half of the battle, and the half I think is more winnable, is to lower the cost to meet the perceived value. How many teenage girls are deathly afraid to tell their father they are pregnant? How many women drop out of college or quit their jobs rather than face the shame of being an unwed mother? How many meet the financial costs with no insurance and too little aid? How many look at our state-run excuses for child care and placement and justify abortion as the lesser of evils? The stigma we place on the unwed mother is nontrivial and COMPLETELY unnecessary. It serves absolutely no purpose, certainly not as a deterrent, and it raises the cost of unwanted motherhood to a level few will willingly pay. If the value of a fetus is so great, why do most people place so very little value on the woman who gives it life?
When faced with the decision to kill in order to protect what we love, most of us quickly realize that the sanctity of human life is a myth. A glorious myth, but in the face of reality, still a myth. Those who face what they see as the destruction of their lives and future aren't so very different.
Stephen, I'm not trying to convince you or anyone that persuasive argument is futile. I'm suggesting, rather, that the arguments need to make more sense to those you might wish to convince. And the only way I know to do that, the only way that ever works, is to seek a clearer understanding of what you would argue against. At the risk of an old cliché and a mixed metaphor, until we walk a mile in their shoes we'll never have any idea where the blisters are forming. And the Band-Aids we blindly place will do little good for any of us.