In our rush from central authority in abortion to individual choice, we seem to have missed an issue or two, and options that might satisfy more people.
The media thoughtfully presents us with only two positions: no abortions ever or abortion on a whim. An important social issue is covered like a football game: which sides ahead by how much?
Most people are equally uncomfortable with both mindless extremes, so Id like to raise one small, over-looked matter to offer an option that might bridge some of the gaps.
For hundreds of years women lived under the threat of ta heck with the mother, save the child in any pregnancy. This one, universal rule was applied irrespective of rape or even the mothers survival. (Interestingly, feminists today call that valuing of children over women a patriarchic tyranny as though exclusively mens idea while insisting that men dont care as much about children as women do. But thats another story.)
I can accept declaring abortion an individual choice. (Though confess I can equally accept some arguments for societal regulation). The unspoken problem is, if individual choice, whos? That hinges upon, who is pregnant? Whos life and child are at stake?
A womans body, a womans choice, declares the fetus the womans body, not its own nor any part of it anyone elses. If only women have children, how can they expect anything from men as a consequence of a choice that is only theirs? If only women decide whether any child exists, that certainly makes it only hers. To suddenly declare it also his when she wants the costs covered is not human rights but some very strange privilege.
One gender has hijacked human reproduction. External tyranny over women is replaced with a female one over men and their lives and bodies.
Today, we are persecuting hundreds of thousands of men as deadbeat dads who not only did not have the same choice over whether they became parents, but because someone elses choice has been forced upon them.
How did women get this much power over somebody elses life? If it is wrong for women to be subjected to someone elses choice, how is it right for them to do it to others?
How did we create such an obvious distortion? How did men allow it to happen?
The mechanics of birth (that women carry and nurse a child) should not be confused with what and whos it is. If men carried and nursed it, would the mother disavow it? Would it no longer be as much hers? Why expect men to when women carry it?
There are two possible solutions. If women can opt out of pregnancy irrespective of his wishes, men should be able to, too. But that just makes the parents equally able to duck. There is still no accountability to the natural consequence of their equal behavior: the child. Who speaks for it?
The second option is to declare that, for adult consensual sex, a couple gets pregnant, not a woman. The child is the result of two peoples equal choices, and accountability belongs where it naturally occurs: to each other. You already controlled your bodies (thats how you got pregnant), and gave your consent to him/her as the possible other parent by having sex. (Not to shock anyone, but thats where babies come from.) You are equally beholden to each other for the consequences, and unless the mothers life is directly threatened, the childs life hinges on the consideration of both, equally. Not one.
Surely the unborn is entitled at least to the equal consideration of both its parents.
©2007, KC Wilson
To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons. - Marilyn French