please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Philwelch » Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:55 pm UTC

I can deal with that issue.

First off—please, it's "raises the question".

Secondly—if you have an abortion, no person ever comes into being, so no wrong done. If you don't have an abortion but spend your entire pregnancy drinking and doing cocaine, eventually there IS going to be a person who's pretty much fucked over by your decisions. The pregnant woman is stuck in a fork: carry on with the person-making (but do so responsibly) or get an abortion. Carrying the child to term but abusing it with drugs or poor health is the only wrong decision here.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Outchanter » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:00 am UTC

Gunfingers wrote:Abortion is a matter of bodily autonomy, which is why the father has no say in it. Child support is a matter of making sure a child doesn't grow up destitute, which is why neither parent (fathers can get sole custody too, though it's rare) has the choice of refusing it . It's not fair that it is that way, but that's how it should be.

If child support is considered a right of the child, what happens if one parent dies? Does the government pay the remaining parent child support?

And are Jehovah's witnesses still allowed to refuse their children certain medical treatments? If so that kind of undermines the idea that parents are responsible for their kids' welfare.

To me child support only really makes sense in the context of a social contract. E.g. marriage, or more generally any agreement between two people to raise their kids together. If someone accidentally gets knocked up when single, though, and can't afford to provide for the child, why can't they put it up for adoption or abort it? The whole idea of "I didn't plan to have a child and can't afford to support it, but I'll raise it anyway and force somebody else to pay!" is a bit disturbing.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Buttons » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:24 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:To me child support only really makes sense in the context of a social contract.

I sort of agree with this, but I have no ideas on how it should be legally implemented in a way that doesn't screw over some people. I'm generally in favor of erring towards the side of child support, though.

Is there a thread on this topic? There should be. I'm interested to see what people's thoughts are.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Gunfingers » Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:30 am UTC

All it really amounts to is that what matters to the mother and father isn't really important compared to what matters to the young 'un. What's fair or "disturbing" isn't really important beyond that.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Outchanter » Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:06 am UTC

Gunfingers wrote:All it really amounts to is that what matters to the mother and father isn't really important compared to what matters to the young 'un.

In a typical nuclear family with kids, if the father dies suddenly, does the widow receive child support? Because if not, that's a big hole in the "for the sake of the young 'un" argument.

If the government pays child support to an accidental single mother whose casual sex partner is untraceable/dead, but doesn't pay child support to widows, it's effectively punishing those people who are responsible enough to plan their families.

Gunfingers wrote:What's fair or "disturbing" isn't really important beyond that.

It's important in determining where the money comes from, even though I agree that the child should be supported since any irresponsibility is in no way its fault. But why should the money be taken from someone who made no choice to raise the child, vs putting it up for adoption or aborting it? And why should the money be given to someone who made that choice, knowing that they could never raise the child without outside funds? Perhaps the child could be better cared for by a third party than by such an irresponsible parent.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Gunfingers » Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:17 am UTC

The money comes from the parents, as they are responsible. I guess i could have been more clear about this. The best of the child outweighs the parents' desires to...y'know...not have children. The people of the country do not share that responsibility, and the government does not pay stipends to single parents. There are government support programs in place, but none i'm aware of are specific to single parents.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:43 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:I think my problem is that they have chosen to draw the line right down the same line for the virgin/whore dichotomy. Especially given...well, I don't actually know how this works, but if someone has to rape you in order for you to get an abortion, who gets to decide whether you qualify?

This is, of course, an extremely important practical issue. And one which I think makes rape exceptions completely untenable in the real world. But from an abstract moral perspective, I still think that it's not inconsistent to decide that the risk of pregnancy when you have consensual sex is large enough to create a moral obligation to the person that gets created in that case. While *not* consenting to sex in the first place means there is no obligation on your part.

Gunfingers wrote:Abortion is a matter of bodily autonomy, which is why the father has no say in it. Child support is a matter of making sure a child doesn't grow up destitute, which is why neither parent (fathers can get sole custody too, though it's rare) has the choice of refusing it . It's not fair that it is that way, but that's how it should be.

Yeah, I pretty much agree with this summary.

qetzal wrote:I'm less sure about legally requiring a woman to inform the father and allow him to provide input, but I think one can make a case for that.

And they have. Luckily, the US Supreme Court agreed that it created an undue burden on the woman and so would be an unconstitutional requirement. As in the practical side of the concern Quixotess brought up with rape exceptions, who gets to decide when it was consensual? If sex wasn't consensual, does she have to press rape charges and get a conviction before she can get an abortion without the father's consent?

Izawwlgood wrote:Just as it is repugnant to say to a woman "Shit happens, no abortion for you, now deal with this child", it would be equally (or nearly so) repugnant to say to a man "Shit happens, no abortion for her, now deal with this child".

No, it really wouldn't be equally or anywhere nearly so to say that to a man. Because his obligation is merely financial. That's it. And saying "now you owe your baby momma some money" is very different from saying "now you have to carry this thing inside your own body for nine months and give birth to it". Beyond a few micrograms of genetic material (if that), the production and delivery of which are not especially burdensome on the man, he doesn't necessarily provide anything at all for the fetus. And so *requiring* that he have any legal say in whether she gets an abortion is, well, really repugnant.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Outchanter » Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:56 am UTC

Gunfingers wrote:The money comes from the parents, as they are responsible. I guess i could have been more clear about this. The best [interests] of the child outweigh the parents' desires to...y'know...not have children.

But that's not true. The parents can avoid all child support responsibilities by aborting the child or putting it up for adoption, neither of which are probably in its best interests.

So here are a couple of questions:

If the father wants the child to be put up for adoption but the mother disagrees, can she retain custody of the child and force the father to pay her child support?

If the mother wants the child to be put up for adoption but the father disagrees, can he retain custody of the child and force the mother to pay him child support?

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby qetzal » Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:26 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Beyond a few micrograms of genetic material (if that)....


About 3 picograms, actually.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:15 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:If the father wants the child to be put up for adoption but the mother disagrees, can she retain custody of the child and force the father to pay her child support?

If the mother wants the child to be put up for adoption but the father disagrees, can he retain custody of the child and force the mother to pay him child support?

Yes to both, I'm pretty sure, if the non-custodial parent makes enough money to be required to pay child support.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Quixotess » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:49 am UTC

Gunfingers wrote:Isn't this whole bolded section the exact argument against late-term abortions? Because after X amount of weeks the fetus could (maybe) survive outside the womb and therefore it can simply be delivered and the mother's body is no longer part of the equation?

Admittedly you mentioned earlier that late-term abortions are often for babies expected to be broken (or, i would imagine, just really ugly), which is, i guess, a whole other can of worms.

In the case of going through labor (so the fetus might live) versus having an abortion (where it won't), that is still a case where only one specific woman can provide that, for lack of a better word, service. Deliveries are often rather not "simple." We still have complications with them, women still die or otherwise suffer. You can argue about how safe it is, but it's still a procedure that women should be able to choose to go through with or not, like any other medical decision. The only way the child can live is for one specific woman to go through labor. Either that specific woman goes through labor, or the fetus does not live.

As soon as the line of birth has been crossed, you have a baby whose needs can be met by any willing and able person. That's the difference.

And yes, this is largely not an issue, as the vast majority of abortions do not present a scenario wherein the mother can choose to go through labor and have the fetus live.

qetzal wrote:But very few women who have sex are unaware that sex leads to pregnancy. Having voluntary sex when one knows that sex leads to pregnancy implies accepting that risk to at least some degree. Sure, many women may underappreciate the magnitude of the risk, but that's not the same as saying they did not consent to the risk of pregnancy.

I suppose my point is that women who make decisions about birth control do not do it from equal positions of knowledge, resources, or power. For example, all the women who were not using birth control because they had concerns about it might have used it if their concerns were answered. Like, "My boyfriend won't wear a condom because he says sex doesn't feel as good that way." Or, "My sister was on birth control pills and it made her nauseated, and she gained twenty pounds. I don't want that to happen to me." This isn't a reflection on the women who have these concerns, it's a reflection on the resources that are available to them to ensure that they have help with this stuff. And if women underappreciate the magnitude of the risk ("he pulled out, so it should be fine"), that's also sometimes a reflection on the resources that were available to them.

So it's a response to the "these women got themselves into it" because all women don't have equal power to prevent pregnancy. It's not a contract that all women enter into equally.

Izawwlgood wrote:Assuming the sex was consensual, we can't really assign 'blame' for the pregnancy to either party, and while it is the woman's body that is directly in question here, to say then solely her choice, only considers the gestation of the fetus. I find the concept of forcing a woman to abort a child she doesn't want to pretty abhorrent, and I also find the concept of forcing a woman to carry a child to term, essentially becoming an incubator, equally abhorrent. But that doesn't change the fact that the woman is not the only person affected by these decisions!

Okay. Would you agree that in any situation where the father's desires about whether to continue the pregnancy conflict with the mother's, the mother's desire is the one that she goes with?

That's what I'm saying. I'm sure that the father's input matters to the mother in many or most cases. I'm not saying they shouldn't discuss it. I'm saying "hey, if she doesn't want the abortion and you do, that's too damn bad." And vice versa.

Remember: abortion is the alternative to pregnancy, not parenting.

qetzal wrote:Personally, I think a woman who's considering an abortion owes the father the chance to express his opinions.

Not really. It's up to her. If she's decided that his input isn't going to change her decision and she doesn't want to consult him, why should she? Sure, it might be nice.

qetzal wrote:I'm less sure about legally requiring a woman to inform the father and allow him to provide input, but I think one can make a case for that.

NO NO NO and I'll get back to this.

natraj wrote:If a woman has decided that she wants to bring her child to term, does that decision mean that she does, indeed, have a level of responsibility to the fetus she carries? Because the implication of the argument over in the other thread was 'no, because it is her body, even if she is carrying a child she intends to give birth to, she can still do whatever she wants and nobody can say anything against it,' and I really don't know about that one. I think if a woman is carrying a child she has chosen to keep, that does imply an obligation to try and keep that life healthy.

Unless something comes up that she thinks is more important than whatever she perceives the risk to her child to be. In the case of Palin, if she decides that her speech is more important than the possible risk, then that's a valid decision because, again, there is no alternative woman to care for the fetus while she gives her speech.

Anyway, yes. Her body, her decision. There is no point at which the woman becomes beholden to the fetus any more than she believes she is.

Any arguments to legislate from personal discomfort here will put your judgment about a hypothetical woman's situation above the judgment of real life women about their own bodies and circumstances. I am comfortable with my position, partly, because I trust women. I trust them to have thought of the exact same things I think of and you think of, and to make the decision that's best for them.

gmalivuk wrote:This is, of course, an extremely important practical issue. And one which I think makes rape exceptions completely untenable in the real world.

*nod* So let's revisit this:

qetzal wrote:Personally, I think a woman who's considering an abortion owes the father the chance to express his opinions. (Assuming she knows him, it was consensual, etc.) I'm less sure about legally requiring a woman to inform the father and allow him to provide input, but I think one can make a case for that.

So. Here's what I'm picturing. In a society where we have father notification (or, God forbid, permission) laws, with exceptions for rape, the practical problems that come up when we restrict abortions with exceptions for rape will apply. That is, if a woman is raped by her boyfriend or husband or friend or neighbor or date and gets pregnant, her right not to have to notify him depends on her ability to convince a third party that a man raped her, and that her rape "counts." BAD. This is SO VERY BAD.

There are plenty of other situations where this would be SO VERY BAD. For example, if a woman is in an abusive relationship and doesn't want to bring a child into that, but doesn't know (or knows all too well) what his reaction would be to either her pregnancy or her decision to abort, her right not to have to notify him depends on her ability to convince a third party that a man abuses her.

Women are not infallible. Women can be jerks. Women can be irresponsible. But you're just going to have to trust them to make the right decisions about informing the fathers, having an abortion, or handling their pregnancies, because to do otherwise would result in a violation of their rights.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Varsil » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:59 am UTC

In terms of the father's rights aspects here (which should possibly be split off into another thread), I'll note that there have been cases in both the US and Canada where women have gotten pregnant without the consent of the father (either by extracting sperm from a condom that was believed disposed and deliberately impregnating themselves, or in at least one case, sexual assault of an unconscious minor)... and have still been awarded child support payments.

Frankly, in situations like these, the father should be entirely able to sever all ties to the child.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Outchanter » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:17 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Outchanter wrote:If the father wants the child to be put up for adoption but the mother disagrees, can she retain custody of the child and force the father to pay her child support?

If the mother wants the child to be put up for adoption but the father disagrees, can he retain custody of the child and force the mother to pay him child support?

Yes to both, I'm pretty sure, if the non-custodial parent makes enough money to be required to pay child support.

That's what I thought when I read this page on father's rights in the normal adoption system. But here's the bizarre thing - safe haven laws in some US states supposedly allow either parent to legally and anonymously abandon their child to state custody. Contradiction?

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Malice » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:39 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Outchanter wrote:If the father wants the child to be put up for adoption but the mother disagrees, can she retain custody of the child and force the father to pay her child support?

If the mother wants the child to be put up for adoption but the father disagrees, can he retain custody of the child and force the mother to pay him child support?

Yes to both, I'm pretty sure, if the non-custodial parent makes enough money to be required to pay child support.

That's what I thought when I read this page on father's rights in the normal adoption system. But here's the bizarre thing - safe haven laws in some US states supposedly allow either parent to legally and anonymously abandon their child to state custody. Contradiction?


How is that a contradiction? Either parent can force the other to pay child support; but if either parent wishes to put their child up for adoption, instead, they can do so without sacrificing anonymity. They try to make that process as easy as possible because otherwise you get scared teens who put their babies in garbage bags on the curb for fear of being found out.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Outchanter » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:45 am UTC

Malice wrote:
Outchanter wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Outchanter wrote:If the father wants the child to be put up for adoption but the mother disagrees, can she retain custody of the child and force the father to pay her child support?

If the mother wants the child to be put up for adoption but the father disagrees, can he retain custody of the child and force the mother to pay him child support?

Yes to both, I'm pretty sure, if the non-custodial parent makes enough money to be required to pay child support.

That's what I thought when I read this page on father's rights in the normal adoption system. But here's the bizarre thing - safe haven laws in some US states supposedly allow either parent to legally and anonymously abandon their child to state custody. Contradiction?


How is that a contradiction? Either parent can force the other to pay child support; but if either parent wishes to put their child up for adoption, instead, they can do so without sacrificing anonymity. They try to make that process as easy as possible because otherwise you get scared teens who put their babies in garbage bags on the curb for fear of being found out.

If either parent can unilaterally and anonymously give their child away, how would the other parent get their child back, let alone force the first parent to pay child support?

Just to add to the absurdity, Nebraska's safe haven law supposedly allows parents to abandon not only newborns but any child under the age of 19. Am I missing something, or is this another of those times where truth points and laughs at fiction after winning the strangeness contest?

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby qetzal » Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:20 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:
qetzal wrote:But very few women who have sex are unaware that sex leads to pregnancy. Having voluntary sex when one knows that sex leads to pregnancy implies accepting that risk to at least some degree. Sure, many women may underappreciate the magnitude of the risk, but that's not the same as saying they did not consent to the risk of pregnancy.

I suppose my point is that women who make decisions about birth control do not do it from equal positions of knowledge, resources, or power. For example, all the women who were not using birth control because they had concerns about it might have used it if their concerns were answered. Like, "My boyfriend won't wear a condom because he says sex doesn't feel as good that way." Or, "My sister was on birth control pills and it made her nauseated, and she gained twenty pounds. I don't want that to happen to me." This isn't a reflection on the women who have these concerns, it's a reflection on the resources that are available to them to ensure that they have help with this stuff. And if women underappreciate the magnitude of the risk ("he pulled out, so it should be fine"), that's also sometimes a reflection on the resources that were available to them.

So it's a response to the "these women got themselves into it" because all women don't have equal power to prevent pregnancy. It's not a contract that all women enter into equally.


Fair enough. I just don't think any of that is directly relevent in deciding whether abortion should be legal.

qetzal wrote:Personally, I think a woman who's considering an abortion owes the father the chance to express his opinions.

Not really. It's up to her. If she's decided that his input isn't going to change her decision and she doesn't want to consult him, why should she? Sure, it might be nice.

qetzal wrote:I'm less sure about legally requiring a woman to inform the father and allow him to provide input, but I think one can make a case for that.

NO NO NO and I'll get back to this.


OK, I agree a legal requirement for notification is a bad idea. I didn't think about it all that clearly when I posted the above.

But I still think that in many cases, a woman has an ethical obligation to tell the father that she's pregnant and considering an abortion. It's more than just being "nice." Like it or not, people attach great significance to creating a potential child. That's pretty obvious by the passion that this whole topic elicits. Even people who believe abortion should be 100% legal can still consider it a serious matter that deserves careful consideration. While it's absolutely the woman's decision to make, that doesn't mean it's right to leave the man completely unaware.

(Note - I'm not claiming this is an absolute obligation. Certainly it wouldn't apply if the woman had reason to fear that the man might react violently, for example.)

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Malice » Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:08 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:If either parent can unilaterally and anonymously give their child away, how would the other parent get their child back, let alone force the first parent to pay child support?


Your question has nonsensical (or at least incompatible) assumptions. Either the parent has custody of the child, and can give them away (or press for child support), or they do not, and thus have no control over whether the parent which has custody does either of those things.

Presumably a wrongfully-abandoned child can be recovered.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:41 pm UTC

qetzal wrote:But I still think that in many cases, a woman has an ethical obligation to tell the father that she's pregnant and considering an abortion. It's more than just being "nice." Like it or not, people attach great significance to creating a potential child. That's pretty obvious by the passion that this whole topic elicits. Even people who believe abortion should be 100% legal can still consider it a serious matter that deserves careful consideration. While it's absolutely the woman's decision to make, that doesn't mean it's right to leave the man completely unaware.

And so far as I know, no one here was saying anything different.

For me personally, I'd want to know a woman was pregnant with my child, whichever course of action she was considering in response to that fact. But then I'd have made it perfectly clear from the beginning that I'd fully support her through whatever decision she made. My primary reason for wanting to know would be so that I could provide that support, not so that I could try to influence her decision.

And so a long-term partner not telling me she was going to get an abortion wouldn't be remotely tantamount to taking an actual child away. It would be more like not being told she was going to, say, get her wisdom teeth removed. In other words, I see it as an ethical aspect of a healthy interpersonal relationship that surgical procedures be the sort of thing you mention to the other person (at least afterward, if nothing else). Thus I would be personally a bit hurt and feel like an essential part of trust was lacking in our relationship if I later found out that my partner had had an abortion without telling me. I would not (I suspect) feel like she had unilaterally destroyed something that was "mine".
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby qetzal » Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:16 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
qetzal wrote:But I still think that in many cases, a woman has an ethical obligation to tell the father that she's pregnant and considering an abortion. It's more than just being "nice." Like it or not, people attach great significance to creating a potential child. That's pretty obvious by the passion that this whole topic elicits. Even people who believe abortion should be 100% legal can still consider it a serious matter that deserves careful consideration. While it's absolutely the woman's decision to make, that doesn't mean it's right to leave the man completely unaware.

And so far as I know, no one here was saying anything different.


Quixotess seemed to disagree:

Quixotess wrote:
qetzal wrote:Personally, I think a woman who's considering an abortion owes the father the chance to express his opinions.

Not really. It's up to her. If she's decided that his input isn't going to change her decision and she doesn't want to consult him, why should she? Sure, it might be nice.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Gunfingers » Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:23 pm UTC

I think there's a confusion of "She should be legally required to tell the father" and "She should tell the father." She should tell the father; it's just something he should probably know about. She shouldn't have to tell the father, because in the end it's solely her decision.

Amazing the difference you get when you add four words to the middle of a sentence.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby EsotericWombat » Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:56 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:
natraj wrote:If a woman has decided that she wants to bring her child to term, does that decision mean that she does, indeed, have a level of responsibility to the fetus she carries? Because the implication of the argument over in the other thread was 'no, because it is her body, even if she is carrying a child she intends to give birth to, she can still do whatever she wants and nobody can say anything against it,' and I really don't know about that one. I think if a woman is carrying a child she has chosen to keep, that does imply an obligation to try and keep that life healthy.

Unless something comes up that she thinks is more important than whatever she perceives the risk to her child to be. In the case of Palin, if she decides that her speech is more important than the possible risk, then that's a valid decision because, again, there is no alternative woman to care for the fetus while she gives her speech.

Anyway, yes. Her body, her decision. There is no point at which the woman becomes beholden to the fetus any more than she believes she is.


This is utter bullshit.

I have an adopted cousin who was born with cocaine, marijuana, and speed in her system. It's a god damned miracle that she's as healthy as she is. But even still she has an extremely weak immune system. What you're saying is that her birth mother is beyond reproach for what she's done to my cousin. And that's absurd.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Outchanter » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:44 am UTC

Malice wrote:
Outchanter wrote:If either parent can unilaterally and anonymously give their child away, how would the other parent get their child back, let alone force the first parent to pay child support?


Your question has nonsensical (or at least incompatible) assumptions. Either the parent has custody of the child, and can give them away (or press for child support), or they do not, and thus have no control over whether the parent which has custody does either of those things.

That's what I first thought, but if you look at the safe haven laws it seems to indicate that custody isn't required to drop off the child, except in Idaho. And actually, would it make sense to award custody to a parent who just wanted to abandon the child? I can see this happening if the other parent is a complete deadbeat, but in the case of two reasonably normal people contesting custody, I'd guess that the desire to get rid of the child is a strong indicator of who shouldn't be awarded custody.

So the law seems to allow two things. In one case, a parent can legally break all ties to a child by abandoning it to a safe haven. In the other case, a parent can take custody of the child and, by invoking the unbreakability of parental ties, force the other parent to pay child support.

Isn't this a contradiction? What happens if parent A wants to break all ties to the child by abandoning it, but parent B wants to keep the child and force parent A to pay child support? Who takes priority in this case? Is A forced to pay child support? Is B forcibly separated from the child? Or something else?

Malice wrote:Presumably a wrongfully-abandoned child can be recovered.

Hopefully.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Malice » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:12 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:
Malice wrote:
Outchanter wrote:If either parent can unilaterally and anonymously give their child away, how would the other parent get their child back, let alone force the first parent to pay child support?


Your question has nonsensical (or at least incompatible) assumptions. Either the parent has custody of the child, and can give them away (or press for child support), or they do not, and thus have no control over whether the parent which has custody does either of those things.

That's what I first thought, but if you look at the safe haven laws it seems to indicate that custody isn't required to drop off the child, except in Idaho. And actually, would it make sense to award custody to a parent who just wanted to abandon the child? I can see this happening if the other parent is a complete deadbeat, but in the case of two reasonably normal people contesting custody, I'd guess that the desire to get rid of the child is a strong indicator of who shouldn't be awarded custody.


I guess my problem with this line of thought is, if you don't have custody, how do you have the child in the first place to abandon?

So the law seems to allow two things. In one case, a parent can legally break all ties to a child by abandoning it to a safe haven. In the other case, a parent can take custody of the child and, by invoking the unbreakability of parental ties, force the other parent to pay child support.


Well, you can legally break all ties to a child by putting it up for adoption, too.

You're looking at it from the perspective of parental responsibility, which is backwards. The issue is the care of the child. If the child is abandoned or put up for adoption, somebody will be there to take care of it. If the child is kept, somebody must be there to take care of it too, hence child support.

So don't look at it in terms of the sanctity of parental ties; look at it in terms of a financial responsibility to be discharged. Either you pay for the kid, or you give it to somebody who can.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Outchanter » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:38 am UTC

Malice wrote:I guess my problem with this line of thought is, if you don't have custody, how do you have the child in the first place to abandon?

But the problem with the other line of thought is, if you plan to abandon the child, why did you get custody (which most people think of as the right to raise the child) in the first place?

Is there a third line of thought?

Malice wrote:You're looking at it from the perspective of parental responsibility, which is backwards. The issue is the care of the child. If the child is abandoned or put up for adoption, somebody will be there to take care of it. If the child is kept, somebody must be there to take care of it too, hence child support.

So don't look at it in terms of the sanctity of parental ties; look at it in terms of a financial responsibility to be discharged. Either you pay for the kid, or you give it to somebody who can.

Ok, let's try to make the question as child neutral as possible. Suppose parent A wants to pay for the kid (or force parent B pay for the kid), while parent B wants to give the kid to somebody else who can pay. According to what you wrote above, both of these are acceptable options. Of course, depending on circumstances one may be infinitely preferable to the other, but suppose we assume here that both options end up providing equally for the child.

Then the only problem is that the parents disagree on which of these two mutually exclusive options to pursue. Which option - or which parent - has priority?
Last edited by Outchanter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:44 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Vox Imperatoris » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:43 am UTC

I think that the father should be able to make a legal request before the child is born that the baby should be aborted/given up for adoption, and if the mother doesn't agree, then she alone takes responsibility for the child. That way, fathers can't just abandon the children they already have, but if they never wanted it in the first place, they shouldn't have to pay for it.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Outchanter » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:55 am UTC

Vox Imperatoris wrote:I think that the father should be able to make a legal request before the child is born that the baby should be aborted/given up for adoption, and if the mother doesn't agree, then she alone takes responsibility for the child. That way, fathers can't just abandon the children they already have, but if they never wanted it in the first place, they shouldn't have to pay for it.

That raises its own problems. What if the father makes the request so late that the possibility of legal abortion no longer exists, or won't exist by the time the mother has made her (very difficult) decision? What if the mother can't afford to raise the child? Would you force her to have an abortion? What if her religion forbids it?

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Buttons » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:25 am UTC

But more importantly, this would give an incentive for the mother not to tell the father about her pregnancy so that he can't file such a request by whatever deadline there is.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:24 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:No, it really wouldn't be equally or anywhere nearly so to say that to a man. Because his obligation is merely financial. That's it. And saying "now you owe your baby momma some money" is very different from saying "now you have to carry this thing inside your own body for nine months and give birth to it". Beyond a few micrograms of genetic material (if that), the production and delivery of which are not especially burdensome on the man, he doesn't necessarily provide anything at all for the fetus. And so *requiring* that he have any legal say in whether she gets an abortion is, well, really repugnant.


I'm not trying to claim that the fathers input be a legal requirement for abortion, but I'm trying to point out that it's not black and white as saying "She carries the child, she makes the call". To be on the same page though, it's interesting to me that we object more to forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term then we do forcing a woman to abort said fetus. I don't really have an answer as to which is worse.
But to further blur the lines, what if I've accidentally impregnated someone and am aware of a genetic disorder that will more then likely be passed to my child? What if I'm two years from finishing my degree, and the only way to pay for this upcoming child is by dropping out? There are infinite what if's here that make me wonder why we don't perhaps enforce some sort of 'Well wait and hear me out' policy pertaining to abortions and/or non-abortions.

Quixotess wrote:That's what I'm saying. I'm sure that the father's input matters to the mother in many or most cases. I'm not saying they shouldn't discuss it. I'm saying "hey, if she doesn't want the abortion and you do, that's too damn bad." And vice versa.

Remember: abortion is the alternative to pregnancy, not parenting.


I don't really feel comfortable with that sort of mentality Quix. While I concur that consensual sex means you assume responsibility for your actions, and as much as I'd kick and scream defiantly against having to pay child support on a child I did not want and did everything to prevent being brought into the world, I think it's important we recognize that ultimately, the 'choice' of a mother shouldn't come down to how she feels about her body, but how she feels about a child.

I'd rather see a woman forced to have an abortion then see a kid forced to grow up in shitty circumstances. Abortion IS an alternative to parenting, and part of the decision to have an abortion is the decision to not subject a child, who is really the only innocent party in this equation, to the mistakes the parents made.

The fathers involvement here transcends 'I don't want to pay child support' in requesting an abortion; it can stem from this, but might also be a 'It would break my heart to see another child suffer because of a mistake'.

So yes, forcing a woman to carry a fetus = really bad. Forcing a woman to have an abortion because the father is adamant about not having the child suffer = pretty bad. Allowing a father to sever ties with the child = awful for the child in most circumstances.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Quixotess » Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:48 am UTC

Hold everything.

Izawwlgood wrote:To be on the same page though, it's interesting to me that we object more to forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term then we do forcing a woman to abort said fetus.

Where in tarnation did you get that impression? Maybe because no one has suggested that we force a woman to have an abortion? Because...

Izawwlgood wrote:I'd rather see a woman forced to have an abortion then see a kid forced to grow up in shitty circumstances. [...]Forcing a woman to have an abortion because the father is adamant about not having the child suffer = pretty bad.

No. Not even close.

Look. You want to give the father ultimate power over whether or not a woman gets to have abortion? You realize you haven't removed human error, right? You've just utterly revoked women's power over their bodies. You've given it to any man she gets pregnant with, ever. I'm in shock here. I don't know if I can articulate how terrible and fundamentally misogynistic this idea is. I'd explain the practical problems again with rape exceptions, but that's not even the main problem at all. You've just taken away her right to make her own medical decisions. You've taken away women's autonomy and given it to men. *sputters*

No forced birth. No forced abortion. My body does not belong to my intimate partner.

Edit: *sigh* I should probably add a disclaimer that when I use the word "misogynistic" here, I am not describing you. You probably didn't even think about it that way. I believe and contend in the strongest terms, however, that the proposal is a misogynistic one.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Dazmilar » Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:50 am UTC

I don't think making it an issue of bodily autonomy negates the fact that a woman who has weighed her options and thought about her choice of carrying the pregnancy or having an abortion should probably have also thought about the financial implications of her decision.

After all, the father has only supplied a miniscule amount of genetic material to create a parasite. It's the mother who has all the power to decide whether to allow that sack of cells to develop or not. If the father has stated he does not wish to have the child, and desires either an abortion or giving the child up for adoption, the mother should evaluate whether or not she has the resources to raise the child on her own. But it's possible that I just want to live in a world where if someone controls 100% of a major life decision, then they should also bear 100% of the responsibility for that decision.

But I'm a man of compromise. Obviously, it'd be wrong to allow the man any say regarding a woman's bodily autonomy. And folks are against eliminating child support in this situation because we don't want destitute children (not sure why we let poor people breed then). How about we let people put their financial responsibility up for adoption? If I'm a father and I'm against the pregnancy but the mother demands her way and then wants me to foot the bill, I just put my child support up for adoption.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Malice » Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:36 am UTC

Dazmilar wrote:But I'm a man of compromise. Obviously, it'd be wrong to allow the man any say regarding a woman's bodily autonomy. And folks are against eliminating child support in this situation because we don't want destitute children (not sure why we let poor people breed then). How about we let people put their financial responsibility up for adoption? If I'm a father and I'm against the pregnancy but the mother demands her way and then wants me to foot the bill, I just put my child support up for adoption.


We let poor people breed because it's too damn difficult to stop them.
Well, okay, we also do that because the parents' bodily autonomy is more important than their child's eventual level of financial security.

Honestly, letting a child grow up poor isn't the end of the world. Plenty of awesome, successful people experienced childhood poverty. We'd prefer that children don't grow up poor, but not in the same way we'd prefer that children not get molested or murdered. It's more of a "This has negative consequences for society" than "Aww, poor kid" thing. As such, I think the government should provide support in cases where the father cannot or should not meet his responsibilities towards the child.

While the concept of adopting child support is an interesting one, I don't see why many people would choose to do it. Why would I volunteer to place myself under an 18-year financial burden? At least a normal charity can be out of pocket, so that you're never forced to give if you can't afford it later on; and a normal adoption gives you a child (not to mention a government stipend).
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:31 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:Where in tarnation did you get that impression? Maybe because no one has suggested that we force a woman to have an abortion? Because...


Quixotess wrote:In the case of going through labor (so the fetus might live) versus having an abortion (where it won't), that is still a case where only one specific woman can provide that, for lack of a better word, service. Deliveries are often rather not "simple." We still have complications with them, women still die or otherwise suffer. You can argue about how safe it is, but it's still a procedure that women should be able to choose to go through with or not, like any other medical decision. The only way the child can live is for one specific woman to go through labor. Either that specific woman goes through labor, or the fetus does not live.

As soon as the line of birth has been crossed, you have a baby whose needs can be met by any willing and able person. That's the difference.


I'm not sure if we're misunderstanding one another here, but I get the impression that we feel more comfortable with aborting fetuses then we do forcing a woman to keep it. 'force' is probably an implied term that I've extrapolated incorrectly.

Quixotess wrote:Look. You want to give the father ultimate power over whether or not a woman gets to have abortion?


Whoa, hold on, I think i've been pretty clear about saying that I ultimately DON'T want to give the father ultimate power. I want to force the issue of discussion, and recognize that A) her body, her choice, but ultimately not the one who has to live with that decision long term (the child, being the one who does), and B) her body, her choice, but ultimately she isn't the only one affected. I agree that because she's the one carrying the child, it should be up to her, but because if she decides to keep it, it's no longer just 'her body' that's on the line here, I believe there should be some sort of legal recourse to force dialog or bring in doctors opinions or... i dunno, anything to help clarify these gray areas.

But quix, please don't call me a misogynist without due cause, rereading my post, I'm pretty confident it doesn't come off that way.

We have this horror of pregnancy that is both understandable and overblown. Pregnancy and child birth are both monumentally serious facts of life (heh) and quite literally almost routine as breathing.

Malice wrote:Honestly, letting a child grow up poor isn't the end of the world. Plenty of awesome, successful people experienced childhood poverty. We'd prefer that children don't grow up poor, but not in the same way we'd prefer that children not get molested or murdered. It's more of a "This has negative consequences for society" than "Aww, poor kid" thing. As such, I think the government should provide support in cases where the father cannot or should not meet his responsibilities towards the child.


This isn't a 'poor child'/'rich child' thing. The statistics on children born to parents who don't have educations, or more astonishingly, don't have active fathers in their lives are pretty wild. [cue every forumite who grew up under these conditions to blast me]

Think about how this applies to the entire population of America, not just ideal situations (i.e., this whole thing is one big 'What if...?'). The vast majority of men forced to pay child support are likely unable to do so comfortably. The vast majority of women who are raising their children as single mothers probably aren't also 9-5 white collar executives ready to instill their baby with a sense of gainful accomplishment. I'm not saying that these facts render a body unable to rear a child, as it takes more then just hard cash to bring up a kid, but we as a country/human race don't need more children living under the poverty line because courts couldn't get their shit together and have a reasonable dialog with a woman and convince her that single motherhood with expected child support payments from an uneducated young man were the way to raise a child.

(So to clarify, if anything, I err on the side of aborting fetuses)
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Buttons » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:51 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I'm not sure if we're misunderstanding one another here, but I get the impression that we feel more comfortable with aborting fetuses then we do forcing a woman to keep it. 'force' is probably an implied term that I've extrapolated incorrectly.
...
(So to clarify, if anything, I err on the side of aborting fetuses)

I'm sure Quixotess will say this more eloquently than me, but.... NO! I am not comfortable aborting fetuses unless that is what the woman wants to do. The only thing I feel comfortable with is letting her make the choice. "Erring" on either side is not an option.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby e946 » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:47 pm UTC

If we're going to leave the ultimate choice over abortion to the mother without any input of the father whatsoever, then there absolutely needs to be away for fathers to make it clear that they oppose the birth and not be forced to pay for it or care for it. Otherwise, you're saying that one person's ability to control their own future is more important than the other's, and quite frankly, fuck that idea.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:05 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:it's interesting to me that we object more to forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term then we do forcing a woman to abort said fetus.

It's interesting to me that you extrapolated so incorrectly as to conclude something that was completely inaccurate of every single poster in this thread.

Yes, we object more to forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term than we do to allowing her to choose to to abort. Just like we object more to forcing her to abort than we do to allowing her to choose to carry a fetus to term. And we object more to forcing her to abort than we do to allowing her to abort, and more to forcing her to carry it than to letting her carry it.

The force versus permission difference is the important one. It's got nothing to do with which of the two considered options ends up happening.

e946 wrote:Otherwise, you're saying that one person's ability to control their own future is more important than the other's, and quite frankly, fuck that idea.

No. We're saying that one person's ability to control her own body is more important than the other's ability to control his wallet.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Quixotess » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:19 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:But quix, please don't call me a misogynist without due cause, rereading my post, I'm pretty confident it doesn't come off that way.

Okay. Not only did my sentence clearly reflect that I was talking about the idea, I put that disclaimer in immediately after I finished my post.

Quixotess wrote:I don't know if I can articulate how terrible and fundamentally misogynistic this idea is.
Quixotess wrote:Edit: *sigh* I should probably add a disclaimer that when I use the word "misogynistic" here, I am not describing you. You probably didn't even think about it that way. I believe and contend in the strongest terms, however, that the proposal is a misogynistic one.

Yes. Your idea "comes off" as misogynistic because what you are advocating here:

Izawwlgood wrote:I believe there should be some sort of legal recourse to force dialog or bring in doctors opinions or... i dunno, anything to help clarify these gray areas.

are either notification laws or a legal recourse for men to actually prevent or delay a woman's abortion, and forcing women to notify men, or to requiring the (tacit or otherwise) permission of men, before they are allowed to obtain a MEDICAL PROCEDURE takes away women's first-class citizenship. Your proposal wants no less than to make my body the property of any man I get pregnant with.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Gunfingers » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:35 pm UTC

As a matter of curiousity, how would you feel if the same was extended to all sexual related medical prodedures? Vasectomies/historectomies (and the reversals thereof) would require one to notify any current sexual partners, for example*. Would this make notification laws on abortions more palatable? I mean, we can't all be second class citizens.



*Let's overlook for the moment the difficulty in defining "current sexual partners".

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Dazmilar » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:55 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:No. We're saying that one person's ability to control her own body is more important than the other's ability to control his wallet.


And in controlling her own body the woman also makes a choice about whether or not she will be the mother of a future person. Consider that in this discussion, many pro-choicers have talked about how pregnancy is not necessarily the desired result of sex, but an accidental risk. Women cannot be considered responsible for the resulting pregnancy and care of the possibly future person just by having sex. Life does not begin at conception, after all, it begins at birth. This thread has also talked about how the man only supplies -- what was it, a few picograms? -- of genetic material... at conception. The only part of the process that requires the man, and in fact, the part of the process that ties the man to the future person should the woman choose to see the pregnancy through is conception. Mandatory child support creates a situation in which women are not responsible for the possibility of a pregnancy resulting from sexual intercourse, but men are.

Furthermore, we have other odd situations. For instance, a man has no financial responsibility to take care of his unborn child and the woman carrying it for the time it takes to carry the baby to term. Then suddenly responsible. All because of an act for which the woman had no responsibility when it came to choosing to abort or carry the pregnancy. And the argument for why is the exact same argument pro-lifers use against abortion, that the man has to take responsibility for what he did when he chose to have sex.

Mind you, I'm not advocating deadbeat dads any more than someone who is in favor of pro-choice is for killing fetuses. I'm merely saying that the current state of affairs removes choice for a man. The choice to be or not to be a father. Same as the choice a woman gets to make when she chooses to have or not have an abortion. If the man declares he will not help in raising the child in any way, in other words, choosing not to be a father, then that information should factor into the woman's decision to have or not to have the baby. Now you might argue that this removes or hampers the woman's choice, and infringes on her right of bodily autonomy. You're wrong. A woman still has her right to control her own body and choose what she will or will not do with it. However, choices have consequences, and with rights comes responsibility. Being pro-choice and anti-mandatory child support is both equally fair to both sexes, and logically consistent.

Mind you I'm only talking about child support of the, "You're my baby's daddy, you gotta pay" variety.

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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Quixotess » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:19 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:As a matter of curiousity, how would you feel if the same was extended to all sexual related medical prodedures? Vasectomies/historectomies (and the reversals thereof) would require one to notify any current sexual partners, for example.

Uh...no...that sounds like the worst idea ever.
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Re: please can we all talk about abortions? that would be nice.

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:53 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:are either notification laws or a legal recourse for men to actually prevent or delay a woman's abortion, and forcing women to notify men, or to requiring the (tacit or otherwise) permission of men, before they are allowed to obtain a MEDICAL PROCEDURE takes away women's first-class citizenship. Your proposal wants no less than to make my body the property of any man I get pregnant with.


I said I'd prefer to err on the side of caution. What about notification or legal recourse for men to prevent a woman from carrying a child to term?

My proposal (suggestion? Consideration? Discussion?) wants to make sure there are no surprises and no unhappy parties in the unfortunate incidence of an unwanted pregnancy, not violate a womans right to choose, or a mans right to know what is going on with his offspring.

As a father, I think I reserve the right to request the child be aborted. Ultimately, the decision is up to her, but I'd hope something like a, I dunno, angry woman screening phonecalls or refusing to hear me out be forced (yes, forced) to at least see me face to face and tell me. I've never suggested removing a womans right to choose, but with all this arm raising and rabble rousing about how adamant we are for a womans right to choose, it's easy to forget that the situation is rarely so simple.
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