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Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

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Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby Bludgeon » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:06 pm

Interesting Father's Day article in NYT:
Laurie Shrage wrote:Women’s rights advocates have long struggled for motherhood to be a voluntary condition, and not one imposed by nature or culture. In places where women and girls have access to affordable and safe contraception and abortion services, and where there are programs to assist mothers in distress find foster or adoptive parents, voluntary motherhood is basically a reality. In many states, infant safe haven laws allow a birth mother to walk away from her newborn baby if she leaves it unharmed at a designated facility.

If a man accidentally conceives a child with a woman, and does not want to raise the child with her, what are his choices? Surprisingly, he has few options in the United States."


I never thought about it before, but it's kind of interesting to think that in some states a woman can drop off a baby and just walk away. Why not reverse policies like that and elicit support from her with the same legal ramifications a man would have?

As a person who hates holidays, this article struck me as suitably "grinchy" for the occasion.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby snoqueen » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:54 pm

I read the same article today and I was very happy. For decades -- like at least 40 years -- I've felt the same way as the writer: there's a disparity in fairness here, with men having fewer choice points than women in regard to becoming a parent.

Every time I brought up my opinion, I was met -- particularly by women -- with a barrage of angry objections that I should even think such a thing, so after a while I gave up and decided to keep my belief to myself.

I am pleased someone else has finally arrived at the same opinion and has been given a chance to speak up in a national publication. Maybe we're closer to being ready for a balanced discussion.

I didn't even notice it was supposed to be a Fathers Day article. I don't pay any attention to the Hallmark Holidays either. All days are appropriate occasions to be nice to our families.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby rabble » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:25 pm

Bludgeon wrote:it's kind of interesting to think that in some states a woman can drop off a baby and just walk away. Why not reverse policies like that and elicit support from her with the same legal ramifications a man would have?

It's kind of interesting that you used the word "interesting" but that's beside the point.

Well, the fact that she wants to give it up implies that the father isn't interested in raising the kid while trying to pump child support out of the mother. By the time it gets that far it's a two-parent decision. And I agree with snow. It would mean fewer abortions if the couple could just hand it over afterwards and promise not to do that again.

If one parent says no I want to raise this one myself, I'm fine with the other paying child support. But if neither one wants it, sure, let's find it another home no questions asked.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby snoqueen » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:22 am

If one parent says no I want to raise this one myself, I'm fine with the other paying child support.


But that wasn't the point of the article. The point was that while a woman has several exit points on the path to parenting (birth control, morning-after pill, various kinds of abortion, and as a last resort giving the baby up anonymously), a man has only one: birth control (when it works).

After that, he's on the hook for the next 18 years with no other options. And he may be just as incompetent, uninterested, irresponsible, and unprepared as the woman, especially when he's very young. And his economic future, like hers, can be totally changed very much for the worse by just one mistake. To say you're fine with the other party paying child support when one party elects to keep the child misses the point of what the author was saying. Maybe it's not always fine and we are thinking carelessly.

I don't take it that you're disagreeing with this principle, just missing some of the reasoning.

As the author pointed out, every act of heterosexual intercourse does not represent a commitment to raise a child to adulthood -- by either the woman or the man. She was saying it's time to give men other options in line with the ones women have.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby rabble » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:26 am

snoqueen wrote:As the author pointed out, every act of heterosexual intercourse does not represent a commitment to raise a child to adulthood -- by either the woman or the man. She was saying it's time to give men other options in line with the ones women have.

True, and I let my own experiences get in the way. You and her are right, there ought to be more leeway.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby snoqueen » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:27 am

Not to belabor this, but geez... it's nice to read such an agreeable reply. Thanks.

Not sure how long this goodwill will last on the Forum, but it's wonderful.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby Dairylander » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:47 pm

Bludgeon wrote:I never thought about it before, but it's kind of interesting to think that in some states a woman can drop off a baby and just walk away. Why not reverse policies like that and elicit support from her with the same legal ramifications a man would have?

That policy is in place to reduce the number of babies left in dumpsters.
It's not a "women's rights" policy.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:25 pm

snoqueen wrote:I didn't even notice it was supposed to be a Fathers Day article. I don't pay any attention to the Hallmark Holidays either. All days are appropriate occasions to be nice to our families.


I was set to be offended by you referring to father's day as a hallmark holiday. Surely no one would say that about mother's day, but it occured to me that my plan for this Sunday was pretty close to my plan for every Sunday. Spend time doing fun stuff with my kids. So point taken.

I think in the past 40 years the rights of women in childbirth in the US have undergone a massive evolution while the rights of men have failed to evolve with the changes to society and science. If you look at the female side of the question, much of it revolved around the right to control ones own body. That's not a issue on the male side, so there probably hasn't been the same driving force.

In some cases though I think a father's behavior should dictate a requirement of financial support. If you have multiple children with one or more women, I think a fair case can be made that while you might not want kids, you clearly don't not want kids and should be held responsible. Maybe it's unfair that women can chose before and after the fact to ensure a child does not result from any intercourse, but if man repeatedly makes a choice contrary to his stated desires, the point is pretty moot.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby snoqueen » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:32 pm

Maybe the guy gets one free pass, but after that he's gotta step up.

I don't know. The devil is in the details on this stuff. On the other hand, "extreme cases make bad law" is pretty much a legal truism, and the multi-baby freelance fathers are a good example of taking things to extremes.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:23 pm

snoqueen wrote:I don't know. The devil is in the details on this stuff. On the other hand, "extreme cases make bad law" is pretty much a legal truism, and the multi-baby freelance fathers are a good example of taking things to extremes.


Fair point, and in essence I suppose it's punishing someone for what amounts to healthy sperm and repeatedly having bad timing.

I think society benefits best if children are well provided for, but relying on a reluctant, unwilling or unable father may not be the in the child, the mother or societies best interest either. I would hate to see a mother and child living in poverty while the father prospers, but I also don't think a father in poverty should be pushed further into poverty either. Maybe a more graduated scale should exist, or one directly tied to the diference in incomes, with a different rate if the paying parent does not want parental rights or responsibilities.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:29 pm

Sounds like someone is behind in their child support payments.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby bdog » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:47 pm

snoqueen wrote:Not to belabor this, but geez... it's nice to read such an agreeable reply. Thanks.

Not sure how long this goodwill will last on the Forum, but it's wonderful.

I have to admit I was impressed with your decidely non-politically correct admission at the top of the thread. There's only a few here on "your side" who would admit to something like that.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby Donald » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:56 pm

Yes, but why shouldn't they? This tendency is likely due to evolution. Women should have more autonomy after getting pregnant because they have much more at stake. They are in charge of the developing baby, providing much more investment. Even eggs are more valuable to the female than sperm is to a man. A woman has much greater stake in childbearing as a result of the investment she must make from day one of the pregnancy.

Further, a woman's maximum reproductive potential is much, much less than a man's. A man could sire hundreds of children, a woman can have only a dozen or so during her lifetime. This means it is far more important and evolutionarily valuable to females to have autonomy to determine their reproductive outcomes than for males.

Adding to the evolutionary component or maybe resulting from it is the fact that maximally functioning societies also seem to evolve greater female autonomy over time.

Also, there is no question of maternity, but paternity may be questioned. You provide more choices to those who are definitely in charge.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby bleurose » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:18 pm

Have first hand experience with two cases of the female half of the partnership not being either up front with the male half or being ridiculously unprepared in this day & age.

#1: F did not tell M that she was angling to get pregnant then moans about his declining to be involved she told him she was and when offspring had health issues from the get-go. I donated blood for one of many baby surgeries and then told her it was her situation was her own damn fault. The guy had a perfect right to walk away as he had no say about whether he wanted to be a parent.

#2: F not on birth control, starts new relationship with M, the inevitable happens. M walks away as soon as he finds out. Again, absolute right to do so. Fortunately, F comfortably situated and can raise child on her own. This one really made me shake my head, my own cousin being stupid like this. But, she did the deed and is raising son well so maybe not all bad. If the guy really wanted nothing to do with a kid, then this is likely the best outcome.

So I agree with Sno - if a guy is made a parent without his knowledge and/or consent, he should not have to participate. And that should be a legitimate result of these situations.
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Re: Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:43 pm

bleurose wrote:if a guy is made a parent without his knowledge and/or consent


I agree with the general principal that an unwilling parents should not have parenthood forced upon them and in the long run the child is probably better if an unwilling parent is not involved.

However...

Baring being raped by a woman or having a sperm sample taken, I don't think a man can legitimately claim that a woman became pregnant without his knowledge and implied consent. Your female friend (#1) may have been aiming to get in a family way, but her partner could have at least tried to stop his own involvement in that project either through using a protection or saying no.
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