Thursday, February 03, 2011

So I may have asked you this before, but what are your views on abortion?I’ve heard many very compelling arguments that prohibiting it is a restriction of the mother’s rights,but I can’t help but feel that allowing it is an infringement on the right

I always support a woman’s right to choose. Being pro-choice is not the same thing as being pro-abortion. Pro-choice is the stance that the individual has sole moral discretion over their body and, for women; this includes their womb and their choices in regards to sex and reproductive health. The government has no business telling us what we can or cannot do with our bodies. Intervention is only acceptable in cases where the person involved is not capable of giving informed consent. This is what I believe and this is what I support at the ballot.

However, despite my ethical stance on the issue, abortion causes a great amount of cognitive dissonance for me. I was raised Roman Catholic and even though I was raised in a very liberal, post modern, post Vatican II parish in Seattle; despite the fact that I am an atheist and no longer a practicing Catholic and, am in fact, a vehement anti-Papist the issue of abortion and the churches teachings still resonate deep within me. Chalk that up to the power of indoctrination. My faith is gone, but intense fiery doubt lingers on – most likely residual guilt from rejecting my default ipso facto programming. An atheist with a lingering agnostic world view am I.

My other concern is with a man’s “reproductive rights,” which often get trampled on in the debate. In cases of rape and incest the sperm donor should have absolutely no rights whatsoever. The psycho-pathology of sex criminals is such that they should be locked away from society in a prison cell or secure psychiatric facility for the rest of their lives.

The same goes for those aptly labeled deadbeats who scatter their seed and then refuse to take their share of the responsibility when given the chance to do so by their partners. I once knew a guy who by the age of 23 had 10 children with 9 different women. As far as I am concerned he is guilty of criminal acts of procreation. He had no sense of personal accountability and did not care. Not one mother was receiving child support or any kind of assistance from him. This bastard has no rights either as he trampled over the rights of other people to get what he wanted. Yes, the women who fell for his line have responsibility for the matter if the sex was consensual, but his actions were criminal.

The man whose reproductive rights I am concerned with is the hapless impregnator who is more than willing to step up and take responsibility and meets a wall. When trying to take responsibility the hapless impregnator gets the “my body, my womb and my choice” response. In cases such as these the counter response must be equally stubborn and harsh – “Your body, your womb, your choice and therefore your problem.” This is the price of having choice. You shouldn’t get to suddenly reappear in someone’s life ten years later and say, “I decided not to get an abortion after all, meet your daughter. By the way here is a bill for ten years back child support and what your monthly contribution going forward is.”

If the hapless impregnator now turned father chooses to take responsibility and step up regardless of the unjust treatment then great – I regard him as a highly ethical person. Support enforcement is not acceptable in a libertarian society where everyone is at choice. We must all be accountable for the choices we make, good or bad. This is often missing from the legal battle over abortion. Assuming that the sex was legally consensual (please don’t muddy this with the GOP’s current unconscionable efforts to redefine rape. This is unethical, unjust and repugnant) then both parties must accept responsibility for the outcome. This ability to use reason and be accountable is what separates us from animals that rut about. We can override our passions even in the height of arousal. I know this is possible because I have done it on many occasions out of necessity myself. Simply acting in a way that is “being human” is only a poor excuse. It is a shirking of responsibility.

The man who falls afoul of our legal system in terms of childrearing is often told that no one forced him to have sex with the mother. We ask him why he didn’t use a condom. But, the same goes for his female partner. Assuming the liaison was granted by legal consent wasn’t forced to have sex with him either. Why didn’t she insist that he wear a condom? Why didn’t either of them talk about birth control and what would happen if a pregnancy should occur? If the answer is you got caught up in the moment and surrendered to passion then you must surrender to the consequences of your action and belly up to the bar. Both are “at fault;” both are responsible.

Several years before leaving the Catholic Church for good I taught Confirmation classes for young adults between the ages of 17-20 and, inevitably, a discussion about sexuality always ensued. I used to tell the young men in my care that they already knew the church’s view on sex, but what was really important was that they developed a principled sexual ethic and remained the center of accountability in their lives.

“Gentlemen,” I would say. “You must choose your partners wisely. Many of you will go to college and find yourself at some of the wild parties that happen. You should go, raise a little hell and have some fun in your youth. But, remember this: an intoxicated or high woman cannot give you legal consent. I don’t give a shit what the law says or doesn’t say. If the woman wakes up the next morning and feels violated – she’s been violated and you may be guilty. The state of intoxication impairs a person’s judgment and ability to reason. Why do you think it’s illegal to drive or operate machinery in such states?

“Just because a woman is flirting with you or you happen to think she is flirting with you is not consent. Just because she is dressed in a way you find provocative is not consent. A woman is ‘never asking for it.’ You will have no doubt when consent is really given.”

The young men were squirming in their seats by now. Some of the young women were a little abashed and turned their blushing faces to their feet. Most of them were smiling. There turn was next. But, I still had a few more things to say to the men.

“Birth control gentlemen! This is not the sole responsibility of the woman. Use a condom. Ask her what she is using. Have a discussion about it. It really doesn’t kill the moment. It makes it less worry free. Not to mention condoms aid in the prevention of STDs. You should ask about her feelings on abortion and what she would do if she was pregnant and what she would expect you to do. In short, gentlemen, don’t have sex with sex with someone whose values are not the same as yours.

“The last bit of advice I will give you is this. You don’t own a woman’s body. It is not your property. Her womb is not your property and what may be growing inside it is not your property either. Once you ejaculate your semen into her vagina it’s not your semen anymore. So if her values are different than yours – too damn bad.”

My message was take fucking responsibility for your actions and your life. What you do has consequences for other people. Then I turned to the young women.

“Take responsibility for your bodies. If you don’t trust the guy, don’t have sex with him. It really is that simple. The heart wants what the heart wants is pure bullshit. It’s true, but it’s bullshit still the same. There are also no excuses for rape. You have rights and if you are violated you need to demand those rights. You need to be unapologetic about it. You know if you gave consent. If you didn’t then its rape. Just because it wasn’t violent or you didn’t get drugged or physically harmed doesn’t mean you weren’t violated. There are more subtle violations of people being perpetrated then we realize. It’s that the violent ones are far more noticeable and get our attention easier.

“But, if you get pregnant through mutual legally consensual sex you must take responsibility for the outcome of the sex. You should ask your partner to step up; you should even expect it. That is what an ethically responsible person would do. That is what someone who cares about you would do. If he chooses to be a deadbeat then by all means you must do what you need to do. However, what I told the men goes for you as well. If you have sex with someone who does not share your values then the consequences are yours to bear alone.”

It all gets down to personal accountability. This is what makes liberty such a harsh lover. You pay your money and you take your chances as a favorite college professor of mine said to me when I complained about the grade she had given me on a paper. The reason the government steps in is because no one wants to take responsibility. The reason we want the government to step in is because we want someone else to take responsibility and we often pretend we’re seeking justice. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t have access to our justice system and the right to seek redress for grievances – absolutely we should. But, the demands of justice must require that those who seek redress against another have previously acted with ethical integrity. If they are shirking responsibility then they must first be accountable.

Reviewing my rant I see that I have left out a major part of your question, which appears to be about the rights of the unborn. I am reluctant to consider an unborn child that is unable to exist and survive outside its mother’s womb as having the same rights as any other person. This could cause the rights, not to mention the health, of the mother to be trampled on in order to save an unborn child. During the last two election cycles in Colorado an anti-abortion group has managed to get on the ballot a proposition to amend the state constitution to define an unborn fetus as person. This is absurd and fortunately it has been defeated both times. I am not in support of so-called late term abortions, unless there is a true medical necessity. Why should the mother die so an unborn child can live without its mother? However, I put this in the same category as I do with all reproductive rights – this is not the choice of the state or a religious group. The sole decision belongs to the mother in cooperation with her doctors and anyone else she may choose to include in her decision. The state must stay out it if we are to protect and ensure liberty. In order for this to be the case every one of us must step and take ownership of our personal responsibilties.

For a kiss I will answer all your questions.

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