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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » What is the role of men in abortion decisions? (Page 2)

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Author Topic: What is the role of men in abortion decisions?
The Black Pearl
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What role do women play in vasectomy decisions?

Actually that's a useful reversal question for both sides to ask. Although its not the same.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by The Black Pearl:
What role do women play in vasectomy decisions?

Actually that's a useful reversal question for both sides to ask. Although its not the same.

It's not nearly the same at all, if for no other reason than vasectomies are reversible, and sperm donors can be found for a woman who wants to conceive when her partner doesn't (though if he really doesn't want to, I feel like that should probably be the end of the relationship).

But, insofar as the moral question of this conversation goes, I think he absolutely owes it to her to let her know he's planning to do it and give her a chance to register her reaction and deal with the fallout. But she would lack the same veto that a man lacks over an abortion decision.

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Rakeesh
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Seems that way to me as well. The decision the woman has isn't over the vasectomy but the reaction to it.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Communication is key!
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I agree that there isn't much protection for a man in the scenarios you're describing, Lyrhawn. Protection from the emotional impact inflicted if the decision is to abort if the man doesn't want to.

Having said that, though, I feel like it's possibly implicit in your phrasing that you feel there should be some protection? Correct me if I'm wrong on that. Anyway, yes, there is no protection for the man's emotions in that case. But I'll admit that this is, to me, balanced out by the difference in choices as well. The woman is locked by biology and later not locked so much as really hemmed in by the much stronger expectations of society into some binary choices: abort or carry to term, raise or give up for adoption. She has no option to evade these choices. Whereas the man has some binary choices also, but in addition to that a whole slew of other options as well: stay with her, be a father; don't stay with her, be a father; stay with her, be a crappy/indifferent father (eventually the woman will have a similar choice, but biology makes it harder for her to take this path, and not as soon); don't stay with her, be a crappy father but at least maintain financial responsibilities; don't stay with her and don't even do that much, or evade them whenever you can.

So, without saying you would disagree with this, there is some protection-imbalance for the man and the woman in the specific question of emotional damage done by a decision that goes contrary to his wishes. You appear to be seeking after a remedy for this imbalance, but I'm not sure there is one, and I am fairly sure there shouldn't be.

You'll have to go into a bit more detail on your last paragraph.

There's absolutely a power imbalance here. Of course a woman takes on a great deal more personal risk, basically assumes ALL the personal risk from the decision. And that's why you'll never hear me say that a man should have a veto power over her decision to abort or not.

And I'm also not talking about a legal protection for women to HAVE to tell the father about the decision to have an abortion. That's fraught with peril and lots of potential dangers for the safety of the mother as well.

I'm talking about a moral imperative. Assuming no other danger to the mother, does the father have a right to know? Does he have a right to know this was done and to deal with the feelings that come with it, and to decide if he even wants to stay with her if he disagrees?

It seems to me that expecting the mother to tell the father of her decision (qualified) is not an overly burdensome act on the mother's part. Given the power that decision will have over the father's life, especially, I think a simple FYI pales in comparison to the effect it will have on his future. It seems to me a pretty small courtesy.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Oh...Btw...I had a painful and upsetting life choice and several doctors, nurses and various equipment up my privates...But I OWE you something because you squirted your DNA in me?

That's a no vote from me.

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Rakeesh
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Lyrhawn,

Just to be clear I didn't think you were talking about legal safeguards, that is laws, I just felt it was useful to be excessively clear given the subject matter.

Anyway, the answer to your question about moral imperatives is tricky, of course. For example, what if a man is on record as believing that life doesn't begin until any number of biological signs that don't occur until months into the pregnacy? Such as when the embryo has become a fetus? I'm far, far from an expert or even somewhat well informed on such questions so I had to look it up-apparently this is at roughly 10 weeks. So suppose the woman knows that the man doesn't believe, because he has said so, that the pregnancy isn't a human life until it becomes a fetus?

To me in such a case the argument can be made that the woman owes the man no explanation, as he's on record not believing there is a life at stake. Which does beg the question: is there a moral imperative to tell the man that the potential for a human life (in such a case, assuming he feels that way it is, setting aside the question of who the hell knows when human life actually begins) was terminated? I don't know, I don't think I've ever considered the question in that way before, but I'm leaning towards 'no'.

If, however, the woman knows that the man believes life begins at conception or is uncertain what his thoughts on the matter are, well in the former case she should tell him, I believe, as a moral decision. I think in an ideal situation ethically once things have arrived at that point, in the interests of truth she would not want to deceive by it going unsaid what had happened. Of course that's an easy armchair philosophy question to dispose of, we both know that.

If she isn't sure what his thoughts are on the question, well, obviously after the fact is a little late to be having an entire series of discussions, but I think there is a moral imperative to discuss it then.

It's tricky, isn't it? A part of my initial reaction to your remark that it's a small courtesy is to think of it historically. I just cant' shake my awareness of how grossly unfair, how dangerous, fatal, and how much injustice this sort of question has led to for women throughout human history and before it. Even now in late 2016, a more enlightened age than 3016 BCE for example, even when I recognize that in the present where we live that these are valid questions to ask, I still can't shake my consciousness of so much injustice and part of me wants to sneer at the complaint.

I suppose that when it comes down to it I think you're right, there is a right to know involved here for the man. But since I cannot ever face such a challenge myself, and since I wonder if I did I would measure up to it, I'm deeply wary of asserting too much the man's right to know. Even as I'm also conscious of the fact that if I were the man, I would want to know, had I been so neglectful as to avoid the questions and conversations necessary beforehand. But then it's not as though every pregnancy has come after a lengthy period of time dating where such things are discussed, either.

I wonder if the answer to your question isn't as simple as 'if the man doesn't assert a stance and ensure active, redundant birth control measures beforehand, he waives his right to know in a moral sense unless the woman decides to share it'?

*Of course even redundancies aren't certain, and even if a man, say, got a vasectomy and wore a condom there is still a chance. Given how much sex there is in the world, it's basically certain that this has happened, a lot, isn't it? There's a helluva outlier.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Part of what makes humans so special is that, no matter, no matter how bad it is, we gunna Eff. World's almost over...let's get it on! There's a war, I'm sad and scared, hold me! The war is over, let's celebrate, bow chicha wow wow. On a first date? Let's procreate! When the bombs are a-droping, the bed will be rocking!

From a meta point of view that is.

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Rakeesh
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Lyrhawn,
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Oh...Btw...I had a painful and upsetting life choice and several doctors, nurses and various equipment up my privates...But I OWE you something because you squirted your DNA in me?

That's a no vote from me.

That's an odd way of looking at it.

Using that logic, I suppose you're okay with men being able to skip out on child support payments?

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Lyrhawn
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Rakeesh,

I sympathize with your hesitancy on the issue. I addressed some of that earlier in the thread.

But I think there's a degree to which we have to try to move past what happened in the past. Women in the western world aren't sold as child bearing slaves anymore. To say that modern men should suck it up and stop complaining because women decades or centuries ago suffered a horrible injustice that no modern woman suffers just...cause, seems detrimental to the cause of equality to me.

And I will say that, on a personal level, I would be devastated if this happened to me, if I was informed, coldly, after the fact, and then ridiculed for being upset about it. I don't know if life begins at conception or not, but I do know that having/conceiving children is a powerful idea for me, and to know that something was created in part by me, and that the decision was made without even letting me know it was happening so I could cope with it, that I was so worthless as to not even be considered in the decision, that my feelings, cares and concerns about such a monumental, life-altering decision were completely disregarded and rendered worthless, would be emotionally devastating for a period of time.

At the end of the day, I feel like a lot of this boils down to: "The woman is under no obligation to consider the feelings of her partner."

And while that's strictly true on a lot of levels, it feels intrinsically opposite to the entire point of having a partner in the first place.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Oh...Btw...I had a painful and upsetting life choice and several doctors, nurses and various equipment up my privates...But I OWE you something because you squirted your DNA in me?

That's a no vote from me.

That's an odd way of looking at it.

Using that logic, I suppose you're okay with men being able to skip out on child support payments?

Huh? No.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:


I'm talking about a moral imperative. Assuming no other danger to the mother, does the father have a right to know? Does he have a right to know this was done and to deal with the feelings that come with it, and to decide if he even wants to stay with her if he disagrees?

It seems to me that expecting the mother to tell the father of her decision (qualified) is not an overly burdensome act on the mother's part. Given the power that decision will have over the father's life, especially, I think a simple FYI pales in comparison to the effect it will have on his future. It seems to me a pretty small courtesy.

I think that there is a moral imperative to inform the father especially if you are in a relationship with him. In that case you have a moral obligation to the father of a potential child and a duty to be honest with someone that you, presumably, care about.

However, this moral obligation must be balanced against the very real possibility of coercion, force, or violence so I would oppose making it a legal obligation.

Full disclosure, I also believe that there is some moral duty to the potential child as well but that moral duty is outweighed by the need to insure a woman's sovereignty over her own body.

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Heisenberg
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Would you consider telling a woman that it's her choice, but you can't be with someone who would abort your child, to be coercion? A bad thing? Or is it better to keep that to yourself and dump her afterwards?
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kmbboots
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I wouldn't generally consider that to be coercion if it is true. There may be circumstances where it is depending on how dependent the woman is but that is a whole other problem. I generally favor honesty rather than the surprise dumping.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Oh...Btw...I had a painful and upsetting life choice and several doctors, nurses and various equipment up my privates...But I OWE you something because you squirted your DNA in me?

That's a no vote from me.

That's an odd way of looking at it.

Using that logic, I suppose you're okay with men being able to skip out on child support payments?

Odd... empathising w what a woman goes thru?

And why why WHY does that equate to no child support!?!

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Stone_Wolf_
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IF the embryo makes it to being a child, it is the child who is owed support, not the mother, the mother's gain is circumstancial due to the child's minority.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Oh...Btw...I had a painful and upsetting life choice and several doctors, nurses and various equipment up my privates...But I OWE you something because you squirted your DNA in me?

That's a no vote from me.

That's an odd way of looking at it.

Using that logic, I suppose you're okay with men being able to skip out on child support payments?

Huh? No.
I ask because your description is, to me, bizarre.

Using the logic of completely dismissing the man's role in a pregnancy, why couldn't someone way "you think I OWE you something for depositing my DNA in you?"

I'm not even sure how to discuss what you said, it's so weird to me.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Oh...Btw...I had a painful and upsetting life choice and several doctors, nurses and various equipment up my privates...But I OWE you something because you squirted your DNA in me?

That's a no vote from me.

That's an odd way of looking at it.

Using that logic, I suppose you're okay with men being able to skip out on child support payments?

Odd... empathising w what a woman goes thru?

And why why WHY does that equate to no child support!?!

I don't think you're JUST empathizing. I feel like I'm empathizing too, I'm just doing it with both sides, not to the exclusion of half the parties involved.

I guess I really can't get into your head space. I'm a little flabbergasted at how little you value fathers.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
IF the embryo makes it to being a child, it is the child who is owed support, not the mother, the mother's gain is circumstancial due to the child's minority.

One could argue that by choosing to have a child the father might not want, she chooses to take on all financial responsibility as well.

I'm not necessarily saying that's my argument, but I'm also not 100% sure I disagree with it either.

Either way, you're the one who keeps arguing that the fathers essentially don't matter.

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Stone_Wolf_
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It's not that they don't matter... It's that they do not get to choose their own level of involvement in abortion decisions...Those two hardly equate.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'm a little flabbergasted at how little you value fathers.

I'm not down on dads...Being a good father and husband are my highest priority in life.

But I married my gal and we tried to have kids...

There is a difference between fatherhood and a broken condom on a one night stand... and as such a different level of respect is due

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'm a little flabbergasted at how little you value fathers.

I'm not down on dads...Being a good father and husband are my highest priority in life.

But I married my gal and we tried to have kids...

There is a difference between fatherhood and a broken condom on a one night stand... and as such a different level of respect is due

I agree that a planned vs. an unplanned pregnancy are different with respect to the level of planning put into them.

But that's really insulting. Fatherhood is fatherhood. Your degree of fatherhood does not change depending on the method or level of planning put into conception. And given your ideological framework you've laid out, the level of planning has NO bearing on the role a father plays in those decisions. You've yet to include a corollary that affords extra respect or consideration for a planned vs. an unplanned pregnancy. Your point thus far has been that having a discussion before hand can avoid these awkward decisions, but that discussion isn't binding, and is subject to a lot of mind changing. So I call BS on that too.

We just disagree. Completely and fundamentally.

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Stone_Wolf_
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No difference between a sperm donor and a real life father? Honestly, I don't even know where to start...There is a world of difference, just go ask someone who only has a sperm donor.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
No difference between a sperm donor and a real life father? Honestly, I don't even know where to start...There is a world of difference, just go ask someone who only has a sperm donor.

I will allow a single exception for a literal, actual sperm donor.

Though that person is still the child's biological father. That's a unique circumstance.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Fatherhood is fatherhood?...What about rape?
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Stone_Wolf_
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"Sperm doner" is a derogatory slang term for a very uninvolved father.
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Stone_Wolf_
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We took classes, read books, we painted furniture, we assembled a crib, moved to a larger house, we timed out coitus to my wife's ovulation to influence the gender, we talked and talked and planned and discussed our future before we did anything else...premarital counseling, arranging for in house child care, bought a breast pump, as we both worked full time, I was at EVERY sonogram, I rubbed her feet and neck multiple times a day thru the third trimester...

I was a father by choice before either of my children was born.

You seem to want to have some say about something else, something unplanned...undiscussed even! You want a say AFTER the fact and seem to think that mere want somehow is the same as my careful hard work. You're wrong. Sorry friend.

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kmbboots
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I was a surprise. My parents were married in a hurry. I was very unplanned. My father was the best. There was never a minute when I or my siblings doubted the depth of his love for us. There could be no better father then mine no matter how planned.
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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I was a surprise. My parents were married in a hurry. I was very unplanned. My father was the best. There was never a minute when I or my siblings doubted the depth of his love for us. There could be no better father then mine no matter how planned.

Ditto all of this for me.
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Stone_Wolf_
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[Smile] Yes of course...They were THERE for you...birth control fails sometimes...
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Sean Monahan
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Your distinction between real fathers and "sperm donors" is not what Lyrhawn was talking about...
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Your degree of fatherhood does not change depending on the method or level of planning put into conception.


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Stone_Wolf_
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I simply disagree
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Liz B
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Thought experiment:

I have discovered I am a match as an organ donor for my husband's mother (or, perhaps even better, his sibling he's never met). The donation will save this person's life; it's risky to me, but I'll probably live. It'll be a 6 month pre-op/ recovery period, though. (And, really, I guess that after the operation I would have to take care of her for 18 years or never see her again).

Am I obligated to tell him about this discovery? Does he get input into my decision? If I decide not to do it, am I obligated to tell him after his mother dies?

And now...same scenario, but instead of my husband/ mother-in-law of 19.5 years, it's the relative of the man I've been seeing for 6 months. Or 5 days. Or whatever.

***

My answer is that a woman's moral obligations to inform a man about pregnancy (or, you know, life-saving organ donation situations) will always change based on relationship--so no, there is no general obligation, moral or otherwise, to inform. Only specific obligations.

For instance, I believe I am obligated to tell my husband about all major decisions...particularly those that would risk my life (as pregnancy certainly would) or would substantially change our life together. Like, say, I'm not going to quit my job or buy a car or plan a vacation without talking to him.

If the situation were reversed and he didn't tell me and i somehow discovered it, I would be furious & devastated. I expect he would also be miserable keeping such a big and terrible secret from me.

That's my relationship, though. I don't think I can extrapolate from that to what others should do.

***
quote:
What if you have the conversation and she...completely disregards it when the event actually happens and does something on her own?
Yes. This is tough. It's why the conversation is important but ultimately irrelevant. It's important because you should have the what-if-we-get-pregnant conversation so you know where you stand in the theoretical-pregnancy world. Because that matters--people who don't agree in the theoretical-pregnancy world shouldn't have sex and shouldn't be in a relationship together.

But the conversation is totally irrelevant in the actual-pregnancy world. Depending on your relationship (see above) either you have to figure out together or she has to figure out alone what she will actually do, which might be the opposite of what she--or the two of you--thought was best in theoretical-pregnancy world. And her changing her mind doesn't mean she lied, either--or even is "disregarding" the decision the two of you came to. She can remember it, think it's important (in some sense), and still realize that now that the pregnancy is real, the decision was only a pretend one.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:

My answer is that a woman's moral obligations to inform a man about pregnancy (or, you know, life-saving organ donation situations) will always change based on relationship--so no, there is no general obligation, moral or otherwise, to inform. Only specific obligations.

Well said [Smile]
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Fatherhood is fatherhood?...What about rape?

Why are you bringing up things you know are immaterial to the central question I'm asking?
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Stone_Wolf_
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By showing fatherhood ain't fatherhood.

It's a spectrum from rape to a planned child with a kind and dedicated father.

And relationships are spectrum too, from rape to happily committed... And that is your problem here, Dude, trying to find one solution to complicated and multifaceted problem is an exercise in futility. Either you get a over simplified answer that basically only fits the middle third of the curve and that poorly or no answer at all.

There is no hard and fast rule, it all depends on circumstances.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
By showing fatherhood ain't fatherhood.

It's a spectrum from rape to a planned child with a kind and dedicated father.

And relationships are spectrum too, from rape to happily committed... And that is your problem here, Dude, trying to find one solution to complicated and multifaceted problem is an exercise in futility. Either you get a over simplified answer that basically only fits the middle third of the curve and that poorly or no answer at all.

There is no hard and fast rule, it all depends on circumstances.

You're not arguing against any point I've made.

And for that matter, you're the only one who has put an absolute on the question. You said there is never a moral imperative. I've never argued there always is. I've argued throughout this thread that there CAN be, depending on the circumstances.

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Lyrhawn
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Liz B -

I agree with your general response.

My only quibble would be that I think a hypothetical partner should tell her partner even if it's after the decision, assuming they're actually in some sort of relationship or heading toward one. Basically, assuming the title "partner" actually applies.

If they have a discussion, regardless of what they decide, and she makes another decision and doesn't tell him, that's a betrayal of trust in my opinion. She has the right to do whatever she wants to do, but not telling him and allowing him the chance to react is wrong, to me.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
By showing fatherhood ain't fatherhood.

It's a spectrum from rape to a planned child with a kind and dedicated father.

And relationships are spectrum too, from rape to happily committed... And that is your problem here, Dude, trying to find one solution to complicated and multifaceted problem is an exercise in futility. Either you get a over simplified answer that basically only fits the middle third of the curve and that poorly or no answer at all.

There is no hard and fast rule, it all depends on circumstances.

You're not arguing against any point I've made.

And for that matter, you're the only one who has put an absolute on the question. You said there is never a moral imperative. I've never argued there always is. I've argued throughout this thread that there CAN be, depending on the circumstances.

I am very argumentative, so I'm likey cross talking w you a bit, but I didn't say that it is never a moral imperative, just that morality is situational, not universal.
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MaryCobb
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Honestly, I'm not in favor of abortion. I think, both parties are responsible for the right decision. But more of a woman rather than a man to choose whether to pursue or not. If both respect each other then they would not decide to choose to abort a child.
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Kristin Mcchristian
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I'm not really for abortion. It's a life we're talking about. If you don't want a child, don't get pregnant or don't make someone pregnant. As simple as that!
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Risuena
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And the last two posts contain horribly facile arguments, but I suppose we can't expect much more from accounts that appear to be bots.
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TomDavidson
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It would be a little discomfiting if spammers wound up making intelligent, cogent arguments on either side of the abortion debate.
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Samprimary
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what are the spammers opinions on israel vs palestine
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Two Cents
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Very interesting discussion.
Some thoughts vaguely related to the topic...

1) In a past relationship, my then partner and I talked about the risk of unplanned pregnancy due to failing birth control early on (within the first month). He was very strongly opposed to having a baby "yet". He would've been fine with it some years later, but not at that point. I felt the same, but would have been prepared to keep the child in the very unlikely event of unplanned pregnancy despite proper birth control. He disagreed. He believed it should be his right as the biological father to have as much say in the decision as I did, and that he would insist upon abortion of what he didn't believe would be a living baby at that point. I firmly told him that I would not ever abort without medical necessity. We agreed on using two separate methods of birth control, and he knew from then on that if I'd ever have to choose between an unborn child and him, it would always be the child.

2) When my mother and father had had two children, my mother had an accident while horse-riding, had to have surgery and due to med interaction, the birthcontrol she was using at the time failed and she became pregnant. My father strongly suggested she abort the child. My mother refused. My father did afterwards care for the third child as well as for the first two, but he claims even now that this incident was an essential part of why they divorced. (Not to my brother's face, but to both my mother and me.)

3) Said brother was recently told by his at that time no-longer-girlfriend that she was 8-months pregnant. Far too late for an abortion, so the topic wasn't even discussed. But she had told him, when he asked before they had intercourse, that she was on birth control. After she gave birth, my brother had to pay to have his parenthood certified by DNA testing, and now has to pay child support for 15-25 years, depending on circumstances.

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Glenn Arnold
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When I read the thread title, what comes to my mind is not the individual decision for a particular abortion, but the legislative aspect of it. The laws that limit abortion, require parental/spousal notification/consent, waiting period, transvaginal ultrasounds, laws that allow women to sue doctors for emotional distress after they've had an abortion... the list goes on. All of these laws are written by men.

As to individual decisions between a pregnant woman and the father of her child, I imagine what it might be like if women actually wrote such laws. Somehow, I think women would be more accommodating to men in giving them some role in the decision making process, than men are in giving women the choice to decide about their own lives.

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Glenn Arnold
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Seems to me this post is kind of relevant in this discussion.
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Kwea
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When I started dating my wife we actually had a real talk about this. I completely think that a woman has the final right to determine what happens, but I made it clear that while I wasn't looking to become a father right away I would expect to be part of the decision making process if she became pregnant. I also told her that accident or not, unless it was a threat to her life or health, abortion wasn't an option I would ever choose.

If I found out she had an abortion without telling me, I would have left. Not because of the abortion, but because of the lack of respect and consideration that would have shown.

Fortunately it was never an issue. [Big Grin]

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The Black Pearl
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2GN3wdfqbA
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