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web posted March 27, 2006
Re: Abortion, authority, and responsibility by Selwyn Duke (March 20, 2006)
The so-called "Roe v. Wade for men" case, somewhat of a misnomer for reasons to be explained, sponsored by the National Center for Men, raises many serious issues. If abortion is immoral (as I believe it is after the child develops consciousness), neither party should have any say in the matter and the child should be born. If abortion is moral, both parties should have a say in whether they shall be obligated to raise the child, with its emotional, temporal, and financial commitments. But abortion cannot be a moral option for women, but immoral one for men. This thesis' as women having all the choices and men having responsibilities to live with women's choices is suffused throughout the law, whether it is in terms of the decision to give birth, the decision for paternal equal involvement as the child grows, or the decision as to whether the child should live in some distant locale from the father. A just society does not impart on one gender all the rights, while denying the other gender all the responsibilities. That goes to the heart of equal protection.
One of the weaker arguments advanced by opponents of Roe v. Wade for men is that the father had sex, and that was a decision with consequences. As many have instantly observed (because it is hit-you-in-the-face obvious), this was the very argument used in Roe, and correctly so, against abortions. Women have the right to control their bodies' not have sex, use effective birth control, or tie their tubes. To allow them to forgo all these decisions and produce a living, sentient human being and kill them has been argued by abortion opponents to be immoral. If men are obligated by their decision to have sex, so should women. Ironically, women often have a greater ability (and incentive) to lie about whether they are using birth control, which many have argued (and very effectively in courts), should not be a defense.
The issue is often put in terms of "control over one's body" and control of one's autonomy. By why don't men have control over their bodies? Why don't they have a say in what sperm will turn into children, in the same manner that women have a say in which eggs will be developed? Does it really just come down to who owns the oven? If women have the right to control the oven, don't men have the right to say fine, but not with my cake?
There is one obvious logical fallacy, which is at center of the case. The mother had many choices: to not have sex, to use effective birth control, (the argument used to strip her right of abortion in Roe), to use a morning after pill, and to get an abortion. Standing as an impregnated woman, a woman that has already made numerous choices, the woman has yet an additional choice' to abort or keep the child. The plaintiffs in Roe v. Wade for men argues that defendant should have been forced to abort her child, but that she too should live by the consequences of her decisions and not ensnarl an unwilling father, if the premise is accepted that abortion is moral. There is a theory in contract law and tort law that one has a duty to minimize losses.
The obvious dint of this argument is impossible to miss. If women have choices and autonomy, why don't men? The father has no equal right' he cannot say that he prefers to be a father and veto the decision to have an abortion. In fact, he may even believe that by seeking an abortion, the mother is murdering his child, which is a byproduct of his body.
That women should have all the rights and no responsibilities is repeated over and over and over again in our law. What do anti-feminists (who ironically call themselves "feminist") that oppose gender equality have to say in the matter? One gender has all the choices (the woman) and one gender (the man) has all the responsibilities. Consider this:
And what may be the ironic legacy of Roe v. Wade for men? If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, which it stands a great likelihood of doing, states that were not inclined to make abortions illegal would make them illegal. Some may argue that women should be able to engage in behavior without consequences' but this option would be welcome with less open arms if the states knew that fathers would have the right to avoid becoming an unwilling father.
But the argument does not end at the decision to not have an abortion. Suppose the woman believes that abortion is murder or simply waited to long to have one. Women have the right to put the child up for adoption (often against the fathers' wishes in certain circumstances) or drop them off at an emergency room after birth (often without paternal consent or knowledge). (In this sense, "Roe v. Wade for men" is a misnomer since there is the issue of post-birth adoption, which is on the table.) And that is what makes the argument for the men stronger than that of the women' their decision to not be a father need not result in the death of sentient, unborn human-being.
What is basically being argued is that women should have the right to engage in a number of decisions without consequences:
(1) to not abstain from sex,
(2) to not use effective birth control (or use birth control at all)
(3) to not have an abortion,
(4) to not drop off the child at an emergency room after the child is born, and
(5) to not put the child up for adoption.
(1) whether to have a child,
(2) whether the father will have equal access to the child and have shared parenting,
(3) whether she will live in the same location as the father.
In many instances, once child is support is ordered, the entire career of the man is dictated. He cannot choose a lower paying job which enjoys greater safety, greater personal fulfillment, is closer to home, or has better hours' he will be forced to work the higher paying job because child support will be set so high due to imputed income, he effectively becomes an indentured servant. Child support is often so oppressively high, men must work odd jobs just to stay alive.
And what happens when fathers complain when they have no say in the fundamental choices of procreation and child rearing' they are labeled as not being responsible. Just send the money honey and stop complaining.
And how do these women that want all the rights phrase their concerns? As "doing what's in the best interest of children." These women aren't selfish. They are not controlling. They are not greedy. They aren't in it for the money. Whether it is raising a child they cannot possibly afford, giving a child away without the father's consent at an emergency room or through an adoption agency, removing a father from equal involvement in a child's life, or just plain not moving across the country so that the father can have any involvement, they characterize their position as "protecting children." When women have rights' it's about their autonomy, self-control, and the protection of children. When men want rights, it is about selfishness and an interest that is inimical to the child's well-being. Nor is their position self-evident. Raising children in welfare homes in the projects (instead of the adoptive homes of the middle class) is hardly self-evidently in the child's interest' this is more about the mother's rights. Nor does circumscribing a father's role in child's life seem self-evidently in the child's best interest' this is about maintaining the right to child support. When Western Massachusetts Legal Services appeared before the Massachusetts Joint Judiciary Committee, they did not even attempt to disguises this point' they said that shared parenting is bad because women might not receive as much in child support.
And that's the way their argument will be played out. Women have "inalienable rights." Father's have none, and when they claim otherwise, they are indifferent to the needs of children, of whom mothers are the "true protectors."
Feminism is about the equal treatment of men and women, and the end of typecasting stereotypes of the roles of both. These women who attack the rights of men to be treated equally as women and have the same choices as women are worthy of some choice epithets, but not the appellation "feminist."
Rinaldo Del Gallo, III
web posted March 20, 2006
Re: Endless environmental lies by Alan Caruba (March 13, 2006)
Your article "Endless Environmental Lies" posted at www.enterstageright.com is an excellent example of yet another scare campaign conducted by government bureaucracies and "environmental" NGOs to further their goals (money and power). What you might not be aware of is a classic contradiction of the USGS and the EPA, as cited in your article re pesticides on the one hand, and their heavy promotion of the "Invasive Species" ("IS") agenda on the other.
web posted March 13, 2006
Re: Congress should scuttle Bush's nuclear deal with India by Peter Morici (March 6, 2006)
I am surprised that Mr. Morici is seeing the tree and missing the forest.
The Indo-US nuclear deal is based on the premise that a strong multi-lingual, multi-religious democratic India is in the free World's best interest. India is a beacon of stability and democracy in a volatile part of the world. It is at the forefront in the fight against terrorism and Islamism. It is also an economy growing at 8% per year, which has the capacity to put serious strains on the world energy supply. A strong India will also act as a democratic regional counterweight to autocratic Communist China, which is a strategic competitor to the US. The nuclear deal recognizes the need to form a strategic partnership with India, and it is the first step towards that.
A strategic partnership with India, not only means a new market for US Nuclear energy companies but the entire US high-tech industry. India desperately needs high technology products; however the US has effectively shut herself out of that market due to geo-political considerations. For example, India is one of the largest importer of defence equipment in the world; a market shared by Russia, France, Germany, Israel and the UK. A strategic partnership with India, hinging on the nuclear deal, opens up this vast market for high value, high technology goods from US companies.
Mr. Morici unfortunately, shows very limited understanding of the domestic compulsions which drive India's economic policies. He harps the "not fast enough" line, without recognizing the India's domestic constraints. India started opening up her economy in the early 90s. Since, then, every year, more and more, trade barriers and tariffs come down. Since India is a democracy, any decision to open up a segment of the economy comes under immense political scrutiny. The Nationalist Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), a long time proponent of a free economy, last power in 2004 even though their entire campaign was based on the improvements in Indian Economy (The infamous "India Shining" campaign). Currently the ruling Congress party is supported by the Communist, who restrain the ability of the government when it comes to economic reforms. There is a broad national consensus on freeing up the economy as much as possible; the pace however will be driven by whatever the democratic process can support. It will be in the US' interest to take decisions (like increasing India's energy security) which allow the economic reform process to move forward at the pace Mr. Morici would like.
Similarly, his comments about India's military nuclear program show a disconnect with reality faced by India. India is surrounded by autocratic nuclear weapon powers (China, Pakistan, and perhaps Iran). India's conflict with Pakistan is well known. What is not well understood is the Chinese encirclement of India by her proxies; Pakistan, the Military Junta in Burma, the Maoist Rebels in Nepal, or even the Islamists in Bangladesh. To expect India to cap or roll-back her military nuclear program is downright unreasonable; something which no Indian politician can get away with.
The civilian nuclear deal also strengthens the non-proliferation regime since it, for the first time, brings 2/3rds of India's nuclear reactor under IAEA safeguards. All future civilian reactors will automatically by under IAEA safeguards. IAEA's director general Mohamed ElBaradei has strongly endorsed the deal as have the UK, France and Russia.
The civilian nuclear deal, is the harbinger of a broader strategic partnership between the world's largest democracy and the world's greatest democracy. It will go a long way in reducing US' trade deficit with India and strengthening India's economic reforms.
Mountain View, CA
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