Letters to the Editor

Equal rights?

February 25, 2011


To the editor:

The president wants girls to have the same rights, freedoms and opportunities as our nation’s boys. So far, so good. Abortion, apparently, gives them equal footing with “our sons.” I question this, because my son, if he helps conceive a child, is held accountable for 18 years of working to support his offspring.

He has no “right” to order it killed in order to evade this onerous responsibility. He has no freedom to walk away from what is immediately, in law, a new human being. The law figures his moment of “choice” was (drum roll please) the moment he chose to have sexual intercourse. Our country does not readily concede him the opportunity to dump his obligation on taxpayers. Somehow, my male child’s “choice” is not a “private” matter, but a very public one.

Would President Obama like to see the laws change one more time to give our sons the “privilege” to murder, or abandon, their children so they can go “fulfill their dreams” more easily?


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

I reckon of your son could figure out how to carry out the pregnancy of the woman he knocked up, he'd have a whole lot more control over it. Transgender surgery is getting better and better all the time. Maybe he should give it a go.

mom_of_three 7 years, 2 months ago

"your son is held accountable?" while that is true for those that own up their responsibilities, unfortunately, it is not true for every man that helps conceive a child. More walk away than own up to their responsibilities. But since the fetus/baby is in the body of a woman, a person, she is able to do with her body as she sees fit. Even though we may not approve or like her choice, it is hers to make. Some women do not consult the father, which is unfortunate, but it is her choice.
And when you take away that choice from a woman, to do with her body as she sees fit, than you are taking away her rights, and we aren't suppose to allow that in this country.

xclusive85 7 years, 2 months ago

Her choice to do with her body as she saw fit was when she decided to have sex. This is a consequence of that choice/action. And before you say it, rape is different, I know. But the number of abortions performed due to rape is relatively low compared to those that are from regretting a choice someone made because they didn't think about what the action could result in.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

"This is a consequence of that choice/action."

The drive to have sex is one of the most powerful that humans (and other animals) experience-- there wouldn't be 7 billion of us if it were otherwise.

So while can be a matter of well-reasoned and pragmatic choice, very often it's not, even if it doesn't involve rape.

And pregnancy often occurs because birth control fails.

But you'd take the control a woman has over her life and her body because of a seven-minute act of biology.

xclusive85 7 years, 2 months ago

"The drive to have sex is one of the most powerful that humans (and other animals) experience-- there wouldn't be 7 billion of us if it were otherwise."

The drive to kill is one of the most powerful that humans (and other animals) experience--there would be no murders if it were otherwise.

"So while can be a matter of well-reasoned and pragmatic choice, very often it's not"

But you'd take the choice away from a person and throw them in prison for it.

See, your argument really doesn't hold water. Murder=sex. They are both choices. We have the capability to reason and make choices, one of the characteristic that separates us from other animals.

(This is over the top. I know.)

Also, pregnancy does not OFTEN occur because of faild birth control. It rarely happens because of failed birth control. If people used the only 100% effective birth control that has no side effects, that number would be 0.

xclusive85 7 years, 2 months ago

obviously by the (This is over the top. I know.) I don't really think that murder=sex. The main point you may have missed. You want to give people a pass on getting pregnant because they cant avoid the urge to have sex, but the same logic could be used to give people a pass on murder because they can't resis that urge.

You made no mention that I was wrong that we have the ability to reason and should use that ability to make choices.

You also didn't mention that you may have overestimated the number of pregnancies resulting in failed birth control.

And finally, you said nothing about abstinence (resisting that urge when you are not ready to deal with the consequeces) is the best choice when a woman does not want to get pregnant or a man does not want to get a woman pregnant.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

It's not my place to given them a pass, or to make them adhere to my choice about their lives.

People have sex, and women get pregnant. It's primarily up to women to decide whether to carry pregnancies to term.

You can express your opinion about that, but beyond that, your involvement is and should be zero.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 2 months ago

If simple willpower were all it took to avoid unwanted pregnancy, then abstinence-only sex education would be effective...which it's not. If you oppose abortion, support comprehensive sex ed and make contraception freely available. Anything else is just grandstanding and hand waving.

xclusive85 7 years, 2 months ago

I did not say that we should not offer other sex education other than abstinence only. What I did say was that abstinence is the only 100% effective birth control. Any arguments over that?

Kirk Larson 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, yeah. So is gay sex, but I don't see you advocating that. All I'm just sayin' is the will is weak. Just ask a Catholic priest.

thebigspoon 7 years, 2 months ago

WOW! Seven minutes? How does one accomplish that? ;)

Kim Murphree 7 years, 2 months ago

No..she still retains that CHOICE over her own body as long as she is a full citizen...pregnancy does not suddenly diminish a woman's right to have say over her body...her body is HER property not yours not the state's...women should be treated as full citizens...if you want to stop abortion...then you have the right to talk to the women who are pregnant...you have the right to vote for easier adoption laws...you have the right to ask a women to let YOU take care of the child and pay for her medical costs...but you should NOT have the right to force her to do anything with her body that she does not want to do....Pregnancy should NOT be a punishment for sex outside of marriage and that is exactly what this kind of anti-abortion right wing thinking is all about... if you really wanted to care for the babies, you would vote for funding for childcare...for foster care...for health programs for children...but that's not what this is about...this is about controlling women...as for the columnist...when your son had sex...did he consider whether the woman wanted to have a child? Did he take the precautions? Is he willing to bear the brunt of the pregnancy? I doubt it.

xclusive85 7 years, 2 months ago

So, an unborn child has no rights? This is not a punishment for having sex. This is what happens. I am sorry that you are not male and if you get pregnant you think that you are being punished. Also, I never said anything about marriage, or that men should not have to face consequences of their actions either. At point 21 weeks, this is not longer just a group of cells. This is a baby that has a basic human form. At that point, an abortion is making a choice over another body, not just that woman's.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

"At that point, an abortion is making a choice over another body, not just that woman's."

Quite true. But it's the woman's choice, not yours. And very few women take that choice lightly.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

But, if it involves another (potential) human, then it perhaps shouldn't be only their choice.

It's a very grey area - I don't buy any of the rhetoric from either side on it.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 2 months ago

It's not that grey: either you support the government taking control of a woman's body or you don't.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

I disagree, and strongly.

A woman's body, when not pregnant, is simply her own.

A woman's body, when pregnant, is not a simple thing to understand in that way.

There is another life growing inside of her body, and at different stages of development along the way.

Would you support abortion moments before birth?

The best understanding I've come to is that the point at which a fetus becomes viable outside the womb is an important one, and that after that point, it's more like 2 lives than 1.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 2 months ago

So you believe there is a point when the government has an interest in taking away the right of a woman to control her own body. No grey area there.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago


I don't know why you want to twist my position.

The government has a legitimate place when dealing with harm of one person by another.

A pregnant woman is not simply one person, nor clearly two people - hence the grey area.

And, the attempt to determine when the situation is more like 2 people than 1 person.

You want to keep calling it the "woman's body", but that's a simplistic view.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 2 months ago

I consider the woman's body everything from the skin in. Her domain, her choice.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes - I understand.

That's the simplistic rhetoric from the left.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 2 months ago

And yours is the wish-washy tyranny of the right: I don't want the gov't interfering in people's lives unless I want to poke my nose in their business.

Bill Getz 7 years, 2 months ago

A novel argument with a slight feminist turn. Having lived in a genuine “right-to-life” country ( Franco’s Spain), however, I remain reluctant support any position that would penalize a woman for aborting a fetus before the seventh month. There, women could be prosecuted for the crime of infanticide if they had a miscarriage of which the nun at the clinic was “suspicious.” Fortunately, they had enough rural midwives at hand to prevent this from coming to the attention of the "authorities" very often. I seldom let the word "fascism" pass my lips when discussing the current political situation in the US, but the enthusiasm for this sort of thing in some quarters of the Right falls within the description. BG

rivercitymom 7 years, 2 months ago

Actually, Charlotte, men walk away from the responsibility of having fathered a child all the time. Do you live under a rock?

Jimo 7 years, 2 months ago

"I" "refuse" "to read" "excessive" "scare quotes".

beatrice 7 years, 2 months ago

The girl also doesn't have the right to order your son to have a vasectomy, either. She is responsible for her body and her medical choices, and your son is responsible for his. Until your son can become pregnant, it isn't his body to choose what to do with it. Not that difficult, really.

Perhaps if people, like this letter writer, supported sex ed instead of the failed practice of abstinence only ed, there wouldn't be as much concern over this issue.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

It's not just her body, after a certain point, I'd say.

And, since the man will have responsibilities (ie. child support, etc.), shouldn't he have some input?

Otherwise, it doesn't seem quite fair, that the man has legal and financial responsibilities, but no input into the decision.

beatrice 7 years, 2 months ago

After a certain point I would agree.

The man had his "input." Correct on his not having a say afterward. If the man wanted a say on the matter, he could speak up beforehand, so to speak, by getting snipped.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

As could the woman by using birth control, or having her tubes tied, or by not having sex at all.

Both people are generally responsible for having unprotected sex, and either one could prevent pregnancy (for the most part) by using protection, or abstaining.

Why shouldn't the man have input if the woman gets pregnant? If born, it will be his child as well as hers, and he'll have legal obligations.

beatrice 7 years, 2 months ago

He shouldn't have input because it isn't his body. Once men can become pregnant, they can do what they choose to do with their bodies without say from a woman.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

But the child would be his.

And the responsibility as well.

That's like saying when women can get people pregnant, then they can have input on how men behave.

And, I would disagree if the genders were reversed as well - a child is a product of both people, and will affect both of their lives. It only makes sense to me that there should be some sort of shared decision making.

beatrice 7 years, 2 months ago

And it only makes sense to me that men shouldn't have the say over what women do with their bodies. So we disagree.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

  1. If it were only her body, I would completely agree.

  2. I didn't say men should have "the say over" - I said I thought they should have some input into a decision which greatly affects them, both emotionally and financially.

How is it that you realize the decision will affect men, and yet afford them no right to participate in that decision?

How is that fair?

joyeoman 7 years, 2 months ago

is there anyone left who really doesn't know how babies are conceived?? would sex ed solve the problem addressed here, that of who is given responsbility for the support of a child....abstinence would actually have not resulted in a child being dumped on society, whatever you think of the educational model....i'd like for sex ed to include the idea that the body isn't a toy to play with, but a huge creative capacity that someone should have more respect for....does someone have to be anti-woman to be pro-child in this world? i hope not...

somedude20 7 years, 2 months ago

It is in her body, it is a part of her until she spits it out. If your son was married and his wife had health problems that would cause her to die and she filled out a DNR, he again would have no choice as it is her body and she made her choice for herself because it is her body.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

It's a grey area to me - in between "it's my body" and "it's murder".

At the early stages of pregnancy, it's more like "it's my body", and at the later ones, it's more like a separate life.

I'd suggest viability outside the womb as a reasonable point at which to make the distinction.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Roe v. Wade is what determined viability at the point where restrictions on abortion could begin.

Most believe that once a fetus reaches the point of viability, abortion should be restricted. And that is pretty much how abortion laws have been written - unrestricted until about 20-22 weeks then restrictions in place with the exceptions of rape, incest, life/or health of the mother or fetus.

Many of the pro-lief extremists want you to mislead you into believing that 1) abortions are not restricted past the 1st trimester; 2) that late term abortions are common; and 3) that women seeking late term abortions just up and decide one day that they no longer want to be pregnant.

None of those things are true yet they continue to repeat the lies as if they were.

What pro-life extremists fail to realize is that the pro-choice view supports all choices. This includes the choice to carry a fetus to term that will never be able to have an independent life. Or the choice to bear a child that will only live a few hours. Or the choice to continue a pregnancy even though the mother endangers her health or her life (think mothers who have cancer & delay treatment until the baby is born).

Those things all fall under the realm of choice.

If you take away some choices, it makes it so much easier to have all choices removed.

beeshlii 7 years, 2 months ago

sons and daugters are the blame, they should have think of it before having "intercourse". both are responsible.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 2 months ago

Perhaps the writer should arrange a marriage. The girl's family, of course, would pay a dowry.

Be sure to forbid her to wear shoes whilst pregnant.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

I find it odd that the LTE believes that financially supporting a child involves the same type of risk as carrying a pregnancy to term and bearing the child.

Will her son develop gestational diabetes because he knocked up some girl? Will her son develop preeclampsia or perhaps toxemia as a result of having to pay child support?

Will her son have to have a serious abdominal surgery that will leave him incapacitated for 6+ weeks because of this "onerous responsibility"?

The fact is, LTE writer, your son still has lots of freedom. He doesn't have the stigma of being a single mother. There really isn't much condemnation for a deadbeat dad in this culture. If there was, child support enforcement would be much stringent and less of the joke that it is now (Really? Suspending a hunting/fishing license in some states as a measure of enforcement? Really?).

He doesn't have to balance work and family life if he chooses not to participate in the upbringing of this fictitious child. He doesn't have to rearrange his life to accommodate anything but the court-ordered financial needs of the child. And even then it is fairly easy to ignore those and carry on with his life since there are so few consequences for failing to obey that particular court order.

joyeoman 7 years, 2 months ago

If a gal goes to get welfare, our government really does crack down on the guy for the support (I agree he should be held responsible), so it really is a public issue and he really does have to do a lot of rearranging of his life to accommodate this responsibility....his next family will also bear the burden of this child if he marries and has other children, many people will be affected....he may not get to stay in school, but may be forced to get into the workplace right out of high school....granted that pregnancy carries some risks with it, but they can end after nine months if she wants to give up the child....she can keep him paying for 18 years....she could also get all of her costs paid, and a substantial fee paid by families that are desperate to adopt....would she then need to share that fee with the daddy? the big point seems to be that you-having-sex isn't just a private matter, because (even with the @#$@ condom someone suggested as the easy answer) pregnancy is possible and you should own up to the responsiblity for a conceived child in that moment of choice, and not expect someone to ease your burden later at their expense

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Enforcement is a serious problem for child support even if the woman goes on public assistance. There is no real crack down. A tax refund check withheld, perhaps a hunting or fishing license revoked or paycheck garnished. These are not the equivalents of the risks of pregnancy.

A woman cannot keep a man paying for 18 years if she gives up the child for adoption. You must not understand how adoption works. Additionally, if all the costs are paid for by the adoptive family, the man walks off completely free with no obligations whatsoever.

Jay Keffer 7 years, 2 months ago

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jaywalker 7 years, 2 months ago

So tired of the whining from both sides of this perpetual dead end, no pun intended whatsoever. Wear a @#$$! condom or insist one is worn. I believe in the right to choose, but I pray for the reckless to wise up.

ScottyMac 7 years, 2 months ago

Is it too obvious to point out the fact that if her son rapes a girl, that girl would have no "choice" in the matter of being pregnant? Is the author of this letter advocating for the rights of rapists?

jonas_opines 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm sure that this logical and well-thought letter will finally close the chapter on the abortion issue once and for all.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

This is a response to Cappy from above - the threaded comments got silly.

Nope - again, I consider both the left and right rhetoric to be insufficient on the issue, as I've said before.

Yours is the left's simplistic rhetoric. The right's is that from conception, a fetus is a separate life with all of the rights that entails.

I think both of these are simplistic ways to try to deal with a complex issue.

As I've said before, I think the question of whether a pregnant woman is 1 life, or 2, is a complex one - really, it's sort of in between, but it changes over time as well. As the fetus develops, and becomes more able to survive outside the womb, it becomes more like a separate life.

That's why, again, I think that the time when the fetus becomes viable outside the womb is an important one, and I'd use that as a dividing line of some sort.

The fact that you can only consider the left or right rhetoric suggests to me that you aren't comfortable with complexity and ambiguity, of which this is a perfect example.

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