Carol Platt Liebau: The Typical Pro-Choice Fallacy

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Typical Pro-Choice Fallacy

Writing in today's Los Angeles Times, one Meghan Daum, a proud and self-proclaimed pro-choicer, comments on a column published last week in The New York Times; its author had argued that fathers (married or not) should be able to obtain injunctions preventing women carrying their children from having abortions, if the men are willing to assume full responsibility for the children (once they're born, of course).

It's a meaty argument; one could argue that if a man is so committed to being able to claim parental rights to a child, he ought, at least, to be willing to commit to marrying the child's mother. (And conversely, one could argue that a mother who wants support should be willing to marry her child's father). But whatever the merits of the argument, at base is the fact that the NY Times op/ed piece posits the existence of a father who wants to exercise his "choice" to save the life of his child.

Daum, however, carries the argument one step further:

Since we're throwing around radical ideas about abortion rights, let me raise this question: If abortion is to remain legal and relatively unrestricted — and I believe it should — why shouldn't men have the right during at least the first trimester of pregnancy to terminate their legal and financial rights and responsibilities to the child?

Well, there is a certain logic to her position. After all, if a woman has the right to abort her child, why shouldn't a father be given the right to abandon his? The one consideration missing from the equation is, of course, the child. Let's not worry about what's best for the child -- i.e., having a father (or, at the very least, having some financial support from an absent one). Let's worry only about what the "father" and "mother" want, whatever it means for the child.

The piece reveals the ultimate pro-choice fallacy: Concern is directed exclusively at the "rights" of the adults -- and the lives (much less the legitimate claims) of the babies (born or unborn) count for nothing.

4 Comments:

Blogger Laura said...

Daum admits that the difficulty with her argument is that it would be the child who is most affected by a father reliquinshing responsibility. I think most pro-choicers, myself included, do consider the rights of the adults first, but want to balance that with the rights of children. The argument that a father ought to have the right to prevent the mother of his child from having an abortion too easily tramples on the rights of the woman carrying the child. Forcing her to have the child might be as harmful as his reliniquishing his responsibility. There are no easy answers here. Daum's argument is interesting, but not entirely satisfying.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Orphan in Bama said...

There is an easy answer here. Abortion is not an option.

d.

3:03 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Wait 18 years. The baby will be old enough to make the decision. Then if need be execute the 18 year old. Only 18 years late abortion.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

I'm pro choice, too. The boy and girl get tangled up in the back seat, or wherever, and the girl gets to choose - she says 'yes' or she says 'no'. 'Yes' means she is accepting the fact that there may be consequences, and she is accepting the risk. If she doesn't want a child, she had better say 'no'! That does not let off the boy, because the consequences for him is support of his child. Of course, that is not the way it is taught in our government schools, but...

There only is the adoption option if pregnancy follows. Why does the child have to die for the sins of the parents? Shouldn't be. Even in the rare intances of incest or rape, the child should not be another victim after the fact. Put the child up for adoption.

Oh, and fedguv, locgov, and lawyers should get out of the way so that costs of adoption are reasonable. Many would adopt, and can afford to raise a child, but cannot do it because of the initial major outlay of money required. Get out of the way, bureacracy!

Over 40 million dead children and we are still defending this holocaust? May the Good Lord have mercy on us!

10:00 AM  

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