An op-ed piece in yesterday’s NYTimes by Dalton Conley, titled “A Man’s Right to Choose,” argues ‘yes’ to the question “when men and women engage in sexual relations both parties recognize the potential for creating life. If both parties willingly participate then shouldn’t both have a say in whether to keep a baby that results? ”
It’s not an insignificant question, especially in the context of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito’s support of spousal notification requirements for women seeking an abortion. But, Mr. Conley’s affirmative position is wrong. Here’s why.
It’s hard to tell whether or not Mr. Conley is philosophically opposed to abortion, but his stance is premised on the assumption of willing sexual activity between both parties and the presumption that an embryo is the same as a baby. Furthermore, his argument suggests that consensual sexual activity equates to readiness for parenthood. Were that the case, most of the men I’ve known would need to forgo sex altogether until the age of 48.
No man, no matter how ready and willing he is to be a father, has the right to either fatherhood or a woman’s body to carry his seed. Not that plenty of men haven’t tried it. Remember King Henry VIII?
And even if one eliminates rape, incest and contraceptive failure – a sexual act based on willing participation does NOT equalize the rights of both parties in deciding whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. Maybe men have been the bosses so long that they’ve forgotten what it’s like to not hold all the cards all the time.
The very idea that there are limits and obstacles to attaining one’s desires must be difficult for a lot of men to face. From seats of powerful governments to armies to organized religion to corporate board rooms, it’s still a man’s world out there. But guys, this choice belongs to us.
Until you figure out a way to insert a uterus into your bodies.