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My Thinking on Abortion and Abstinence

 
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Well I pray it is okay to post this here, it's just my thoughts came across this in my dreams during a nap today.

I know we all have our views of religion, or lack of a view. I wont try changing anyone today. That said, my own view is of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I have evolved or grown up Baptist, but pretty non-denominational.
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When I was young I saw every date as an eventual partner. My wife was the one that stuck around despite herself.
I was no Romeo nor was I Valentino, but I did manage to tempt fate with a Baker's Dozen.
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My thought today with my own belief that life begins at conception, and abortion means taking a life; would I still want sex with a woman if I knew that if our union created a baby, and that I knew for sure she would choose not to have the baby?
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I know hormones rage strong in youth, alcohol played a part in some relationships, but if before I headed to the bar if I stopped and considered my actions, would I still go? Knowing with my beliefs I killed a child before it ever had a chance.
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I would like to believe I would have the love needed to not, but I am afraid if it was a real test I would fail.
 
pollinator
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Mike : Very, Very, Rarely we leave the ''kiddy pool'' and find our sellers over our head ! I am very sure that you have heard this argument before, but any arguments

to the Contrary -only a tiny fraction of 1/2 of our species is capable of becoming Pregnant ! Irregardless of the fact that you or I may or may not have performed the

function of a ''sperm diner'' You and or I Fail to be Reproducers without major contribution from our 'Partners'


Think about that for a minute! Truly 1/2 of the Human race is incapable of creating any decedents, it is totally up to those capable of re-production, or those

sharing the possibility of reproduction- who actually decide who does and who does not reproduce !

It is not merely the economic burden that is primary here ! If 1/2c of the "Bloodstock'' is incapable of accepting its Breeding duties then clearly the 1/2 that carries

the next generation to term -has an immediate duty and paramount self-interest to ensure the ''Survival of the Fittest"

It would be very easy for many to say that I was/am merely ''passing the buck'' -but Ir-reguardless of ether your potential or mine to create any progeny unless

(as a given ) at the moment of conception ( or its immediate prequel ) the male partner has considered and accepted any possible conception as (His ) responsibility,

our culture literally gives the male a "Free Ride''

Personally I have never met a sexual partner who was ambiguous about whose responsibility it was to assume the (shared) duties of contraception, or who

regarded any contraception failure as anything but a personal failure that must be shared with their (potential) breading partner !

Ir-reguardless of strong emotions, or the ''love bug'' ,or even stronger ''Pulls of Hormones'', and again regardless of the Parental connection -final responsibility falls on

the 1/2 that caries the final burden ! This is my personal opinion and has survived to separate the lambs from the sheep ! Big AL
 
pollinator
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I only know two women who say that they have had an abortion. I'm sure that many more have kept that information private. Both of them had children later on. One did an OK job with those kids. She has always regretted the abortion. The other is one of the worst mothers that I've ever known. She blames her daughter for a lifetime of failed relationships and financial hardship.
 
master pollinator
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Personally I think it is everyone's responsibility to keep in mind the possible results of our actions. It is society's responsibility to enable people to take responsibility for their personal behavior - by this I mean, in my opinion society has the obligation to promote and support the right of women to control their own bodies and reproduction (family planning, birth control, abortion), and to promote and support the right of men to control their own bodies and reproduction (condoms, right to vasectomy) and society has the responsibility to care for the results of some people's careless or stupid behavior (care of orphans, outreach to poor or ill mothers, expanded adoption policies). There are so many people on the planet, really, in my opinion, plenty of people, we should be putting a great deal of societal energy into helping people make appropriate decisions about reproduction. Preaching abstinence has not been effective, and though abstinence may be possible for some people, it is not reasonable, in my opinion, to expect this rare behavior to become the norm.
 
Mike Feddersen
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I appreciate the replies, thank you.
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I guess my thoughts must be more on a personal point of view.
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If "I" believe abortion is murder, simply by having sex with a woman I risk being a party to destruction, if she doesn't want kids, or not yet.
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None of the women I had sex with ever let me know they had became with child. I have used a rubber three times, been married 25 years. One of the times was with my wife. We wanted kids, none came until we adopted our son. I guess I was shooting blanks, but that still does.'t take me off the hook.
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I am not looking for forgiveness, just wondering if a young man, especially someone that believes in the sanctity of life, might let this thought shape his sexual choices?
 
Tyler Ludens
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I hope that he would. When I was a Christian, I was celibate, as I believed sex outside of marriage was not appropriate Christian behavior. Many people who believe that life in the womb is sacred are Christian, so I would hope that they would contemplate the tradition of celibacy and make the effort to pursue that. Married Christian men who have produced as many children as they believe appropriate might consider vasectomy. Though not Christian, my husband and I did not want children, so my husband got a vasectomy about a year after our marriage. Unmarried men may have difficulty finding a surgeon willing to perform vasectomy on them, as the argument is "You might change your mind and want children of your own loins." It is my personal belief that we should all think long and hard about the appropriateness of children of our loins, considering how very many unwanted children there are already in the world.

 
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I am a Christian, and my opinions are based on my belief system.  I am unapologetic about it.  It's pretty apparent that everyone doesn't have the same beliefs or opinions.  These are mine.  

First of all I am a fan of sex.  It's one of my favorite activities in life.  I am not one that thinks sex is bad or dirty.  I think, though, it can be bad or dirty, just like every other activity we engage in.  

I had someone ask me if I've ever felt that 'once in a lifetime type of love'.  I told them, yes, I had, dozens of times.  (I was joking, mostly)

I used to think that "love" was an emotion, that roiling mix of excitement, anticipation, uncertainty and, yes, a healthy dose of lust.  I have come to realize that what I thought was romantic love was what I now call rampant weasel monkey lust.  (I am in favor of rampant weasel monkey lust, as long it's accompanied with commitment and at least some compatibility).  I have come to realize that true romantic love is actually much more prosaic, it's friendship, loyalty, companionship, respect, with a healthy dose of lust if possible.  I've known of a beautiful woman that has been married several times because after about a year, she 'falls out of love'.  In my opinion she is expecting that initial mix to continue forever.  Once your fully invested and your living together day to day, it's not new and some of the excitement dies, the uncertainty goes away.  Once you're getting laid regularly, much of the anticipation and extreme lust dies down.  At that point, you had better be friends as well as lovers.

Abstinence, or the lack thereof is often viewed like virginity, you either are or you aren't and one mistake gets rid of it forever.  Abstinance is a pattern of behavior, like all virtues or sins.  Behaviors can be changed.  If you are dieting and you eat a twinkie, you messed up.  Doesn't mean you can never diet or loose weight again.  I always viewed abstinence like the bulls eye on a target.  Yes, the bulls eye is hard to hit.  Yes, you may miss the bulls eye.  No, the answer is not to throw out the bullseye or 'redefine' it so that it is the size of a barn.  The answer is to learn to shoot.  If you miss the target, readjust your sights, figure out what you've done wrong and adjust your behavior.  Same goes for every other mistake you make.

When I was single, I was pretty fond of a 'NICMO' (non comittal make out session).  Since both the gals and I were trying to be 'good' one of us would stop things from getting too far.  Now, as a father, husband and the benefit of some life experience (maybe the lust has calmed down some also) I realize I was young and dumb.  It was thrilling, yes, but I know I broke at least a few hearts in my stupidity, with girls thinking this was working into something long term when I was just out for a good time.  I never meant to hurt anyone, but I was kind of clueless and self absorbed.  Having sex is not the same, or at least shouldn't be the same, as eating a hamburger.  At least for me there are a lot of emotions involved, hopefully for both people.  It is an intensely personal, sharing experience.  There is the possibility of a lot of joy and/or pain involved in that kind of sharing.  Not something to enter lightly, for the sake of everyones emotions.

This is common knowledge, but I will address it anyway.  It would be hard to think of a better situation to spread disease than sex, even protected sex.  Common practice is to wash your hands after using the bathroom, cover your mouth/ nose when you sneeze or cough, don't eat or drink after others.  Think about the process here.  All those other processes are to reduce the spread of disease.  I knew a gal who, in her wild and wooly days, picked up Chlamidia.  She had no idea she was infected and by the time she realized it, irreparable damage was done to her reproductive system.  We talk about gonorrea and syphilus, but there are a host of other bugs that you can pick up during sex.  Some are difficult or impossible to cure.  It seems us guys are in less danger of being infected than a gal practicing unprotected sex, (nature is not equal opportunity).  This is not something to enter into lightly, health wise.  

I've known many people who told me abstinence is impossible.  I can tell you from experience, it isn't, but it is hard.  

As to what constitutes a 'marriage', I think it is a matter of commitment.  Having some person pronounce words means nothing if you aren't willing to commit.  I do see a lot of real value in a public, formalized declaration.  That's probably why every society I know of has marriage.  It puts societal support on your commitment.  Other people recognize it as being something that they shouldn't be messing with, in a way they don't recognize a 'dating' situation.  I had a skirt chasing friend whos motto was, "If there's no ring, it's game on."

As a general principal, the best way to insure your children grow up in poverty is to not marry their mother.  The way to give your kids have their best chance of a happy life is to marry their mother, and stay married.  There are exceptions to this statement (i.e. 'my spouse is a child molesting, drug addicted ax murderer.  Should I stay with them?').  There used to be a joke that said "you should never sleep with someone crazier than you"  followed by the observation that at any moment, half the people in sexual relationships were breaking that rule.  Coulda, shoulda, woulda.  We play the cards we have rather than the ones we wish we had.  Do your best.  The results are multigenerational, which is why I favor abstinance prior to marriage, selecting your spouse carefully and prayerfully, and being true to your spouse afterwards.  It's tough, but it helps keep you out of some pretty bad situations.

As far as abortion.  Yes, I think you are killing a person, at least in the later stages.  I don't pretend to know exactly when it becomes killing or if it's from conception.  I know that biological life begins at conception, when that body becomes home to a human spirit, I don't claim to know.  I personally feel it is quite a while before birth, from observations of my wifes pregnancies.  

I don't think you should have children you either can not or will not raise up and love the best you can.  This brings up an obvious conflict for the woman who discovers she is pregnant, but not able or willing to raise her child.  I recognize this presents her with some tough choices.  I can't imagine many women would make such a choice lightly.  There are way more couples wanting to adopt in the US at least, than there are babies.

Murder is killing someone in an illegal manner.  (people die in war, self defense, careless acts, "hold my beer and watch this"), we don't consider these murder.  The biblical commandment "Thou shalt not kill" is a mistranslation.  From what I understand (I am not a hebrew scholar), in the Torah it is 'Thou shalt not murder'.  Since abortion is legal, it isn't murder.  Then the question becomes, is it justified?  Self defense is a generally recognized right.  If carrying this child to delivery means you will die, you have pretty good justification.  Will God hold you accountable?  I would say we are accountable for all of our unrepented actions, but that's between you and God.  Society has a right, for the general good, to make rules on if and when we are allowed to kill each other.  

I have been very tempted to kill or do severe, crippeling damage to one person in my life.  I felt he was going out of his way to destroy me and my family over a period of months out of sheer meanness.  I even played the mental game of "how would I get away with it" and I am pretty sure I figured out how to do it.  I didn't act, not because I feared the law, but because I might be wrong in my judgement that God would say I was justified.  I did not want to risk offending God, so I left it for Him to deal with.  I am happy I did, now, but it was pretty hard to walk away from at the time.  

As far as abortion goes, I don't pretend to know your situation.  Your decision, with both the benefits and problems that come with it, just like most major decisions.  Do I feel that I should be required to help you or support you in your decision?  No!

 
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Edited: I had a big long reply from a woman's perspective. Not realizing that you wanted to know if people who are against abortion should be abstinent or not. With that question in mind I simply say this, I'm married and don't want more kids. I tried for 6 years to get my husband to have a vasectomy. He refused. I had many issues on birth control. I became physically ill on it. Eventually I had to stop taking it. Permanent birth control options for me all had serious side effects and risks.

So in hind sight, yeah shoulda not slept with my husband so much because darned if I'm not pregnant.
 
Mick Fisch
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My wife had a terrible reaction to the pill (extreme, near suicidal depression).  We had to find another solution.  

The rhythm method never worked for us because who can see a calendar in the dark? (bad joke, I know).

Not sleeping with your spouse has it's own set of problems, and they are not inconsequential.  I think each couple has to find their own way on this.  

One thing I will note though, is that a woman is sacrificing far more than the man during pregnancy, childbirth, and (stereotypically) during the raising of the children.  For this reason I tried to let my wife take the lead on decisions about when to have children.

We had a few 'unplanned blessings', and eventually they were blessings, but they were also a hell of a lot of work we weren't looking to take on.
 
pollinator
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Mick Fisch wrote:

The rhythm method never worked for us because who can see a calendar in the dark?



Badda bing!


As an additional humorous aside, I went through Catholic schooling up through high school.  Somewhere in there, they started hiring lay teachers for all classes cuz, well, the nuns and priests to teach them were getting pretty scarce.  So our 'new' biology teacher off the streets had to give the sex ed class.  He starts out by mentioning that, with teaching now in a Catholic institution, he needs to mention first and foremost that Catholics practice the rhythm method.  (....Pause....) then he can't hold his laughter and says "That's why you guys come from such large families.... (!)"  Yeah........

...he was gone the next week.

Anyhoo, when living in Salt Lake City in the mid-80s, one of my favorite local bands was named "Connie and the Rhythm Method", which seemed a far more inventive use of the notion....

(end digression....)
 
pollinator
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Sex, love, babies, these are complicated issues. It would be great if men took more responsibility in regards to the consequences of their sexual activity. My ex, although a despicable human being in many ways, had no problem having a vasectomy. If he hadn't, I would have had no problem with not having sex with him (it was virtually nonexistent anyway). My experience is not the norm, but I've never been happier since menopause, I have no sex drive. It's amazing how much I can get done. What a waste of time sex was. Sex has always been difficult for me, given all the assault.
 
pollinator
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Mike, I think it is a great thing that you are so introspective and consciencious about the man's role in "all this".
My question might be, does anyone start thinking that deeply before they are at the age that they can be grandparents? (pardon me if you are 19 and this intelligent already. We can hope, right!)
I know I certainly didn't, and I most definitely didn't have any male partners who were that serious about their responsibility when I was younger. (it was a bit more like that old Meatloaf song, I'll give you an answer in the morning).  If we're lucky, we live and learn.
 
elle sagenev
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I don't know about the rest of you but I can tell ya that of all my siblings and my husbands siblings only 1 has actually adhered to abstinence. While my hubs and I were engaged we weren't married when we started having sex. 3 of our siblings were pregnant before marriage. Not good odds. I'm christian and I'd love it if my kids waited until they found love like my hubs and I did but I'll be teaching them safe sex as soon as puberty hits. Sounds crazy but I don't want to be raising any prematurely made grand kids.

My accidental 3rd pregnancy is obviously proof that even smart people do stupid things but I will buy my kids condoms and make sure they know how to use them and make sure they use their own (no hole poked condoms happening to my kids). They'll be so well informed that if they get pregs I'll know it wasn't because of lack of education!

Oh and my son and I already had to have a "this is what sex is" talk. While watching family feud someone yelled "sex" as the answer and my then 7 year old was like, "I know what that is, __cousin__ told me." I was horrified. I hadn't thought to start the talk that early. So after a day or two of debate I decided I needed to make sure he actually knew what it was, because the cousin that told him doesn't even call his penis his penis. So I laid out the basics, told him to ask me if he had any questions and then proceeded to play video games until we could both put that awkward moment behind us. LOL
 
Mick Fisch
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Sex, love and babies.  That, in a nutshell, is Life.  Everything else is window dressing to it.  That is why sex, love and babies is both complicated, intensely individual, and central.  It's also important because the results are multigenerational and have huge effects on society overall.  Years ago I discovered a story about one of my ancestors.  My mom said explained that why that branch of the family had no patience with a whiny child.  The event had happened in the 1840's, but my mom could see it's effects several generations later.

I had a relative tell me that farm kids know all about sex well before they get to their teens because on a farm you have animals breeding.  I think that is correct, as far as the mechanics.  It just takes some kids a while to transfer what the animals are doing to mom and dad.  At that point they are usually mildly disgusted.  

Of my 4 married daughters, my wife took each of them in for their gynecologic exam before they got married.  For three of them, the doctors were unable to complete the exams because the girls hymens were in the way.  In each case the doctors were very surprised, and in each case, asked what church we went to.  The doctors reactions show me that this isn't common.  To those who think that my wife was simply salving my fatherly honor, I respond, she brought it up.  I know my wife, she hates to lie.  If it wasn't true, she simply wouldn't have brought it up.  My mind wasn't anywhere near there.  As I indicated in an earlier post, I am more concerned with patterns of behavior than some past incident.  (One daughter was pregnant when she got married, so I'm not claiming perfection).  My wife was a virgin on our wedding night.  It happens, maybe not often, but it happens.  

I'm glad that the old 'double standard' is out of fashion.  The only problem I see is that we went the wrong way with it.  The women started following the guys standard, rather than the other way around.  When a woman decides to 'act like a man', how come it is rare that she acts as a good man would act.  By the way, when the "sexual revolution" came along, most young men were all for it.  If someone starts giving away candy bars, who's going to buy one?  In a way, sex is like other products.  If its easily available, it's not as valued.  If I can buy it for a nickel, why would I pay 20 bucks for it?  Make the guy work for it!  Insist that he 'man up' and take on a mans role!  I think most men are secretly eager to have something really important to commit to and work for.

When I was in my teens and early twenties I was not as thoughtful as I am now, but I had already decided that I would produce no bastards if I could help it.  (I use the term bastard, not as an insult, but as what it really means, a child born out of wedlock).  Abortion was simply not a consideration for me.  I felt that any kid of mine deserved the best I could give them.  I looked forward to being a dad and husband, as I viewed this as the ultimate, highest calling a man could have.  I still feel that way.  Everything else is artificial, temporary, or limited in scope, but dad or husband are job titles that are basic and deep and are enough challenge to last me the rest of my life.  This did effect which girls I dated and which I chose not to ask out.

When my wife and I got engaged we discussed what we wanted in roles, duties, etc.  We were both boringly traditional overall, although she had grown up in a very feminist area and era (one of her best friends mother was a national womens rights leader) and we had some interesting discussions.  One of the things we discussed was # of children (I wanted 12, she wanted 2, maybe).  We agreed at that time that since she was the one who would be sacrificing health, comfort and time, she should take the lead with deciding when and how many kids we would have.  We did have discussions, but they were pretty much always started by her.  

One thing that should be noted.  I regard it as an elephant in the room.  Having kids definitely changes a womans body.  My wife bounced right back after our first was born.  Bounced back maybe a little slower after the second.  by the fifth child, recovery was much slower and less complete, the youthfull curves took on a more mature look.  There are good things and bad in the changes, but if a gal has a lot of kids, the damage adds up, just like if a guy beats his body up with heavy labor and occasional injuries for several years.  As a generality, deliveries get easier, pregnancies get harder and recoveries become less complete.  It is a sacrifice.  I didn't know at the beginning how much of a sacrifice, physically.

My wife had the sex talk with our girls.  I talked to the boys, usually about 10.  I spent a little while on the mechanics (it's really not that complex in it's basics and they've mostly been taught in school at that point.  I was mostly looking to correct false data they'd picked up).  I spent probably 90% of the time talking about responsibility, honor, consideration and partnership.  I've seen lots of proof that even the very stupid can have sex.  If some domestic turkeys can figure it out, it can't be that tough.  I preferred to focus on what I felt was more important that they learn.  
 
Dale Hodgins
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Theresa Weber got to me and every other kid at school when they were six years old. She had witnessed her parents through a peep hole, and was keen to tell any kid that would listen. She talked about farm animals and how they did it and said that with her parents it's no different.

I remember when poor old mister Gamage, the physical education teacher, tried to teach some things in sex education. Lots of snickering and jokes being made. Theresa held her audience spellbound, with words, arm flailing and hip thrusts.
 
pollinator
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I recently ran across an curious piece of information and it touches on the topic here.  I am trying not to become emotionally invested but I cannot intellectually put this thought to rest and I am wondering what people here think about the concept I am about to illustrate.  Again, I am not trying to take sides as much as wondering what others think.

So in the United States and most of the Western world, if asked if a woman has a technically legal right to an abortion, I think most people would say (regardless of individual opinion of whether this is good or bad) that the answer would be “Yes”, it is her body and ultimately she gets the legal right to decide (actually, Roe v Wade did not quite do that, but that is for another post).  People have very strong opinions on either side of this issue, but from a strictly legal position, a woman has the ultimate right to decide.

Now, if the woman chose to have her baby and conclusively identified the father of the child (via genetic testing or whatever method appropriate) and the fatherly ID was unambiguous and proven, should the father be asked to help provide child support, I am willing to bet that most people would agree that the father not only should provide support, but be legally required to do so (sorry for the run-on sentence).

I think but don’t absolutely know for certain that the father of the child should be required to do his duties as a father.  I am pretty certain that this is not controversial (leaving aside extreme situations where the father should/could not be involved—such as the father being dead, in prison, a pedophile, or other obvious exceptions).  I certainly believe this to be essentially true.

So far, this should be pretty non-controversial.  But apparently in Sweden, this creates a double standard that I had never before considered and I am really wrestling with.  The dilemma is that in Sweden, a woman has the (Western Norm) right to decide about her own reproductive future.  But a man does not.  A woman can get pregnant and opt out of motherhood, but a father is then bound by the woman’s decision.  

To remedy this double standard, (as I understand, and if I have something specific or technically wrong, please correct me) in Sweden, a man can opt for a “paper abortion” whereby he can completely absolve himself from any parental responsibility whatsoever.  This effectively eliminates the double standard, but opens a Pandora’s box of new dilemmas.  Mostly these center around the rights of the child.

So given the topic of this thread, I am curious what people think about the concept of a paper abortion.  Is there a legal double standard?  Should such a double standard be expected?  If a paper abortion is abhorrent, is a regular abortion similar?  Should a regular abortion be a right but not a paper abortion (and why).  This has my mind in a jumble and I am pretty certain that I will not have any resolution any time soon.  I can honestly say that this creates a clash in my own mind and I find it an interesting legal/ethical dilemma.

I am not trying to take a side on the (regular) abortion issue, I am really interested as to whether other people see the same complex issue that I see.

I look forward to your responses,

Eric
 
Mick Fisch
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So far, this should be pretty non-controversial.  But apparently in Sweden, this creates a double standard that I had never before considered and I am really wrestling with.  The dilemma is that in Sweden, a woman has the (Western Norm) right to decide about her own reproductive future.  But a man does not.  A woman can get pregnant and opt out of motherhood, but a father is then bound by the woman’s decision.  

To remedy this double standard, (as I understand, and if I have something specific or technically wrong, please correct me) in Sweden, a man can opt for a “paper abortion” whereby he can completely absolve himself from any parental responsibility whatsoever.  This effectively eliminates the double standard, but opens a Pandora’s box of new dilemmas.  Mostly these center around the rights of the child.

So given the topic of this thread, I am curious what people think about the concept of a paper abortion.  Is there a legal double standard?  Should such a double standard be expected?  If a paper abortion is abhorrent, is a regular abortion similar?  Should a regular abortion be a right but not a paper abortion (and why).  This has my mind in a jumble and I am pretty certain that I will not have any resolution any time soon.  I can honestly say that this creates a clash in my own mind and I find it an interesting legal/ethical dilemma.  



Eric, here is where things get sticky.  Biology is not concerned with 'fair' or 'equitable'.  As we try to paste our modern 'fair and equitable' ideas onto the world, we keep coming into this unpleasant thing called 'reality'.  The woman is left pregnant while the guy isn't.  This logically gives her control of the baby and him in control of his freedom.  He has fired his bullet and has lost control of whether it hits the bulls eye or misses.  The reality is that sex has the potential to create long term consequences.  Sex requires a certain amount of honorable behavior, trust, and understanding of the roles you both accept in order to work well.  We've tried "well, we'll all just sleep around and it'll be alright"  I don't think it has worked well, although I recognize problems in the older system also.  Right now, the societal rules have all been thrown out of the window and they are trying to patch things back together with laws.  (laws are a very poor substitute for accepted societal rules.)  

Biology left the women very vulnerable where reproduction is concerned.  They and the children are vulnerable to abandonment or neglect by the father.  This is recognized in most cultures, where women bare the bulk of the responsibility for avoiding unsanctioned sex, because they may be the ones left holding the bag, figuratively speaking.  The parents of the women often have recognized rights as far as controlling access to their daughters.  (When I was a young man, I was more careful in my conduct with a girl if her father let me know that he expected proper behavior, or else.  The or else was never stated, just understood.

Our society has responded to the biological injustice by putting more legal responsibilities and vulnerabilities on the man.

Unscrupulous people of both genders will take advantage wherever they can.  

There is an old, crude joke about unexpected pregnancies.  "I was just poking fun and she took me serious".  Both people need to accept the responsibility.  

Recreational sex is one of the more enjoyable forms of russian roulette.  You can take precautions, but all you're doing is improving the odds.  They are rarely 100% as long as you both have the vital pieces.  Everyone knows someone who had a pregnancy after he got fixed, she got her tubes tied, or both.  Are you willing to accept that this is the time there may be a bullet in the chamber?  Are you willing to live with the consequences?

I absolutely agree that a man should help support his children.  The money is actually a very small part of their responsibility.  I also realize that as far as sex goes, men are pretty stupid when confronted by a smiling, pretty woman.  Even stupider than women confronted by a charming handsome man.  It's biology.  Both sides can be taken advantage of, and too often are.

I guess it all comes down to being responsible about who you're having sex with and making sure you don't sleep with anyone crazier than you.  This throws one night stands out the window, because we have all known people who were crazy as bat shit, but could mask it for a few hours or even a few days.

 
elle sagenev
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Eric Hanson wrote:I recently ran across an curious piece of information and it touches on the topic here.  I am trying not to become emotionally invested but I cannot intellectually put this thought to rest and I am wondering what people here think about the concept I am about to illustrate.  Again, I am not trying to take sides as much as wondering what others think.

So in the United States and most of the Western world, if asked if a woman has a technically legal right to an abortion, I think most people would say (regardless of individual opinion of whether this is good or bad) that the answer would be “Yes”, it is her body and ultimately she gets the legal right to decide (actually, Roe v Wade did not quite do that, but that is for another post).  People have very strong opinions on either side of this issue, but from a strictly legal position, a woman has the ultimate right to decide.

Now, if the woman chose to have her baby and conclusively identified the father of the child (via genetic testing or whatever method appropriate) and the fatherly ID was unambiguous and proven, should the father be asked to help provide child support, I am willing to bet that most people would agree that the father not only should provide support, but be legally required to do so (sorry for the run-on sentence).

I think but don’t absolutely know for certain that the father of the child should be required to do his duties as a father.  I am pretty certain that this is not controversial (leaving aside extreme situations where the father should/could not be involved—such as the father being dead, in prison, a pedophile, or other obvious exceptions).  I certainly believe this to be essentially true.

So far, this should be pretty non-controversial.  But apparently in Sweden, this creates a double standard that I had never before considered and I am really wrestling with.  The dilemma is that in Sweden, a woman has the (Western Norm) right to decide about her own reproductive future.  But a man does not.  A woman can get pregnant and opt out of motherhood, but a father is then bound by the woman’s decision.  

To remedy this double standard, (as I understand, and if I have something specific or technically wrong, please correct me) in Sweden, a man can opt for a “paper abortion” whereby he can completely absolve himself from any parental responsibility whatsoever.  This effectively eliminates the double standard, but opens a Pandora’s box of new dilemmas.  Mostly these center around the rights of the child.

So given the topic of this thread, I am curious what people think about the concept of a paper abortion.  Is there a legal double standard?  Should such a double standard be expected?  If a paper abortion is abhorrent, is a regular abortion similar?  Should a regular abortion be a right but not a paper abortion (and why).  This has my mind in a jumble and I am pretty certain that I will not have any resolution any time soon.  I can honestly say that this creates a clash in my own mind and I find it an interesting legal/ethical dilemma.

I am not trying to take a side on the (regular) abortion issue, I am really interested as to whether other people see the same complex issue that I see.

I look forward to your responses,

Eric



I work for lawyers. My lawyers do not do family law but several in the building do. I do basic reception for them which means I know A LOT about their cases. People love to tell the receptionist everything. I feel confident saying men in the USA have 0 problems acting as if they have no offspring. Some of them actually legally give up their parental rights. This doesn't stop the government from going after them if the child requires government aid, but I can tell you that rarely happens. When it does happen it's because the guy has 9 kids, all of them are on welfare and the government wants some responsibility taken here.

I have noticed at work that when a man acts like crap and ignores his offspring it's pretty expected. When a woman does it WHOA NELLY! The double standard already exists but if you're trying to get me to feel bad for guys, it ain't gonna happen. Having a child does not change a man physically. It has way less emotional and mental impact on a man. I'm not going to say it has none but there are a lot of guys running about my area who seem completely unbothered by the fact that they've had kids. Annoyed is what a lot of them seem to be.  
 
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Elle,

I completely agree with everything you stated in your post.  Just to be clear, I am absolutely and positively not trying to make people feel sorry for “poor men.”  I readily accept that in practice a double standard does indeed exist.  For all those “deadbeat dads” out there, I have no sympathy, and no patience.

As I stated, I think that expecting a father (aside from the stated exceptions) to perform some type of fatherly responsibility (even if only amounts to monetary child support) is an accepted norm.

It is the Swedish concept of a paper abortion that makes my head spin.  I realize that there can be substantial gaps between what is legal and what is actually practiced (as a completely unrelated analogy, think of a speed limit.  Technically, speed above a given point is illegal, yet these might be the most frequently broken laws).

And again, I am not trying to suggest any type of legal change, I am only wrestling with the very concept of a paper abortion.  Though it may not matter in reality, I wonder about the very concept of a paper abortion as being a remedy for an otherwise double standard (however preposterous that may seem).  More specifically I wonder about the implications of such a concept.

And again to reiterate, Elle, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you stated in your post.

Thanks for the lively discussion and I look forward to more.

Eric
 
elle sagenev
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Eric,

I think I see a lot of the parental rights termination stuff in the USA as about the same thing as a paper abortion from Sweden. The wording in Sweden is probably just more controversial.
 
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I feel confident saying men in the USA have 0 problems acting as if they have no offspring. Some of them actually legally give up their parental rights.  



Elle,

This is one area where I am sometimes ashamed of my gender.

My heartache is less the women who are abandoned as much as it is for the kids.  Both men and women make their choices and pick their partners and bear the consequences.  I don't think kids have that luxury as far as parents go.  They are the ones who are really shortchanged in the whole affair.  Sometimes we get focused on the guy/gal thing and forget who REALLY ends up with the short end of the stick.
 
Eric Hanson
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Mick,

I read Elle’s response before I saw yours so I am answering out of order.  And as with Elle, I completely agree with everything you stated in your post.  Please bear in mind that I am not trying to justify the concept of a paper abortion.  Sex and unintended pregnancies is sort of the inverse of you-break-it-you-buy-it,  perhaps better phrased as you-make-it-you-are-responsible-for-it (and I emphatically apologize right now if either of those statements sound crude or sounds uncaring.  It is solely made to make a complex issue more succinct.).

Further, and more specifically, you are absolutely correct that biology itself predisposes women to suffer greater consequences from an unintentional pregnancy.  Moreover, this is also a poor excuse for a man not living up to his responsibilities.  And as I stated in response to Elle, I have no sympathy or patience for deadbeat dads.

Given the emotional responses to my original post, maybe I should rephrase as to whether (in legal theory, not actual practice) a double standard as described even exists and whether a paper abortion is a viable solution to said double standard.

Guys, please understand that I am absolutely not trying to advocate for the concept of a paper abortion or advocate for any man wishing to shirk his responsibility for his behavior.  My interest is really academic, theoretical.  I am an academic, so my mind wanders in that theoretical world on an hourly basis.

Mick, thanks for your response and I hope you understand that in actuality I strongly agree with everything in your post.

Thanks for the discussion,

Eric
 
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Eric,

I didn't interpet your initial post as supporting paper abortions.  I apologize if I sounded harsh.  I thought you raised a viable question, relating to an actual law attempting to deal with real concerns.  The reality is that this is a really hard subject because we are biologically (and socially) programmed to have sex, but the consequences are so far reaching that they can be catastrophic for the effected people if someone skips out on their responsibilities.  Due to biology, (and the effects of a pregnancy on a woman's mind), men are far and away the most likely to skip out on their responsibilities.   So far, the response has been to put the govt in the (traditionally male) role of provider.  Not the best solution in the long term.
 
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Mick,

Not at all to worry, I take zero offense and your response was not harsh.  I asked a controversial and emotional question.  I love discussion/debate around these type of questions and issues.

As I said, I am an academic and live in that bizarre, semi detached academic world.  When I first saw this concept it made my head spin.  On the one side it seems pretty convenient for a man to shirk his parental responsibility Willy-Nilly.  On the other side a woman does have a legal choice.  Even though I can grasp the basic concept I wrestle with it and the problems it creates. I am certainly not advocating for it.

I had thought about posing this question on Permies for some time but was not certain as to how to pose the question, and this seemed like the perfect thread.  I live for moral and ethical dilemmas to wrestle with.  This one is ripe for discussion and debate.

At any rate, thanks for the feedback, I truly appreciate it.

Eric
 
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Laws have changed in the US regarding the fathers name on the birth certificate. When my kids were born, only the mother was required to fill out the birth certificate and proof or permission wasn't required of the father. The father gained rights and responsibilities because of that. Now, the father has to agree to his name being put on the birth certificate, which lets him off the hook if he doesn't want to be (like Sweden's paper abortion). So it seems to me that we already have this. Now, all of these assumes that the parents aren't married, because if they are he's considered the father regardless of genetics. I lived in California, so I don't know if other states handle this differently.

Neither one of my children's fathers have been much use to anyone but themselves. I went into parenting knowing that they were my responsibility, but I also get all the love.
 
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Stacy,

You make extremely valid points.  I do have one question though.  You stated that a man has to opt to put his name on the birth certificate, and that refusing to do so basically equates to the Swedish paper abortion.  According to Elle, a man can surrender parental rights, but the government can still go after him.  Perhaps this is a difference between states?  As I understand the paper abortion, a man can make himself immune to any further responsibility plain and simple.  Is this what you have experienced?  

These are only questions, and if I am out of line in any way, I apologize in advance.

Thanks,

Eric
 
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In Sweden you need to sign a consent form before sex. If you don't have a signed contract the woman can later charge rape. That was that for spontaneous sex..
I want the government out of my bedroom, religious people as well, and women to decide if they want abortion, it's their body, their life, their future. Hard enough to undergo an abortion, keep others out of it. Life is complicated, every situation different, every person different coming from a completely different background. I'd rather the government spend money on child support for slackers than the perpetual war we have now. We don't even have enough children in the western countries to replace ourselves. Politicians repeat every chance they get we need immigrants to keep our numbers up. These children of slackers would go hungry without child support. How can this even be an argument when the gap in wealth is wider then ever before? When the average women spends 200 dollars on make-up a month, pure luxury and then talk bad about others struggling to get by. I don't get it and never will. Neither would Jesus.
 
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Hugo,

WOW!  I had no idea that sexual consent had evolved into written permission!  Thanks for that very important piece of information.  That has major implications for not only my question but for this entire thread!  

Does written consent extend to married couples or by marriage have they consented to each other by default?

Thanks for this very surprising bit of information ,

Eric
 
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Hugo Morvan wrote:In Sweden you need to sign a consent form before sex. If you don't have a signed contract the woman can later charge rape. That was that for spontaneous sex..



I'm not sure if this was a joke so apologies in advance if it was but the Swedish law requires explicit consent, not written consent. Explicit verbal consent is fine. It's a good idea to get verbal consent for sex regardless of your local laws, and it doesn't have to ruin the mood or be lawyerly; a lot of people find a bit of dirty talk to be quite fun. :) Nonverbal signals can easy to misread, especially with a new partner, and the amount of hurt caused by a misunderstanding like that just isn't worth it when it's so easy to avoid.
 
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Meg,

Thanks for the clarification.  I was pondering the hypothetical that if consent as written contract was operating in the United States that I would be a serial rapist with the victim being my wife.  It was more than a little disturbing to consider.

Explicit consent, with a precise definition being a bit more open ended sounds a lot more practical.

Thanks a bunch,

Eric
 
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You know, it's funny, but back in the day I had a few gals kiss me, or attempt to kiss me, when I was not wanting their attention.  I had a few invite me for a romp in the sheets.  I guess I'm stupid.  It never occured to me to claim sexual assault or harrassment.   I think in each case, we were both a little embarrassed about it, them because they were rejected, me because I had misread the signs.  I understand that guys are less threatened, because we are generally a lot stronger but this whole thing has gone nuts!
 
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Eric Hanson - if the father's name isn't on the birth certificate he has no parental rights to begin with. He would have to assert rights, then genetic testing would occur at his cost. The whole thing is pretty expensive, a friend was trying to do it. I'm assuming with elle is talking about father's who had parental rights and then gave them up. If the father's name isn't on the birth certificate the government can't go after them because they don't know who they are. In some ways, it makes it easier for the mother if the father isn't named, as far as government aid.
 
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Stacy,

Thanks again for the clarification between the information on different posts.  I can understand how this might make life easier on the mother for financial purposes.  Very informative.

Eric
 
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I know of several cases where the mother decided to leave the fathers name off of the birth certificate because she realized that, because of his life style and who he was, he would not be a positive in the childs life.  I can see the sense in that.  

As a general rule, whenever there is a need to bring lawyers or the law into a situation, things have already gone off the rails.
 
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Excuse me i fell for fake news, it is not obliged to have a written form in Sweden to have sex. If someone is drunk and says yes in a drunk state, they can claim rape if they don't remember saying yes. On the other hand i guess that has always been the case.
 
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Eric Hanson - if the father's name isn't on the birth certificate he has no parental rights to begin with. He would have to assert rights, then genetic testing would occur at his cost. The whole thing is pretty expensive, a friend was trying to do it. I'm assuming with elle is talking about father's who had parental rights and then gave them up. If the father's name isn't on the birth certificate the government can't go after them because they don't know who they are. In some ways, it makes it easier for the mother if the father isn't named, as far as government aid.



They ask the women when they sign up for financial aid who the father is. If you give them a list of possible suspects the government will test them and find out. There is nothing quite as persistent as a government body wanting money from someone.
 
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