Secular Pro Life (6/9)

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Continued from part 5

First, pregnancy and child-rearing requires time, energy, and money.Historically, these costs have been borne by mothers. (They have made big money sacrifices in terms of missed earnings, even when the children’s upkeep was directly borne by the fathers.) This has allowed fathers to invest more time and energy profitably, in the workplace, than mothers can – thus controlling the purse strings over whatever earnings do not go for minimum family upkeep, and winning all the other rewards of a career. In developed societies, men have come to recognize society’s need for women’s contributions in politics, science, art, entertainment, sports and every sphere. But promoting female equality on this front will require people who are not mothers to give up some time, energy, and money from the career areas of their lives to share the load. And if children are unplanned and are not to be aborted, this will mean that those who are not pregnant (which includes all men) will have to give up time, energy, and money to share the load of children whom they did not want and even their mothers did not want.

Exactly how does forced birth and the proliferation of children who feel unwanted compel men to take on responsibility? What is stopping men from doing that work now? Not abortion. Married fathers spend a fraction of time with their children, compared to their wives. Even when men choose to parent, they drop the ball. How will more children fix any of this?

Obviously, this won’t be popular among those who have traditionally enjoyed the privilege of focusing entirely on careers unfettered by children.

Maybe giving women equal opportunity to also have careers unfettered by children is a non dystopian way to address this imbalance! Birth control and abortion have done just that. And the result is that, for those with real choices, more women wait longer to choose children, after completing their education and establishing their careers.

 Confronting their objections will require a broader attitude shift, recognizing that no man (or woman!) is an island. Each individual’s thriving depends on the thriving of our societies and indeed of the whole species. Men depend on society, and society depends on the unique ability of women to host the origin and development of new life.

Men and fetuses are parasites on women, you say? There are times I think that’s true. What I don’t think is true is that outlawing abortion will have any of the effects you desire; it never has before!  You say non-mothers ought to “share the load” but suggest no means of compelling them to do so.

You advocate using the law to control women’s choices, but a “broader attitude shift” for gently influencing men. Funny that you want to criminalize women but vaguely persuade men. And when I say funny, I mean as sexist as humanly possible.

Continue to part 7

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