Roe v. Wade For Men: The Wrong Choice?

No matter your political affiliation, it is hard to think of a more divisive and distressing issue than abortion. It looms in the background of every political race, every judicial confirmation hearing; forcing candidates to walk a gauntlet between zealots on both sides of the issue.

During the Roberts hearings abortion assumed such importance that the old euphenism, “a woman’s right to choose”, no longer served to mask the disproportionate time and attention devoted to this single issue. And so Senators suddenly discovered a longstanding love for precedent and stare decisis. Surely no judicial nominee in the history of the United States has been so closely questioned on what remains a fairly entrenched judicial practice: that of letting settled matters lie. The notion that SCOTUS is the highest court in the land (and therefore is not bound by precedent in the same way as lower courts), or that most Americans would consider decisions like Dred Scott well reversed, was lost in a welter of Senatorial genuflection at the altar of judicial inflexibility.

Was all this fuss about abortion much ado about nothing? It begins to seem that, surprisingly, the answer to that question may be “no”. The South Dakota legislature has thrown down a challenge to existing abortion laws and now another suit, dubbed Roe v. Wade for Men, challenges the idea that women should have all the “choices” when it comes to parental rights. It would appear Ted Kennedy’s worst nightmares have come true: the Roberts Court is well on the way to chaining women to their Easy Bake ovens.

On first glance, the Dubay case appears to have some merit. After all, as I have noted before, there is little doubt that the status quo regarding parental “choice” and responsibility is unfair to men:

As we are constantly reminded, the abortion debate is all about something called reproductive choice. Of what does this reproductive choice consist? If a man and a woman, married or unmarried, conceive a child together, both are on the hook financially to support that child until he or she is grown. But there are rules. If the woman decides to rid herself of a fetus that she does not want, but the man does, she may kill it and this is perfectly legal. If the man decides to rid herself of a fetus that he does not want (perhaps by slipping her an abortifact that does not otherwise harm her), but the woman does, this is murder and he will go to jail.

Thus, two utterly contradictory things occur at the moment of conception:

Legally, from the point of view of a woman: the fetus is a lump of tissue which may be excised at will if she subsequently regrets having conceived a child. It imposes no obligation or legal duty unless she chooses to accept it.

Legally, from the point of view of the man: the fetus is a human being which must be allowed to live, even if he subsequently regrets having conceived a child. It imposes an absolute and irrevocable legal duty, regardless of his wishes in the matter.

In other words, if you have a y chromosome you have no reproductive choice. Except, of course, to pay at least a half-share of whatever “choices” your sexual partner may make, whether you are married or single – it makes no difference. When one considers that women can have multiple orgasms (and that ours generally last longer), something tells me men are getting the short end of the stick.

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