The "Financial Abortion" Option for Men
By Suzanne Reisman on July 13, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
I learned about "financial abortions" -- an upfront statement from a guy to his partner that says he doesn't want a kid and therefore, if she gets knocked up, she can't hold him financially responsible -- in an article that made me slap my head. At The Root, Cord Jefferson explained the theory by Frances Goldscheider, a sociology professor at Brown. She said her idea that men should be able to have sex without dealing with any consequences "made her question some of her deepest, most long-standing beliefs." She writes:
While I thought I was a feminist all my life, when I started studying the family and fatherhood in general, I realized that I was really an egalitarian. I want a level playing field in the family for men and women.
Um, hello, Madame Professor? Feminism is about an egalitarian playing field. Your theory tilts all the power to men.
What about this "financial abortion" would stop men from saying things such as, "Hey lady, if you get knocked up, I am also not financially responsible for an abortion"? Or, "Hey lady, if you don't want to get pregnant and have to deal with it on your own, you are responsible for all birth control"? This just strikes me as absurd. Unwanted pregnancies are already used to punish women for daring to have sex, even married women. Women risk their health and lives in pregnancy and childbirth. Then, whether we like it or not, we are generally more responsible for child care than men, so says the Shriver report and my own observations. How is enabling men to walk away with no consequence making this situation more equal? I fail to understand.
The flip side of the coin is how does this actually help anyone but irresponsible men? Kids certainly don’t benefit (Or are we saying that we don’t want irresponsible men near kids because they can’t learn responsibility? Certainly not something that reflects well on men.) I don’t agree with everything Roland C. Warren says to rebut Professor Goldscheider’s crazy talk, but he’s certainly right to say that men are more than just wallets. How is allowing men to sever all financial ties going to help make them a part of a child’s life? Sure, some men might feel more able to have a relationship with a child if they have no financial responsibility, but that seems a little strange. Like, "Hey kid, I don’t care enough about you to pay for your food/clothes/health/ shelter, but I definitely want to bring you to a Yankees game!" Probably not.
No, I am forced to conclude that "financial abortions" are just a publicity-generating idea. Lumnata has a much better plan:
You can totally do away with that risk with a simple procedure, and you will never have to worry about knocking some girl up. And guess what, if you think you might want to have children later, freeze your sperm. Voila!
Vasectomies? Right -- the original financial abortion. Sometimes the answers are right in front of our faces. I certainly hope that our new national health care plan includes vasectomies.
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