November 01, 2005

the old "choice for men" business

Hugo smacks down the "men don't have a choice" argument against ... something (on that, check below the fold) in as elegant a way as I've ever seen:

As I've written before, pregnancy is a burden carried solely by women. While conception takes two, and parenting ought to involve an equal commitment from both parties who took part in the earlier conception process, it's hard to argue that men are as involved as women in the period between conception and birth. And where there is an unequal burden, the law does well to honor the wishes of she who, by herself, bears that burden.

Frankly, it's sad that the "men don't get a choice!" whining even needs to be rebutted; as I see it, it's either logically fallacious or contradicts itself, and a little critical thinking should be all it takes to burn this sucker down. Let's walk through the argument:
  1. People ought to be allowed maximal freedom to decide whether or not to reproduce.
  2. Women can abort an unwanted pregnancy.
  3. Men cannot abort an unwanted pregnancy.
  4. From (2) and (3), women enjoy more freedom than men in regards to reproduction.
  5. From (1), the situation in (4) is unjust.
  6. Hence, women ought not be allowed to choose to abort an unwanted pregnancy.

If (6) is included as the conclusion of the argument, then the conclusion contradicts the premise (1). So suppose we throw that out; then we're left with the question of how to rectify the injustice of the conclusion without banning abortion, and of course anything we tack on in place of (6) is also going to contradict (1), at least so long as men don't get pregnant.

But, whatever the conclusion, the argument is invalid, in the inference from (4) to (5): justice is not the same thing as equality, and no-one ever said it was except strawmen communists. Certainly equality in some respect or another is often necessary for justice -- say, equality in government funding for schools, or equality in the right of any two single adults to marry and adopt kids -- but there are plenty of examples to show that this is not always the case -- just to make one up on the spot here, it would be patently unjust to expect Minnesotans and Floridians to dress exactly the same. And, as Hugo argues, the situation in (4) is another excellent example of where equality would prevent justice.

But, hell, let's throw the anti-feminists a bone here. We'll pass a law: any pregnant man has the right to choose to have an abortion, subject to the same restrictions as a pregnant woman in his community.


MosBen said...

This problem will go away when we finally get around to letting robots birth and raise our children for us.

MosBen said...

Actually, that made me wonder about how abortions effected the Matrix.

Noumena said...

I remember Paul Loeb fondly looking forward to the day when we finally have artificial wombs.

Noumena said...

Amanda adds: '"Women should have to submit their decision to abort to their husbands because husbands pay child support" is a euphemistic way of saying, "The man deserves control over the woman he has paid for."'

Anonymous said...

That's a tad frightening, men pay child support and therefore own mother/child after birth. Three cheers for women's lib! Hip hip...? Uh, hip? Hmm...