Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Reproductive Rights

Posted in abortion by Kathy on February 28, 2008

Feminists — and all people, I guess — latch onto the term “rights” when they want to promote anything. Rights are an American thing–the reason for the American Revolution and all that. So they call abortion a “reproductive right.” That’s twisting the term, and I sure hope that I’m not the first one to see that. What does abortion have to do with reproducing? It’s actually an “unreproductive right” if anything: the “right” not to reproduce. Really, I suppose it’s the right to reproduce part-way and then stop it unnaturally.

But this term got me to thinking–do men have “reproductive rights”? Or is that just a woman thing? Isn’t that a tad sexist? Do feminists not cringe to hear that women have more rights than men? Isn’t equality the name of the game? It’s obvious it’s not. They want equality on some terms, but not on others. If they were honest, they’d push for the female draft to become law, just as it is for males. They’d attack this “inequity” with as much fervor as they do any attempt to weaken Roe v. Wade.

But do men have reproductive rights? What is bound up in that term? For women, I’m assuming that term solely means the right to have an abortion if the woman chooses at any point in pregnancy. Do men have that right? Would feminists champion men’s right to force a woman to have an abortion if she didn’t want it? Some would–many women who have had abortions will say that they were coerced against their will to have an abortion, and feminists try to silence that crowd. But imagine this scene: a man goes to court to force his ex-girlfriend or ex-wife to have an abortion, because she simply refuses to enter an abortion mill. What about his “reproductive right” or “unreproductive right”? What about his right not to reproduce?

Do men have reproductive rights? Do they have the right to force a woman to reproduce? “Rape is illegal, so men don’t have the right to force a woman to get pregnant,” you may say. Why is it illegal? Why is it wrong? Are you trying to force your morality on someone else? It’s not against the rapist’s “moral code” to forcibly impregnate a woman. So you’re trying to force your morality on him. “No, no!” you protest, “he’s violating her rights! She should have the right not to have sex–no man has the right to force a woman to have sex against her will.” So, why does the woman’s right not to have sex trump the man’s “reproductive right” to have sex? What can you argue that does not have the extended implication of the woman’s “right to choose” trumping the fetus’s right to live? The fetus certainly wouldn’t choose to die; death would be against his or her will. Morality is a funny thing that way, isn’t it?

Does a man have reproductive rights? Can he get a court order forbidding a woman from seeking an abortion? Why not? “Well, it’s her body!” The baby isn’t. That baby is half his. Ask any geneticist. See, here’s another funny thing–some states have laws that would criminalize behavior that harms or kills a wanted fetus, even though most of these states probably also allow the destruction of unwanted fetuses simply if the mother chooses, at any stage of pregnancy. Some people have been successfully prosecuted for murder or homicide in the death of a fetus (for instance, Scott Peterson was convicted of killing both his wife and their unborn son–two counts of murder). I believe there have been cases in which a woman was injured in a car wreck, and her fetus died (miscarriage or stillbirth) as a result, and the other driver was prosecuted for that death. So, what happens if the man wants a baby and the woman doesn’t? If she destroys his wanted child, can he get her prosecuted for murder? Do men have reproductive rights?

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