I make no secret of the fact that I feel that abortion should be a choice made by a woman and her doctor (and in some cases, her partner.) I find none of the reasons provided by anti-abortionists to be rational or compelling enough to justify sweeping legislation that impinges on the rights of women whose lives may be lost or destroyed by these limitations. Some of it is insulting to women’s intelligence; some of it is representative of medical ignorance; all of it is based in religion, which should not be influencing government in the first place.
Let me say, though, that the most abhorrent reasons are the ones that portray children as “punishment” for a woman in one way or another. Some state this overtly, some with a bit more circumlocution, but they all boil down to the woman shouldn’t have engaged in sexual intercourse if she didn’t want to have a child, so now she’s just going to have to deal with the consequences of her actions. I can’t even begin to plumb the depths of the awfulness of this argument. There are so many levels of wrong here that it would be impossible to address them in a single blog post.
What I can do is suggest a way that this attitude can be expressed legislatively in a far less discriminatory fashion.
You see, if a child is punishment for having sexual intercourse, then the punishment should be equally distributed between both parties involved in the punishable act. Legislation that prevents access to abortion should not affect only the mothers, but the fathers as well. Much of this might not be necessary, as in the case of faithful married couples who will already be legally obligated to share the financial and other burdens of having a child, but there’s no reason to leave them out completely, either. I’ll get to that.
Include something in this legislation that creates a record of women who request abortions, just to establish a paper trail for legal purposes. If a woman seeks an abortion and is denied it or cannot afford it, the state will perform DNA tests on both the child and the father named by the mother. Just as the ultrasound costs are paid by the mother in these legislative acts, the DNA testing cost must be paid by the father. Once paternity has been established, a judge will decide the best punishment for the father – in some cases, marriage to the mother may be ordered, but mostly it will involve lifetime child support and regular visitation. If the man didn’t want to be a father, then he shouldn’t have had sexual intercourse, after all.
If the father is already married to the mother, DNA tests should also be required, just to make sure that the right father is being punished. This would make having even wanted children more expensive, but we want to be absolutely sure that the right person is being punished for every child that’s born. Some states might even want to do this retroactively, DNA testing every man who, say, applies for public assistance or disability or unemployment, since those are obviously the selfish, irresponsible people who’d go around having recreational sex in the first place, amirite?
This way, states wouldn’t have to limit the procedure to only women seeking abortions, but to all the leeches on society making babies they can’t afford. Oh, yeah. But start with the abortion-seekers. That way the wording that punishes fathers with children can be included in the laws that punish mothers with children. If you want to be taken seriously when you say that you’re not anti-woman when you propose this stuff, then you shouldn’t be leaving fathers out of the picture. Of course, it’s hard to take you seriously when you talk about living, breathing, dependent little human beings as “punishment,” but at least this way you’ll appear a little less disingenuous.