It Sucks to be a Woman

This weekend, I had a conversation with a group of people about the upcoming election.  As is typical in a fairly diverse group, at least one woman said that she was voting for Obama to protect "women's rights."  When pressed, this seemed to boil down to support for abortion rights. 

Boy, I am sure glad that I am a man, where my rights are not narrowly defined around the availability of a single out-patient surgical procedure.  I get to define my rights to include free speech, commerce, property, gun ownership, immunity from arbitrary search and seizure, and habeus corpus.  Even in the narrow world of medical care, I can aspire broadly to rights such as the ability to use medications not necessarily labeled safe and effective by the FDA, the ability to contract for whatever procedures I want even if the government is not willing to pay for them, and the abilty ride my motorcycle with or without a helmet as long as I am willing to bear the cost and consequences of my actions.

I will confess that this broader view of my rights makes voting more difficult, as neither the Coke nor the Pepsi party consistently protects my rights defined this broadly.

  • Michael Miller

    You may not agree, but I think that one of the parties you refer to, is much more likely than the the other, to support the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice that just might consistently agree with your broad definition of rights.

  • CT_Yankee

    One party wants to force every person (of any religion - or none) to act as Jesus would. The other wants to wipe out any mention of the name Jesus. Neither wants to follow the Constitution, and leave it up to each individual to decide how heavily (and which - if any) religion will influence thier lives.

    The 1st Ammendmend guarentees Freedom OF Religion, not FROM.

    I managed to get by in a Catholic High School without becoming converting, however I have seen complaints from people who spent years in a public school that held graduation in biggest place available, a church.

  • CT_Yankee

    One party wants to force every person (of any religion - or none) to act as Jesus would. The other wants to wipe out any mention of the name Jesus. Neither wants to follow the Constitution, and leave it up to each individual to decide how heavily (and which - if any) religion will influence thier lives.

    The 1st Ammendmend guarentees Freedom OF Religion, not FROM.

    I managed to get by in a Catholic High School without becoming converting, however I have seen complaints from people who spent years in a public school that held graduation in biggest place available, a church.

  • "One party wants to force every person (of any religion - or none) to act as Jesus would. The other wants to wipe out any mention of the name Jesus."

    I'm sorry but, aside from the extreme fringe, I'm not getting that as the core message of either party. You shouldn't mistake the flakes for the crust.

  • Clint

    There's only one sure recipe for limited government in the U.S.: divided government.

    The democrats are going to pick up at least 5 seats in the Senate, and several in the House as well.

    The last 20 years haven't been particularly good for the cause of liberty in the U.S. -- but the years of divided government (Clinton-Gingritch; Bush-Pelosi) have been far less bad than the years when the same party held both Congress and the White House.

    The libertarian choice is obvious: McCain-Palin, because at least he'll veto SOME of the worst laws.

  • ccoffer

    I have never understood the logic that underlies that premise which dictates that all female "rights" begin with the unfettered ability to kill their unborn children. I know an awful lot of women, but I know very few who think this way.

    "What if I can't get rid of my baby!?!" Is hardly a common refrain among sensible women.

  • By "women's rights," they mean rights specific to women, not all rights women have (or should have). Or it could be that way in principle. In practice, those who talk loudest about "women's rights" don't seem to be concerned much with any of their other rights.

  • Chris

    The Democrat Party would also like John Q Public to pay for these "rights" if I read their plank correctly that "these rights shall be guaranteed regardless of a woman's ability to pay."

  • The other coyote

    I am a woman and could not agree with you more. I grew up in the 80's (grad from high school in '86) and was subjected to non-stop pro-abortion rhetoric from teachers, the media, etc., etc. Now that I've grown up, and have a child of my own, I've realized how flawed the "women's rights" arguments are. You hear the crazies saying something along the lines of "women will be forced [presumably by the phantom men who totally control their lives] to have child after child, and won't be able to run their own lives." Um, the only place I know of where women have so little freedom that they are nothing more than sex and womb slaves is the Middle East. In America, the last time I checked, the vast majority of women are earning a paycheck and doing exactly what they please with their lives. The police, courts, media and public opinion will protect any woman who is being kept as a slave (look at the cult people in Texas, if you want a modern day story). With the possible exception of Muslim immigrants (less than 1% of the population) and a handful of cult loonies, nobody in America is a baby making slave!

    Which morphs into my next point: As you noted, the other part of the "women's rights" argument is, as Barack noted, nobody should be "punished" with a baby. Um, if you don't want kids, don't have sex. Simple as that. What these women really want is the unfettered right to screw around as much as they want, with absolutely no consequences. It's all about how good can they feel, and damn everybody else - including an innocent life. Sorry, in my book, you make your bed, you lay in it. I think part of what's wrong with this country is too many people are hedonists, with no concept of responsibility. Having sex with anybody and everybody at any time, because it's fun, and killing an innocent life in the process, makes me sick.

    The other interesting dichotomy is how many unfettered abortion folks are PETA and animal rights folks. I am disgusted at how many pets are thrown away at the pound every year and have 4 dogs and 3 cats that came from death row at the pound. But it's remarkable how many people are "pro-choice" but will go to the ends of the earth to protect lab rats, file lawsuits to protect the sage grouse, and cry about dogs at the pound. Innocent life is innocent life, people.

  • Methinks

    As a woman, I'm sick to death of other people's attempts to herd me into a collective called "women" and define my issues for me.

    I'm pro-choice, but it's not the only issue I care about. I'll happily pay for another woman to terminate an unwanted pregnancy because I think it's her right and because the person who has to lie in the bed the pregnant woman has made is the baby who had no choice. Too many times in my life I've seen the results of "parenting" an unwanted child. The difference is that I'd rather pay for the abortion myself rather than rely on government to misspend the money and force people like The Other Coyote to pay for something she doesn't believe in.

    "What if I can't get rid of my baby!?!" Is hardly a common refrain among sensible women.

    Control over reproduction is important. Children are a burden and decrease women's freedom in a way that men can only consider in the abstract.

    There's only one sure recipe for limited government in the U.S.: divided government.

    I agree with you. The best outcome we can hope for is splitting the legislative branch and the executive branch between the two parties and hope they engage in more partisan fighting and less law passing because of it. That's our best hope for liberty.

  • tomw

    Some people will go to the extreme to make a point, such as "they will lose their rights", which is not true. The individual STATES will be ALLOWED, as they should, under the Constitution, to determine their own laws about abortion.
    Same old thing, the sky is falling the sky is falling. or. The WOLF is coming...
    Grow up.
    If you can't make a coherent argument, keep your 'thoughts' to yourself and remain thought a fool... as the saying goes.
    tom

  • Zach

    "The individual STATES will be ALLOWED, as they should, under the Constitution, to determine their own laws about abortion."

    I don't think this is true nor desired. What you are saying is that abortion should be put to a vote, which ought to offend everybody.

    Either:
    1) A fetus is a human being, and therefore has an inherent right to life.

    or

    2) A fetus is not a human being, and therefore the woman has a right to make her own medical decisions without interference from the government.

    Wherever you happen to fall in the abortion debate, by "leaving it up to the states" you are essentially putting someone's fundamental rights up for a vote, which ought to be repugnant to anyone who cares at all for individual liberty. If you believe 1 is true, then "leaving it up to the states" is akin to letting one group of people vote on letting another group of people live or die. That's a repulsive idea. If you believe 2 is true, then "leaving it up to the states" is akin to putting someone's private medical decisions up for a vote by the general public. That's also a repulsive idea.

  • ccoffer

    Control over reproduction is important, huh? Control after that reproduction has taken place?
    My problem with the arguments in favor of unlimited extermination of unborn boys and girls is all the shameless dishonesty that parades as reasoned argument. If children are such a burden, then women have all the freedom in the world to not get pregnant. Absolute freedom in fact, since women are the ones who decide whether or not any pregnancy inducing activities will take place.

    I have more respect for the position of a pro-infanticide lunatic like Barack Obama. At least there is some honesty there.

  • Methinks

    If children are such a burden, then women have all the freedom in the world to not get pregnant.

    This is simply untrue. Women who become pregnant as a result of rape or childhood molestation are not at liberty to decide not to get pregnant. They do not even get to decide if sex takes place or not. Moreover, there are times when a pregnant woman has to decide between her life and the child's for medical reasons. Choosing the fetus is killing the mother and that choice should not be yours. Ignoring this doesn't make your argument more reasoned, just more ignorant.

    Moreover, while men also get to decide that whether or not they engage in activities that get their partner pregnant, they can more easily shake off the burden for biological reasons if for no other. Although, I'm not advocating abortion as a birth control method. I'm just pointing out that women are not always in control on issues of pregnancy.

    I'm not unsympathetic to your opinion that fetuses are human beings deserving of the same protections as human beings who have already been born. I understand your argument. I just don't agree that fetuses are human beings deserving of the same protection. There is no scientific definition for when human life begins. There isn't even a theological agreement. So, it's a matter of opinion and our opinions diverge. As a woman, I don't want your opinion overriding mine on issues of my body just as I don't want Obama and women's groups defining my issues for me.

    That said, the point of this thread is single issue voting with abortion as the single issue. Although, I'm pro-choice, I'm also against everything else Obama stands for (and I'm not in favour of government subsidized abortions either). Giving up all my other liberties in favour of one (even if we erroneously assume the president has any say at all wrt abortion) is a poor trade-off.

  • ccoffer

    Pathetic, but very illuminating. The stupid-ass straw man of rape and incest is used for purely rhetorical reasons; and is used by people who care not a whit about either. Millions and millions and millions of little unborn boys and girls have been exterminated for the sake of convenience since the farce of Row v Wade. Rape/child molestation/incest is incredibly rare. Actual pregnancies resulting from same are as close to a statistical zero as you can get when compared with the volume of garden variety baby-killing that has been going on for the last few decades.

    Thank you for confirming the dishonesty of the maniacal pro-abortion position.

  • Methinks

    And thank you for confirming that there are little tyrants like you on the other side of the debate. You have a narrow definition of life and, in fact, life doesn't interest you. Advancing your fascist agenda does. What you care about is that you maintain fascist control over other people's choices, not actual life.

  • Ann

    "There is no scientific definition for when human life begins. There isn't even a theological agreement. So, it's a matter of opinion and our opinions diverge."

    But I tend to think of it as a matter of probabilities. You can't be 100% sure when life begins. Thus, there is some chance that abortions are all murders. If a woman were to, say, shoot a gun into a crowd, could she get away with it by arguing that there was no guarantee that she would murder anyone and that, in her opinion, the probability that her action would lead to murder was less than 10% and thus acceptable?

    I've often been puzzled in the past about the unique privilege of women - to be able to claim the right to take another life purely to avoid any inconvenience caused by our own voluntary choice.

    I can see exceptions where the mother's life is significantly at risk, and possibly for rape (although the "and incest" part never seemed to logically follow, even though incest is typically grouped with rape in abortion arguments). But short of those cases, I agree with The Other Coyote - I'm pro-choice in that I believe that a woman should have the right to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. But why does it follow that she has the right to punish another being for the consequences of her own actions?

  • Fay

    Read Judith Jarvis Thomson: http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm

    Even if a fetus is a human being whose life has begun, a woman is not obligated to let that human being grow INSIDE HER BODY if she does not want to. It is far, far more than a matter of "inconvenience." And it should not be up to the government; it should be up to HER. Criminalizing abortion is forced pregnancy, and furthermore, criminalizing abortion just means that more women die, while abortion rates remain basically unchanged. Women have been aborting babies since the beginning of time, and I'd rather that option be available safely, rather than driven underground.

    Furthermore, usually the same people who want to criminalize abortion are also those who don't believe in contraception, promote abstinence-only sex "education," and want pharmacists' sale of contraceptives (for example) to be optional... while the place where abortion rates are lowest, are coincidentally the places where sex education and contraception are most widely available and dispensed.

  • ccoffer

    "And thank you for confirming that there are little tyrants like you on the other side of the debate. You have a narrow definition of life and, in fact, life doesn't interest you. Advancing your fascist agenda does. What you care about is that you maintain fascist control over other people's choices, not actual life."

    Tyrant? That didn't take long.

    Lose argument much?

    Best,
    CHU
    p.s. I enjoy the argument, but I tire of winning it so easily. Please come back when you get back in the mood.

  • ccoffer

    "Criminalizing abortion is forced pregnancy"

    Criminalizing vagrancy is endorsing indentured servitude. Right? I mean, if I can't legally sleep on a park bench, I might as well be a galley slave. Right?

  • ccoffer

    Is there a scientific answer for when life ends? Screw theology. If there is, then there is certainly a definition for when it begins.

    The notion that opposition to killing defenseless people is a religious idea is news to me. If there is a religion that says they should be killed, I oppose it. If, however, it takes religious belief to say they should be left to live, maybe we actually do need forced conversions. If secularism is the admission that cannibalism is a right, then we should welcome a latter day Torquemada. hoho

  • Me, Myself and I

    Fay says:

    Women have been aborting babies since the beginning of time,

    This is not actually true. For a long time the only way that women were able to deal with an unwanted pregnancy was to abandon the child soon after birth, and this same approach is used today in primitive societies.

    It is only be in the last few hundred years or so years that women have been able to procure abortions, and even then, given the state of medical knowledge, it really has only been since the mid 1800s that they were safe.

    If you have any contrary information, perhaps you could enlighten us. Shit, women used to die pretty often from infection resulting from childbirth, do you then that abortions came with any really lower probability of infection and other complications?

  • Christ

    I never got why republicans insist on enforcing a ban on abortions as a matter of law. Let the market work - offer pregnant women who want to abort the option to be paid for carrying the unwanted fetus and surely there will be plenty fundamentalist Christians ready to adopt the newborn children.

    Where does the belief that forcing women liberal enough to consider abortion to have unwanted children and then raise them is better for anyone?

  • Some Dude ...

    Christ (?) says:

    Let the market work - offer pregnant women who want to abort the option to be paid for carrying the unwanted fetus and surely there will be plenty fundamentalist Christians ready to adopt the newborn children.

    That system already exists, it is called welfare.

    The problem is that you don't really want that sort of child. Just ask countless school teachers across the nation.

  • a nony mouse

    I am a rape survivor.

    I am pro-abortion.

    Straw man fringe argument for _you_ maybe. Maybe not for me, not when I was 13 years old and scared out of my mind, because all I'd been taught at my (missionary baptist) school and church led the circular thinking eating my brain away - "Good girls don't have this happen to them. If anyone finds out, I'll lose all my friends, become a total outcast. Everyone will say I'm a slut. If they find out I'm pregnant, I'll get kicked out of school, and church, and then I'll have nothing. I'll be nothing. I'd rather die."

    Not the most logical train of thought? Yeah, I was thirteen. What did you expect? As it was, given that there was no planned parenthood nearby, no options, I remember two weeks until I could get enough money without anyone noticing, and get to a different small town to buy a pregnancy test. And I was dead set that I'd slit my wrists in the shower if it came out positive.

    I'm better now. I'm older now. I'm willing to work with and vote for pro-life politicians if they cover other issues that I consider absolutely vital - gun rights, self-defense rights, smaller government, lower taxes... which are just as vital to me, especially that self-defense, as the ability to control whether or not I can control my own future or find it tied to a child.

    ...and now I'm going to post this anonymously, because no matter how strong a woman I think I am, I still can't bring myself to ever admit this bare-faced in public. And it eats at my soul that I know my silence lets my rapist go free, but I cannot take that step. Not even now.

  • Methinks

    I enjoy the argument, but I tire of winning it so easily. Please come back when you get back in the mood.

    LOL! I'll debate you when you learn the definition of a "straw man argument" and that neither aggressive assertion nor hyperbole constitute an argument. Until then, anything I write will merely sail right over your empty head just like my previous posts.

  • AnonySpouse

    Anony mouse says, anonymously,

    I am a rape survivor.

    I am pro-abortion.

    I am a false rape accusation survivor.

    I am anti-false-rape accusers. I support stiff jail terms for false rape accusers.

    See how it works. Make some shit up under cover of anonymity.

  • The Other Coyote

    Fay and Methinks are victims of the same '70s and '80s educators that I was. My guess is neither one has a child.

    If you did, you would know that life begins at conception.

    And no, not all pro-life people are against birth control. In fact, we are in favor of all kinds of birth control, including the oldest form of birth control of all --- abstinence.

    The rape/incest/health of the mother straw men are trotted out once again. Nonsense. You both want the right to feel as good as you want, and everyone else be damned. As far as the "I'm not letting some stranger mooch off my womb" argument of the lunatic you cited to, I reiterate: if you don't want some stranger mooching off your womb, don't f#uck around. It's really quite simple.

    If Fay and Methinks would be honest and admit that what they really want is to preserve the ability to kill their own children, should one come along and "inconvenience" their busy, good-times lives, I think they'd garner a little more respect in my book. As it stands, you're nothing more than selfish hedonists.

    And I really dig the Margaret Sanger argument, that those lousy low-class women will spawn children left and right that the rest of us will be forced to support. As a previous commenter noted, that already happens... it's called welfare. And those moms don't put their kids up for adoption, since the American taxpayer has been forced to pay the freight on these women's pleasure pursuits since before I was born.

    I like sex as much as the next person, but when did it become a recreational sport in this country?

  • Betty boop

    I agree that you can't lump woman's rights into one single issue but I'm pro choice...and I'm going to give you guys some compelling reasons to understand why abortion in my mind is a necessary evil and a freedom with which we should bother to keep.

    Abortion is a horrible choice and practice. It's a very tough decision that I'm willing to bet most woman don't make lightly and the fact that woman are willing to make the decision and live with it with the frequency that they do speaks volumes about why this should remain an option on the table.

    The fact is that many, many, many (get the point!) babies are born in the US each year that are unwanted or are ill able to be cared for. If you believe that babies are brought up on a steady dose of Jesus and love alone in this day in age then you really are not in touch with reality. It is essential that parents are monetarily and morally able to cope with parenthood. Now, I'll leave the whole argument of how most people who willingly have babies shouldn't be having them for another blog but as far as this topic goes...
    I don't think the vast majority of teenage pregnancies are wanted and I think that aborting these fetuses is only a positive occurrence. It simply comes down to most of these woman cannot afford to keep these children and most of the time these father's do not stick around, they biologically do not have to and so what you get is a poor, uneducated teenager left with the decision of having another human life to take care of when she can't even take care of herself OR aborting the fetus and moving on with her life. I'm in favor of the latter. I think that it is repressive not to give her this option as she is statistically not likely to make anything of herself ever and will be burdened with caring for a child with which she is ill equipped to care for in the first place. So not only is it unfair to her (and her parents, who ultimately will help in raising this child) but it is unfair to the kid. I surely know that if this were to be the circumstances in which I came into the world I myself would rather you abort me because I know that I would like a fair monetary and moral shot at life rather than some poor, piteous and resentful one.
    Furthermore, being that a lot of these accidental and teenage pregnancies are unwanted or unexpected and these mother's cannot financially support the health care (both before and after pregnancy) for themselves or the kid, along with the whole plethora of other expenses kids incur
    who do you think pays for what cannot be paid for?
    Why the taxpayers of course!
    I do not want to pay for another s mistake and a whole slew of social programs and incentives aimed at helping out unwed and single mother's out when a lot of them can be prevented.

    In the case of rape or incest, and yes it does happen more frequently than it should (I'll throw out alarming statistic for people, that 1 in every 3 woman WORLDWIDE, in her lifetime will be a victim of a sexual crime, whether it be molestation, incest or rape, what the population of the world now? Do the math it's a lot of woman!)...these cases should really be a no brain er. The girl/woman didn't even choose to have sex why should she bear the burden of responsibility of none other than a complete bastard child? The reminisces of rape and molestation last a lifetime why make that hurt and mental torment all the more evident by making her tote around a direct effect of that horrible event?

    I also believe that as long as the death penalty remains (humans putting people who are actual alive and breathing and full fledged adults) in effect that abortion arguments are lame at best...for Christ's sake we go to other countries with an army to kill other people, how is that really justified? Why is killing others who threaten our freedom or those who are considered unwanted and deplorable to society much different from a woman needing to make a decision about a fetus with no coherent thought much different? It's not...

    I know I sure as hell don't remember floating around in utero..but I'm sure those were the good ole days..

    Everybody is welcome to their opinions but these are the facts and woman have a VERY tough life in society and even in the US as it is. I think the true way to avoid such conundrums is to teach COMPREHENSIVE sexual education in schools..and not just abstinence. I think the curriculum should INCLUDE abstinence but it should also include all traditional methods of birth control and the consequences of sex. To not educate our kids properly on sex is absolutely astounding and ridiculous...and quite frankly unacceptable. I'm not that old and grew up in the 90's and kids were talking about kissing and sex and the whole nine yards in 4th grade. And I come from a very wealthy area of the country not some back woods boring town.