Equality in Reproduction

Feminism is said to be about equality between the sexes.
While I don’t see feminists fighting equally on many issues (you can see my previous articles and follow my future articles to understand why), there is still one very important issue that is yet to be discussed. Men and women aren’t equal by nature. We are not equal by the most basic body function: reproduction.

Men and women aren’t equal by nature. We are not equal by the most basic body function: reproduction.

We can’t achieve equality of rights when we don’t have equal responsibility. It’s a bit like if you buy a house. Your tenants don’t have to pay your mortgage, but you have the right to renovate. Equal rights come from equal responsibility.
On the issue of reproduction, then, when considering rights, it is crucial to remember the differences between the sexes:
Men and women don’t have the same birth control options yet
Men’s only birth control options are condoms or a vasectomy. The problem with vasectomy is that it is not reliably reversible. It is comparable to a tubular ligation in women. Ie. it is invasive and considered permanent. The problem with condoms is that they are not an independent solution. If the woman lacks lubrication on her side of the condom, it can break and the man would be at risk, even if he used his method perfectly. So, even if this method is 98% effective when used perfectly, it needs perfect use from both partners. Therefore, perfect use is not achievable by the man alone. Women, on the other hand, have many safe and reliable options for birth control. They have IUDs, pills, rings, injections, patches… in addition to tubular ligation. These methods can provide 99.9% effectiveness with perfect use, and that can be achieved by the woman alone since these methods don’t require any input from a partner. Responsibility in the case of an unwanted pregnancy is therefore not equal because women can ensure perfect use by themselves. Perfect use – with very few exceptions due to birth control failing, not misuse. For women, the effectiveness of their birth control is in their hands and their hands alone. If you misuse your own birth control, it’s your responsibility. The problem is that men lack a safe, effective and reversible birth control option where use is entirely their responsibility. Men lack this option, yet are still held responsible when there’s an unwanted pregnancy.
Bodily autonomy
While women have the upper hand in birth control, it has been assumed that they don’t have the upper hand in the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy. In both abortion and pregnancy, it will be the woman who will experience the medical procedures, the body changes, the pains and the risks to her life. While the risk of life is significantly lower than it used to be, it is still a risk. A man will not experience any changes to his body. This does not mean he is not at risk of death from an unwanted pregnancy, however. If he is forced into fatherhood, he will be forced to provide for the child. He will need to work more hours, keep a job he doesn’t want, etc. This exposes him to greater risk of death in the workplace. The CDC data for 2013 puts the risk of pregnancy-related deaths for women in the US at 17.3 per 100,000 live births. This is slightly lower than the risk of death for taxi drivers and chauffeurs in the US for the same year at 19.7 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers. The annual rate for some male-dominated professions exceeds 100 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers. Men forced into fatherhood endure this annual risk for 18 years or more.
Nobody should be forced to endure pain, change their body or risk their life, be it at work or in a pregnancy. That is bodily autonomy.
Like marriage, parenthood should be something adults consent to. People have different situations in life and might not even be able to provide for themselves, much less for someone else.

Like marriage, parenthood should be something adults consent to.

The current situation and why it’s not right
Women have all the best birth control options and yet they are the only ones who can decide to say no to an unwanted pregnancy with abortion. Women can also stop their birth control and then force a man to pay for the resulting child. They can force a man to be a father, and then force him to support the resulting child for 18 years or more, which also supports her.
Solutions from the other side and why they don’t work
Some people want both parties to consent to an abortion. That means that if a man wants to keep the child, the mother would be forced to keep it. That goes against the right of bodily autonomy, forcing the woman to go through pain, change her body and risk her life, without her consent.
This also does nothing to address the ability of a woman to force a man into fatherhood without his consent.
Solutions that do work
To me, balancing the differences between the sexes regarding reproduction means taking into consideration the different rights and responsibilities: As women have better birth control options and the option to get an abortion, it’s important that women cannot force men into parenthood. If she misused her birth control, it shouldn’t be a man’s problem. If it’s an accident, she still has the option to abort. A man should therefore get the same right to say no to parenthood. That’s where legal paternal surrender (also known as financial abortion) comes into it. He would have the option to surrender his responsibility and rights to the child. To be fair, this solution requires 2 conditions:
  1. Women need to be advised of the man’s decision before 10 weeks. This provides her with the time to abort if she doesn’t want to be a single mother.
  2. Men would have to be advised of the pregnancy no later than 8 weeks, so they have time to decide too.
The cons and their solution
I will address the pro life position by keeping to the rights addressed in this article: Some women don’t want to abort, some men don’t want their unborn child to be aborted. In this case, the solution is a relationship contract between the parties where they both agree not to have an abortion or apply for legal paternal surrender. Relationship contracts could also be conditional on taking/using birth control if the parties so choose. That means that if a woman stops her birth control, the man’s responsibility for a resulting pregnancy is nullified.

13 Comments on “Equality in Reproduction”

    • Feminism is NOT against men .
      Feminism is NOT against Feminility.
      Feminism’s goal is NOT to make Female and Male equal.
      Feminism exists to help all women to have the SAME RIGHTS as men. Not for helping women to become men or live as men.
      Feminism has helped INDIVIDUALS (women AND men) to be , act , live , be respected as a HUMAN BEINGS not as a predefined social roles.
      Feminism fights all gender’s prejudices.
      Feminism is for the freedom (for women AND men) of being what they want instead of what society expect from them.
      Feminism exists because female exist.
      If you are a female and you call yourself a Non-Feminist you sound ILLOGICAL as it would sound a black person in south africa if he declares to be FOR apartheid, as an ebrew to be FOR shoah, as a child to be FOR pedophilia, as a slave to be FOR slavery.
      Women AGAINST Feminism are like writers AGAINST readers.
      Women AGAINST Feminism are like musicians AGAINST concerts.
      Women AGAINST Feminism are like mine workers AGAINST mine workers‘ Union.
      Women AGAINST Feminism are like Children AGAINST Unicef.
      Are you sure you are AGAINST feminism?

      • After giving this much thought and listening to all sides of for and against feminism I can absolutely say without a doubt that I am NOT nor will I ever call myself a feminist. I’ve been around long enough to see the true face of feminism and what it really means. Illogical? That’s your opinion and I respect your right to hold that opinion however I do not respect feminists as I’ve witnessed far to many women hiding behind their feminist agenda, using it to exploit, belittle and outright abuse men and the system we all live by, these women should be ashamed when they call themselves oppressed and completely ignore their very obvious privilege.

      • Elena pls b logical y are u committing fallacy, y would you say non feminist are illogical, wat is good to me may b bad to you, and moreover it is when most female fail that is when they gall back to feminism. Take it or leave it I am a non feminist, most of u are anti men

      • You sound very certain of your misconceptions, Elena. Myopia is a disability, however. Just because you don’t see something not mean it does not exist.

        Essentially, what you are trying to say is that feminism = gender egalitarianism. Yet you have failed to define egalitarianism or show the ways in which feminism actually upholds, supports or promotes actual gender equality. This is actually impossible to show, so I don’t blame you for not trying.

        Token virtue signalling does not equal gender egalitarianism. Gender egalitarianism requires equal human and civil rights *regardless of gender*. Women Against Feminism understands this. The legislation lobbied for by feminists shows that they do not.

        Under feminism, women’s rights have been elevated above those of men and children. That is not gender egalitarianism. That is assigning rights *because of gender*. It is gender apartheid.

        Women Against Feminism is not “Women Against Women’s Just Rights”. It is women against state-mandated gender prejudice! It is women against the injustice that results from society and the law gender profiling men as violent, privileged and oppressive by nature.

        Women Against Feminism is women FOR human rights – *regardless of gender*.

        Feminism is and always has been a movement to improve outcomes for women with regard to men. It is Gender Marxist by nature in that it views women as the victimised proletariat while depicting men (#YesAllMen) as willful oppressors. Feminism looks at history and humanity only through the perspective of embittered women. It does not see men’s sacrifice. It does not see the suffering of children. It does not see the agency of women who choose motherhood despite feminist’s insistence that women’s biological roles are slavery, designed for the benefit of men.

        You are personally free to delude yourself into believing that a movement called “feminism” could stand for human rights regardless of gender, but we have seen (and survived) the harms of feminism’s sexism.

        Feminism is sexism. The future is human.

  1. You are very correct in saying women have more reliable options for birth control. However, could an issue be pharmaceutical companies not spending money on male contraceptives with knowledge they will not be used due to side effects? There has been effective male contraceptives for years and yet no companies will trial/produce them because they will not be used due to men not wanting to experience the side effects.
    Why should only women have to tolerate side effects of reliable contraceptives, when it is possible for the burden of using these to be equal?

    • The argument that men “don’t want the side effects” is a misinterpretation. Possible infertility is not a “side effect” I imagine most women would want either. Further having dozens of options is not a “burden” being spoiled for choice is a “burden” most people want in any given situation. Ultimately this does nothing to address the elephant in the room either, that the N.O.W, AAUW and more besides have actively lobbied against male birth control under the premise that it “hurts women” which is asinine…but no more asinine than most of the other issues that feminists ignore on a daily basis

      • . . . You know those side effects aren’t worse than the ones that female birth control had when it first was created right? Except women weren’t warned about it and couldn’t consent to their own medical needs. If knowing the side effects a man still wants to take birth control that option should still be available to him.

  2. My view might be controversial. If someone assaults me and I consequently become paraplegic, I would need to learn to live with my new condition: whether I deserved it or not would be beside the point.

    To take another parallel example: if a woman rapes me and becomes pregnant, I have no right to force her to have an abortion since that fetus has a right to live. If my attacker decides to keep the baby, then, firstly, since she would be a sex offender, I certainly should have a right to claim full custody of the child. After that, while I could give it up for adoption to a person who accepts responsibility for it, I should still be held responsible for caring for that child until I do find someone who is willing to adopt the child. Whether I deserve to have such a responsibility imposed on me through rape would be beside the point: whatever abuse I might have endured, we must still consider the child’s needs too. How much more responsible should I be should I consent to the sexual act!

    That said, unless I rape a woman, I should have a right to equal custody to the child and take equal responsibility for the child too.

    • And when a father rapes his 12 year old daughter. What then? Are you going to stop the child from taking the morning after pill?

  3. I will add that one concern has to do with the difficulty in proving any form of sexual assault or coercion beyond reasonable doubt before a tribunal. When the sex is consensual, I have difficulty sympathizing with either partner: if I engage in consensual sex with a woman and she becomes pregnant, then we take responsibility for it, simple as that. When either partner coerces the other though, then what’s the solution?

    I think a start would be to make any sex-crime trial inquisitorial by default. Even that would improve the situation only a little. I know some US states still have fornication as a crime punishable by a light fine in the law books? Should we maintain these fornication laws, spread them to other jurisdictions, raise the fine to a heavier one and maybe double it for each repetition of the offence? I don’t know the answer, but I suppose that fornication would be easier to prove beyond reasonable doubt than sexual assault. Do we encourage potential rapists of either sex to seek help by advertising resources for sex addiction or compulsive sexual behaviours?

    I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do know that in any pregnancy situation, the rights of the child must trump those of the parents even in cases of rape. I also know that we must consider sexual assault as a gender-neutral crime that can happen to anybody.

    Going back to consensual sex between two partners: if they consent, then they accept responsibility for whatever happens.

  4. While your argument is logical, I cannot personally get past the fact that abortion is murder. Unwanted pregnancies result, overwhelmingly, from consensual sex, and to resort to murder as a convenient solution to that consequence should have all the negative consequences nature (if not the law) can confer.

    Chaining men to the consequences of their actions is fine if women aren’t let out of it either. If you don’t intend to reproduce, you don’t NEED to be fucking.

    • If an embryo is a person with the same rights as a baby, why doesn’t the church demand that we register the death of a person and hold a funeral every time a woman has a miscarriage?

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