Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, December 10th, 2005.


Some Things Aren’t Equal

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abortion, Women's Issues

I remember a workplace rumor of several years ago — the company I worked for allegedly was considering more “personal” time for employees with children. Whereupon the single and childless among us put up a howl that the policy wouldn’t be fair.

At the time I was employed full time and raising two kids by myself, so I had some pretty strong opinions about what was fair.

An unmarried woman in the next cubicle was howling about how “some people” were going to get a special advantage.

You already have an advantage, I said. Your advantage is that you don’t have children.

She did a double take. What was I talking about?

I tried to explain that the responsibility of children could be crushing, and that their needs didn’t always neatly coincide with out-of-office hours, and that employees who are parents come with built-in time restraints and stresses that the childless don’t have to deal with.

You chose to have kids, she said. Yes, but somebody’s got to do it, I said. Perpetrating the species and all. Not to mention funding Social Security and raising a new generation of consumers. We’re serving a function necessary to the nation and to society. And the company probably figured the cost of the privilege would be made up by increased productivity, which would not be the case if extended to the childless.

You’ll feel differently after your kids have moved out, she said. No, I won’t, I said. They did, and I don’t.

The policy was never instituted, possibly because childless employees put up such a stink. In their next lives they will be brood sows. But my point is that not everything is equitable, and we’re not all playing with the same hand.

I bring this up because some poor deluded girl-child named Meghan Daum actually wrote an op ed in the Los Angeles Times that advocates “choice” for men.

I don’t know Ms. Daum, but I take it the twit-ette is young, childless, and has a boyfriend who spouts this crap.

Most people now accept that women, especially teenagers, often make decisions regarding abortion based on educational and career goals and whether the father of the unborn child is someone they want to hang around with for the next few decades. The “choice” in this equation is not only a matter of whether to carry an individual fetus to term but a question of what kind of life the woman wishes to lead. … If abortion is to remain legal and relatively unrestricted — and I believe it should — why shouldn’t men have the right during at least the first trimester of pregnancy to terminate their legal and financial rights and responsibilities to the child?

Daum acknowledges that this policy would leave to some unfortunate consequences, such as financially undersupported children, but she thinks it’s more important that we be fair.

News flash, toots: Some things can’t be made fair.

Pregnancy and childbirth are unique conditions that have no equivalence in males. Requiring the poor boy to pay child supports is not equivalent to pregnancy and childbirth, which are conditions of the female — and only the female — body. That’s why she gets to choose. But once there is a child, that child is owed the support of both parents.

Ampersand at Alas, a Blog has written about “choice for men” at some length. Ampersand is a lot nicer about it than I am, as I believe categorically that any male who argues in favor of this nonsense is no man. He is an emotional adolescent, a weenie. In the past whenever I’ve written on the topic of men, some weenie will drop by and say that I must not like men. Au contraire. I like men, a lot. It’s weenies I can’t stand.

Anyway, here Ampersand argues that “Both men and women should have every reproductive choice biologically possible.” But trying to balance the facts of biology with a non-biological “equivalent” in the interest of fairness is neither fair nor equitable. It cannot be made equitable.

Period. End of story. And don’t come whining to me about what’s “fair.” Life ain’t fair. Get used to it.

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