A woman’s body, a woman’s choice.
In discussions of reproductive rights, this choice nugget of execrable rationalization is repeated so often it may be considered a new word.
It is a sloppy, dishonest, and unethical excuse for the continued maintenance of the amoral and opportunistic annihilation of the human rights of men in reproductive matters.
The rationalization hamster races whenever this topic is broached in support of a regard for male human beings deserving basic human rights:
- Men don’t get pregnant, stupid!
- You should have used a condom, stupid!
- You made your decision when you had sex, stupid!
The first of these asinine, and yet often repeated rebuttals – that men don’t get pregnant, to the extent that it’s true, supports the argument that being pregnant is a choice, and it’s a choice that only women have.
Now, I won’t pretend that women cannot or do not become unintentionally pregnant, either through failure of condoms, or failure of birth control pills, or in rare cases, failure of tubal ligation. However, accidental pregnancy will be set aside for the moment.
Women living in the first world, that is, in nations with a developed industrial economy, access to modern medical services and all the attendant conveniences of the 21st century have nearly total control over their own fertility.
A listing of all available methods for women to control their own reproduction would be tedious, but dozens of pre-conception consumer technologies for birth control are cheaply and easily available to women. This consideration addresses technology only, and doesn’t touch on women’s legal rights of self determination. In the few instances of political discussion over whether women should or should not retain rights of bodily autonomy and self determination, suggestions of those rights being denied has resulted in the rapid smack-down of any politician suggesting otherwise.
Post-conception, women also enjoy the right to terminate pregnancies using a version of the morning after pill, or by surgical abortion. The criteria and window of legally allowed access to abortions varies from state to state, but is available in every state.
A women’s body, a woman’s choice is not merely a motto, it is the law.
There are of course, some restrictions, and these vary based on progression of the pregnancy. These limitations are based on the fact that at some point during a pregnancy, the bundle of cells becomes a human being, to whom the human right to not be killed based on parental convenience must be afforded. Where this line is drawn varies based on who is asked, which is why in most states, abortion is limited to early term pregnancies.
Where this line should be drawn is not the topic of this article, other than to state that it is appropriate to draw it somewhere.
To be clear, I reject the doctrine claiming the personhood of a fertilized egg.
Women control their own pregnancies.
Men, by contrast, do not control women’s fertility, nor their pregnancies. This is why men have no right to force a woman to continue a pregnancy, nor any right to limit a woman’s use of pre-conception birth control.
However, a man whose sperm is used to fertilize a woman’s ovum carries legal obligations to not only abide by the woman’s decision to become pregnant, noting that in almost all cases this is a matter of volition and choice. In addition, the full enforcement powers of the state, both the civil police and the financial institutions regulated by the state will compel a man whose sperm is used to support that woman’s reproductive choice for almost all of the following two decades.
A man has no legal choice in this. He has no reproductive rights, even while he carries legal and financial obligation. In fact, although debtor’s prisons have been outlawed for more than a century, men unable to meet the enforced financial obligation mandated by a woman’s exercised right of reproduction, these men are regularly imprisoned.This is unambiguously an implementation of the morally repulsive practice of slavery; the reproductive trap.
While assertions of its occurrence are frequently mocked, women can and do contrive to become pregnant without the consent or knowledge of men whose sperm is used.
“When [Jonathan’s] girlfriend of just a few weeks announced her pregnancy, the news was coupled with an astonishing admission: she claimed to have impregnated herself using a condom that they had discarded after sex. […] Six months later, though, Jonathan received a letter from the Child Support Agency asking him to make a contribution to his daughter’s upbringing.” 
In another article , Daily Mail columnist and apparently amoral would-be mother Liz Jones wrote about self impregnation using stolen semen.
“The ‘theft’ itself was alarmingly easy to carry out. One night, after sex, I took the used condom and, in the privacy of the bathroom, I did what I had to do. Bingo.”
In the same article, Jones claimed a 2001 survey revealed that: “42 per cent of women would lie about using contraception in order to get pregnant in spite of their partners’ wishes.”
She didn’t cite a source for this survey, so this may be hyperbole. Lying about statistics in an online article is a lesser offence than theft of somebody’s gamete cells.
Aside from the stunning prospect of overt theft from a condom, the “accidental on purpose” forgetting to take birth control and becoming pregnant within a relationship without male consent is quite common.
This practice is possible of course only because socially and legally, our culture affords no reproductive rights to men, despite the necessity of male contribution of personal genetic material, and the legally enforced onus to finance women’s reproductive choices.
The Irish Supreme Court recently took this absurd situation to a new level of hypocrisy. On February 23 2012, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment upholding the constitutionality of a law that allows teenage boys – but not teenage girls – to be prosecuted for having underage sex.
Under the 2006 Act “teenage boys can be held criminally liable for having sexual intercourse with an underage girl” while teenage girls are immune from prosecution.
In 2010 the Court rejected a challenge to this law because “girls risk pregnancy and the law is entitled to place the burden of criminal sanction on those who bear the least adverse consequences”. 
Meanwhile, in some US states, including California and Kansas, minor boys statutorily raped by adult women must pay child support to the criminals who raped them. In one case, the boy was drugged before sex. 
At what point do humans of conscience take a stand and cease to recognize the courts rendering such judgment.
When conscience says law is immoral, don’t follow it. You can cite me for contempt, Your Honor. I don’t care.
Correction : This article mis-identified the Irish court’s decision, attributing the decision to United States courts. The mis-identification has been corrected – but the error is noted with apology to readers for the mistake