The concept of reproductive rights

EqualRIghtsThe debate about reproductive rights, has been going on since the Teheran proclamation in 1968. [1]

Some of the language is interesting, a man “gets a woman pregnant” whereas a woman “gets pregnant” If a woman doesn’t want the responsibility of children, she has multiple outs, if a man doesn’t want a child, he is told to be abstinent or get minor surgery. If he gets a child anyway, he is told to man up, and stop being a deadbeat dad or get put in jail. If a man over 30 sleeps with one of his students and gets her pregnant, he’s sent off to jail. If a woman over 30 sleeps with one of her students, and gets pregnant, she can sue for child support. [2]

Reproductive rights for women

Reproductive rights for women has been and still is a heated issue in the public discourse but it has made great strides since 1968.  Since then we have had Row vs Wade [3],  and the birth control pill. There is no doubt that “the pill” was a major step as it allowed women complete control of the timing of their pregnancies. The contraceptive options for women have only expanded since “the pill” came on the market [4] and now include everything from female condoms to patches, and shots.

There is also the second line of defense, the morning after pill, and the other options available such as Ella and an IUD. [5] These are effective for up to 5 days after unproctected sex.

Then there is the last line of defense, the always controversial abortions. Apparantly there are two kinds, medical and in-clinic. [6] The abortion pill is an option up to 10 weeks into the pregnancy. In-clinic abortion, is an option until 10 – 12 weeks depending on legislation in the country.

So based on the preceding facts. Reproductive rights and control is granted to women in 4 layers.

Step 1: Birth Control.

Step 2: Morning after pill. (It should also be noticed that the woman makes this decision for both her and the man)

Step 3: Keep or not keep. (It should also be noticed that the woman makes this decision for both her and the man)

Step 4: To give up for adoption or not give up for adoption. (It should also be noticed that the woman makes this decision for both her and the man)

This means that for a woman:

A) Consent to sex is not consent to become a parent.

B) Consent to carry a pregnancy to term is not consent to take on the legal duties associated with parenthood.

Male reproductive rights: 

While reproductive rights and contraceptives have made a lot of progress since 1968 for women, very little has been done for men. There has been talk of a male pill and gel you inject into the vas deferens that would be reversible, but nothing has materialized. I suppose if I were to sum up the progress in men’s birth control in the past 40 years, there are a lot of funny condoms out there now [9]

For men, there are 3 forms of birth control:

  1. Condoms
  2. Vasectomy
  3. Abstinence.

Condoms are easy however, one could argue that taking a simple pill every morning would be easier. They are fairly cheap and when used correctly they are highly effective. In addition to guarding against pregnancy, they also protect from STDs. Some of the issues related to condoms, are issues of comfort, the need to put them on correctly in order for them to be maximally effective, damaged product or product that has gone by the “use by” date.

A vasectomy is a surgery where the the vas deferens are cut and sealed. It’s permanent, so only an option for those men who are absolutely certain that they do not want children. It is considered minor surgery, you’ll need to ice your privates for a few days, retesting is required to make sure the surgery was effective, and as I said, it is permanent. The surgery can be reversed, but there is no certainty that it will work.

Abstinence, the option that is often the least probable and abstinence programs have a history of not working very well. [7] Secondly, consider the reaction if suggesting the same to a woman, considering you get “slut walks” and are accused of being a misogynist rape-applogist for merely suggesting that being in the bad part of town, drunk off you ass, at 3am while wearing 6 inch heels and a miniskirt, may be a case of increasing accumulating risk.

Once the sex is over with, there are no second line or third line defenses for the man.

This means that for a man; consent to sex is consent to become a parent and and acceptance of the duties that come with being a parent.

This would indicate the following:

Males have less reproductive rights than women, in that their decision to engage in sexual intercourse, consists of 3 simultaneous levels of consent.

A) To have sex

B) To accept the possibility of becoming a parent.

C) To accept the legal and financial ramifications if he becomes a parent.

For a woman, she makes 5 separate decisions, at differing points in time. The male makes 1 decision. How can this be resolved?

Step 1: is equal, both genders have the choice to use birth control.

Step 2: Is not applicable to the male, as there is no “morning after” pill for him.

Step 3: Is not applicable to the male as he has no say in whether an abortion is performed or not.

Step 4: Can be made applicable to both genders, as giving a child up for adoption is the process whereupon the woman’s parental rights and duties are surrendered to the state. This is the equivalent of the man signing away his parental rights and duties.

With the solution in Step 4, the model for male consent would include 2 distinct types of consent:

A) Consent to have sex.

B) Consent to become a parent.

The female model also has 2 distinct types of consent:

A) Consent to have sex.

B) Consent to become a parent. However, this consent is spread across time and method.

This gives equal reproductive rights to both genders.

This does create a bind though. Because anyone who argues that for men, consent to sex is also consent to become a parent, cannot possibly support abortion or giving a child up for adoption. Because that means treating men and women differently when it comes to reproductive rights.

And treating people differently based on gender is sexism.










3 comments on “The concept of reproductive rights

  1. […] full-time caretaker” This is assuming you even get that choice. As I’ve written about before, female reproductive rights are much better than rights for men, to the point where a woman can […]


  2. […] the other hand, easy access abortions, morning after pills, safe haven laws and “The Pill” reduce the risk of sex for women. You may argue “female contraception reduces the risk for […]


  3. […] must carry the majority of financial consequences of poor reproductive decisions. As I wrote in “The Concept of Reproductive Rights” there should be no such thing as “accidentally” becoming a mother, hardly even such a […]


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