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  1. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Abortion

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Mckk, Oct 19, 2014.

    So, thanks to an entirely different thread about character reaction to an abortion kept secret from the father, a discussion on abortion started and the consensus was: let's move it to the debate room. So here it is :)

    @ChickenFreak @BayView

    The thing I was discussing over on the other thread was: Should a man have a choice in the matter of whether a woman should abort their child? And my view was - and this is just an idea that's not been through any discussion or tests - perhaps abortion should only be allowed if both present parent agree upon it. ("present" would be crucial here - I don't think a single woman or a victim of rape should be forced to keep a child just because the man isn't present)

    Anyway, that's a HUGE "perhaps".

    @BayView - on the other thread you say you do not accept my premise that I regard the foetus as a child. In this regard, I think it's very personal and tied up with various other beliefs that goes beyond whatever science and biological development might reveal. In any case, feel free to expand here. For me, what is technically true and what is emotionally, personally true are not necessarily the same things - I accept that technically a foetus might not be "human", however I also see that in real life, when a woman has a miscarriage, nobody says to her, "Oh it's just a lump of cells. Get over it." In those cases, the woman is distraught because to her, and to the father if he's present, they've lost a child. That is their personal, emotional truth, and I guess I personally place a higher importance on this. And if my impressions were correct (they could be wrong, so feel free to correct me), in general woman feel guilty and full of grief after abortions and usually attribute to future misfortunes regarding pregnancies to some sort of "punishment" because of the abortion that they had.

    Let me clarify - I do NOT believe the misfortunes a woman may have is any kind of divine punishment from God. However, it is my understanding that many women interpret it that way, as though they're being punished for what they did.

    All these emotional reactions point me to the belief that the foetus is indeed a child, and that whatever the technicalities are scientifically speaking are irrelevant. (irrelevant is a strong word... hmm, well, feel free to discuss that too!)

    Anyway... let the discussion commence!

    As a disclaimer: I'll admit now I'm a Christian who believes abortion facilities SHOULD be available for every woman to make her own choice. However, I do see abortions as essentially tragedies - sometimes necessary, but nonetheless tragic. While I see abortions as essentially a sad thing, I do not see the motivation behind why women might abort to be so black and white, and this is why I would never condemn someone for an abortion, no matter how I see it.

    So all my views will, of course, be coloured by this. This is just so you understand where I'm speaking from.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    It's useless to debate if abortion is right or wrong, murder or not. Most people are already entrenched in their positions. But some aspects can be debated such as when does the fetus become a person.

    It's arbitrary to say "personhood" begins at conception. Why not say it occurs before conception? Or at implantation since before that time the fetus can't survive? How about at whatever week (23 weeks give or take a week if I recall correctly) the fetus has a chance to survive outside the womb? "Personhood" is a subjective definition.

    As for this:
    I'm sorry, @Mckk, but unless that man had the same risks and consequences as the pregnant woman, it's not up to the man.

    Yes, after the viable birth and also the financial costs of the pregnancy are the responsibility of both parents. But the ultimate cost is born solely by the woman and she certainly should be afforded veto power over the man's desires to keep or to abort the fetus.
     
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  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    @GingerCoffee, I agree with the first half of your post, but not the second.

    Sure the woman is the one who ultimately should decide, but the man should at least have his opinion heard and heavily considered, surely. After all, it's not purely the woman's work, the fetus is also the DNA of the male.

    It would be wrong to say 'well if you didn't want a kid you should have worn a condom', or 'Your work is done here until the baby needs clothes, so shut your mouth' because there are too many factors with abortion that means it's never going to be so black and white - it can't be.

    All the joy and stress are shared by the men. If we could share the physical process I know plenty of guys who would do that too.

    It's up to the couple. Maybe one member of the team is slightly more important than the other (woman of course) but not by much.
     
  4. Tara
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    Tara Contributing Member

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    When it comes to who should decide whether a child will be aborted or not the opinion of both parents should be considered, but I think it should be up to the woman to make the final decision because she is the one who will (or will not) be carrying the child.

    If a woman would want to abort her child I do not think the man has any right to force her to go through with the abortion because of both the physical risks and the way it may affect the woman mentally.

    I do think, however, that if a woman would want to keep her child while the man wants her to abort it the potential father should have the right to decide whether he wants to support the child financially or not in certain situations. A married couple should obviously take care of their children together, but if a woman for example happens to get pregnant after a one night stand and decides to keep the child (rather unlikely scenario, I know, but I needed an example) against the father's will I don't think she has the right to make the father support the child in any way.
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    A woman's vagina and uterus are a part of her body, and thus under her sole control. No man or other person should be allowed to legislate women's vaginas and uteruses in such a way that anyone else has a veto or equal say in what she does with it. Foetus is a part of woman's body as long as it can't survive outside it. These are the facts.

    There is a rich history of men being able to not only veto abortions but also to enforce them. It was a dark time when women were not allowed to be in charge of their lives or physical selves, and were forced to marry and bear children of their rapists, when they were called 'hysterical' when they reported child sexual abuse, when they couldn't divorce, when their husband or father or brother could lock them up in an insane asylum just to get rid of them. I am sure no woman wants to go back to that time. Legislating that a woman needs man's consent to abort is effectively encouraging rape for procreation purposes. Because the courts are so heavily skewed against the rape victim, and so much rape occurs through domestic abuse and in-family rape, this would be a disaster waiting to happen.

    A man might contribute genetic material but until he carries that child 50% of the time, in his uterus, when he births half of it, and breastfeeds too, he will have the right to veto a woman's abortion. Until then, if he is unfortunate enough to not want the woman to abort, and she goes ahead anyway, he should have our compassion and access to free counselling. That's all.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
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  6. ChickenFreak
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    @Mckk, I think that one part you're missing is the health effects of pregnancy. And this may tie in to my remark elsethread that perhaps we're societally invested in the idea that pregnancy is simple and safe and routine.

    It's not so simple and safe and routine. I was just reading a thread of real-life birth stories elseforum, in part to confirm or deny my feeling that birth stories are significant. But I also realized how very, very many major medical issues occurred.

    The US rate of C sections is 32.8 percent. So one in three births in the United States lead to major surgery, and everything that major surgery entails.

    Even without major surgery, things get torn (one woman said that her doctor said that after a certain point it's not worth counting the stitches, but he estimated around fifty), there's pain and trauma, there are hormonal issues, there's weeks or months of recovery, there are lifetime changes to the woman's body.

    So even if we could change the economic and legal reality that a pregnancy can destroy a woman's career, and that a woman cannot be entirely freed of responsibility for her child just because the father promises not to sue her for child support, we can't change that health reality.

    And that reality isn't true of the father. We COULD legally make some of it true. We could make a law that if a man's child needs blood, or bone marrow, or a kidney, or a piece of a liver, and if the father can probably survive giving that thing up, the government will go get him, drag him to the hospital, strap him down, and take it. But we don't do that. We rightly don't do that. Because that would be a nightmare. A nightmare similar to the one experienced by a woman who is forced to bear a child against her will. A man's kidneys and blood are his to do with as he will. A woman's uterus and vagina are hers to do with as she will.

    Moving to the trauma issue, many women don't see an early-stage bundle of cells as a child. But if they're forced to carry that child to birth, they're going to see that child as a child. And if they can't care for that child, and therefore have to hand him over to the father, a father that forced her to carry that child, forced her to take on those physical risks, a father that she may not trust the last little bit any more, that is indeed likely to be traumatic. She's been forced to create a human being that will be essentially owned by a man that she doesn't trust. If she got pregnant while in a relationship with an abuser, she has been forced to create someone for him to abuse.

    And the choice of trauma is the woman's choice; it's not our job to tell her, "No, we know your thoughts and feelings better than you do; we know that you will be more traumatized by an early abortion than by being forced to give birth. We're going to decide for you."

    @jazzabel, I wouldn't even go with fifty percent. When the man can take over 100% of the pregnancy, and when the risks to the woman of transferring that pregnancy to him are vanishingly small, then we'd have a playing field where we could start that discussion.
     
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  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @jazzabel - I'm actually totally not aware that there was a time when a man could force a woman to have abortions or not. Again, I'm wary of the term "force" because I don't believe a man should be allowed to force a woman to do anything, just as I don't believe a woman should be allowed to force a man to do anything.

    Playing devil's advocate though, wouldn't a woman aborting against the father's wishes be "forcing" him to give up his child?

    @GingerCoffee - Personhood, I'd say probably when the baby has the actual ability to move, hear, feel to some extent, when external stimuli actually has an effect on its development. I didn't major in science so I don't actually know, but can foetuses form emotions inside the womb?

    I'd be really interested in a man's perspective on this issue. What perspectives haven't we considered because we're less aware of them by virtue of being female and therefore more focused on our bodies and health? (nothing wrong with that, but a man's concerns in this area are going to be different to some extent)
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I gave my opinions above, and last time I checked I'm a man. :p
     
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  9. BayView
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    I think you can place importance on a grieving couple's emotional truth without expanding that truth to apply universally. When a baby is wanted and dreamed of and there's a miscarriage, it's as much the dream that is lost as any actual child. No less horrible, but we can be compassionate to the people suffering the loss without imposing a larger philosophical structure on things.

    There ARE women who feel guilty after abortions. (There are others who do not). Do the guilty women feel guilty because they somehow 'know' they killed a child, or do they feel guilty because certain, loud elements of society SAY they killed a child? Obviously I'd lean toward the second interpretation, especially since there loving, kind, sweet women out there who do NOT feel guilty after their abortions - if there was some mystical knowledge that allowed women to realize, only post-abortion, that fetuses are people, why do THESE women not receive the knowledge?

    People feel irrational guilt for all sorts of reasons. Especially, I would say, religious women who believe they've committed a sin. Again, their guilt is evidence of their socialization, not evidence of the true nature of their act. (The Christian god can be cruel, but would even HE play a trick that dirty? Keeping a woman in ignorance of the truth until after she'd committed the sin, and then flooding her with understanding and guilt? That's nasty.)

    Okay, and here's where I lose you. If I truly believed, as you do, that fetuses are babies, little human beings, and that abortion was killing them... I think I'd be a rabid anti-abortion activist. Wouldn't I? I mean, let's say we're talking about something we BOTH agree are little human beings - actual newborn babies. If women were for some reason being allowed to kill their newborn babies, I'd be OUTRAGED. I'd be storming the barricades of the baby-killing clinics.

    So, in a way, I understand the rabid anti-abortionists. I disagree with their original premise, but once I accept that they truly believe babies are being murdered... I understand why they're doing what they do.

    But I'm having trouble understanding your perspective. You believe abortion is killing babies, but... it's okay sometimes? Can you explain how that works?
     
  10. Aled James Taylor
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    I think any man worth his salt would support the woman 100% in whatever she chooses to do. Either way, it would be a difficult time ahead and she needs all the support she can get.

    Although a miscarriage would, no doubt provoke negative emotions, I doubt they would be in the same league as losing a child.

    Technically, until the fetus has a working brain, it could be considered much like a transplanted organ, with different DNA to the host, alive, but without mental capacity. (I have no idea how many weeks that would be).

    When it comes to pregnancy, the woman is many, many times more important then the man.
     
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  11. jazzabel
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    @Mcck :
    I find this very strange Mcck. :confused: I don't know if you ever looked into women's issues, history, rights etc. but the entire history of patriarchy, which lasted until women were granted human rights (it happened in stages, mostly from the 20th century onwards) so literally the entire European history, women were property of men. Husbands but also all related men, fathers, brothers etc. could physically abuse a woman and her word was nothing against theirs. Girls were married off to old men, what do you think happened then? You think that child had any say in whether or not she'll 1. get impregnated 2. keep the baby or not? Abusive men used to even kill children (or threaten to) as punishment. They still do, everywhere around the world. Some men beat women until they miscarried and yes, the society considered it 'her bad luck' to have a 'hard husband' but allowed the sadist to still have absolute authority over his wife, her body, mind and spirit were his to crush if he wanted to. Only another man could rescue her, she had no say or rights in her situation whatsoever. That was the law, both church and state.

    When one gender literally owns the other, sexual abuse of servants, children and women who are subordinate, not uncommonly ended up in forced abortions carried out on orders of men who abused them, after all, they didn't always want to put up with the embarrassment or claims on their fortunes by the bastard children. These disgusting, unclean, horrific abortions were carried out by other men, usually butchers, while women who practiced healing or midwifery were burned on the stake by the church for centuries, not to mention other, more gruesome crimes such as torture that were inflicted on them by the sadist witch hunters.

    So yes, it was an abhorrent time that lasted and lasted, and many women were forced to either birth children they didn't want, through denial of contraception and medical abortion (still happens, for example in Ireland where abortion is illegal) or were victims of sexual abuse and subjected to forced abortion and miscarriage through different means.
    I agree!
    A foetus is not a child as long as it can't survive by any other means but as an integral part of a woman's body. So no, a man forcing a woman to carry a foetus against her wishes is giving that man direct power over the woman's uterus and vagina, without which that rudimentary, developing life, can not survive even a minute. Before the foetus can survive outside womb on its own, it is not separate from the mother's body, philosophically, ethically or technically. It is, however, separate from the father's body, who can leave and never come back, it has no consequence on the child's development (biologically speaking). Therefore a man should have absolutely no right of decision vetoing over the developing foetus. He can voice his opinion and wishes, support or lack thereof, but his 'right' to his potential child doesn't exceed or superpseed a woman's bodily autonomy and right to make decisions about her own body.

    Unfortunately, especially monotheistic religions have this ongoing misconception about what constitutes 'life' in utero. It stems from this need to view everything in dualistic terms, something is either 'alive' or 'isn't' whereas nature isn't that simple. You said somewhere that 'you consider a foetus a child". Well, there are many people who believe scientifically incorrect things, and they are all entitled to their opinions, but they aren't entitled to their own facts. Science is quite clear on this, and if you read on, I know my comment just keeps growing, you will find out the realities, the facts, upon which law should be formed, not random opinions and philosophies.

    Scientifically, 'baby' isn't a sperm or the egg or the blastula or the embryo. That's life being formed, being 'cooked up'. Like you have building blocks for life itself, carbon, hydrogen, peptides, then proteins, then the DNA, then prions, the viruses, and loads in between until you have say, a human. The peptide isn't a human. It's a building block of a human. Foetus as it develops resembles evolutionary predecessors of humans, it is developing. Once it is born, or in medicine we even went further, once it can by any scientific means survive outside the womb to develop into an actual baby, which is about 20-21 weeks, it becomes 'alive' in the sense of human rights and abortion law.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
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  12. GingerCoffee
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    That's no different than what I said.

    As I said above, I didn't say the man wasn't involved. Of course he should be. What I said was the woman should have veto power, which is the same thing you said, "the one who ultimately should decide." @Mckk posted that both had to agree before an abortion. Imagine if one reversed that and said, both had to agree not to abort.

    Having had a child, I would argue with this: "Maybe one member of the team is slightly more important than the other (woman of course) but not by much." During the pregnancy it's not a "slight" difference.:(

    Your scenario is well and good in the standard couples situation. But there are so many other scenarios. Birth control can fail, people have sex for the joy of sex rather than a partnership, people can turn out not to be the partner you thought they were and so on.
     
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  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Then @GingerCoffee, that is all fair enough for me. :)
     
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  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    No. The father's obligation to support the child starts with the sex act. It might sound reasonable to give the man the right to opt out, but it's unrealistic to say, "get an abortion or raise the kid yourself." Opting out starts before the sex.
     
  15. Ulramar
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    Shouldn't that same logic apply to the abortion itself, then? If the man gets cold feet, too bad, he still has to pay child support. But if a woman gets cold feet, fine, she can abort? I mean, I support abortion 100% but that seems a bit unfair to me.
     
  16. BayView
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    It's not an equal relationship. Trying to make it "fair" doesn't mean making it equal.

    This is true philosophically (a woman has a right to control her own body), but also practically:

    Being pregnant is a huge thing. I'm thinking of my three best girlfriends, all of whom are moms. One of them had three miscarriages before getting pregnant, two of which were far enough along that they were treated as medical emergencies. She finally carried to term, but had brutal morning sickness for the first TWO trimesters, to the point that she was hospitalized several times and couldn't work. Another friend had a fairly uneventful first pregnancy but was on bedrest for the last SIX MONTHS of her second pregnancy. A two-year-old running around the house, a husband who worked shifts, and she wasn't supposed to STAND UP for anything but an emergency. My third friend had an uneventful pregnancy but then had a difficult delivery which ended in an emergency C-section after thirty-or-so hours of labour. C-sections are major surgery.

    It's cute when dads stop drinking while the mom-to-be is pregnant and nursing. It's wonderful when they cook healthy, pregnancy-safe meals and provide backrubs on demand. Men can be very supportive during pregnancy. But they don't get pregnant. They don't deal with the physical consequences of that decision.

    So trying to give men and women equal rights over a pregnancy makes no sense, because they don't have equal responsibility for the pregnancy. Women's bodies, women's choices. It has to be that way.
     
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  17. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I misspoke. I didn't mean 'fair'. It's not fair, of course. Men don't end up growing a human within their body and there's no matching that.

    What I meant is why the father has an obligation that starts at sex, but a woman doesn't. Maybe you answered this and I misunderstood, but that makes no sense to me. Fine, women deserve to be able to choose what they do with their bodies. I'm down with that, abortions are okay. But if a woman decides against an abortion but the man wanted her to have one, he shouldn't have to pay child support (in my opinion).

    As Gingercoffee said, "Opting out starts at sex." Fine. But that should go both ways. But of course it doesn't because abortions are alright with everyone here I think. So men shouldn't be required to pay child support if the woman doesn't want an abortion.
     
  18. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    But abortion is also an invasive procedure. So "that should go both ways" doesn't work, again, because it's the WOMAN who's expected to either subject her body to an invasive procedure or support a child for the rest of her life.

    Men and women both have responsibilities around sex and procreation. These responsibilities ARE NOT THE SAME, because the roles in procreation are not the same.

    Men's last physical involvement with pregnancy is during sex. So THAT's the last time men have a voice in whether procreation occurs. Women's physical involvement lasts a lot longer, so they have later opportunities to take control.

    Does that make sense to you? If you want a rule that "goes both ways", that rule is "Men and women should both have control over what their bodies do, and how their bodies contribute to procreation." Once the man's body is no longer involved, it's no longer his choice to make.
     
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  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's her body, period, full stop.
     
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  20. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Alright, that makes sense. I can agree with that.

    Men also have a right to the child (which was my next point), but I mean I can see that wiped out by the woman's right to her body.
     
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  21. GingerCoffee
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    A better way to put this is the child has a right to both parents. Once the child is born, short of a need to protect the child from an abusive parent, the mother no longer has a right to keep the child from its father.
     
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  22. Ulramar
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    The idea I was trying to put across is that the woman decides what happens to the child. In the event that she wants to keep it but the father wants to abort, he loses out. Fine, it's her body. But at this point, the father wants nothing to do with it. The woman decided. Fair. But now by law he owes child support for a child he didn't want. That's what I meant by pointing out the whole flaw in "Opting out ends at sex". Fine, it's her body, she needs to terminate the child. I'm okay with that. But the dad has no way to opt out. She's allowed to get an abortion without the father's approval (that's where this thread came from and the consensus was "Yes she can do that"). And once again that's okay. But I believe that the father needs an opt out method. He shouldn't be stuck to the child 100% while the woman can decide the unborn child's fate. That's what I mean.
     
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  23. MainerMikeBrown
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    One thing I definitely know is that the abortion debate will never be agreed on, as both sides, pro and anti abortion, have legitimate arguments.
     
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  24. BayView
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    Condoms and spermicide. Vasectomies. Abstinence. Not having PIV sex.
     
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  25. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    But the woman has all that too. Condoms. Morning After Pill. Vaginal insertions. Anti-pregnancy pill. Abstincence. Not having PIV sex.

    I'm talking about "after the act" opt outs. The woman can have an abortion. Should the father waive his right to be in the child's life, he should be able to opt out of child support.
     
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