Thursday, March 23, 2006

Roe V. Wade for men?

There's a wonderful piece in the Boston Globe (of all places!) by their lone conservative voice, Jeff Jacoby, on an issue of great cultural importance.
the old code was swept away by the Sexual Revolution. With the Pill and easy abortion came the illusion of sex without consequences. Pregnancy could be avoided or readily undone. Men didn't have to marry women they impregnated; women didn't have to reserve themselves for men who were committed or whose intentions were honorable. With the devaluation of sex came the devaluation of fatherhood. Men got used to the idea of sex without strings. So did women, many of who also got used to the idea of motherhood without husbands. Government helped, too, mandating welfare benefits for unmarried moms, and child-support checks from "deadbeat dads." With the incentives for marriage weaker than ever, more and more children were born out of wedlock. In 1950, just 4 percent of births were to unmarried mothers. By 1980, the rate was more than 18 percent. It stands today at nearly 36 percent.

One of the greatest examples in human history of the Law of Unintended Consequences shows up in our welfare system. It is easily understood, but the emotional plea to provide sustenance to the weak and helpless, to provide some support for women with babies but not husbands, is strong and understandable. Unfortunately, it has devastating negative consequences. Any time you subsidize behavior, you get more of it. Always. You pay women to have babies without husbands, you get more women having babies without husbands. We, in America, have been doing it for 40 years now.

Does anyone want to argue that it makes the world a better place?
A 25-year-old computer programmer in Michigan, Dubay wants to know why it is only women who have "reproductive rights."...His ex-girlfriend chose to become a mother. It was her choice not to have an abortion, her choice to carry the baby to term, her choice not to have the child adopted. She even had the option, under the "baby safe haven" laws most states have enacted, to simply leave her newborn at a hospital or police station. Roe v. Wade gives her and all women the right - the constitutional right! - to avoid parenthood and its responsibilities. Dubay argues that he should have the same right, and has filed a federal lawsuit that his supporters are calling "Roe v. Wade for men." contends that as a matter of equal rights, men who don't want a child should be permitted, early in pregnancy, to get "a financial abortion" releasing them from any future responsibility to the baby.

Jacoby rightly rails against the "rights without responsibilities" position that this represents. It's an excellent piece...

Technorati tags: Jacoby, Globe, RoeVWade, Dubay



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