I keep an eye on a number of public policy and cultural debates without chiming in often, whether because they’re a little out of the scope of this site or because I long ago wrote about all I could think to write and haven’t seen anything catch my interest more recently. One exchange of letters in the Providence Journal, though, puts a point in such stark relief that it demands mention. Related to an op-ed by two pro-abortion state legislators, Jamestown resident Brian Gardner recently wrote:
I find the term “reproductive freedom” a bit dishonest. Abortion only happens after one has avoided the freedom not to have sex; and the freedom to use contraception. A fetus is proof positive that reproduction has already started. …
What is also dishonest is claiming it is a “woman’s choice” but then legally burdening the father with all costs should the woman choose to have the baby. Where is the freedom and choice on the father’s side of the situation?
To which Annie Talbot of Cranston today responds:
I must remind Mr. Gardner that men do play a role in women’s pregnancies. Look there for men’s opportunities for freedom and choice.
It’s difficult to know whether Ms. Talbot’s view is sexist against men or against women. On one hand, she’s saying men’s rights are held to a different standard from women, giving the latter opportunity to choose not to be the parent of a living child almost to the point of birth, while men must make their decisions prior to conception. On the other hand, it seems to me she’s tacitly suggesting that men can be expected to be more responsible about sexual decisions and that women have no real choice when it comes to sex.
Of course, that’s not what she means, but it would be helpful if people were encouraged to think their social and political views through.