Adventures in abortion regulation

by Walter Olson on December 20, 2011

A proposed Michigan law would apply legal scrutiny to men’s motives for walking out of relationships. [Fathers and Families via Amy Alkon]

{ 10 comments }

1 blhlls 12.20.11 at 2:24 pm

Because once a woman becomes pregnant, she needs someone else to be a responsible adult in the household–The proposed legislation is just insulting.

2 Bob Roberts 12.20.11 at 4:15 pm

According to the link, “Fathers and Families does not take a position on abortion.” This is silly. They are saying that the unborn child is not fully human. Telling your wife “kill my boss or I’ll divorce you,” or telling your girlfriend, “kill my enemy or I’ll move out and not support you,” is being an accomplice to murder. Only by denying the personhood of the unborn can F&F claim that killing an unborn child is different from killing a boss.

3 Counsel 12.20.11 at 9:23 pm

Threatening or using violence, especially on your wife or girlfriend is just straight up illegal, but having to explain why someone left a relationship? that is just dumb. What are they trying to do? Force a person to be in a relationship? That is going to workout well..

4 Scott Jacobs 12.21.11 at 5:31 am

What are they trying to do? Force a person to be in a relationship? That is going to workout well..

Well, really, I can understand why they would want to do that…

I mean, isn’t domestic abuse dropping? How ELSE are they going to increase domestic violence so they can point to the increase to excuse more laws?

You know, I might just be a cynic…

5 Marty 12.21.11 at 12:58 pm

When a child became 100% the responsibility of the mother (her body, her choice), men reacted accordingly and walked away from their offspring in droves.

She chose the bastard, not him.

6 Gwenfrewi 12.21.11 at 5:40 pm

Isn’t it just a way of encouraging people to behave responsibly? – To think about the implications before the child is conceived, and act accordingly at that stage?

7 Hugo S. Cunningham 12.21.11 at 7:12 pm

@ gwenfrewi

This measure would
(1) encourage women to behave irresponsibly by
(a) neglecting to use birth control,
(b) refusing to discuss their reproductive intentions honestly with their current partner, and
(c) undervaluing marriage as the prerequisite for child-bearing

(2) encourage men to walk away from a relationship where trust is shattered (and fleeing the State where this “breach-of-[non]promise” travesty holds), rather than discussing honestly with the woman whether the relationship can be repaired.

8 Hugo S. Cunningham 12.22.11 at 12:00 pm

In its perversity, this proposal reminds me of a 2002 Florida law pushed by some bone-headed father’s rights groups in conjunction with anti-adoption activists:
that an unwed mother wishing to put her newborn up for adoption would first be required to place detailed notices in newspapers soliciting comment by the DNA-dad, explaining exactly where and when she might have become impregnated.
About a year later, adoption supporters and others recognizing the child’s interest in a stable two-parent family got this law repealed, with the help of anti-abortion people who recognized the overwhelming incentive to get an abortion rather than put up with “Scarlet Letter” humiliation.

9 Walter Olson 12.22.11 at 12:05 pm

Yikes. And I am still trying to imagine how “anti-adoption activists” could exercise enough clout to influence legislation in a major state.

10 Hugo S. Cunningham 12.31.11 at 3:38 pm

On further investigation, it looks like some (less-clear-thinking) anti-abortion people were major supporters of Florida’s 2002 Scarlet-letter law, eg:

http://www.glennsacks.com/fathers_deserve_proper.htm
Dads Deserve to Know
By Dianna Thompson and Glenn Sacks
[article not reproduced here]

It had been an article of faith among anti-abortion people for years that instead of choosing abortion, unwed mothers should be more optimistic about marrying or at least getting support from biological fathers, who supposedly are more interested in fatherhood (and more capable) than generally assumed. But 2002 was the first time this argument was deployed against adoption as well as abortion.

The Florida scarlet-letter law, and much more moderate paternal notice laws in other States, were an outgrowth of several publicized controversies, most notably the “Baby Richard” case in Illinois, of DNA-dads showing up after an adoption had gone through to contest it. (The “Baby Richard” case was unusual in that the DNA-dad and the birth mother were willing to marry in order to give weight to his claim.)

A year after Florida’s “scarlet letter” law was passed, most anti-abortion people recognized its perverse pro-abortion effect and shifted their support to the pro-adoption side.

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