Friday, October 21, 2011

Kirsten West Savali: Should Men Have the Right to 'Financial Abortions'?

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By: Kirsten West Savali, Your Black World

From wild conspiracy theories surrounding Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger, and her subscription to eugenics, to conservative anti-choice organizations vilifying the wombs of African-American children from Atlanta to Oakland, the termination of a pregnancy is an intimate decision that continues to be examined, judged and defended from pulpits to pool halls across the United States of America.

Conservative laymen and politicians relentlessly engage in socio-economic warfare against Planned Parenthood, attempting to manipulate women of color into denying themselves access to the life-saving healthcare that the organization provides. In essence, critics paint scarlet A's across the uteri of women seeking abortions, then cast them unprotected into the court of public opinion as perpetrators of a vast genocidal plot to "murder" the future of black and brown children one abortion at a time.

Women are holding on to the right to choose when, where and with whom they want to have children with slippery fingers as the 1973 landmark Roe vs. Wade decision continues to be tested in states across the country. Feminists justifiably compare the repeal of Roe v Wade to holding women hostage in their own bodies, continuing the fight to ensure we have unquestionable authority over our motherhood options -- whether that entails childbirth, abortion or adoption.

The national conversation surrounding reproductive rights ebbs and flows, at turns gaining momentum, then sitting high on the party-pandering shelf to pull out during a rainy election cycle. Through it all, one very important person never quite seems to make the first string of the "Decision Making Team": The father.

The Madonna/Whore Complex which inundates our society typically places both accolades and accountability squarely on the shoulders of the mother because the womb is where the fetus develops. Tragically, the rights of fathers are often ignored while their responsibilities are etched in stone in courtrooms across America, exacerbating a judiciary imbalance that potentially undermines the father's position by relegating him to sperm donor status.

When a mother decides that abortion is her only option, with or without the father's consent, she is legally able to do so. This layered bias has been encouraged and accepted by society as a whole because the percentage of men who negate their responsibility to their children is much higher than those left heartbroken over a partner's abortion. Choosing instead to assert their reproductive freedom, and then just as swiftly disappear, absentee fathers contribute to some startling statistics. According to data compiled by Children: Our Ultimate Investment:

• 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
• 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
• 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
• 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes
• 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
• 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes
• 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes.
• 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes.

The lack of male guidance is glaringly obvious and has proven to be detrimental for many youth in this country. Men must be held equally accountable for pregnancy and the subsequent innocent lives that enter into the world.

There are no excuses.

There is, however, a controversial argument that has been swept under the rug. While pro-choice legislation makes the rights of the mother clear, at what point is a father able to say, 'I do not want this child'? Whether pro-life or pro-choice, we should all be able to agree that the quality of life is just as important as life itself, and when faced with the pivotal decision of whether or not to continue a pregnancy, both parents must be included in the dialogue. If not, ultimately, it is the child who suffers.
In a 2006 TIME article, many readers were introduced to the National Organization for Men and their push to establish a "Roe v Wade for Men." Center director, Mel Feit, long known for his often antagonistic opposition to feminism, stumbled across a provocative question that was cast aside as little more than a publicity stunt, but holds urgent relevance today:


"Up until now, reproductive choice has been seen as a woman's issue: you're either pro-life or pro-choice... If we expect men to be responsible, isn't it right to give them some choices too?"

"I'm not talking about fathers opting out of obligations that they've committed to. I mean early in pregnancy, if contraception failed, men should have a choice, and women have a right to know what that choice is as they decide how to proceed."

In all fifty states, once a child is born, the rights of the child supersede the parents, so the status quo is not likely to change; however, with abuse, abandonment and neglect being recurring themes for many unplanned children, what exactly is forced parenthood granting them the rights to?

According to the 2011 Kids Count Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in August of this year, 36 percent of Black children are living in poverty. The 16.1 percent unemployment rate in Black communities is nearly double the national average of 9.1 percent, healthcare is sub-par and infant mortality rates are higher than some third world countries. As costs rise and opportunities disappear, shouldn't men have the same rights as women to control their entrance into parenthood? Does that make them any less responsible than mothers who drop off their infants at hospital backdoors, no questions asked, because they realized they were not ready for motherhood? Financial abortion, in the strictest sense, can be simplified to the most elementary of terms: No taxation without representation. If a woman's body cannot be legislated; neither, then, should a man's right to choose when he becomes a father.

The right to feel the weight of decisions without being sheltered by gender is one that has not been fully realized, and some women in the pro-life/pro-choice debate seem to negligently cast aside the opinions of potential fathers as intrusive, irrelevant and patriarchal. In the vast majority of instances, especially as it pertains to political roulette with women's rights being the inevitable casualty, those labels hold true. Adversely, what would one call the presumptuousness of women who assume that men should snap to attention after they've made the decision to bring -- or not to bring -- a life into this world without allowing them to play a pivotal role in the decision? Responsibility and equality should not be mutually exclusive.

In this emerging feminist zeitgeist, fathers are often minimized by necessity in their voluntary absence, so it's understandable that women should solely control when they give birth, and that right cannot, and should not, be taken away. As a mother, sister and friend who bears witness to the fear, anger and frustration that women whom I love dearly face month to month when child-support payments are late or non-existent, this exploration into the nuances of equality was extremely difficult to tackle. However, I had to ask myself, and challenge other women in the pro-choice movement to ask themselves -- this brutally honest question:

Do we believe in absolute freedom of choice -- or merely our choice?

***********************

Kirsten West Savali is Senior News Editor at YourBlackWorld.com. Drawing from her degree in Psychology and experience as a mental health professional, her provocative topics explore the interconnectivity of race, religion, gender, politics and culture. Kirsten’s work can also be found on BlackVoices.com, Loop21.com, IllumeMagazine.com, BirthplaceMagazine.com, CarsonVentureMagazine.com and others. Her short story, “She Convinced The World She Didn’t Exist,” will be featured in the upcoming anthology, Liberated Muse Volume II: Betrayal Wears a Pretty Face. Kirsten is also founder of The Nomadic Poets Oasis, a website dedicated to the elevation and exposure of Poetry and Spoken Word. Connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter: @KWestSavali

21 comments:

Deborrah said...

Kristen, you left out the most salient point with regards to men and their choices.

Men CHOOSE to have sex with the women they create life with. No one forced them to drop their pants and enter her body, they did that voluntarily. Now since every male over the age of 7 knows how babies are made, the logical conclusion is that he was willing to take the gamble and assume the risks of fatherhood because he wanted the sexual payoff and the immediate gratification right in his face.

My perspective: If he didn't want to become a father, or he knows he doesn't want to have a child with this crazy broad, he has 100% control over his behavior and semen at that point. Instead he opted instead to take a chance. Many times guys lose these bets, then want to complain about it later.

There are also cases of birth control abuse where the men intentionally sabotage the woman's birth control method with the intent of impregnating her. The goal is to maintain a tie and control over the woman's options. She didn't want the child before, and certainly not under these circumstances. The male requests that she have the child anyway. She says "no!" and gets an abortion. Who is right?

She is still a student with no money or options, whereas he is older and has his career. They are not married, as he doesn't want to be "tied down." Yet when she gets pregnant and wants to get an abortion so she can finish school unfettered, she is guilt tripped and asked "why you wanna kill my baby?" If she gets the abortion anyway, who is right?

Abortion is certainly an individual choice. However, looking at the millions of angry, abused and broken black males and females being abused, abandoned to foster care, prostituted on the streets, or locked up in prison I'd say its time to rethink abortion and consider it a blessing, not a curse.

Mary Alice said...

Men do have a perfectly legal choice: the choice to keep their pants zipped. Why is this so difficult to understand?

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! I sensed such hostility in your words I almost ran for your post; yet, let’s take the approach, this discussion will be open minded and with a generalist methodology. I read your entire post, and you made some valid points, yet it all came from a place of control and choices; saying, you are asking men to turn their control and choice over to women after conception. The only choice a man has is to not have or have sex? That would be fine if that’s all the choices women had. Let’s look at it this way, you EXPECT special RIGHTS because you have breast. You want to be able to have sex, protected or not, make a choice over what happens with a child if pregnant and men shouldn’t and couldn’t say anything because they chose to have sex and touch my breast? Is that what you’re saying? You sound like an extremely intelligent person and I know you’re not expecting people to except ANYTHING that you yourself are not willing to except.

Let’s try this on for size, a child is conceived and BOTH parents are compelled legally and any other way to live with the decision of engaging in a behavior that could lead to pregnancy. Meaning, at the point of conception the only choice is to be a parent. Does that work for you, because if not, then unequal expectations might exist in this equation? I certainly expect ALL men to live up to their obligations and responsibilities but the difference with me is I expect the same from ALL women too.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! I sensed such hostility in your words I almost ran for your post; yet, let’s take the approach, this discussion will be open minded and with a generalist methodology. I read your entire post, and you made some valid points, yet it all came from a place of control and choices; saying, you are asking men to turn their control and choice over to women after conception. The only choice a man has is to not have or have sex? That would be fine if that’s all the choices women had. Let’s look at it this way, you EXPECT special RIGHTS because you have breast. You want to be able to have sex, protected or not, make a choice over what happens with a child if pregnant and men shouldn’t and couldn’t say anything because they chose to have sex and touch my breast? Is that what you’re saying? You sound like an extremely intelligent person and I know you’re not expecting people to except ANYTHING that you yourself are not willing to except.

Let’s try this on for size, a child is conceived and BOTH parents are compelled legally and any other way to live with the decision of engaging in a behavior that could lead to pregnancy. Meaning, at the point of conception the only choice is to be a parent. Does that work for you, because if not, then unequal expectations might exist in this equation? I certainly expect ALL men to live up to their obligations and responsibilities but the difference with me is I expect the same from ALL women too.

Mary Alice said...

There is absolutely no hostility in what Deborrah said. You might slightly be correct in dismissing her points as hostile if she suggested women, girl teens, and girl children advocate the legislation of chemical or physical castration for males who have sex then seek to abdicate responsibility for any child they conceive. But she did not, although it would be perfectly reasonable for her to do so.

Females of all ages, including little girls, know that a vast majority of males seek to have sex for fun, spread their sperm, then do their best to walk away, leaving the females to deal with the resulting conception. Let's not forget the means by which males often do this, including rape; having sex with girl children; incessant, obnoxious begging; using alcohol, drugs, and violence to incapacitate the female; as well as birth control sabotage. Quite a few males do this multiple times.

For more information on how various male sex behaviors negatively impact females of all ages and society at large by conceiving children they have no intention of raising, check your local social service office, your local family court, your local foster care agency, your state's Sex Offender Registry, and your local District Attorney's office, for starters.

Mary Alice said...

Let us not forget the males who do things like this in order to abdicate responsibility for their own sex behavior: http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/29505762/detail.html.

Anonymous said...

I read the article you linked Mary Alice. It highlights why so many men aren't held accountable for their bad behavior. No matter how wrong they are, the community will defend the male and blame the woman. No matter how outrageous their behavior, mothers, aunts, etc. make excuses for these men so that they are never taught that their behavior is unacceptable.

Mary Alice said...

Yipsilanti dude doesn't ever have to worry about getting a woman pregnant, then not wanting to raise his child. He is sentenced to 60 years. The only progeny he will produce is Big Bubba's jelly babies. That is a win for society.

As for women who support and encourage BM irresponsibility, the author of this story, Kirsten West-Savali, is another one. She is playing the role of house Negro who schemes against her own kind -- the Black female field Negro. In this case, West-Savali is siding with BM oppressors of BW. Her lobbying for BM irresponsibility toward their own offspring is indicative of what conquered people do. She reminds me of conquered BM who take sides with their conquerors -- Arab Muslim, European Christian, and more recently Chinese -- instead of fighting for self. I am no longer surprised at what conquered Black people do. Once I remember conquered people often don't have a clue, I don't take them seriously. They're damaged. And everyone can see it.

Hotep said...

It appears to me that both men and women may or may not consent to having sex, it's not just the man. A woman can keep her pants zipped and say no just like a man. So then why is it the man's responsibility to decide if a couple has sex, unprotected or not? I often hear single pregnant women say, I can raise a child by myself, I don't need a man. They appear strong until the reality of the fact that no you can't raise a child by yourself and you do need a man, whether it's physically or monetarily. Then when the reality hits them that they need help, they want to get mad at the man, who probably didn't have any means to assist in the first place and still don't have any means to assist, when he says that he doesn't have any money. I think the article asks some real questions that really should be considered seriously and not brushed aside by the idea that men choose to have sex. We all choose to have sex, unprotected or protected. The other thing I observe is women using their children as a pawn to control the fathers. And most times the main ones who suffer are the children.

william said...

Life vs rights, to be or not to be; it's not a question,its a duel phrase that bring questions to mind. Our choices and decisions should be made from information,inter search and research, what we know, and how will we create lifestyle; its care and development.This battle over the responsibilities in parenting should be based on our committment and selflessness for the long haul. There are alot of blame and shame to go around in all directions. The oops of our sexual behaves will be our disconnect until we add and find how the realness in love, relationships and the respect for life enters. We will be at odds with God's will vs the politics of life, women choices vs men insights. There must come a decision not based on emotional minutes but the destiny's fulfillment. Abandonment thru decisions or absence are painful emotionally,mentally and physically. It has far-reaching effects and undesirable impacts.We must be taught the hows of being men and women so we can look into life and see ourself in it and not just run in its misdirections. It's said life's a beach, and that comforting to know that land is near after fighting the waves of decision that drowns our thoughts;our life thinking rites are to think right for life.We can live free from our self created pain.STOP!!! the hurt,live with the love and responsibility that make it all worthwhile,our relationships not abandonships. Let's rid the mental toxicity that has reared our mind.

Mary Alice said...

The BM is the weakest man on Earth, Hotep. He has allowed every and anyone to conquer him. Everyone knows the BM is irresponsible toward his own offspring. Deep in her heart, Kirsten West-Savali knows the BM is incapable of doing better. That is why she wrote this essay trying to legitimize BM irresponsibility for his own sex behavior. And, she let everyone know how weak the BM is by posting this same essay on Huffington Post. The BM no longer has any shame.

Any pregnant female who says she doesn't need a man does so because baby daddy has demonstrated to her that she is on her own.

The BM has no shame.

3rd I said...

I am a BM and raising my two kids by choice. I believe it's a woman's right to abort or not. But, a man shouldn't have to be financially responsible if he doesn't want it. I guarantee you if that was law, more woman would have an abortion.

Anonymous said...

Mary Alice, the Black Man is actually the most powerful man on earth. #1600Pennslynia Ave.

Mary Alice said...

Kudos to you, 3rd I, for raising your children. You are the exception, not the rule.

Open your eye(s). You men better figure out among yourselves how you are going to discipline your own sex drives because across the country conservatives are working to make birth control and abortion illegal. A whole lot of you are going to find yourselves in prison for refusing court appointed jobs to support your children. It's happening already. The children that come from unzipping your zippers need to eat. Everyday. Society is not going to support your children without demanding you contribute, and rightly so.

The BM needs to grow up, and quick. No joke. Any of you who don't want to be financially responsible for any children you sire need to zip it up. Society is not playing with you, and society is not trying to hear that you needed to have sex. Watch. If they have to bring back forced slavery, they will. They don't care if you don't feel like supporting your own children. Your children require food. Everyday.

Mary Alice said...

Anonymous: The current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is NOT a descendant of this country's chattel slavery system. The first person in his father's family who ever saw a white person was his grandfather in Kenya. His manhood was not bred out of him, unlike most BM here and around the world.

Mary Alice said...

Society is tired of ish like this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/27/desmond-hatchett-29-year_n_208393.html.

Dude has 21 children by 11 different women. Enough with the foolishness.

Mary Alice said...

President Barack Obama (then candidate Obama), Father's Day 2008: "Too many fathers are missing. Too many fathers are MIA. Too many fathers are AWOL; missing from too many lives and too many homes. They’ve abandoned their responsibilities. They are acting like boys instead of men. The foundations of our families have suffered because of it. Nowhere is it more true than in the African American community."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj1hCDjwG6M.

Only women like Kirsten West-Savali, who have become accustomed to BM irresponsibility toward their own children, would advocate for that irresponsibility to become even more deeply entrenched.

Hotep said...

I totally disagree with blaming the black man and using unusual stories and excerpts from speeches to support that logic. I know tooo many black men who are involved with raising their children whether they are in or out of the home, wanted or did not want their children initially. I know tooo many black men whose relationships with their children are being sabotaged by women who are using their children as a pawn to control that black man. There are always two sides to every story and to only tell one side leads to an unhealthy representation and unhealthy solutions.

Mary Alice said...

So, the BM has no control over his zipper? Seriously? Who is it that impregnates these women who you claim use children to control the BM?

Try again.

Real men don't blame women. Real men are responsible for self.

I'm done. This message is falling on deaf ears. You can't say no one told you.

Anonymous said...

men should have the right to financial abortion.

is it fair that a woman wants to keep the child and a man doesn't. the man is being held hostage.

its better to abort than to make the child live in misery.

only idiots have kids when they can't provide properly for them.

u want ur kid to grow up without a daddy? no right? then abort dumbass

Anonymous said...

Wow. I am so glad I stumbled across this. I have been saying this exact thing for 15 years!!! When a woman gets pregnant the man has NO say in the birth or the non-birth of that fetus. What the comments are neglecting to believe is that every woman getting pregnant is not a delicate African flower invaded by a piece of crap, pants sagging, doo rag wearing black man who tricked her with promises of love forever and a day. more often than not these women who rotate penises like a carnival Mary-go-round get caught out there and get pregnant. These are FB and club hookups that went wrong and now a kid is produced. These are responsible men (because you cant get child support from a broke man) who saw and engaged a woman who was half naked in her profile pic or at the bar and was able to say the right thing to get in her panties.

It is foolishly simplistic to say “a man can just keep his pants zipped”

Now this woman who does not know the mans last name wants to bring this child into this world and the man is begging her not to. Again, we are not talking about the dead beat crap men…we are talking about the men beginning a business, the men who are lawyers / doctors, the men that are professional athletes, the responsible fathers who have 2 or 3 kids already, or even sexually neglected married men who have strayed. These are the men getting rapped for child support by a system that ignores them.

If we beg a woman to have the baby or beg her not to we are stuck with the results.

To offer the question on a national stage to (at minimum) cause women to choose wisely, it would only benefit the kids.