Emily Albrecht responds to the pro-choice concern that women shouldn’t be stuck when fathers get away. The results of sex are incredibly asymmetrical, so how should that effect our thoughts about abortion?
Watch all the videos in ERI’s Quick Response series here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsN8Ay8poS-It-dWSmblq1ZufOH-MVj1L
Quick Response #6: Consent to Sex is Not Consent to Pregnancy
Pro-Life Apologetics: The Equal Rights Argument:
The results of sex are incredibly asymmetrical. When a man and woman engage in sexual intercourse and she becomes pregnant, they’ve created an inherently needy child as a direct result of their action, but the man can just walk away from the whole situation—the woman is really the only one who has to deal with it. While every state has laws authorizing prenatal child support, which need to be better enforced, she is still the only one physically capable of caring for that child for 9 months AND going through the incredibly painful process of childbirth. It’s not like the man could jump in and take the pregnancy on himself even if he wanted to! Thus, according to the pro-choice advocate, abortion is necessary so that women won’t be “stuck” after becoming pregnant; abortion gives women the ability to walk away just like the father can, which levels out the biological imbalance of the sex contract.
Maybe the sex contract is unfair, but that can’t justify abortion because everyone capable of having consensual sex knows that this is the way the world works before they consent to having sex. Even if she thinks that the biological imbalance is unfair, she knows that she might get pregnant and that the man can just walk away, and she metaphorically agrees to that in the sex contract. Everyone capable of consenting to sex knows where babies come from.
When you consent to an action, you automatically consent to the action’s possible effects. If you don’t believe me, consider the casino analogy I made in the video “Quick Response: Consent to Sex is Not Consent to Pregnancy,” but I’m going to adjust the story a bit here to make it more asymmetrical like the sex contract.
Let’s say that my boyfriend and I decide to go to a casino today and play roulette. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, I place a bet on the table to indicate where I think a ball will land. If I place all my chips on a single number, I get a 35-to-1 payout on my bet amount if the ball lands there. If the ball lands elsewhere, I lose my money. But this casino has a rule that men are allowed to pick up their chips after the wheel has spun and women are not. We both put all our chips on the number 8 to show that we consent to bet on that spin of the wheel. The ball lands on 12, and my boyfriend picks up his chips and leaves the table; he doesn’t lose anything, but I lose my entire bet. I am understandably upset and say “That’s not fair!” to the operator. “Of course it’s not fair,” he replies, “but this is a casino; it’s not supposed to be fair, and you knew the rule that men are allowed to pick up their chips before you consented to the bet.” The pit boss is sympathetic to me though and offers me my money back if I kill one of the other players at the table.
What happened was incredibly unfair, but I KNEW that the game was unfair before I consented to play. I knew that men could walk away without losing their bet and I couldn’t. But I consented to the bet anyways, and it would be wrong for me to kill another player at the table in order to avoid the consequence of what I consented to.
The same is true in sex. When you consent to the metaphorical sex contract, you know that pregnancy might result, and you know that the man can walk away and the woman can’t. It may not be fair, but it was known when you consented to have sex AND YOU CONSENTED ANYWAY, so you can’t kill another person to avoid the consequence of what you consented to. You can’t kill the fetus. If you don’t agree that killing another person in the casino and killing a fetus are the same thing, check out our video responding to the argument that the embryo isn’t a person. I’ll link to it in the description.
I firmly believe that we need to do a better job of holding men accountable for their actions and actually enforce child support laws the way that they should be. But killing is never an acceptable way to avoid the natural consequences of sex.