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Child Support

I am going to wade into the ongoing blog talk about what a man's input should be when his lover is pondering whether to terminate a pregnancy--an emotional question initially raised by a highly dubious Alternet piece authored by some guy who attended an "abortion party" thrown to raise cash for a college friend's procedure. In addition to driving conservatives wild with its depiction of young women garrulously boozing and grooving in the service of terminating a pregnancy, the piece has caught the eye of a few men with its poignant portrayal of the pregnant chick's boyfriend, who "had been the object of a lot of vitriol" from women at the party that "thought that he should not have had anything to do with the abortion."

Before we get rolling, let me clarify that, in calling the piece "highly dubious," I'm not suggesting the party didn't happen as broadly outlined, merely that (a) this is the kind of piece that smacks of literary embellishment--or at the very least features a situation prone to heavy personal interpretation--in service of a point; and (b) even assuming events unfolded precisely as recounted, the experience is so outside the mainstream that it tells us virtually nothing about sexual relations, much less abortion politics, more broadly. But moving right along...

Over on The Dish, Conor Friedersdorf posits that the lib-fem ideal in such situations (as demonstrated by the shabby treatment of the boyfriend) is an inherently contradictory, unrealistic position tantamount to having one's cake and eating it too: In essence, he says, women expect their man to embrace his responsibility for having contributed to the pregnancy (and so feel deeply invested in supporting her decision making) but also understand that he does not have any right to influence said decision (which means he can't really be all that invested in the outcome).

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--Michelle Cottle