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Apr 06 2014

The abortion problem…solved!

Dana publishes the simple, brilliant solution to abortion. I can’t see any downside to it. We already live in a culture where pointless surgical alterations to boy’s genitals are common, and this just adds one more.

I’m thinking we could also make it a ritual of passage into manhood. You aren’t really a man until you’ve had The Procedure.

72 comments

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  1. 1
    jehk

    I’m down with that so long as my insurane plans cover it.

  2. 2
    Jim Phynn

    Sounds good to me. I suppose it’s fair, though, to debate exactly how many donations a guy should make before the procedure, and the costs of storage. Is there a point where unused donations would just be destroyed?

  3. 3
    dianne

    It won’t work. At least not absolutely. Some abortions occur when a planned and wanted pregnancy goes wrong.

    As an abortion reducing technique, could work. With the likely side benefit of reducing the incidence of child abuse. And surely men would be willing to sacrifice a little, tiny bit of their right to bodily autonomy to save fetuses. Especially given how many of them are cheerfully suggesting much more dangerous violations of bodily autonomy for women…

  4. 4
    Athywren

    Sounds good to me. I have no desire to have kids, so I see no problem with sterilising myself… and the possibility of changing my mind later in life is covered by the donations earlier in life.
    Of course, as Dianne says, it doesn’t stop wanted pregnancies from going horribly wrong and requiring an abortion, but surely those would be allowed, since they would be the entirety of abortions if all men were sterilised? (Am I giving too much credit to the pro-lifers in thinking that they’d recognise the importance of keeping medically necessary abortions legal? I think I might be, now that I think about it…)

    I’m curious, though… would all pregnancies after this point come about through ivf? And isn’t that just as bad as, if not worse than, abortions in the minds of many anti-choicers? It’s also unnatural. Which matters. For reasons.

  5. 5
    The Mellow Monkey

    Athywren @ 4

    I’m curious, though… would all pregnancies after this point come about through ivf?

    Why would they? Artificial insemination is a far easier, cheaper, and less invasive procedure than IVF.

  6. 6
    Al Dente

    I’m already ahead of the game, having had a vasectomy in 1983. For once I’m a fashion front-runner!

  7. 7
    azhael

    I think this is something that should and could be culturally promoted but i also think it´s not likely to catch on in large numbers and i think i would have a problem with the idea of forced vasectomies. I think perhaps a more likely to be successful option, or rather yet another alternative to take advantage of would be the male pill, does anybody know if there have been any advancements in that area?

  8. 8
    Akira MacKenzie

    I wouldn’t mind at all. Although, in my case, it would be a double redundancy. My looks are a form of birth control in itself.

  9. 9
    Jim Phynn

    I think Athywren’s question was whether any pregnancies could be the result of actual coitus. The immediate answer would be yes, since people can have sex before they’re sterilized.

  10. 10
    Athywren

    @The Mellow Monkey, 5

    Artificial insemination is a far easier, cheaper, and less invasive procedure than IVF.

    Ah, just showing my ignorance then? Fair enough. Thanks for the correction. :)

  11. 11
    Akira MacKenzie

    edit: …it would be a redundancy.

    Sorry, not yet caffeinated enough to face the day.

  12. 12
    tsig

    A clip in time saves nine.

  13. 13
    Jerry

    All sperm bank withdrawls should have to be signed for, just like money at a bank, but the statement would have to say “I will be financially responsible for any children produced up to age 18″. I know at least one kid who has never received one single court-ordered child support payment. The progenitor (*not* “father”) has at least one other known child, also unsupported.

  14. 14
    Becca Stareyes

    The link acknowledges that abortions would still occur, but as every pregnancy was wanted at conception, only when dangerous complications were threatening the life of the bearer. (I’d also add ‘if the pregnancy is revealed to be inviable’ to possible reasons to abort under this system, since I’ve heard of cases where, when birth defects that mean the fetus will die at or shortly after birth are discovered, some parents make the decision to abort to try to minimize the pain for mother and child.)

  15. 15
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    azhael, @ comment 7:

    I think this is something that should and could be culturally promoted but i also think it´s not likely to catch on in large numbers and i think i would have a problem with the idea of forced vasectomies.

    I believe that is the whole point of the idea – to make people who can’t get pregnant think about how they feel about bodily autonomy when it is their own body on the line, even though any risk (or cost) they face is miniscule compared to the risks (and costs) of pregnancy.

    I think perhaps a more likely to be successful option, or rather yet another alternative to take advantage of would be the male pill, does anybody know if there have been any advancements in that area?

    The current state of research.

    The problem being that in ovaries, the pill only has to stop the release of one or two eggs per month; in testes, it has to stop 1000 of the little wrigglers per second without side effects like reducing the sex-drive.

  16. 16
    Inaji

    In the last few abortion threads, I about typed my fingers blue, saying that if a man does not want to deal with the result of an unexpected pregnancy, or doesn’t want children, to get a vasectomy, backed up by banked sperm. The whinging over taking responsibility was overwhelming.

  17. 17
    idahogie

    Brilliant. This solution also addresses the problem of spontaneous abortions — which is an issue that the anti-abortion crowd generally ignores (and which is a huge display of hypocrisy on their part).

  18. 18
    jedibear

    It’s worth noting that we’re not talking about *castrating* men. Vasectomies can usually be reversed, and it would probably be possible to harvest sperm even if the procedure could not be reversed.

    That said, vasectomies can have unpleasant side-effects.

  19. 19
    marcus

    IIRC there was a procedure, recently being considered by the Chinese, of creating a virtual vasectomy by injecting a polymer into the vas deferens that would block passage of those naughty little sperms. When a man decided he wanted to have children it was easily reversed by then injecting a solvent to remove the polymer. At the time it was going to cost about 5 bucks. There may be hidden issues with the efficacy of this approach but no medical companies are really interested, too cheap and effective if successful. They would rather have women (or men if they could come up with the right compound) on the hook for a monthly, more or less lifetime supply of chemical contraception.

  20. 20
    cactuswren

    I’m thinking here of a guy I dealt with on talk.abortion, who whined that he couldn’t even masturbate in safety because Some Woman might break into his apartment, STEAL HIS USED KLEENEX, use his sperm to create a pregnancy, and then Demand His Money.

  21. 21
    LykeX

    I believe that is the whole point of the idea – to make people who can’t get pregnant think about how they feel about bodily autonomy when it is their own body on the line, even though any risk (or cost) they face is miniscule compared to the risks (and costs) of pregnancy.

    Ding-ding-ding!

    Obviously, such a model would be problematic for people who care about bodily autonomy. The point is that if a person thinks that abortions are terrible, horrible things that must be stopped, and if such a person doesn’t have a problem with encroaching on people’s bodily autonomy (both of which are typically true of pro-lifers), then this method is by far superior to the forced birth method.

  22. 22
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Without reading the referenced link; I just have to recall the old question, “Why do only women get birth-control pills?” More explicitly, “Why don’t we have a drug to give men that stops the testes from producing sperm, and does not stop the prostate from producing semen?” I know the biology of sperm production is very different than ova release; but still, we can stop the liver from producing too much cholesterol (looking at you Lipitor). And stopping sperm production does not require “chemical castration”; they can still produce the hormone Testosterone, just stop producing those little “swimmers”. Simple enough, why don’t they?

  23. 23
    twas brillig (stevem)

    to follow @22′s suggestion to the ultimate extreme irony: How about a LowT solution that kills all of the sperms? “Got lowT? Trade Sperm for T. More T is better, less Sperm is just a side-effect. Buy now! Free samples to a limited number (limited to 1,985,569)”

  24. 24
    Inaji

    twas brillig:

    Simple enough, why don’t they?

    There’s no money in it. There’s lots and lots and lots of money in erections-in-a-pill, as that’s something most men are interested in. When it comes to taking responsibility for their own fertility, not so much. There’s still a deep-rooted belief that that sort of thing is on the woman, always.

  25. 25
    David Marjanović

    but still, we can stop the liver from producing too much cholesterol

    “Too much” isn’t the same as “any at all” for cholesterol. It pretty much is for contraception.

  26. 26
    dianne

    @Marcus 19: I’m not sure that’s how the pharma conspiracy works. To me what you described sounds like a money making proposition: Just because the polymer costs $5 doesn’t mean that’s what they charge for it. Plus they get to charge for both implantation and removal and urologists get two procedures out of the deal…I think it more likely that no one’s pursuing (assuming no one is pursuing) because they don’t think there’s a market.

  27. 27
    dianne

    There’s lots and lots and lots of money in erections-in-a-pill

    There is, but in partial defense (sort of) of pharma, V!agra was an accident. They were trying to make a blood pressure drug. The second gen appeared because the first one sold well and they knew there was a market.

  28. 28
    steve78b

    I know it was meant as a humorous solution, but it is brilliant. Mine was done after our second child because it would hurt me less than a procedure on my wife. Didn’t have any side effects as I recall.

    The only problem I can see is the “true men” (the macho types who would cry if faced with that procedure), and the religious and the ones that see women as property to be ordered around.

    Good idea, lets vote it in. If we get all the women to the polls and the intelligent men, then it will pass.

    I did mine in 82 so I’m good.

    Steve

  29. 29
    azhael

    @15 Tigger

    I see the point now, i was aproaching it as an actual proposal rather than a thought experiment for anti-choicers. My bad.
    Also, thank you for the link.

  30. 30
    dianne

    As a humorous suggestion to put the MRAs and “pro-lifers” on the spot, I love this idea. As a real world proposal…not so much. Fundamentally, I don’t want to pass any law that demands that one person alter their body for the good of others if the same alteration is of no benefit to them. I’d love to see it become routine for men or adolescent boys to get vasectomies after donating sperm, but forcing them…no. Not liking that idea. If for no other reason then because if it did pass then people could use it as a precedent to force women to carry any unwanted pregnancies that did occur to term.

  31. 31
    Kevin Kehres

    @22: There are initiatives. Clinicaltrials.gov has a list. Lots of hormonal things. We know exogenous testosterone shuts off sperm production — but it comes with a host of side effects.

    The primary problem with giving hormones is that you’re dosing a person globally (throughout their body) using a tool that the body uses locally for a wide range of purposes. The same hormone has different effects at different times at different parts of the body. It’s what one researcher acquaintance of mind called “playing piano with mittens”.

    The larger issue is getting men to take responsibility for contraception. If you’re not in a stable relationship, would you take a pill every day or get a monthly shot just on the off chance you might get lucky on a Saturday night? Doubtful. Do you honestly think that the people haunting AVfM would do that under any circumstance? Not a chance. Not even if they were married, and their wife couldn’t take birth control pills — because reasons.

    Condoms are cheap, readily available, and effective in preventing men from having to support an unwanted child for 18 years. The math would seem simple: 1 squirt of pleasure = 18 years of regret. And still, getting men to take responsibility for using condoms is a chore. Because selfish bastards.

  32. 32
    vaiyt

    (tw: mention of rape, just to be on the safe side)

    I didn’t even have to read it to know that it would be a bad idea for women in the real world.

    With our culture being what it is, my cynical heart says that “consequence-free sex for all men” would soon become “women can’t become pregnant so rape is okay wheeee”. (I suppose that’s not much worse than what we already have, but it would make dialogue even harder).

  33. 33
  34. 34
    Inaji

    Kevin @ 31, yeah, it would be a problem. I doubt many women would trust a man saying “I’m on the pill, honest and true!” Cultural attitudes have to be changed first, and that’s a long, long slog.

  35. 35
    azhael

    @31 Kevin

    If you’re not in a stable relationship, would you take a pill every day or get a monthly shot just on the off chance you might get lucky on a Saturday night? Doubtful

    I don´t know, personally i would since i already have another pill to take regularly and i think many men would too, but perhaps not enough for it to be a big enough market as others have pointed out. Putting on my optimistic glasses (ugh, that feels awful) i don´t necessarily see why it wouldn´t work with men if it worked with women quite successfully.

    Do you honestly think that the people haunting AVfM would do that under any circumstance? Not a chance

    Of course not, but would those people think any diferently about vasectomies?

    Condoms are cheap, readily available, and effective

    Yes, but not quite infalible which is why any complementary method would be a good thing in trying to eliminate that tiny fraction of failures. I see condoms as a basic line of prevention, which you can reenforce with other methods.

  36. 36
    marcus

    Diane @ 26 No conspiracy necessary when mere inaction will suffice. This procedure is being actively pursued in the second world (India, China) as cheap and effective. They are going begging for research funds (see Vasagel). Why do you think that a safe, effective, non-surgical , reversible vasectomy is not being pursued in this country? According to the article I read (sorry can’t cite from memory) the pharmaceutical companies just weren’t that interested in something that was a one or two-off procedure (not suppressing mind you, just not willing to put any real money into it).

  37. 37
    Gregory Greenwood

    As a thought experiment, I love it – a fantastic way to make absolitist forced-borthers suddenly re-think their positions once the apparently ‘sacred’ male bodily autonomy is for the chop. I fancy anti-choicer groups would suddenly experience quite the crash in membership…

    It is only good as a though experiment though. Dianne makes a good point @ 30;

    As a humorous suggestion to put the MRAs and “pro-lifers” on the spot, I love this idea. As a real world proposal…not so much. Fundamentally, I don’t want to pass any law that demands that one person alter their body for the good of others if the same alteration is of no benefit to them. I’d love to see it become routine for men or adolescent boys to get vasectomies after donating sperm, but forcing them…no. Not liking that idea. If for no other reason then because if it did pass then people could use it as a precedent to force women to carry any unwanted pregnancies that did occur to term.

    Even if we set the ethical value of male bodily autonomy entirely at nought for the sake of argument, there is still the liklihood that there would be those who would back this proposal, and then turn around and start passing forced birth leguslation for any woman who did get preganant under these arrangements no matter the circumstances and even if the pregnancy would almost certainly kill her, on the basis that now that men are forced to get vesectomies, it is time for a little quid pro quo.

    And that doesn’t even touch on the other areas of personal autonomy that might get ‘revisited’. How about ‘less valuable/deserving’ (however that is to be determined) members of the populace being compeled to donate organs to those considered ‘more valuable/deserving’?

    Once you set such a broad and invasive of precedent, the possibility of abuse becomes the near certainty of abuse.

  38. 38
    dianne

    @Marcus: I can’t make the least bit of sense out of what pharma will and will not fund. I’ve seen them refuse to provide drug for studies that had outside funding and for which the only possible outcomes were an expanded market or no change in the market for their drug. In other words, situations where they seemed to me to have literally nothing to lose.

    So, yeah, I can easily believe that they’re too lazy or timid to develop the drug and procedure. Though I suspect that there’s a strong component of idiosyncratic decisions involved, i.e. that it’s not so much that pharma firms did a cost/benefit analysis and decided against developing this drug but rather that some exec looked at it and didn’t like it and that was that.

  39. 39
    ivyshoots

    @17 idahogie

    This solution also addresses the problem of spontaneous abortions

    How so? Presumably, they would still occur at the usual rate of roughly 25% of pregnancies.

  40. 40
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I’m not intrinsically opposed to such a proposal really. From a philosophical standpoint (and also from a belt-and-suspenders standpoint; as someone noted upthread, vasectomies aren’t actually 100% effective) I’d rather everyone were sterilized when they hit puberty and given the option of reversing it later on after the age of majority if they so desire. At present, though, we’re a lot closer to being able to do so for men (vasectomies aren’t 100% reversible either, but they’re pretty close). I have not personally had one because I have an absolute horror of surgery, but that’s my personal hangup, not an argument. I also read a while back about a long-term, reversible male fertility control procedure that had been developed in India and was going into human trials, but I can’t seem to find it just now.

  41. 41
    timgueguen

    I suspect even a voluntary attempt at large scale sperm banking followed by vasectomies would come crashing down after the first major problem, say a sperm repository being destroyed in a fire, or a clerical screwup resulting in a bunch of women having kids who obviously can’t be their partner’s.

  42. 42
    marcus

    dianne @ 38 You may well be right re:idiosyncratic decision making, however this is from the article at Wired Magazine. One of the developers (Canadian) Ronald Weiss:
    “…looked around for a corporate partner but found no takers. Unlike birth control pills, which must be used daily, sometimes for years, RISUG is a long-lasting, low-cost treatment (the syringe could end up costing more than the material it injects). ‘Pharmaceutical companies are not interested in one-offs,’ Weiss says. ‘They’re interested in things they can sell repeatedly, like the birth control pill or Viagra.’ ”
    Which echoes what I remember of the pharmaceutical spokesperson’s comment in the article I read.
    You would probably find the Wired article interesting:
    http://www.wired.com/2011/04/ff_vasectomy/3/

  43. 43
    dianne

    @Marcus 42: Maybe, though there are an awful lot of surgical devices and drugs out there for the entire industry to be uninterested in one-offs. For that matter, IUDs are, if not one-off, at least rare use. Maybe they’re looking for the wrong partners (i.e. they should go to medical device companies rather than pharma)? I can’t help wondering if something else is going on here. Especially since I can’t find any results for this phase III trial in India. Or maybe everyone’s just blowing them off because they’re too lazy to make the business model work.

  44. 44
    dianne

    And…the phase III trial in India appears to suffer from lack of volunteers. http://www.webcitation.org/5zHEacvXH

  45. 45
    dianne

    @41: Vasectomies are (usually) reversible and a large scale operation could set up multi-site storage, so I’m not so worried about the fire at the sperm bank thing. Giving out the wrong sperm? Very possible, but there are protocols to prevent clerical screw ups from killing people by, for example, giving them the wrong blood and causing a reaction, so it should be possible to set up a system by which 0% errors is a reasonable goal. If the political will to do so exists.

  46. 46
    anuran

    The wonderful thing is it would keep the dirty poors from breeding.
    You think freezing the sperm, storing it and doing artificial insemination is free?
    Sperm banks cost money.
    Fertility treatments of any sort aren’t covered under insurance.
    Rich people will have lots and lots of frozen yo-ho-ho.
    Disgusting poor ones will have the statutory one dose, and the moment they are late with a single rental payment out it goes.

    So, another fucking stupid idea that will serve the wealthy and harm everyone else.

  47. 47
    A. Noyd

    ivyshoots (#39)

    How so? Presumably, they would still occur at the usual rate of roughly 25% of pregnancies.

    Reducing absolute numbers by reducing unintended pregnancies. Whatever the rate, a spontaneous abortion can’t happen to a pregnancy that was prevented by vasectomy.

  48. 48
    naturalcynic

    @46. That will only occur if we keep tho old model of health care. A federally subsidized sperm bank will obliterate that problem.

    and besides, somebody had to do it: Every Sperm I Sacred

  49. 49
    praestans

    tru luv for all human beings surely:

    http://www.closeronline.co.uk/2014/04/pregnant-woman-sacrifices-her-own-life-to-save-her-unborn-baby

    even fr automatons…

  50. 50
    LykeX

    You think freezing the sperm, storing it and doing artificial insemination is free?

    It would be if part of a universal health care system.

    Yeah, okay. Never mind.

  51. 51
    tacitus

    Abortion will end the moment technology provides the answer — in the form of some kind of implant or nanotechnology a women can use to control her fertility. And there is also no reason why a similar device could not be created for men to allow them to control their sperm production. That way, conception will only be possible at the express will of both mother and father.

    I don’t expect this type of technology to be around in my lifetime, but assuming the continuity of technological and medical advances, that day will come sooner or later, and it will be willingly embraced by a large majority of human beings.

  52. 52
    anuran

    48 naturalcynic

    @46. That will only occur if we keep tho old model of health care. A federally subsidized sperm bank will obliterate that problem.

    BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!

    Oh God, naturalcynic. You tell the funniest jokes.

  53. 53
    LykeX

    tacitus #51
    And I predict it will be rejected by a large number of people because of whatever reason they make up to fit the occasion.

    The people who oppose abortion don’t actually care about fetuses. They care about people making choices. That’s what they’re against; choice. They’re quite literally anti-choice. If they cared about abortions, they’d support the measures that demonstrably reduce the number of abortions, such as comprehensive sex ed.

    They don’t. Because that’s not actually what they care about. They care about controlling other people. That’s what this has always been about.

  54. 54
    MattP (must mock his crappy brain)

    For a while now, one of my favorite pro-choice signs has been “Don’t like abortion, get a vasectomy”. Unfortunately, even that gentle suggestion that a man take responsibility for his fertility gets a bunch of bullshit rationalizations from the forced-birthers that basically amount to “what about the menz?” by exaggerating the risks of a vasectomy and eventually descend back into blaming and shaming women.

  55. 55
    David Marjanović

    pregnant-woman-sacrifices-her-own-life-to-save-her-unborn-baby

    If she really wants to do that (and have a baby grow up without a mother), then that’s her choice. :-| I’m not going to stop her.

  56. 56
    brett

    There’s obviously a “Modest Proposal” aspect to this, but I do think it’s a good thing if we moved towards a situation where contraception was always default “on”, both with men and women. And there are some good benefits involved with freezing sperm early and using that later on, since you’re less likely to get mutations and some congenital birth defects (IIRC children fathered by older men tend to be more likely to have autism and some other issues).

  57. 57
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Abortion will end the moment technology provides the answer — …

    The technologies you “propose” can stop impregnation, [yeah, will stop abortions, but...] The OTHER, ultimate technology to end abortions [that they call "baby murder"] is the Artificial Womb. Abort the preganacy by transplanting the fetus from the woman’s womb to the artificial womb. Problem solved! Give me money (all of it), to invent this life saving device. /snark

    This whole issue cannot be solved by simple technology; whatever the proposed technology. Removable vas deferens plugs, nor fallopian blockers, nor drugs of any kind. It.is.the.person’s.body.to.decide.what.to.do. with.it., no one else has _any_ say in the matter.
    To get ~authoritative and say that the fetus is a different person than the woman; so she’s violating it’s bodily autonomy, is to totally misconstrue the total situation. She is permitting that fetus to use #her# body for nutrition. She has the right to refuse that use of her own body, justified by her ‘bodily autonomy’. Must I invoke the forced-organ-donation metaphor?

  58. 58
    Jon Drake
  59. 59
    chigau (違う)

    Jon Drake #58
    You’re a bit early.

  60. 60
    chigau (違う)

    Thanks, PZ.
    Talking to myself would have been awkward.

  61. 61
    harbo

    Great idea
    The original design is clumsy, and available to young people, under the influence of psychotrophic chemicals and “rising sap”.
    The idea that we should “reapply” for our fertility in a rational planned way, is wonderful.
    Pity

  62. 62
    tacitus

    #53: Lyke

    And I predict it will be rejected by a large number of people because of whatever reason they make up to fit the occasion.

    At first, maybe, but the future is a very long time, and even if the initial resistance to the technology is strong, once it proves to be safe, effective, and easy to use, then all but the staunchest Catholics/quiverfullers will see that their kids obtain the devices as a matter of course. After all, over 90% of all Catholic women already use contraception at one time or another in direct violation of the tenets of their faith.

    It’s also worth remembering that this won’t be done in isolation. There will likely be other implants and/or nanotech medical devices in regular use by this time (and we are talking several decades from now, most likely) so it won’t be something alien that just comes out of the blue.

  63. 63
    opposablethumbs

    anuran, you do get that this is a Modest Proposal, don’t you? Jonathan Swift?

  64. 64
    LykeX

    …even if the initial resistance to the technology is strong, once it proves to be safe, effective, and easy to use, then all but the staunchest Catholics/quiverfullers will see that their kids obtain the devices as a matter of course

    I doubt it. Take the example of abstinence-only sex ed. We know it doesn’t work. We know it actively harms teenagers, exposing them to greater risks. The experiment has been done and the results are in. It’s not even up for debate anymore. Yet, people still support it, even to the detriment of their own children.
    The pill is (generally) safe, effective and easy to use, and have been around for decades, yet people still oppose their children being educated on their use and try to pass legislation to prevent it being covered by health insurance.

    Why? Because preventing contraceptive use is their goal. Stopping people from exercising control over their own reproductive health isn’t a side effect, it’s the whole point. The problem isn’t safety, efficacy, ease of use, or time. If it was any of those things, this would be a non-issue, regardless of new technology.

    After all, over 90% of all Catholic women already use contraception at one time or another in direct violation of the tenets of their faith.

    I’m not sure that matters as much as you seem to think. Does this overwhelming disregard for the official dogma translate into Catholic hospitals changing their practices? Does it stop anti-abortion legislation? Does it mean that Catholic voters will vote against Catholic candidates, to prevent the official line from becoming law? Just because they personally use contraceptives doesn’t mean they’ll oppose a ban on them. Hypocrisy is not exactly foreign to religion.

    I’m not trying to be hyper-pessimistic, but I think it’s important that we recognize that this problem is not going to have an easy fix. This is more about culture than technology and culture changes on the time scale of generations.

  65. 65
    loopyj

    So, who’s to say that if such a protocol were implemented that all pregnancies would be wanted pregnancies or result in wanted children? Just because adult males would be physically incapable of insemination with fresh semen doesn’t mean that women would be safe from being inseminated against their will. And even if sperm banks would have tight security, no security is perfect, and it would certainly be possible for women to inseminate themselves with ill-gotten semen. Even if semen couldn’t be released directly to a single person, requiring all insemination to be officially consented to by both the male donor and the female recipient and performed only under clinical supervision, this wouldn’t prevent coercion of either party. And while it might prevent unplanned pregnancies, it wouldn’t prevent unwanted children because there would be cases where one or both parent decides, after successfully becoming pregnant, that they no longer wish to have this child (MRAs could still make claims of being sperm-jacked by women they originally consented to inseminating). Would a couple be required to endure an extended waiting period after an application to inseminate? Given that the waiting period to get married is usually less than 72 hours and in many places non-existent, prospective parents in this weird, abortion-free utopia could rightly claim that procreation is a civil right and that they should have ‘insemination upon demand’!

  66. 66
    rq

    loopyj
    Prevent? No. Significantly decrease? Yes.
    Also, the impulse to ‘change one’s mind’ after becoming successfully pregnant would be significantly reduced, if the ‘becoming successfully pregnant’ part needs a reasonable amount of planning and thought put into it in advance, as well as considerable effort and participation from both (all?) parties involved. And there would be a paper-trail.

    But I get it, since this doesn’t solve everything, it can be dismissed.

    it would certainly be possible for women to inseminate themselves with ill-gotten semen

    Yes, sperm-jacking really is a huge thing these days, but I can’t wait when I can just ill-get my semen from wherever, because I love random samples of potentially dubious quality!!! *rubs hands with glee*

  67. 67
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @marcus #19

    …a virtual vasectomy by injecting a polymer into the vas deferens that would block passage of those naughty little sperms. When a man decided he wanted to have children it was easily reversed by then injecting a solvent to remove the polymer.

    Fuck, if this was available, I’d get it tomorrow. Cheap, easily reversible, no surgery? I’m all over that. Someone inform GSK.

    @tacitus #51

    Abortion will end the moment technology provides the answer — in the form of some kind of implant or nanotechnology a women can use to control her fertility. And there is also no reason why a similar device could not be created for men to allow them to control their sperm production.

    I love this idea. Contraception is just on by default, you have to physically turn it off yourself, and causing or allowing a pregnancy to occurr without the express permission of both the mother and father is illegal. *swoon*

    Side note: This thread appears to have been relatively free of enraged man-children who are unable to understand that this hypothetical proposal is not a serious one. I note only one apparent banning in over 60 comments. Colour me impressed.

  68. 68
    anuran

    opposablethumbs Of course I got it right out the gate.

  69. 69
    opposablethumbs

    My apologies, anuran. I misunderstood your responses, then, as I thought you seemed to be arguing as if it were a serious proposal (with the thing about how storing sperm would be the prerogative of the rich etc. because there’s no chance of having universal health care; I’d have thought European-style universal health care becoming a reality in the US – though dog knows it seems to be horrendously unlikely – is still marginally more likely than this becoming a reality). Mind you, I don’t think it’s very likely we’ll get this implemented here in Europe either … :-\

    I do think it would make a good conversation point with anti-choicers, though :-)

  70. 70
    dianne

    I have an alternate modest proposal for how to deal with this problem: For a given jurisdiction (state, country, province, whatever), establish a registry. Men and women not of childbearing potential (adults only) can sign up to be in this registry on a voluntary basis. If more than 50% of the qualified population signs up, abortion becomes illegal. However, when any woman becomes pregnant, a random person will be selected from the registry (for simplicity I’m going to refer to this person as male and the pregnant person as female, acknowledging that this is incomplete). That person will then “shadow” the pregnancy and undergo every risk and inconvenience that the pregnant woman does.

    If she is fired from her job for any reason from inability to perform it to prejudice, he is too. If she gets morning sickness, he takes emesis-inducing drugs, titrated to the same level of nausea. If she becomes anemic, he is phlebotomized to the same hemoglobin. If she gets a DVT, he gets a vein ligated to produce the same thrombus. If she dies, he dies. When she goes into labor, so does he (various simulations may apply). He gets no pain relief until she decides to get pain relief. If she develops an autoimmune condition that destroys her heart, he gets one too. Probably virally induced. He continues to be required to simulate any health problems she has for a year post-partum, but any permanent changes are, of course, permanent. He can undergo surgical correction of, say, a fistula or incontinence, but only after she does the same.

    As I said, enrollment is voluntary. But a person who has been matched can not drop out after being matched. He must complete the pregnancy with her.

    Now, I’ve proposed various versions of this in a number of formats. No anti-abortion man has ever said, “Yeah, I’d do it!”

  71. 71
    Kevin Paulsen

    Gay men don’t have unwanted pregnancies, so I’m not sure why such an invasive procedure and law would be appropriate to all males.

  72. 72
    opposablethumbs

    Ah, but they might be sperm-jacked!!1!!11!elebenty! So this thought-experiment still applies! (about as reasonable as denying morning-after contraception to rape victims (or anyone else), after all)

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