Sex with anti-choicers?

A girl recently wrote to sex advice columnist Dan Savage asking if it was morally correct for her to have sex with her anti-choice boyfriend. Guess this was too racy for The Ethicist:
Q. My boyfriend and I are 18, and we’re in love. We’ve been together for almost four years. He recently decided that he is against abortion, to the point where he won’t have sex with me unless I agree to have the kid if I get pregnant. I told him there’s no way I can agree to that. It’s my choice what I want to do with my body, but he says it’s his choice if he wants to stop having sex with me because he disagrees with my views on the matter. (Which is something he read in your column, BTW.) Where do I go from here? I can’t be celibate until I’m ready to have a kid. But I don’t want to break up with someone I love because of a sincere moral disagreement. What now? —ONE BOY’S GIRL YEARNS NERVOUSLY
A. As a general rule, OBGYN, fertile pro-choice girls shouldn’t have premarital sex with controlling anti-choice boys. But you love him, and sometimes love makes exceptions. So if you do stay with him, and you agree and/or pretend to agree to his conditions, and you get pregnant, and you do decide to have an abortion, what the hell is he going to do about it? Lock you in the trunk of his car for nine months? Whatever you tell him now, it will still be your body and your choice then. Use condoms, take the pill, get a diaphragm, cross your fingers, and fuck his brains out.

I say sex with anti-choice folks is out of the question. No exceptions.
Thoughts? Anyone ever venture to the dark side?

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19 Comments

  1. Posted July 1, 2005 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Now that O’Conner has resigned, it’s imperative that one does not touch a man who doesn’t respect your rights. Access to abortion and possibly even birth control is threatened and this isn’t an enviroment where women will necessarily be free to decide what to do with our bodies when our sex partners have a different idea of what we should do.

  2. Posted July 1, 2005 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I’d say dump him. It’s not just a moral disagreement. It’s a disagreement as to the woman’s fundamental value as a human being. Although since she decided to stick with him after his initial announcement of his views, perhaps they don’t disagree on her value as a human being.

  3. Posted July 1, 2005 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Dan. If he doesn’t respect your right to control your own body, then how can you trust him?

  4. SarahS
    Posted July 1, 2005 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think she should sleep with him and I wish that Dan had been less hungover and would have gone into detail on exactly whats been said (that he’s controlling, doesn’t respect her, will only cause more problems later, etc).
    That said, I would tell her that its her choice and only her choice (even though I don’t think its the best choice). When I was her age I was in the same boat, I tried not having sex for a while but eventually got tired of the guy (because I wanted sex and he didn’t unless their were strings), cheated on him, and dumped him the next day. What she has probably will not last. But I know what its like to be in love at that age and want to do things your way. As you get older, I think it becomes less and less acceptable to date pro-life people if you inteend to be sexually active, but this girl is only 18 (maybe she’s barely out of an abstinance ed HS). Now I don’t even consider pro-life guys (or girls for that matter). It will be a learning experiance for her.
    I would tell her not to, but if she does, use condoms, pill, etc. And if you get knocked up, its your choice, sucks to be him.

  5. Posted July 1, 2005 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    This is what kills me. The miracle of conception and birth are not rocket science. Anyone who chooses to have sex when they aren’t ready to breed children understands the deal. Both MEN and WOMEN need to participate. Women who don’t want children can take the pill and demand a condom. Men who don’t want them can wrap it up and/or get a vasectomy. Why is that this is so complicated? If you are so holy that you don’t believe in abortion, you need to be so holy that you don’t believe in having sex unless you are ready for procreation.

  6. Kyra
    Posted July 1, 2005 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    It’s your right, obviously, to control your body. It’s his right to refuse to risk creating a child that might be aborted. You have a bit of a conflict of interest here.
    Regarding Dan’s idea of “you can back off on your deal and what’s he going to do about it,” yes, an abortion is your right if you want it, but bargains like these are a bad idea, and going back on them can be very hurtful. What would you think of Dan’s advice if the genders were reversed? Consider the hypothetical case of a girl who sleeps with her boyfriend as long as he promises to help care for the baby if she gets pregnant. Is it right for him to say that and then go back on the deal?
    I strongly recommend against trading bodily autonomy for the availability of sex. If he doesn’t love you enough to respect that it’s your body and not his baby machine, he’s not worth sleeping with, and since the two of you can’t agree on this, maybe your relationship is not at the point where sex is a good, safe thing to share. Your enjoyment of it will be lessened by the worry of getting pregnant, while he won’t have to worry about anything. You’re the one who would suffer all the consequences, and he seems to think that’s an OK setup. If I were you I’d avoid sex and rethink the relationship. Why is love only for lovers? I’d think you’d be better suited as being very close friends of the non-sperm-donor variety.
    IF you have sex with him, a)condoms, b)birth control, c)emergency contraception. Also, hash out what health exceptions there are in your agreement. Obviously, if you have an episcopic pregnancy, you’d bleed to death before it has any chance of viability. But what else? A terminal birth defect? Depression? There’s a reason most legal contracts are a mile long.
    And, yes, given the Sandra Day O’Conner retirement, your rights could be on thin ice. That’s reason enough to say no.

  7. Kyra
    Posted July 1, 2005 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Why is he willing to even risk impregnating someone who doesn’t want to be pregnant? Why does he risk the possibility of forcing a pregnancy on someone? Someone he claims to love?
    If he were worth anything, he would have too much respect for her to run the slightest risk of putting her in a position where her rights were not respected. Pro-life men have NO BUSINESS having sex with pro-choice women. If he doesn’t want her to have an abortion, then he should do all he can to avoid putting her in a position where she might want one.
    This goes for the Right, too. They want to outlaw abortion? They have NO BUSINESS denying or distorting information about contraceptives, denying access to contraceptives, allowing pharmacists to limit access to contraceptives, or making it even slightly inconvenient for people to get them.
    The ONLY way a lack of abortion would be REMOTELY acceptable is if contraception were dispersed in the air we breathe, or some other way that made infertility the standard state of affairs, and one took pills in order to BECOME pregnant. Which will probably never happen, and wouldn’t be all that great if it did. But the only way to justify outlawing abortion would be a COMPLETE lack of unwanted pregnancies, and if someone somewhere somehow managed to get an unwanted pregnancy, they would still deserve access to abortion.
    OK. Enough ranting. But O’Conner AND Rehnquist retiring imminently? Goddess, NO!

  8. Scarbo
    Posted July 1, 2005 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Kyra said: “Pro-life men have NO BUSINESS having sex with pro-choice women. If he doesn’t want her to have an abortion, then he should do all he can to avoid putting her in a position where she might want one.”
    I’m a pro-life man. And I agree with what you said, Kyra, wholeheartedly.

  9. mythago _
    Posted July 3, 2005 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Yeah, that is extremely weird. She’s just told him she’d get an abortion, so he continues to have sex with her…because he figures she’ll change her mind? Because he thinks he can force her not to? Creeepy.
    Though I have to say, few things cause many people to reconsider their pro-life stance faster than “I think I might be pregnant.”

  10. Posted July 3, 2005 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    She’s just told him she’d get an abortion, so he continues to have sex with her . . . ?
    No, it was the other way around. After they discussed their views, he started withholding sex. The advice giver was advising her to pretend to have a change of mind about it in order to get him back in the sack.

  11. Posted July 3, 2005 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Myth, your point is well-taken, though. It’s extremely easy to be a pro-life man, even if you don’t want kids, because if you are fairly certain the woman you’re sleeping with is going to get an abortion if she becomes pregnant, you know that society will lay all the blame at her feet for doing so.

  12. Terpiskore
    Posted July 5, 2005 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    Dan Savage’s advice is to lie to one’s sex partner to get around the choices they have made?
    Instead of telling people to lie to get the sex they want (who gave this yobo an advice column?) he could have gone into the 1001 ways people can have satisfying sexual relationships without the risks of pregnancy through intercourse.

  13. nas
    Posted July 5, 2005 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Ok someone, seriously explain this to me:
    why is it that a If a guy does not want the woman to abort what is 1/2 his child, he cant stop her. Yet, if he DOES NOT want the kid and she decided to have it, HE IS STILL LEFT ON THE HOOK financially FOR IT?
    It just seems in the feminist view, Women should have 100% choice after the sperm meets the egg, yet a man should have absolutely NONE.
    Is it just me or is that pretty damn unfair to men?? Sorry if off topic but i would love to see this addressed at some point.

  14. saralight
    Posted July 6, 2005 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe that it is the feminist view that “women should have 100% choice”. But since we don’t live in the perfect world where men and women would discuss their pregnancy together and then make a choice together, women are the ones left with the results of sex. It is a women’s body and they have the right to have an abortion or not.
    As for men being left on the hook financially, that is the result of having sex. If you think this is unfair then maybe the men who think this shouldn’t be having sex and putting themselves in situation that could result in a pregnancy.

  15. Ron O
    Posted July 6, 2005 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Nas, I don’t speak for feminism, but as a man, I think you make your choice when you have sex. The final decision rests with the woman because she the one carrying the baby. If it is really important to you, maybe you pass up opportunities for casual sex or it might cause a break-up. A frank discussion before you have sex is best, I think. I get the feeling you might be embarrassed or think it unmanly to bring up your views – that would be wrong. You’re not going to blow your chances with a partner who agrees with you. She is going to be worried too. If it is a one-time thing, you should be very careful anyways, right? Then you do a low-risk gamble and have a good time.

  16. nincompoop
    Posted July 6, 2005 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    If she is the one carrying the baby why she “is the one” ask for child support?
    Normally I would expect that people who have choice to abort or not should be reponsible for supporting the child.

  17. puckalish
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Ron’s on the money, there… so’s Kyra and, for once, I wholeheartedly agree with Scarbo!
    Sex is serious, no matter how you cut it (ha ha ha)… and it’s definitely best to talk things out a bit first. If you’re the guy and you want it one way or another, you oughta have a chat. I know I’ve made my slip-ups when I was younger and it was really late, but, if that’s the case, I’ve known it’d be on me to deal with whatever consequences there are.
    However, generally speaking, I’ve been on the level with any woman with whom I’ve had sex… and if we can’t agree on how to handle a pregnancy, there’s a whole lot more to this world than penetration and who isn’t down for a creative challenge?
    Peace and blessings

  18. puckalish
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Ron’s on the money, there… so’s Kyra and, for once, I wholeheartedly agree with Scarbo!
    Sex is serious, no matter how you cut it (ha ha ha)… and it’s definitely best to talk things out a bit first. If you’re the guy and you want it one way or another, you oughta have a chat. I know I’ve made my slip-ups when I was younger and it was really late, but, if that’s the case, I’ve known it’d be on me to deal with whatever consequences there are.
    However, generally speaking, I’ve been on the level with any woman with whom I’ve had sex… and if we can’t agree on how to handle a pregnancy, there’s a whole lot more to this world than penetration and who isn’t down for a creative challenge?
    Peace and blessings

  19. puckalish
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    oops. dang double-posts.

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