I found this post on RuthBlog, which discusses an article from the centrist Manhattan Institute on artificial insemination and single motherhood. It’s by Kay Hymowitz, who I agree with on many things, but not everything. This article was fairly good and it forms a good platform for me to make some comments below on the notion of “a woman’s right to choose”.
What are feminist scholars writing about artificial insemination?
AI’s potential for deconstructing the family has not been lost on radical feminists. In Baby Steps: How Lesbian Alternative Insemination Is Changing the World, Amy Agigian, a sociology professor at Suffolk University in Boston, observes: “Lesbian appropriation of medical technology (AI) that was intended to shore up nuclear families” has “radically challenge[d] the power structure, assumptions, and presumed ‘naturalness’ of major social institutions.” AI promotes a “postmodern family form that emphasizes affinity over biology and (patri)lineage.” For thinkers like Agigian, one of AI’s greatest benefits is that it dethrones what Canadian feminist Kathryn Pauly Morgan calls PIVMO (penis in vagina with male orgasm). Postmodern anthropologists studying reproduction technology—and there are enough of them to be producing a steady stream of volumes with titles like Conceiving the New World Order—have joined in, arguing that the whole idea of kinship based on sexual procreation is a Western construct, happily on its way out.
Highly credentialed mainstream experts are also taking a take-’em-or-leave-’em approach to dads. There was Louise Silverstein and Carl Auerbach’s infamous “Deconstructing the Essential Father,” a 1999 American Psychologist article arguing that “neoconservative social scientists” who cautioned against the fatherless family simply wanted to uphold “male power and privilege.” More recently, Peggy Drexler, an assistant professor at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and a board member of New York University’s Child Study Center, has made a similar case in Raising Boys Without Men: How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men. Drexler announces that she herself is raising two children with her husband of 30-plus years, but one has to wonder whether her book isn’t a silent cry for help. Her index under “fathers” includes: “absent, after divorce,” “destructive qualities of,” “spending limited time with children.” “In our society, often we idealize and elevate the role of father in a boy’s life without giving credence to the fact that actual fathers can be destructive and a boy may be better off without his father,” she informs us. In Drexler’s view (spoiler alert for Mr. Drexler), dadless boys are actually better, more sensitive and more “exceptional.”
Keep in mind that research like this is taxpayer-funded – aspiring fathers who are busy working and saving for families they will struggle to support are paying the salaries and scholarships of these feminist scholars. And the research of these feminist scholars becomes the basis of policies like the one being pushed by Sue Leather in the UK, to provide taxpayer-funded artificial insemination to any woman who wants to have a child.
But what do ordinary women think of artificial insemination?
More ordinary “choice mothers,” as many single women using AI now call themselves, are usually not openly hostile to fathers, but they boast a language of female empowerment that implicitly trivializes men’s roles in children’s lives. The term “choice mothers” frames AI as a matter of women’s reproductive rights. Only the woman’s decision making—or intention—carries moral weight. Similarly, advocates often cite the benefits of single motherhood’s freedom from “donor interference.” “Single moms avoid the need to discuss and negotiate around key parenting issues,” one Toronto social worker told iParenting Media. “She can shape a child in her own unique vision.”
And in the same choice-trumps-everything spirit, choice mothers emphasize that they choose their kids. All the planning and deliberation that they’ve got to go through to have children, they suggest, might make them better parents than those who just “breed.” Their kids are “wanted children,” observes sociologist Judith Stacey. The implication that sexual intercourse brings forth hordes of unwanted, unloved children, while AI produces a chosen elite, sometimes hangs in the air.
As you know we have tons of statistics showing that children raised without a father suffer enormously. But now some people seem to be saying that a woman has a right to choose to have a baby who will grow up without a father.
Well, what is a woman’s right to choose, really? It seems to be used in a lot of scenarios. It’s a woman’s right to choose to kill an unborn child, which has happened over 40 million times in the United States so far. It’s also a woman’s right to choose to destroy her child’s future by depriving that child of a father. It’s a woman’s right to choose to have drunken hook-up pre-marital sex with scores of promiscuous alpha males who have no ability or willingness to be husbands or fathers. It’s a woman’s right to choose to unilaterally divorce a man she freely committed to love for life, so she can steal his house and much of his future income. It’s a woman’s right to choose to work full-time and to abandon her children to day care and schools that discriminate against boys. It’s a woman’s right to choose to have sex with a man (or several men), then to accuse him (or them) of rape because she doesn’t want her reputation ruined. It’s a woman’s right to put on weight after marriage, and then to have her husband arrested for “verbal abuse” when he asks her to slim down. And so on.
That article caused me to think a lot about that phrase “a woman’s right to choose”. And it seems to me that there is a common core to the examples of a woman’s right to choose that I listed above. What the phrase really means is that a woman has a right to choose to selfishly pursue her own happiness regardless of the effects on the people who love her and depend on her. It also means that a woman should never be judged or held accountable for the destruction she causes. And it also means she can offload the financial costs of her own choices onto taxpayers who have no choice but to pay for the damage she causes. And it also means she can blame men for all of the obvious and predictable consequences of her own selfish and irrational behavior.
And how do men respond to this? Well, men know that marriage requires both partners to love each other and the children unselfishly. Men know that marriage is about two people growing to be less selfish and less irresponsible. And so women who believe in “a woman’s right to choose” are not qualified to marry or raise children. And this is why men do not commit to marriage any more. We would like to marry, and raise children. But we can’t find anyone suitable for marriage. And even if we found a decent unmarried woman from the 23% who did not vote for Obama, there is the feminist state – courts, schools, etc. – to contend with, which is firmly committed to “a woman’s right to choose”. The government has enormous power to regulate men, marriage and parenting – so there is really no hope at all. Men will have to wait until women come to their senses and stop voting to replace men with the government.
- Feminist politican wants UK government to provide free IVF
- New talks on marrriage by Jennifer Roback Morse and Maggie Gallagher
- Are elderly women who have babies through IVF being selfish?
- Why two-parent families are better for children
- Which family configuration is best for raising children?
- What causes single motherhood, and how are children affected?
- Less than half of 7 to 21 year old women think marriage precedes child-bearing
- How socialism undermines the traditional family in Sweden
- New study shows that children of working mothers live unhealthier lives
- New Scientist article shows why fathers are necessary for children’s well-being
- Obama praises non-traditional families on National Family Day