Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wiggle Room?

I wasn't sure what the South Dakota law now requires of emergency rooms treating rape victims, so I dug around a bit. Apparently it's still okay to get emergency contraception in the first few days following a rape, so long as it's too early for a pregnancy test to be administered. I assume that means standard-issue Plan B is also still an option, provided you can find a sympathetic pharmacist or OB/GYN who will give you a standing prescription to carry in your wallet.

I'm not sure if the "five-to-seven-day window" provision is logically consistent with the rest of that piece of crap law, but I'm not going to think about it too hard. I would still strongly advise anyone who has to travel to or through SD to get a pack of birth control pills from her doc along with instructions on how many to take at once in case of an emergency.

At least the letters in the Rapid City Journal are starting to run about 4:1 against the ban.

In another interesting development, a guy in Michigan is filing suit to get out of paying child support for his ex-girlfriend's daughter, a child he says he never wanted. The argument goes something like this: the woman has three options when she turns up pregnant and 100% of the decision-making power, so why should the male half of the equation be socked with $500 per month when he has no say in the matter?

Hum. My initial reaction to this is to wonder what effect this would have on current abortion rates (assuming no further restrictions or outright bans), should child support become voluntary rather than compulsory. My next thought is to wonder how many men would then actually decide to pay child support instead of claiming, despite what the woman might say, that they never wanted a child and made that perfectly clear before having sex.

The only way to manage the resulting chaos would be requiring signed disclosure and intent forms before any sexual act could take place.

The guy has a point about the lack of male involvement in the decision-making process, which is, of course, exactly the way I as a woman want it to be. The Pennsylvania law requiring married women to inform their husbands before getting an abortion was properly shot down; I can't imagine any court upholding a man's right to dictate that a woman he's not married to either abort or carry to term the embryo he helped create. And since I don't recognize the validity of the "if you didn't want a kid, you should've kept your pants on" argument when it's applied to women, I won't apply it to men. The overriding concern would have to rest on the impossibility of determining intent when judging whether a man should be liable for child support or not.

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