Right to Choose

Graphic showing the logo for the Flashback Track Friday prompt.

I’ve seen a few posts recently to a pro-choice/pro-life question, which I tracked down to being responses to a “Truthful Tuesday” prompt by Melanie Cee.

My first thought was that some of these respondents had previously taken a stance on COVID vaccinations. Specifically

  • for an abortion, a woman should have the right to choose, and
  • for COVID, people should be vaccinated.

Two different things, perhaps? But one is about somebody having autonomy over their own body. And the other is about… somebody having autonomy over their own body!

So whatever the view, I think for somebody to be credible, their views on both of these subjects must be consistent. Either someone has the right to autonomy (which includes an anti-vaxxer’s right not to be vaccinated), or they don’t.

Regarding pro-life or pro-choice, the common arguments, including every single response I read so far, frames the issue as an argument between two “sides” – a woman and a foetus. One takes priority over the other. If you believe that the woman wins out, you jump one way; the foetus, the other. In the end, it boils down to something very simple. Stalemate.

My view? Framing the argument in this way is wrong.

I can kinda see how it has happened. Historically, society has been controlled by men. And it is convenient to pretend that a man is totally innocent here, merely a bystander.

But there aren’t two “sides” involved here, there are three. You can’t address the scenario without including the father. So, this is three people.

Thereafter, my view centres around equality. In terms of rights, I see parity between men and women. If we can, I’ve got no problem with using science/technology to achieve that parity. In much the same way that I have no problem using science (in this case medcine) to cure cancer, or a broken leg.

Or a contraceptive to avoid unwanted pregnancy. See? We meddle with nature in all kinds of ways, and nobody bats an eyelid.

Okay, so women are on the same level as men. But, that still leaves the question, “who takes priority, the parent or the foetus?” Haven’t I just come in a great big circle, without actually answering the question?

Note, though, that society has already answered that question.

Because when a man makes someone pregnant, and he doesn’t want the baby, he walks away. For the most part, in any case. And “society” has decided that this is okay – look how accepted single parenting is now. Absent fathers… it happens. There is no shotgun.

The man can just walk, and carry on with his life and career, as if nothing happened. And that’s allowed. Society has decided that the rights of a man trump those of a foetus.

And if that’s good for a man, it’s good for a woman too.


  1. I enjoyed reading this and I may employ your logic in the future regarding how society has already decided that one parent may abandon the fetus. Of course, prolifers will go noooooo we want the father to be responsible too! But in fact they don’t care as their entire focus is on the mother.

    As far as vaxxing, I agree that people should not be forcibly vaccinated. On the other hand, I think it is perfectly fine to ban the unvaccinated from every public space. Let them keep their pure, unvaccinated selves in their own homes.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think you’re right, in that the ideal is a two-parent family, but often not only does that not happen, but it is commonplace. and we shrug our shoulders. But there is no mistaking that the woman carries the lion’s share of the burden, and that shouldn’t be so.

      With anti-vaxxers, to a certain extent I see a contract. “If you do not do X, then you are not permitted to take part in Y”, but you have to be careful with public spaces because they have every bit as much right to be there as you do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Here, here, Mr.B. This is the sort of logic that needs to be spread. Does a government (not a religious organization) have the right to determine what other people do with their bodies? Is that not against the basic freedoms of every person, as it definitely interferes with my life, liberty and most definitely their pursuit of happiness. It’s amazing to me that we can move forward on some fronts (gender/marriage) and then fall backwards on something so fundamental. Should everyone get vaccinated? Should a late-term pregnancy be aborted? These are moral issues and they deserve to be debated, but not by the government by a person’s conscience. Let’s at least all agree we are for preserving the separation of church and state, as before it, there were some brutal moments in history, none of which would I like to see repeated.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is where you Americans got it right. A constitution, a document which determines where the boundary lies between the individual and the state. We could use that here, otherwise everybody’s idea is slightly different.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You make a salient point, Mr Bump, but as far as the (in particular) Covid vaccination is concerned, there is also the element of an individual’s responsibility to a wider society to consider. Is it ok, that a person who chooses not to get vaccinated puts admittedly unknowingly vulnerable people at risk? I don‘t think so. So in my humble opinion the two subjects share some common values and questions, but the vaccination has potential ramifications well beyond one man, one woman and one foetus.

    Liked by 2 people

    • More fundamentally, is there a responsibility to society? To vulnerable people? Is there even a society? Is it not just a financial transaction? (i.e. taxes versus roads, schools, services etc.)

      I’m thinking that a lot of people, especially the more right-wing their beliefs, would say not. Because that’s basically the whole right/left split. The individual versus the collective.


    • I mean, even if you do say that somebody has a civic responsibility to get vaccinated, you’re not just saying that by whay you say.

      You’re also saying that that responsibility outweighs any personal autonomy you might have. That’d be very tough to sell to people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed, in a democracy that would be a tough sale, but in circumstances such as a pandemic our governments made exactly such tough decisions curtailing our civil liberties for the greater good…. And then went breaking the rules behind closed doors, but the hypocrisy of our politicians is an entirely different matter.. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, precedent, legally speaking.
          Where the “behind closed doors” thing is relevant, is that it shows that people will quite happily do what they think is best, rather than obey laws.
          Which I reckon is how any compulsory vaccination plan might go.
          I remember when Javid said “all NHS to be vaccinated”, the protests were about the compulsory aspect, not the vaccine itself. I’d proptest that, too, despite happily being triple-jabbed.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating! You have put another ‘sticky wicket’ (so to speak) into my (semi) innocent question…what about the FATHER? To me if you do the sowing, stick around for the reaping sort of ideology. I agree with your observation that society has deemed men ‘irresponsible’ for sowing their oats willy nilly and getting away with walking away. However that is a generalization too. There are some men who want the fertilized egg combo very much and the woman doesn’t want anything to do with the whole mess so opts perhaps for abortion. There is a sort of trend in the USA these days that the men involved have to be consulted before someone can have the procedure. A few flaws with that idea are the victims of incest or rape. %!#$ the father in those cases. Take HIM to a sterilization clinic immediately. But some men (young men) have gone so far as to commit suicide when they learn their lover had an abortion. They were absolutely devastated. So all this flap doodle about pro-life and pro-choice ought to include the three individuals it impacts and IMO everyone else needs to keep their proboscis out of private matters, Thank you for commenting on Truthful Tuesday’s question and inserting some common sense into what is rapidly becoming Bedlam.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a very good point, because in an ideal world, an abortion is a decision made jointly, where both parents agree.

      I can kinda be persuaded that it can be a unilateral decision, if we phrase the question as, “Am I prepared to incubate this egg for nine months?” In that case the mother could just say “no”, and the father doesn’t have much choice (with current technology). But at that point it does become very grey, doesn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is super interesting. I have never heard the question addressed in this way before. Sometimes I think that assuming that givng the foetus life is “for the foetus” is an incorrect assumption anyway. And if a baby is entering the world “unwanted” that sux big time. Even although I WANTED my children, I still sometimes feel guilty for the arrogance of facing them with this f’ed up world. A little aside: Where I grew up in Indonesia, there were no vets. So animals had babies as nature saw fit. And if that pregnant animal was a cat you had adopted as a pet to “save it from the street”, your only options were to try and find homes for the kittens, to fill your house with kittens, or to “dispose”of the kittens as you felt was most humane. Personally I would rather the kittens were never born than to “give them life” and then have to deal with the consequence of that. Of course, we don’t go drowning human babies. That’s not my point. My point is, I don’t think it’s safe to make blanket decisions about what is “right” or “wrong” or “ethical”. I don’t think much is that black and white. Anyway, we’re on the same page. It’s just interesting to see the different ways of arriving at the same answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I find the “traditional” views on this subject… Inadequate. In one swift step, you’re mired in treacle, at a complete impasse. Which is why the issue is still so evocative after god knows how long.

      Liked by 1 person

    • No. Too simplistic.
      Because specifically when a woman is pregnant, she is not autonomous. She is making decsions for two people.
      Your argument says that the foetus has no rights because the rights of the woman take precedence. That’s the same tired old argument that people have been trotting out for fifty years, and it is not decisive. For everybody who argues what you present, there is somebody who believes that the rights of foetus take precedence. And that it is the responsibility of the state to protect those rights.
      My argument is that the foetus has no rights because the rights of the man take precedence. Have done so for millenia, so there is effectively case law. And that a woman has equal rights to a man. It is an argument of gender equality. Men versus women. If you didn’t pick that up, you misunderstood my post.
      Slogans do not cut the mustard here. If they were any good, this issue would have been settled years ago.


        • I understand the point you’re making but disagree. People can say “it’s my body. my right” when it is just them, but not when there is another person involved. To get to a solution, wee need to dig deeper and actually the role of the father here, that society accepts that a father can just walk away, is pivotal.


          • We agree on that. If you will indulge my curiosities, here are 3 questions for you: 1: From a purely philosophical standpoint, if someone wants to make arguments for bodily autonomy under the idea of “my body, my choice,” should that not apply across-the-board to all matters related to bodily autonomy? 2: If someone voluntarily opts for a vaccine or medical experiment, should that person be able to argue that his or her bodily autonomy should supersede all other authority in that regard? 3: Why is the right to choose seen as valid for abortion and yet frowned upon regarding refusal of vaccines?


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