I'm pro-choice. The anti-choice position is illogical and unappealing to me. It's not the most unappealing quality I can think of in a partner, though — that would probably be dishonesty. Your advice last week to the woman who discovered that her boyfriend is anti-choice was terrible. You advised LIFE to tell her boyfriend that she's pregnant in order to see if that changes his position. If a woman told me she was against abortion in all circumstances, I would think twice about dating her. If she told me she was pregnant and asked me to support the child, and then told me that she was just seeing how I would react, I would dump her.
Vasectomy In Montana
Pretty much everyone on God's warming earth thought my advice for LIFE sucked monkey ass. In my defense, I did give LIFE the option of discussing an unplanned pregnancy as a hypothetical. And even if LIFE did opt to lie — my clear preference — I didn't intend for LIFE to drag the lie out for weeks. I was thinking 30 minutes tops. My fault for not including a clear </lie> in my response.
So what was I thinking?
Basically this: Conservatives tend to change their positions on social issues when "it" happens to them. Nancy Reagan came out for stem-cell research after her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Rush Limbaugh came out for treatment over incarceration for drug offenders after he got caught with OxyContin. Dick Cheney came out for marriage equality after his daughter came out as a lesbian. Likewise, a lot of conservatives are anti-choice until an unplanned pregnancy happens to them. (Sometimes the cure doesn't stick. Scott DesJarlais, for example, is a rabidly pro-life member of Congress from Tennessee. But back in 2000, he pressured his mistress to get an abortion to save his failing marriage.)
This inability to empathize is a defining characteristic of modern conservatism. But my plan to instill a little empathy in LIFE's boyfriend was itself lacking in empathy. LIFE's boyfriend might have been traumatized by the lie — and by the violation of trust. So my advice wasn't just bad, it was hypocritical. Mea culpa.
Would an anti-choice position still be a deal-breaker for you, if your opposed-to-abortion partner had the vagina?
The right to control your own body is a bedrock value for me. But my hypothetical girlfriend's anti-abortion position would be a deal-breaker only if she didn't support the right of other women to make their own choices.
If my hypothetical girlfriend believed that the state should force a woman to give birth against her will, if she wanted doctors thrown in prison for performing abortions, if she believed every miscarriage should be treated like potential homicide, that would be a deal-breaker.
But yes, I could see myself dating a woman who was personally but not politically opposed to abortion. I would only fuck her in the ass, however, to avoid becoming a father against my will.
Your response to LIFE was horrible. I hope LIFE was smart enough to disregard your idiotic "advice."
You and everyone else who worried LIFE might take my idiotic advice will be delighted to hear that she did not ...
After I wrote you, I had a long conversation with my boyfriend. When I asked what we should do if I was pregnant, he said he would want me to give it up for adoption or keep it (with child support from him) but that I could have an abortion since "the letter of the law was on my side" (we live in Canada, for which I am eternally grateful). You hit the nail on the head when you said this was about equality and respect. Even though he claimed he respected me, he admitted that he would ban abortion if he could, essentially arguing that I am less capable of understanding what pregnancy means than he is. I broke up with him. I'm writing to thank you for giving me the boost I needed, and to calm the commentators who really didn't like the lie-about-pregnancy suggestion.
Love Is Finding Errors
I'm glad your anti-choice boyfriend is now your anti-choice ex, LIFE, and your letter is a good reminder to everyone who reads any advice-slinger's column: It's called "advice," not "binding arbitration." And I encourage everyone whose letter appears in the column to lurk in the comments and see what you have to say. Because sometimes your advice is better than mine.
Finally, a word to the anti-choice men who were so hurt that I told their girlfriends to dump them. If you oppose abortion because you believe "sexual choices should have consequences," as more than one of you stated (was there a form letter circulating?), then you should be able to wrap your heads around this: Political choices have consequences, too. You can choose to be anti-choice, and women can choose not to date you.
Consequences! They're not just for women anymore!
Your response to My Friend's Kinky Son struck a chord with me. When I was a preschool kid, my evangelical next-door neighbor presented me with a magnificently illustrated Bible. The only part that piqued my interest was a graphic image of the Israelites in bondage in Egypt: lots of sweat, whipping and blood. I was excited by this image, and I was only 4 years old! By the time I was a teen-ager, I was collecting bondage porn and crafting my own bondage gear. Inevitably, my prying mother found my kinky stash. Much shaming ensued. It made no difference: I just got better at hiding my stash. Being berated by your parents as a child is probably an inevitable part of having BDSM tastes, just as it is for a lot of gay people, but it can't "change" someone.
Likes Irregular Forms of Erotic Release
Thanks for sharing, LIFER.
Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.