I recently discovered that my boyfriend of seven months and I have opposing viewpoints on the "life begins at conception" issue. He's not a crazy zealot, but he is strongly against abortion. And while he won't go so far as to say abortion should be banned, he does believe that a fetus — from the moment of conception — is a person with the same rights as any other person. This shocked me, and I almost broke up with him. He says that disagreeing on issues is fine in a relationship, but I find his position abhorrent, and it opens the door for a litany of laws regulating my body. He's a sweet, loving guy and progressive in every other way. But I'm not sure if this should be a deal-breaker.
Love Is Finding Errors
Your boyfriend won't go so far as to say abortion should be banned ... or maybe he saw the shocked look on your face and realized that going so far as to say abortion should be banned would be a big mistake.
Here's a good way to find out whether your boyfriend is serious about not wanting to impose his personal beliefs on others: Tell him you're pregnant.
Some men blithely assume anti-choice positions because, hey, it's not like their bodies or their futures are on the line, right? Most anti-choice-in-the-abstract men come to a very different conclusion when an unplanned pregnancy impacts them directly.
So tell your boyfriend you're pregnant. You can present it as a thought experiment, LIFE, but I think you should flat-out lie. Then ask him whether he's ready to provide financial support for a child. Ask him whether he's ready for the responsibilities (and the grind) of full- or even part-time parenting. Ask him if he knows you well enough — just seven short months into this relationship — to make the kind of lifetime commitment that scrambling your DNA together entails.
I'm guessing his answers will be "no, no and no" and he'll offer to drive you to the abortion clinic himself.
As for whether you should date someone who is anti-choice, well, women have to be in control of their own bodies in order to be truly equal. I don't think I could date someone who didn't see me as his equal, or who believed the state should regulate my sexual or reproductive choices. So this shit would be a deal-breaker for me, if I had a vagina.
Actually, this issue is a deal-breaker for me. I wouldn't date a gay dude who was anti-choice. Any gay man who can't see the connection between a woman's right to have children when she chooses and his right to love and marry the person he chooses is an idiot.
If your hypothetical pregnancy doesn't shock your boyfriend out of his idiocy, you'll have to ask yourself if you can continue dating this idiot.
And speaking of abortion ...
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis released the results of a massive study — more than 9,000 women participated — on the effects of making birth control more widely available. How did they make birth control more widely available? They gave it away for free. And it turns out that making birth control available to women at no cost reduced the teen birth rate by more than 80 percent, and it reduced the number of abortions by 62 percent to 78 percent.
A person can't call himself pro-life and oppose access to birth control. If you do oppose access to birth control — or you oppose Obamacare because it expands access to birth control — you're not pro-life. You're just anti-sex.
I found porn on my kid's computer and I talked to him about being careful about spyware, the difference actual intimacy and objectification, and that kind of thing. I don't have a problem with a 15-year-old boy looking at porn — so long as he's discreet and doesn't do it to excess. But what my kid was looking at was standard stuff. A friend found a stash of really kinky violence-against-women stuff on her kid's computer. I'm thinking a parent can't let that go as easily. She's about to confront her kid. What would you advise her to say?
My Friend's Kinky Son
You meet two kinds of people at kink events and in kink spaces: people who were jerking off to kinky fantasies long before they were 15, and people who got into kink after falling in love with someone kinky. Your friend's son sounds like one of the former.
It's important for your friend to bear in mind that her son, if he is indeed kinky, sought out kinky porn. Kinky porn didn't make him kinky. And being shamed by his mother for his kinks isn't going to unmake his kinks.
That said, your friend should talk with her son about the difference between porn and real sex, and the difference between erotic power exchange and violence. She should also talk to him about safety and misogyny, and encourage him to be thoughtful about his sexuality. Most importantly, she should emphasize the importance of meaningful and informed CONSENT.
Your friend's son isn't going to want to dialogue with his mom about his porn stash or his kinks, so she should go in prepared to monologue at him.
Finally, there's a chance that your friend's son isn't kinky, and was just looking for the most appalling shit he could find on the Internet. Mom should acknowledge that possibility, and her son is likely to seize on that excuse. If he does claim that he was just looking for shocking video clips, she should say: "I believe you. But there's a small chance that you're saying that because you think it's what I want to hear. So I'm going to say everything I wanted to say about safety, misogyny and consent just in case. And all of it applies to vanilla sex, too."
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