Sex = Consent to Pregnancy?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Sex = Consent to Pregnancy?
Thu, 06-12-2008 - 12:32am

I posted this a couple of months ago in reply to someone's comment (quoted below). Since there has been some new claims on the board that women consent to pregnancy when they consent to have sex, and that women who do not prevent an unwanted pregnancy deserve to suffer for it, I thought I'd repost it. Enjoy!

"You voluntarilly had sex - voluntarily took the risk (even the smaller risk with bc) - you had a say in what happened to your body (the sex) knowing and accepting you could become pregnant (and if pc that you would have the option to abort) - right?"

This argument is infinitely regressive. In other words, it has an infinite number of scenarios in which it could apply. Here is what I mean:

1. Voluntarily getting into a car means you consent to getting into an accident. Therefore the carmaker and your insurance company suffer no liability.
2. Voluntarily getting onto a plane means you consent to being locked inside without access to the bathroom for 12 hours while it's stuck on a tarmac (à la Jet Blue in Feb. 2007). The airline suffers no liability.
3. Voluntarily eating at a fast-food restaurant means you consent to getting E-coli. The restaurant suffers no liability.
4. Voluntarily walking down a street without sidewalks means you consent to getting hit by a car. The driver and your insurance company suffer no liability.
5. Voluntarily entering a school campus means you consent to being shot during a murderous rampage. The perpetrator suffers no liability.
6. Voluntarily entering the presence of another human means you consent to inhaling any airborne pathogens exhaled by them. They suffer no liability, even if it's TB that they've given you.
7. Voluntarily getting out of bed means you consent to any number of catastrophies happening to you that would not have happened if you just stayed in bed all day. No one who does anything to do all day suffers any liability for their actions because you had the audacity to put your feet on the floor in the first place.

See what I mean? I understand that the point is to get people to take responsibility for their own lives but abortion is a form of taking responsibility, even if there are those of us who don't like it.

Edited to add: I just feel like going reductio ad absurdum. If abortion cannot be performed without pregnancy, why is it treated so differently from other pregnancy conditions? If we're going to treat pregnancy as a punishment for perceived irresponsible sexual practices, then we can do a lot more than just ban abortion. Let's look further.

1. Getting pregnant means you consent to getting morning sickness so bad you lose 25 pounds and have to be in the hospital regularly for IV fluids. Since pregnancy is always a voluntary condition (except in the case of rape), the woman should have to pay for it out of her own money. After all, most insurance doesn't cover elective actions.
2. Getting pregnant means you consent to having an ectopic pregnancy (or even bleeding out from a standard miscarriage). Since pregnancy is always a voluntary condition (except in the case of rape), it only makes sense that some people will suffer as a result. After all, she must have wanted the pregnancy in the first place if she didn't successfully prevent it.
3. Getting pregnant means you consent to getting Pre-Eclampsia and being put on bedrest for 15 weeks. If you suffer or die, even under a doctor's care, it's your own fault. After all, this is a voluntary condition (except in the case of rape), just like getting breast implants or a nose job.

Now, I heartily encourage anyone to come over to my EC and say that any of the women there who had severely premature babies, suffer from GD, sit on bedrest, or are hoping that the Pre-Eclampsia doesn't kill them somehow deserve the condition because they consented to getting pregnant by having sex in the first place. Actually, I don't encourage it because I'd never sleep from all the RAV'ing I'd be doing.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2006
Thu, 06-12-2008 - 7:43am

Really I don't see it as consent so much as choosing a risk set.

Every time I get in a car I choose to engage in a behavior that has a certain risk of ending in an accident which could lead to death or dismemberment

Every time I have vaginal sex i engage in a behavior that has a certain risk of pregnancy

Now in the car I can decrease my risk by not speeding, not driving under the influence, and wearing a seat belt.

When having sex I can decrease my risk by using condoms, IUD, BCP, or permanant sterilization.

So IMO having consensual vaginal sex means you choose your risk factor and you can increase (clomid NFP) or decrease (birth control) it but short of a hysterectomy you can not eradicate it.

So yes by having sex you choose to risk getting pregnant. You consent to said risk.

I think the real argument here is do you consent to carry said pregnancy.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-07-2007
Thu, 06-12-2008 - 8:17am



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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2006
Thu, 06-12-2008 - 8:30am

>>OT: I love the Boromir siggy! First of all...mmmmm, Sean Bean and secondly, it is so so true! I call WM "the devil store" and will do just about anything to avoid giving them my money.<<

I used to work for walmart and never had a problem but I guess that proves that an anecdote is not the equivalent of DATA now doesn't it.

>>On topic - yes, you're right.<<

the kittens thank you

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2006
Tue, 06-17-2008 - 4:05pm

"I think the real argument here is do you consent to carry said pregnancy."

And the answer for many women experiencing unwanted pregnancy's This is why they choose the option of abortion(and/or birth control) because they DO NOT consent to pregnancy and if they had they would have been activley trying or chose gestation rather then abortion. If they do not consent no one can MAKE them consent...consent must come from the individual..not a third party. Someone shouting at a woman YOU DO CONSENT TO PREGNANCY(due to this idea or that reason exc) does NOT mean she actually.....does. Great post BTW :).

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2008
Tue, 06-17-2008 - 7:43pm
I don't think you necessarily consent to pregnancy by having sex. You do, however, accept that there is a risk of pregnancy or STD's when you have unprotected sex and you also accept that risk when you use protection (cause nothing is 100%). If you become pregnant, you have a choice, you can either carry the pregnancy to term or chose to abort.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-18-2007
Wed, 06-18-2008 - 8:56pm

I think you make a good point. I am someone who has high risk pregnancies and conditions that could lead to death during pregnancy. No one should have the right to force their opinion on me and my body, especially when pregnancy is difficult on my body. With my first pregnancy, I went through nine months of sheer hell and never thought I would go through that again (of course I had a surprise 13 years later).

With that said, I could personally never go through with an abortion unless there was an immediate threat to my life or a tragic problem with the baby. This time around I did not want to risk another high risk pregnancy, I figure I got lucky with the second one and do not want to tempt fate, so I tied my tubes.


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