Isn’t this an interesting problem

I’ve been with my boyfriend for about six months. I’m 39 and he’s 51. We have a great relationship. I fell pregnant after only a month and a half. In a decision made jointly with full support, I had a termination. The sex we’d had before was always great. However, since the termination my partner finds it very difficult to ejaculate. Could the termination have an effect on this? He insists not.

In the answer:

There is normally a mourning period following a termination, which needs to follow its course and be respected.

Why is there a mourning period if it’s just an insensate clump of cells? There is no more there than just a normal period is there?

Yes, I know, I know, I disagree with just about everyone on this. And yet I see great echoes of New Soviet Man here. That was the idea that if human beings were different then we could have a different economy. Entirely true, if human beings were different we could, it’s the creation of a different type of human which is the difficult thing. Here it’s that it ought to be that it’s a clump of insensate cells which no one should worry about disposing of. And yet it turns out that human beings aren’t quite like that and they do worry. To the extent that a mourning period is normal.

Oooops.

Which neatly brings me back to the New Soviet Man thing – our aim is to build and economy which works for the human beings we have. So too with other aspects of society. We don’t assume that murder/rape/robbery/fraud will never happen because we know that human beings aren’t like that. We thus design systems to deal with, to minimise the happening of them. For we can’t actually make humans what they are not.

Apparently this extends to not being able to spurt when the point and purpose of the spurting is flushed away down the drain. For some people at least.

39 comments on “Isn’t this an interesting problem

  1. Japan is a decent indicator of this. Now that they have stopped having babies to a large degree, dating, sex and human contact all seem on a steady decline there.

  2. I’m 39 and he’s 51. We have a great relationship. I fell pregnant after only a month and a half. In a decision made jointly with full support, I had a termination.

    Presumably her last chance to have a child. And she killed it.

    Maybe it wasn’t so joint and it wasn’t quite full support. Maybe she wasn’t listening. Maybe the impact of killing your child is more serious than she thought.

    We ought to reject the culture of death that dominates the modern world. It is hardly a surprise that some men can’t express their true feelings given the soft totalitarianism of that culture of death.

  3. The other day i heard of someone who had just signed up for training as an abortion doula.

  4. The reason he can’t come will be because of fear of getting her pregnant again.

    And why shouldn’t abortion be traumatic? It’s not like you understand, is it Tim?

    Do you actually know any women? Have you asked them questions about fertility?

    Have you ever had the experience of being a partner who has had an abortion?

  5. I have not been a partner who has had an abortion no. Something about my genetic make up makes that unlikely.

  6. I cannot claim direct experience but one of my best friends some time ago suffered his partner aborting their child, because she was ‘too young and wanted to have more fun’. The tragic irony is that he and his wife are having difficulty conceiving.

    In a nation where contraception, including post-coital contraception, is widely and easily available, there should be minimal need for abortion.

  7. Meiac- I don’t think you’re understanding tim’s point. He’s implied if it’s traumatic then it’s an indication that it’s a life that’s being ended not a ball of cells. He’s saying that someone recgonising that it requires mourning is recognising that a human life has been voluntarily ended. He’s saying morally you can say it’s not a life — what’s for breakfast or you can say it was a life that was less important than mine but i feel the least i can do is mourn for it. He’s saying Pamela is in the latter camp.

  8. I can’t see how mourning invalidates arguments that abortion is fine because it is not a child (not one of my arguments – I see abortion as fine as it is the woman’s body to do with as she likes because she is an individual – if the baby is viable, then it gets removed; if the foetus is not viable, then it gets destroyed).

    You can mourn a lost potential child, even if you acknowledge it was not wanted. Humans are complex emotional creatures, and frankly there seems to be minimal contradiction in there.

    What does irritate me is people going on about abortion as if it were a matter for debate – it is a personal choice, and if it is not your body (and the only commentator on this thread, me included, who might have an appropriate body that I can identify is JuliaM) then what the hell concern of yours is it? People who oppose state intervention in other ways somehow thinking they can control women’s bodies always seems vaguely strange – indeed abortion somehow generally inverts pre-existing positions around state control of individuals, which is entertaining but very strange.

  9. Watchman: you will find very few libertarians who do not think the state should intervene when murders are committed

  10. Watchman – “I can’t see how mourning invalidates arguments that abortion is fine because it is not a child”

    An argument from moral obtuseness is not particularly impressive. If it was not a child, no one would care. No one mourns a cancer when it is cut out. No one mourns a wart. If someone mourns an abortion, it is more than a clump of cells to them. Whether or not you are so lacking in human feeling that you cannot see it.

    “(not one of my arguments – I see abortion as fine as it is the woman’s body to do with as she likes because she is an individual – if the baby is viable, then it gets removed; if the foetus is not viable, then it gets destroyed).”

    The issue is not what she does with her body but what a doctor armed with a steel hole punch is allowed to do. Your argument would be stronger if there was the slightest chance you consistently supported the right to do with your body as you pleased.

    “You can mourn a lost potential child, even if you acknowledge it was not wanted.”

    So you are fine with killing a child as long as it is not wanted?

    “What does irritate me is people going on about abortion as if it were a matter for debate – it is a personal choice, and if it is not your body (and the only commentator on this thread, me included, who might have an appropriate body that I can identify is JuliaM) then what the hell concern of yours is it?”

    Well I could put all the concern I feel for your irritation on the head of a needle and still have room to give a sh!t. It is not a personal choice. It is a matter of public policy. Again we legislate what people can and cannot do with their bodies all the time. Unless you are a very doctrinaire libertarian you are simply an airhead for thinking in trite cliches imposed on your by the abortion industry.

    “People who oppose state intervention in other ways somehow thinking they can control women’s bodies always seems vaguely strange”

    Again it is not a matter of controlling women’s bodies but controlling what doctors can do with vacuum pumps.

  11. Watchman- it would be very worrying if it wasn’t a matter for debate. we’re talking life or death after all. Tim every now and then points out the various moral fudges that are employed to support the status quo on aborting fetuses, and i think they are healthy reminders.
    You can mourn a lost potential. Yes you can. Not questioning that, arguably that is what all mourning is. Most people i would guess would put voluntary mourning into a different category to involuntary mourning. Maybe different enough to warrant a different word.

  12. you will find very few libertarians who do not think the state should intervene when murders are committed

    You’d first have to convince them it’s murder. Hence the problem.

  13. Tim every now and then points out the various moral fudges that are employed to support the status quo on aborting fetuses, and i think they are healthy reminders.

    Yeah, but this isn’t the US. Abortion is a moral fudge, and for whatever reason most Brits (probably) think it is a necessary evil: we’d rather not have it, but having it is better than not having it. At least, that’s what the issue being nowhere on the political radar would suggest.

    And not everybody mourns when their partner has an abortion: these things affect different people in different ways.

  14. “Yeah, but this isn’t the US. Abortion is a moral fudge,” Yes it is but we can talk about the recipe now and then.

  15. “39 years old and can’t master basic contraception”.
    Not so fast,, even the best are only 98-99% effective. In fact rise of single parentdom since the 60s could be pretty much explained by that 2%.

  16. Not so fast,, even the best are only 98-99% effective. In fact rise of single parentdom since the 60s could be pretty much explained by that 2%.

    I think the moron thing is more plausible.

  17. DTP
    oh there’s lots of plausible possibilities.
    One being gf got preggers saw the look on new bf’s face when she shared the good news, swallowed hard, booked the appointment. Thought worth a try.
    We just don’t know and to be fair the lady’s not writing in about contraception but about how she improves her sex life.
    BF might be struggling because he insists on going double bagged from now on. We just don’t know.

  18. @SMFS
    “Presumably her last chance to have a child. And she killed it.”
    Jesus. A (talented) writer could spin a book out of that quote.

    See- this is my problem with abortion: nothing to do with standard genderpol- it’s that it’s easy. I’m not saying I want someone to suffer, but this lady has done this and now she’s writing into the paper for advice as to why her relationship is falling to bits. She doesn’t realise what’s happened.

    She’s like a toddler with a box of matches stood in front of a burning house complaining that it’s a bit warm.

  19. Oh there’s lots of plausible possibilities… We just don’t know.

    She woke up one day and said to herself, “I know, I’ll write a letter to The Guardian about it!”

    Need I say more?

  20. Hypothetically – suppose a guy has his sperm frozen before undergoing cancer treatment that he knows will make him infertile. He looks forward to having a child with his wife after his treatment’s done, if he survives.

    Do to an unfortunate error at the clinic, the cleaner accidentally pulls the plug out of the freezer and the frozen sample is lost. The man is angry, and mourns the loss of his last chance to conceive.

    Would this imply – according to the reasoning being used here – that a wank into a plastic cup counts as a ‘life’? Is masturbation murder?

    All together now…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUspLVStPbk

  21. I too doubt people just write in like that on such subjects. She’s probably a friend or a client a ficticious illustrative creation of Pamela or the features editor.

  22. NiV

    Did you miss Sex Education at school? You know; sperm, meet egg? We are talking about post-fertilisation. Sheesh

    As for the right not to be ‘forced’ to bear a child, it would help if people acknowledged that sexual intercourse has been known to lead to pregnancy.

  23. I`m sorry these sexual problems have happened to “Some people” Tim .
    Would it help “Some people” if they had access to therapy, you can tell “Some people” that strict confidentiality is always observed and “ Some people” will soon rebuild confidence .

    Make that call Tim , on behalf of “Some people “ ,I mean

  24. “Did you miss Sex Education at school? You know; sperm, meet egg? We are talking about post-fertilisation. Sheesh”

    Yes, I know you are. I’m just pointing out that the same logic applies pre-fertilisation, too. There’s nothing about fertilisation specifically that triggers the mourning process. So if the possibility of mourning a lost opportunity to reproduce implies that it is an actual life being ended, then every lost opportunity to procreate is murder.

    The technique is called Reductio ad Absurdam.

    I was interested to see if we had any Catholics in the house who would, of course, say “yes”. Genesis 38:8-10.

  25. NiV – “Would this imply – according to the reasoning being used here – that a wank into a plastic cup counts as a ‘life’? Is masturbation murder?”

    No. That would imply you are an idiot who knows nothing about biology or theology.

    NiV – “Yes, I know you are. I’m just pointing out that the same logic applies pre-fertilisation, too.”

    No you are not. You have no idea what would trigger mourning in these people. And if you have any example of anyone in the history of the planet mourning the loss of life involved in a wet dream, I would be surprised. You are, simply, an idiot.

    “There’s nothing about fertilisation specifically that triggers the mourning process.”

    Says who? Not this article which is quite clear that the fertilization did. Not the previous sex.

    “So if the possibility of mourning a lost opportunity to reproduce implies that it is an actual life being ended, then every lost opportunity to procreate is murder.”

    And we are back with you being an idiot. An actual foetus is very different from “an opportunity” to procreate.

    “The technique is called Reductio ad Absurdam.”

    Which you have used very successfully to tell us what an idiot you are.

    “I was interested to see if we had any Catholics in the house who would, of course, say “yes”. Genesis 38:8-10.”

    Ironman perhaps. And of course you do not understand the objection to Onan. Which has nothing to do with every jack off being a waste of life. As I said, you have reduced yourself to a buffoon.

  26. “No. That would imply you are an idiot who knows nothing about biology or theology.”

    That’s supposed to be an argument?

    “No you are not. You have no idea what would trigger mourning in these people.”

    I just gave a plausible example.

    “And if you have any example of anyone in the history of the planet mourning the loss of life involved in a wet dream, I would be surprised.”

    Strawman argument.

    The example I gave was of a man freezing sperm with the intention of having them fertilised later, and mourning the loss of the opportunity. If you want to give a reason why it’s impossible that a man could ever feel that way in those circumstances, go ahead.

    Otherwise, the same reasoning applies, and you know it.

    “Says who? Not this article which is quite clear that the fertilization did.”

    It says nothing of the sort. It doesn’t specify what aspect of the termination caused the mourning.

    “And we are back with you being an idiot. An actual foetus is very different from “an opportunity” to procreate.”

    I didn’t say otherwise. I said it was the opportunity to procreate that the man in my example mourned. Actual foetuses don’t come into it.

    “And of course you do not understand the objection to Onan. Which has nothing to do with every jack off being a waste of life. As I said, you have reduced yourself to a buffoon.”

    ??!

    From http://rtforum.org/lt/lt67.html

    Wherefore it is not surprising that the Sacred Scriptures themselves also bear witness to the fact that the divine Majesty attends this unspeakable depravity with the utmost detestation, sometimes having punished it with death, as St. Augustine recalls: “For it is illicit and shameful for a man to lie with even his lawful wife in such a way as to prevent the conception of offspring. This is what Onan, son of Judah, used to do; and for that God slew him

    …says Pope Pius XI. I suppose you think he was a ‘buffoon’ who knows nothing about theology as well?!

    Idiot.

  27. NiV – “That’s supposed to be an argument?”

    Better than yours. You put forward a strawman supported by no one and you seem to think the Life of Brain is a documentary. Yeah, it works.

    “I just gave a plausible example.”

    Find me one person in the history of the human race who has mourned a wet dream because of the loss of offspring. You did not give an example at all much less a plausible one. You are simply an idiot. A very confident one, but still an idiot.

    “Strawman argument.”

    Yours was. But if you are going to claim Catholics mourn every ejaculation then you need some evidence. The stupidity of your argument is not my problem.

    “The example I gave was of a man freezing sperm with the intention of having them fertilised later, and mourning the loss of the opportunity.”

    I think we can agree me might mourn the loss of capacity. But that is not the same as mourning the specific instance. An aborted foetus is an actual foetus. It is a concrete example, here and now. A stored sample is a stored sample. Again, if you cannot see the distinction, and it seems you cannot, you are an idiot.

    “Otherwise, the same reasoning applies, and you know it.”

    What reasoning? It is not even remotely similar.

    “It says nothing of the sort. It doesn’t specify what aspect of the termination caused the mourning.”

    Sure it is possible she was mourning their choice of wall paper. Such insensitivity from the clinic’s interior decorator but it is unlikely. It strongly implies the mourning, if that is what it is, was caused by the abortion.

    “I didn’t say otherwise.”

    Yes you did. Your entire argument, if we can call it that, revolves around a comparison between apples and oranges. If you did not mean that comparison, why make it?

    “…says Pope Pius XI. I suppose you think he was a ‘buffoon’ who knows nothing about theology as well?!”

    I am happy to defer to Pope Pius XI on matters theological. But you do not understand what the objection is and so your view of what Pope Pius XI had to say on the subject is irrelevant. I am not disrespecting the Pope by pointing out you seem to have confused the Life of Brain with evidence of Catholic theology. You have not. As the Pope says, Catholics are required to be open to the possibility of conception. They are not required to conceive. Nor are they required to mourn every ejaculation as a million wasted lives.

    Why don’t you stick to Trannies and leave the grown up conversations to people capable of working out what Catholics actually believe before confidently pronouncing on it?

  28. “I think we can agree me might mourn the loss of capacity.”

    Thank you for conceding the point.

    “Sure it is possible she was mourning their choice of wall paper. Such insensitivity from the clinic’s interior decorator but it is unlikely. It strongly implies the mourning, if that is what it is, was caused by the abortion.”

    Yes, but what aspect of the abortion? Was it the loss of this specific ‘life’? Or the loss of the life they would lead with a future child? Or the lost opportunity of a child? Or the trauma of having to make the decision? Or the irony at having conceived so fast when it was too early, and then not being able to when they wanted to?

    It doesn’t say. You’re assuming (based on your own personal beliefs), and then denying even the possibility that your assumption might be wrong.

    “I am happy to defer to Pope Pius XI on matters theological. But you do not understand what the objection is and so your view of what Pope Pius XI had to say on the subject is irrelevant.”

    You evidently don’t understand what the Pope’s point is, so what you have to say on the subject is irrelevant.

    “Why don’t you stick to Trannies and leave the grown up conversations to people capable of working out what Catholics actually believe before confidently pronouncing on it?”

    You couldn’t manage a grown up conversation if you tried! This sort of name-calling approach is straight out of the playground.

  29. NiV – “Thank you for conceding the point.”

    What point? It is what I said right from the start.

    “Yes, but what aspect of the abortion?”

    Who knows? The point is your absurd comparison is not like with like. It was a strawman and it has not got any better in recent times.

    “It doesn’t say. You’re assuming (based on your own personal beliefs), and then denying even the possibility that your assumption might be wrong.”

    I am not assuming anything. You will notice I have been agnostic on what caused the problem although the woman associates it with her abortion.

    “You evidently don’t understand what the Pope’s point is, so what you have to say on the subject is irrelevant.”

    That is a wonderful example of the pot calling the kettle Afro-Caribbean. By all means, tell us all what the Pope’s point was and how it relates to your absurd claims.

    “You couldn’t manage a grown up conversation if you tried! This sort of name-calling approach is straight out of the playground.”

    I try to meet everyone at the appropriate level. Citing the Life of Brian as Catholic theology gets the response it deserves.

  30. “What point? It is what I said right from the start.”

    I’m thinking about this bit:

    Watchman – “I can’t see how mourning invalidates arguments that abortion is fine because it is not a child” and “You can mourn a lost potential child, even if you acknowledge it was not wanted.”

    SMFS – “An argument from moral obtuseness is not particularly impressive. If it was not a child, no one would care.”

    SMFS later on – “I think we can agree me might mourn the loss of capacity.”

    The Pope according to SMFS – “As the Pope says, Catholics are required to be open to the possibility of conception.”

    My point is that even pre-conception, the potential child and the potential to have children may legitimately be the subjects of mourning, and therefore to argue that people mourn terminations, that nobody would mourn unless it was an actual child being killed, and therefore abortion must be murder is an invalid argument. If mourning implies a murder, then the possibility of mourning pre-conception means that stopping the process pre-conception would be murder, too. There’s nothing special about the moment of conception in this argument.

    One can still maintain the moral argument against abortion by shifting the target, though. One alternative is to say the regrets people feel over the loss of the opportunity for a child are themselves an evil to be avoided. (Although this applies to lots of life’s decisions.) Another is to say that the opportunity/potential of having a child itself is something worth protecting morally, irrespective of whether a child exists yet, or ever will. An insensate ball of cells is not a child any more than sperm are, and it’s not murder, but by being part of a process that could eventually lead to a child, blocking it is an evil of such magnitude that’s it’s worth the Lord and Creator of the Entire Universe taking a few moments out of his busy schedule to personally kill the miscreant. (Which is murder, but He can get away with it because what’s anyone going to do about it?)

    And thus, the Catholics teach that any obstacle to the process – contraception, abortion, masturbation, or homosexual sex – either pre- or post-conception are equally forbidden, not because of the death of an actually existing child, but because of the prevention of the potential for one. “Every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil.” Only God himself is allowed to decide.

    It’s logically consistent, but the morality of the rest of society has moved on. Society approves of contraception and has no strong feelings on masturbation if it’s done in private, but a lot of people still feel queasy about abortion, and try to justify their rules by distinguishing between ‘actual’ and ‘potential’ lives.

    However, pointing to people mourning a termination doesn’t support that argument. because mourning doesn’t necessarily make the same distinction.

    The Monty Python song (Which of course came from their film ‘The Meaning of Life’ not ‘The Life of Brian’) was a satirical send-up of the same disconnect between Catholic theology and modern-day moral values, and the knots people tie themselves into trying to justify the one in terms of the other.

    Old Testament morality is simply not compatible with modern morality, and the Old Testament itself filled with many examples of what we would consider wickedness being praised as good – including imposing the death penalty on a man for the sin of spilling one’s seed on the ground. That’s something Catholics have serious problems with. The Monty Python way of saying it was intended to make this serious point in a way that was fun.

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