Friday, June 8, 2012

So... What Happens If...

One of Dalton Conley’s more whimsical solutions to this impasse (Should a man be responsible for supporting a baby he didn’t want?), in the conversation we had about it, was that people should download an app, a sort of contract before having sex, in which they agree to what they would do if a baby were conceived. This seems impractical, as well as anti-romantic and anti-aphrodisiac. There are some things that are better left not talked about, and what you would do if you accidentally conceived a child seems like it might be one of them.
Katie Roiphe "Unexpected Pregnancy, Morality, and the Law" Slate Magazine, Friday, 8 June, 2012
This is, I submit, screamingly incorrect. What you would do if you accidentally conceived a child during a casual sexual encounter is perhaps the most important topic to talk about. (Depending on the circumstances, it may or may not outrank an honest discussion of STDs. Especially given the consequences. (Of course, this presupposes that both sides of the equation are going to be honest. Not being the sort who believes that someone who is capable of extra-marital sex must be complete devoid of morality, it seems to me that this is a reasonable possibility.) The idea that Ms. Roiphe puts forward, that it is more important to have a fling than ruin the mood by actually being adult enough to understand what you might be getting yourself into, strikes me as being symptomatic of one of the problems that we have in the modern United States: the idea that adulthood sucks, and is something to be gotten away from or put off as long as possible, rather than embraced. Doing things that may have serious consequences without regard for those consequences is something that many children can only get away with because there is an adult around who is (in many cases) legally obligated to take the fall. In return for that unenviable position, parents are given a certain level of flat-out authority over their children. Being allowed out from under that authority is normally predicated on demonstrating that one can appreciate the consequences of ones actions, and (reasonably) appropriately judge risks.

It seems odd to think that we should jettison the chance to ask ourselves if something is worth the risks, just to preserve the alleged romance of a one-night stand.

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