Roe Ruins Gender Equality

              42 years ago when the Supreme Court of the United States handed down the ruling in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion and annihilating nearly all state protections for fetal human life, it likely had no idea how that would wreak havoc on gender equality for a generation of young adults.  Based in the privacy jurisprudence between a husband and wife from Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, Roe assisted in forming new law in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 that expanded and blurred notions of sexuality across all sorts of normative lines.  And somewhat surprisingly, gender disparity in sexual freedom has arisen as a result of this jurisprudential progression of privacy.  Examples abound.  Since Roe, some men have advocated for a paternal rights exception to the abortion right a woman enjoys. Because abortion gives women more power to decide whether to procreate, some argue that men should possess some rights in balance of that choice.  At the same time, a man could be continually promiscuous and neglect birth control because of abortion availability, entailing less cultural pressure for a man to show commitment to a woman following sex when the man can rightly say that she can readily terminate any resulting pregnancy.  Furthermore, courts have repeatedly ruled that if a child is born to an unmarried woman, the parents cannot contract to waive the man's child support obligation.  So while denying men any rights after conception, courts have consistently upheld a woman's right to abortion, a right she may exercise unilaterally even if she is married.  Roe has pitted men against women, and women against men.  Indeed, contemporary notions tending to eliminate the complementary nature of gender have been thwarted by Roe. If gender is no longer binary, however, it would seem that the unequal treatment of two people similarly situated as parents promotes a violation of equal protection.  Some unwed fathers have (unsuccessfully) sued the women they impregnated for fraud.  Men have also argued for their rights in tortious conversion as a way to provide compensation for the loss of a wanted child aborted as unwanted by his or her mother.  None of these legal arguments, however, have been able to trump the autonomy and privacy of gestation. 


This passive gender inequality has come about simply because of Roe.  To learn more about Roe's effects on the family see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2441274.  To read more about gender equality see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2112419, or how abortion has created a paradox of female happiness and brought about the rise and fall of women's rights see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2001387, and http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2007200.  Among a host of other things, Roe first and foremost takes innocent life, while it also works to ruin gender equality, thereby hindering family restoration.

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