“Savage Love” Actually Gives Some Good Advice

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Perhaps it’s just that a broken clock is right twice a day. But I think this article is a little more promising than that.

My dad, Dan Gura, was reading last week’s Chicago Reader, a free Chicago newspaper. He was surprised to find some somewhat reasonable advise from the typically off-track and virulent Dan Savage in his love advice column “Savage Love.”

Classy Lady’s Pregnancy Scare

A woman calling herself “Classy Lady” writes (caution: explicit language used):

I was hanging out with a guy who’s in a relationship. … A while ago, I made the drunken mistake of climbing into the backseat of a car with him, and things got racy pretty quickly. …

Here we are a bit later, and I just had a pregnancy scare. Had I been pregnant, I would have had an abortion. If I’d actually been facing an abortion, I would have called and told him. Would that have been the right thing to do?

I wouldn’t have asked for money or support; I would have told him solely because it would have felt wrong not to. I had some feeling, like he should know—because he has a right to know, you know? I can’t imagine I’m the only woman who’s been faced with a “to tell or not to tell” situation. Weigh in?

OK, so our typical pro-life reader might be questioning the aptness of the moniker “Classy Lady” at this point. But that’s not the issue here.

Savage’s Somewhat Helpful Advice To Readers

The issue is Savage’s response. He begins by stating point blank that the father of the child (“the guy who knocked her up”) has a right to know “unless she sincerely believes—or even suspects—that the guy’s gonna bully, badger, and/or do violence to her in an attempt to prevent her from choosing abortion.”

Unfortunately, all too often the reverse is true: men bully their girlfriends into having abortions–even sometimes at gunpoint! I do wish Savage had recognized that it happens both ways (if indeed it even happens the other way at all…).

Savage then tells Classy Lady (“CL”):

Guys need to know when they’ve dodged a bullet, CL. Being made aware that he came this close to 18 years’ worth of child support payments can lead a guy to be more cautious … and more likely to support choice.

I find this advice rather counter-intuitive. The suggestion that because a man “dodged a bullet” and didn’t become a father this time he ought to be more likely to “support” the “choice” of a woman killing his child, if next time he’s not so “lucky” strikes me as illogical. If anything, it should make him more likely to only have sex with a woman he’s willing to have a child with.

Savage’s Sound Advice

But here’s the part that makes this column worth reading:

This bit is going to get me scratched off NARAL’s Christmas card list, which will be a real bummer… but I gotta be me. A guy—a good, decent, nonabusive guy—should be told about an impending abortion so he can, if he feels the abortion is a mistake, make a case for keeping the baby. It’s still the woman’s choice in the end—there should be absolutely no question about that—but the fetus, if not the uterus, is his, too. It’s only fair that the same guy who would be on the hook for child support payments if you decided to go through with the pregnancy be heard out before you follow through on your decision to end it.

Surprisingly, Savage gets it right: the unborn baby is the father’s, even if the uterus is not, so the father should have a say in what happens to his baby.

Sadly he’s also exactly right on a less agreeable point: “It’s still the woman’s choice in the end” according to the US Supreme Court’s rulings. The father has no legal right to protect his unborn child from his or her gruesome death.

All the more reason to beware of casual encounters in backseats with “Classy Ladies,” if you ask me.

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