In his Sticks & Stones Netflix special, Dave Chappelle has an interest argument regarding abortion and child abandonment. You can find a link to he bit and a transcription below.

Chappelle argues that the right to abortion is unequivocally the right of the mother and no one else’s. This seems to be based on the principle that, since the fetus is part of her body, then she has got the right to do with it as she pleases. From this, he also argues that, if the mother decides to have the baby, then the father can take no responsibility and, then, abandon the newborn.

If you can kill this motherfucker, I can at least abandon him. It's my money, my choice, he remarks in the punchline. In this way, the unilateral mother’s right to abortion seems to imply the father’s right to abandonment.

I would like to know if an argument such as this has been advanced or responded to in professional ethics (although not necessarily by professional philosophers or in academic journals).

I'll be real with ya, and I know nobody gives a fuck what I think anyway, I'm not for abortion. I'm not for it, but I'm not against it either. It all depends on who I get pregnant.

I'll tell ya right now, I don't care what your religious beliefs are or anything, if you have a dick, you need to shut the fuck up on this one. Seriously, this is theirs.

The right to choose is their unequivocal right. Not only do I believe they have the right to choose, I believe that they shouldn't have to consult anybody, except for a physician about how they exercise that right.

Gentlemen, that is fair, and ladies, to be fair to us, I also believe if you decide to have the baby, a man should not have to pay. That's fair.

If you can kill this motherfucker, I can at least abandon him. It's my money, my choice. And if I'm wrong, then perhaps we're wrong. Think that shit out for yourselves.

Dave Chappelle, Sticks & Stones (2019)

  • 1
    I'd just like to point out that there's a false equivalency here with the mother and father having equal freedoms. The mother's abortion freedoms are based on biological/autonomical rights and civil/criminal law considerations while the father's are only the latter. It doesn't make much sense to say "you can do this so I can do that." If humans laid eggs I think it would be a more appropriate situation.
    – Cell
    Jul 16 '20 at 22:44
  • it seems like this is going to be tough to find a straight forward answer too. Abortions are still hotly debated in todays politics. ..Raising a child is a separate issue. A baby requires care to survive, and either the baby will not receive the care it needs, society will care for the baby, or the parents will take care of the baby. The legal system (case by case,) generally decides that the parents will take care of the baby as to not burden society.. In many cases, men do not have to take care of the baby, and men do leave (abandon). ..Dave is obviously wealthy, and could be highly affected
    – Noah
    Jul 17 '20 at 6:50

Birth rates are below replacement in almost every region of the world. I feel P. D. James' 'Children Of Men' makes the most salient philosophical point. A society that can't raise and care for children will extinguish itself. If we believe how we live is worthwhile, we have an obligation to pass on what we inherited, collectively. Very quickly when reproduction stops, we would have to recognise other issues pale in comparison.

In Scandinavian countries government provision of childcare makes it far easier to be a single parent, and for mothers to continue their careers - full time hours childcare is available from 6 months old in Sweden.

The current system is based on the burden of childcare falling far more heavily on women, plus the loss of extended family childcare in modern small families. These create practical rather than philosophical problems.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.