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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Tuesday, November 12, 2002
10:57 PM

Martha Burk quotes... I'm pulling out a few puzzling ones for y'all, but the real topper has already been posted over at NRO courtesy of Kathryn Lopez. Strange does not describe it:

In a piece for the Nov./Dec. 1997 issue of Ms., Ms. Burk presented her solution to the abortion debate: mandatory sterilization of men.

She noted that a man who had "unprotected sexual intercourse once a week" could "theoretically father 1,820 children. Add his increased years of fertility, and his potential for physical domination over women, and we can readily see that the problem of unwanted pregnancy is largely one of uncontrolled sperm."

"So," Burk wrote, "how do we control men's fertility? Mandatory contraception beginning at puberty, with the rule relaxed only for procreation under the right circumstances (he can afford it and has a willing partner) and for the right reasons (determined by a panel of experts, and with the permission of his designated female partner)."

Burk said that "controlling men's fertility would not be a hard restriction to enforce. The fertility authorities could use a combination of punishments for men who failed to get the implants and for doctors who removed them without proper authorization. The men could be required to adopt one orphan per infraction and rear her or him until adulthood. The doctors, could lose their licenses or, in extreme cases, go to prison."

It's so odd I don't know what to make of it. Intentional exagerration? Lopez suggests Burk may have been deliberately "over-dramatic," which is a nice way of putting it. I tried searching the Ms. Magazine online archive but no luck.

One thing for sure: there's real anger here.

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