Men have the freedom to say no

Women often find themselves in a difficult situation: Carried away by momentary passion, they regain their composure midway through the act. The Supreme Court has ruled that a woman has the right to say 'no more' at any stage. I believe the same should be true for men regarding the rights to their sperm

The Supreme Court decision ruling that a woman has the right to retract any previous agreement to a sexual act at any given moment should be lauded. The three judges, who know the nature of men, unanimously ruled with praise-worthy courage that “there is room to include in the rape offense a rape that began consensually,” because “at any time and any hour it allowed for one to decide what will be done with one’s body and soul.”


This is a difficult, highly ambiguous case, which begins with full consent to intimate relations, which the woman regretted at their beginning. The man, though aware of the woman’s wishes, followed his needs rather than her wishes. This is an important ruling, as it defines and clarifies what is allowed and what is forbidden in intimate relationships.


Women often find themselves in this difficult situation. Carried away by momentary passion, what the reasons may be, they abruptly regain their composure during the act. The man continues, fighting for his right to have his say, while they know clearly that they were raped, but take on the full burden of the blame.


Some of them are married women who feel this way about their husbands during intimate relations, and some, most of them, are woman on the verge of their sexual maturity, who do not yet clear right and wrong boundaries, and do not know how to say “no” or “no more” on time, and clearly, until it is too late.


These are events that occur every day. On this the Supreme Court justices say: “Be the reason for the woman’s wish to stop what it may be… no one has the right to take away this freedom” (the freedom to say “no”, at any time).


It is clear that the ruling is fitting to its circumstances, and the court warns itself and stated that “vigilance is necessary in each case to ensure that the perpetrator is indeed aware, beyond any reasonable doubt, to the occurrence of the change of heart” – this is the brake that prevents false accusations.


By being so justified, this important verdict, which illuminated the allowed and forbidden in intimate relationships, raises in my heart reconsiderations regarding the other side: a man’s right to his body and soul, and henceforth, his sperm. In this day and age, with relations between the sexes changing their nature before our very eyes, and women’s autonomy is protected as needed, the balance between the sexes should be considered.


As a lawyer specializing in family law, I often deal with cases in which the man claims t have been “raped” into procreation by an act of love that caused forced parenthood. These cases are commonly referred to as “sperm theft”. These events do refer to intimate relations that are entirely consensual, but their result is controversial when the woman, in direct opposition of the man’s will, to become pregnant and to have his child.


The Nahmani eggs case

I was one of the representing attorneys in one of the most famous end cases in our legal history in this area – the Nahmani eggs case. In that case, the couple originally agreed to use eggs inseminated by the man’s sperm for having their children, but after a while the man withdrew his agreement following a change in the couple’s lives.


In this case the sentencing was ultimately based on the man’s initial willingness to have their children, a willingness he was no longer allowed to retract, according to the Supreme Court, only because conception was outside the woman’s body because of her infertility.


However, in some cases, the woman who conceives against the will of the man uses her right to her own body to an extreme, completely ignoring the man’s right to his sperm. In this debate, I am deliberately ignoring the fact that these relations result in the birth of child who becomes the critical third party in a practical discussion of this subject.


This is not just about the man’s resounding financial implications of the use of his sperm against his will. This is not just about the need to pay child support to a child usually born out of wedlock until that child reaches adulthood. It is mainly about the harsh emotional implications on a man who finds himself forcibly parenting a child he did not want, cannot support and who he does not want to, or is incapable of, caring for.


These situations are numerous, and are vastly different from one another. Each man and his own tragedy. It is my firm conviction that the same rule of thumb that states, as the court phrased it, that “at any time and any hour it allowed for one to decide what will be done with one’s body and soul”, should also apply to a woman’s use of a man’s sperm, which is an inseparable part of his very being.


This trust cannot be broken by a woman

Says the Supreme Court in its verdict: “The ability to have real loving relationships, and intimate relations at that, is a unique human ability, an ability which holds in it the mental and willful essence of the person. This ability is based on the foundation of trust between the partners, and free will on both their parts.”


Indeed, well said. Except that this trust, which must exist at all times in these relationships, cannot be broken by a woman either. It is my hope that courts, who very rightly sanctify the woman’s right to her own body and will, always, even in the midst of intimate relations, will find a way to cast their patronage on a man’s autonomy of his sperm as well.


The autonomy of the individual over body and soul is mutually relevant to both sexes. The defense of the freedom to have intimate relations, or to withdraw from them at any time, should be related not only to the sex act itself, but also to its outcome.


The author is an expert on family law and a mediator


פרסום ראשון: 03.19.07, 22:45
 new comment
This will delete your current comment
Photo: Orly Dayan
Sperm (Archive photo)
Photo: Orly Dayan