What Do Men Have to Say on Abortion?
by Rachel MacNair
Every once in a while the charge comes up that since men can’t get pregnant, they shouldn’t have any say on public policy on abortion.
This is a rather odd position, inasmuch as no pregnancy every occurred without male participation somehow. And the behavior men have in response to their own start at fatherhood can have a huge impact on how the mother sees it.
Nevertheless, the idea is prevalent that abortion is a “woman’s rights” issue and therefore only women should be active on it.
One response consistent lifers have made is an analogy: women aren’t drafted, but still have a right to a say on public policy regarding conscription.
But when I’ve dealt with this question in public speeches, I’ve found this short answer to be remarkably effective: “My experience is that when men get all worked up over the fate of little tiny babies, it improves their character.”
That generally brings a chuckle, and no further argument.
But I’d like to turn the argument around. I propose that it’s the so-called “pro-choice” men that actually need to have trepidations about asserting their viewpoint. Because they’re the ones that have to assure us they really do mean that they see abortion as a “woman’s right,” and not as a remarkably self-centered, male-centered way of saying they’re entitled to have women as sex objects that can be vacuumed out and re-used.
I have a set of limericks I wrote on this, years ago. This one was based on an actual remark overheard in a male state legislator’s office in New York:
Oh, how grateful we are to the Court
Giving women the right to abort
If abortion weren’t lawful
Just imagine how awful –
For the men, who must pay child support.
And this one was based on the knowledge that the Playboy Foundation was a major contributor to abortion supporting organizations, the meaning of which seemed to slip right past the people in those organizations:
To keep legal abortion secure
Contributions from Playboy were sure
Then it happened one day
One receiver said – hey!
We’re not certain their motives are pure!
And then we have this one based on a photo I saw. The wording of the sign was different, of course, since I was making mine fit a limerick, but the meaning was the same:
“Keep your laws off my body – no ban!
This is my body – I make the plan!”
Said the sign, plain to see
Please explain it to me
Why the person who held it’s – a man?
(or please answer this quiz:
Why is her body his?)
More recently, we have the following tweet from an outfit that seriously ought to have known better: “The Daily Show” which used to be Jon Stewart’s show and is now Trevor Noah’s. It’s a comedy show that uses the daily news as its subject matter and has a clear liberal bent. The tweet did raise quite an on-line ruckus. It was in response the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision in the summer of 2016 knocking down the abortion clinic health regulations in Texas (note the number of likes on the bottom line after the heart):
The male-centered, irresponsible, and incredibly callous approach in this tweet startled a lot of abortion defenders.
But they were startled only because they have blinders on, with their “women’s rights” rhetoric. The only thing unusual about that tweet was that someone actually said explicitly in public what’s more commonly a private attitude.
Men who are willing to work hard to help out with babies – especially those they helped create, but also other people’s – these aren’t the men who need to worry about saying what they think about abortion. Men whose callousness towards those babies might also be similar to the callousness toward women they have sex with – those are the men who need to be careful about what they say on the topic.
For more of our blog posts on men and abortion, see: