What Do Men Have to Say on Abortion?

Posted on June 6, 2017 By

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.

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For more of our blog posts on men and abortion, see:

If Men Could Get Pregnant

The Myth of Sexual Autonomy

See the list of all our blogs posts, put in categories.

 

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  1. Vasu Murti says:

    Is this more about the battle of the sexes than a rational, secular debate over the possible rights of the unborn? Rachel McNair writes:

    “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.”

    This isn’t entirely true. What about artificial insemination?

    Rachel goes on to say: “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.”

    Consistent ethic activists might make such an analogy, but it is flawed on two counts:

    (1) consistent ethic pro-lifers have yet to include animals in their ethics, but they oppose all violence against human life, including capital punishment and war, and would, therefore, have to be against compulsory military service or a military draft as well.

    (2) a males-only draft is, itself, rooted in sexism.

    Pro-choice feminist Tracy Clark-Flory similarly asked on Salon.com (a liberal website) in 2013: “Why are men still proposing? Marriage and gender roles are changing dramatically — but we still expect guys to get down on one knee.”

    Why are men still pursuing women, and women being pursued? For the most part, men are still expected to be the aggressors and women rarely make the first move.

    “Boys keep chasing girls to get a kiss…”

    —Sonny & Cher, “And the Beat Goes On” (1967)

    When I was in high school, circa 1980, we were discussing women replacing their “maiden name” with their married name as an anachronism from a sexist past.

    I suggested perhaps the solution would be that the spouses would take the name of whichever partner proposes…

    …and for this to happen, we would have to do away with the sexist practice of expecting men to be the only ones who propose!

    Clearly this hasn’t happened.

    Another sexist practice from circa 1980 still in effect:

    When President Carter brought back draft registration, there was talk of registering women as well as men. First Lady Rosalyn Carter said, “If we’re going to draft men, we’re going to have to draft women, too.”

    An egalitarian idea, but Congress refused to go along. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) failed to be ratified two years later.

  2. Roberto says:

    Thank you. As a pro-life man, I really appreciate your voice of support. That being said, I have come to realize that if women are not the voice of the pro-life movement, it will continue to be slandered as a misogynistic effort to keep women down. Thank you for being one of the leaders of this charge.

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