Better Living (for men) Through Surgery (for women)
This was first published in Sisterlife, the newsletter of Feminists for Life of America, Fall 1989. It was reprinted in the book ProLife Feminism: Yesterday and Today.
by Leslie Keech (1954-1989)
We are all used to it by now: the media establishment portraying prolifers as insensitive, sexist clods, while the noble knights of the proabortion position are the champions of women’s rights. But occasionally the hand slips, and even the mass media reveals that the central right abortion grants is the right to be exploited. Two articles that came my attention recently should cause any thinking person to reexamine legal abortion’s legacy really is.
In the July issue of Glamour magazine an article by Eric Goodman appeared, entitled “Men and Abortion.” It is an account of several men’s experiences with their partners’ abortions. The thread running throughout the article in nearly every instance was that the abortion was his idea—and the woman agreed to follow his lead.
For instance, “Walt’s” account: Instead of advising her to do what she thought best for her own life, Walt allowed his lover to be guided by her strong desire to “save their relationship.” “I said, ‘What do you want to do?’ She suggested abortion, thinking this would make it possible for me to continue to paint, that that in turn would prolong our relationship . . . She’s my age, thirty-five, and it may have been her last chance to have a child. I believe she would be much happier if she’d had it—but I would be unhappy having a child I never saw and didn’t live with. I guess I sound like a real cad. Maybe I was.” Gee, Walt, I had a stronger word in mind . . .
Or how about “Christopher” who got the money for the abortion from his mother, then accompanied his girlfriend to a clinic that he likened to an “abortion factory” (front-alley variety). As he waited for the abortion to be completed, he pondered his predicament. “I think I felt more concerned about her than I really was, because I was there with her?” Kind of amazing what a little trip to the abortion clinic will do for one’s conscience, isn’t it?
“Jack’s” lover had an abortion while he was in law school. They considered themselves too young to have a child, and they were both in the middle of pursuing careers. They broke up some time after the abortion, and he married a woman who was unable to bear a child. He said, “So it turns out my one chance for a biological child was that aborted pregnancy in law school.” The article goes on to admit, “If Jack’s wife had been able to have children, it’s unlikely he would have given much thought to what happened in law school.”
“Jeff” has been involved in two abortions, but it took the second one to make him regret his behavior during the first. “I was afraid of getting snarled up in two kids and a house, so I took the refuge of asking, ‘What do you want to do?’ She was waiting for me to mention marriage, so she opted for abortion.”
The selfish, sexist, irresponsible behavior shown by these and many other men is heightened and encouraged by abortion’s easy way out. Our society expects that fathers should pay child support for their children, but at the same time we make it very easy for a man to simply use the woman for his pleasure, and then buy his way out of the deal for a couple hundred dollars! Why should a man pay child support for eighteen years if he can “get rid of the problem” so neatly?
“Alex” shared his experience: “From the moment she told me, I wanted her to have an abortion. She knew I would. I’m still paying child support for the first three kids, and I don’t make that much. The way things fell out, there’s been a kid under four in my life for the past ten years. I’m tired of waking up in the middle of the night.” Poor “Alex.” It is important to get your rest—no matter what the cost.
Finally, an interview appeared in Penthouse magazine with George Brett, first baseman for the Kansas City Royals baseball team. The interview is extremely enlightening concerning male attitudes towards abortion—and towards women.
George admits to paying for two women to have abortions, and feels that those decisions were the right ones, since he wasn’t ready to get married. (Keep in mind that this is a man who could easily afford to raise a child, marriage or no.) George was rather pleased about one aspect of the abortions, however. It “proved” that he was indeed the stud he purports to be. He candidly states, “I know I’m fertile. I’ve got the checkbook to prove it. But getting a couple of girls pregnant gave me a sense that there’s no sweat. I can have kids anytime I want. I’ve had the security of knowing I’m a proven performer.”
What a wonderful service to humanity those two women have contributed; by subjecting themselves to surgery, they have assured us that George Brett is not infertile. That’s just swell. Did two children really have to die to prove it?
I wonder if the “prochoice” movement really understands how antiwoman abortion really is? It has certainly not brought us forward in establishing equality with men. We need callous, exploitative men to step up to our level, not drag us down to theirs.