Men should have a say in abortion too
As a millennial, I’ve seen and experienced the various influential trends that have taken over society, like the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” for example, which was made originally to bring attention and get people to donate for the research to cure a disease called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALSA, 2017). Although the organization did a phenomenal job in marketing, and getting many donations to support the cause, many lost sight of the purpose of the challenge. The sensation of feeling frozen from the ice water was to imitate the gradual paralysis that those with ALS experience. However, many people quickly turned it into a “fun challenge” of just throwing ice water onto themselves.
In relation, just as this trend had been diverted away from its original purpose, feminism has also become something it was not originally intended to be. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, feminism is defined as “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” (Merriam-Webster, 2017). Though there is still a need to uphold such belief to avoid discrimination [I’ve experienced a little in my personal life], today’s feminism has itself lost its sense of equality and has adopted a sexist mindset by becoming a platform on which to debase men and spread the biased idea that ALL men are manipulative, abusive, misogynistic, and take away every opportunity for women to succeed. They believe that difference is the same as inequality and, therefore, deny any complementarity that could arise from differences.
A great example of this is the reaction to a man having an opinion on abortion. According to radical pro-abortion feminists, “men have absolutely no right to have an opinion on abortion” because “it’s a woman’s choice to do whatever she wants with her body”, (as if there wasn’t another person’s body inside of hers while she’s pregnant, but we’ll talk about that another time) to the point in which even openly pro-choice men are being excluded and told they aren’t allowed to have ANY sort of opinion on abortion. A common rebuttal that can be found online is that many believe that allowing a man to be pro-life is giving control of a woman's body to a man, which they consider sexist and objectifying.
On the contrary, there are several reasons why men should be allowed an opinion on the abortion issue. The most obvious reason, and perhaps one that is most overlooked, is that one does not need to be in a situation to hold an opinion of that situation. Most of society agrees that the Holocaust was wrong, yet many did not experience it, nor were even alive while it took place. Yet, most of they would still be correct hold that view.
Another reason why men should have the right to at least an opinion is that it takes a male sperm to create this new life that would be aborted. One might respond by saying, “Well, men don’t have to carry a baby for nine months or give birth. So they will never know what it’s like.” This is undeniably true. Men do not get pregnant, nor do they have to carry the child for 9 months and give birth. However, the fetus is still, in part, theirs. The child is not necessarily solely a physical extension of that man but can also be an extension of his identity, an all-encompassing sum of who he is. Fathers are able to see themselves in their own children, and hope for them to grow to be better versions of themselves.
Just as many women regret their abortions, men can also regret abortion, whether they’ve taken part in procuring it, stood by and did nothing, or actively tried to stop it. In the case of abortion, men can face thoughts and feelings of failure because they had not offered support or enough support that could have protected both mother and child. On the flip side, a woman is more likely to choose abortion if she feels there is no support from her significant other. Men also regret abortion because they are deprived of the connection to the child on not just a physical level, but also on an emotional level as they are not mentally able to prepare themselves to be fathers.
Post-abortion grief can take many forms such as alcohol and drug abuse, anger, and disassociation. According to psychologist Dr. Vincent Rue, “Men do grieve following abortion, but they are more likely to deny their grief or internalize their feelings of loss rather than openly express them. . . . A guilt-ridden, tormented male does not easily love or accept love. His preoccupation with his partner, his denial of himself and his relentless feelings of post-abortion emptiness can nullify even the best of intentions (HLI, 2017).”
This is the first blog of a series of pieces on abortion and men. These will be released throughout several weeks and will include interviews and personal testimonies that harken to the importance of including men in the abortion discussion.
If feminism is meant to bring equal rights, feminists should allow men to have an opinion on abortion, since it includes and affect them.
ALS Association, http://www.alsa.org/?referrer=https://www.google.ca/, 2017
Human Life International, https://www.hli.org/, 2017