Thursday, January 10, 2008

"We" not "She" had an abortion

(This follows nicely from the post on gender.) reports on a new movement to involve men in outlawing abortion.

According to the article by the L.A. Times:

Abortion is usually portrayed as a woman's issue: her body, her choice, her relief or her regret. This new movement -- both political and deeply personal in nature -- contends that the pronoun is all wrong.

I think that it is great that there is an effort to involve men more in the process of sex and pregnancy. But let's encourage a genuine effort to empower men and give them a voice in this process - let's advocate for men to become more aware of all the processes related to sex, pregnancy, and birth. The archaic "predatory" model of men and sex needs to be fully rejected, and parents need to stop raising their boys to "go get 'em!" while relying on intimidation and threats to foist the burden of chastity only onto their daughters.

It is a good start that men are beginning to realize the emotional impacts of pregnancy termination, but our society ought to come together to share the emotional impacts of all aspects of intimacy and reproduction, aspects that until recently have been shrouded in mystery and shame (and just a bit of possessiveness by women) and withheld from men.

Let's truly forge new respect for life by bringing in both sides of the equation into this effort.


Kelly Hills said...

I recognize that men can emotionally grieve for a child they wanted and didn't have, but I just don't buy the "we" had abortion pronoun shift. Until he's the one having to be sedated, scraped, and suctioned out, he didn't have an abortion - she did.

I think the most telling thing about the article is this bit:
In the end, Aubert says his moral objection to abortion always wins. If he could go back in time, he would try to save the babies.

But would his long-ago girlfriends agree? Or might they also consider the abortions a choice that set them on a better path?

Aubert looks startled. "I never really thought about it for the woman," he says slowly.

He never really thought about it - just himself. Which, if you read the article, is just a continuation of his behaviour in earlier years; he couldn't go with the girlfriend while she was having the abortion, he was too busy playing softball. Instead, he left her $200 and never spoke to her again. The second girlfriend's pregnancy? "A complete irrelevancy."

It's only years later, after he has a wanted child/pregnancy, that he suddenly decides he regrets the past abortions and that he's wounded from them - but again, doesn't give thought to the women until asked.

He imagines that they must feel like him, that they must be scarred, their soul "tarnished" like his - but he's never actually talked to them to ask.

And that in the nutshell seems to be the heart of this movement. It's not about men taking responsibility for their actions, it's not about couples or open talk, or anything that might be viewed as a positive thing. It's about men, thinking about themselves, with no thought to the woman in the equation. It's all about them - which makes it a pretty stereotypical part of the anti-abortion movement.

It's the same selfishness that drives a man to say a woman can't have an abortion if he doesn't consent, the same selfishness that makes him go off to play softball and never talk to the woman he impregnated again, wrapped up in a firm conviction that he knows what's right not only for him, but for his former partners and in fact, all women.

Until a man is the one carrying that child for 9 months, the one that is the presumed caretaker, the one who's body is taken over and often wrecked by pregnancy - it's no more his pregnancy as it is his abortion.

SabrinaW said...

Good observations! I admit, I tried to take a different tact on this entry since I know certain... special people like to follow what I say about abortion. So I thought I'd give some new material to chew on. :)

Kelly Hills said...

I've been eyeballs deep in PHP code hell today, so my nerves were already fried. When I emerged from my cocoon to read the news ("escapism" haa!), this was the first thing I saw everywhere, and... I might have maybe lost my temper. A bit.

I blame the code. ;-)

Well, that and I used to work for Planned Parenthood in a variety of functions, and had to wear a flak jacket in to the office for years, because a friend of mine was shot by an anti-abortion protester. So I probably tend to take things a bit more seriously than some when it comes to this, just because of the literal close hit to home.

SabrinaW said...

Actually, I'm glad you did; someone needed to say it. I just didn't feel like getting harassed by my Special Friend more today for being "obsessed with abortion." :)