In the abortion debate, beyond the obvious argument over whether abortion should be legal (it should), another debate has emerged – What is the role of men in the debate over abortion? Feminists have long questioned the purpose of men in debates concerning female bodies. How can a man possibly understand the implications of restrictions on birth control access when they will never be a teenage girl facing one of the biggest decisions of her life, never be a middle-aged woman facing the possibility of death while giving birth, never give birth, period?
That’s on the macro level, the legislative, Democrat-and-Republican level. Jacob M. Appel recently wrote a post for the Huffington Post in which he said that abortion advocates have to include men in order to succeed. My initial inclination was the wrap my arms protectively around my uterus and yell (or type) ‘No, no, no!’ And let’s make no mistake – if I were to have an unwanted pregnancy and decide to have an abortion that decision is mine, and mine alone. I reserve that right as a competent adult, and no amount of politicking or theorizing will make me give it up.
But let’s face it – half the world’s population is men. And if you wind up in the position to have an abortion then (wink, wink, nudge nudge) odds are you are on at least speaking terms with at least one man. Most of us interact with, are related to, are friends, lovers, spouses, etc. with men, and whether we like it or not (ok, I know, not), they are part of the legislative system that has the power to push abortion back into alleys by outlawing it. So maybe instead of discrediting men as a gender, we should focus on the real problem – changing the ideology of anti-choicers. Anti-Choicers have already embraced the role of men in this never-ending debate, so why should we short ourselves the potential allies? Maybe instead we should mine the creativity, research, and other intelligent offerings of pro-choice men. In a fight for something this important, can we really afford to say no to any help offered?
What do you think?