Abortion debate – what about the men?Posted: February 17, 2011
Zoe Williams wrote a great article on the Guardian Comment is Free today about the High Court ruling on medical abortion.
We all know that these articles always bring out the trolls. That there are strong feelings on both sides, and arguments felt perhaps more than on any other topic.
And yet, I was still shocked at the comments that were appearing, and especially that these comments were on CiF. They weren’t on the Daily Mail, or from middle America, but in my heartland.
One of the strongest arguments seemed to be “but what about the men’s view?”. So… what about the men?
Firstly, this argument seems to be based on the assumption that there is an army somewhere of men desperate to be fathers if only heartless women would let them. I’m not convinced.
Secondly, that these uber-ready fathers-in-waiting are “double-bagging” to do everything possible to prevent an unwanted pregnancy (which they secretly want) but are somehow being caught out by careless women. Not sure how that works.
And thirdly, that all women are making this decision alone. Actually, I think an unexpected pregnancy is scary. Few women chose to go through it alone, and they discuss it with a family member, a close friend, or perhaps even their partner. Yes, many people, even women who have abortions, can sometimes be in responsible adult relationships. And they can decide together if they want to have children.
Finally, I’m thinking that for every man wishing to let a pregnancy go full term but being over-ruled, there’s a woman wanting to have her baby, but under pressure and threats of “no money from me” feeling she has to abort. And I’m equally sure that some women who know that they’re really not ready for a baby, or don’t want children at all, or know that they shouldn’t have children with the man they’re with, are bowing to pressure to go on with a pregnancy and have a child.
So, what about the men? About the same as for the women at a rough guess. But without the final responsibility, and without the pain and humiliation of either abortion or childbirth.