Earlier this evening I sent a tweet regarding the anti-abortion laws just passed in Texas. Not long after I received this response (from a men’s rights activist whom many of us know and love):
Obviously, when we’re witnessing the rollback of fundamental reproductive freedoms, it doesn’t seem worth getting het up about one MRA’s pitiful decision to gloat about it. Hey, at least someone’s got a brief chuckle out of the real pain and trauma that this ruling will cause. If MRAs want to cause offence, they’ll have to try a lot harder given how offensive the real world is. Nonetheless, curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on the link supplied. Just what IS the world-famous Justice 4 Men and Boys position on abortion? Well, it’s laced with misogyny, naturally. But it’s a peculiarly interesting, childish type that seems especially easy to tackle. Therefore I thought I might as well give it a go.
Apparently, when men oppose abortion, it’s “often because of men’s total lack of reproductive rights”:
men having no legal right to challenge women’s ‘choices’, whatever those choices might be. Men only have potential responsibilities in this area. In the case of a woman becoming pregnant – whether accidentally or otherwise – and she decides to bear the child, the man will be required to financially support the child for 18+ years. If he fails to do so – or the mother refuses to identify the man – the financial burden will fall on taxpayers. Men collectively pay 72% of the income tax in the UK, women only 28%. As usual, women exercise ‘choices’, and men pay the bills, either individually or collectively.
Now, I’m not going to go into the whole income tax thing (other than to note, in passing, that if this is accurate, the pay gap – and by extension, the financial impact having a child, wanted or not, can have on a woman’s life – is worse than I thought). What gets me is it seems there are people who oppose abortion on the basis that if they can’t have one, no one else should be able to. This is not quite the same as opposing abortion due to an inability to empathise with anyone faced with a crisis pregnancy; plenty of us find that difficult, regardless of whether or not we are able to become pregnant ourselves. What I am referring to here, however, are people who mistakenly believe that because they will never be pregnant, allowing others reproductive freedom is discriminatory in and of itself. It’s not.
Since the men mentioned above are cis men – and since I’ve not yet encountered a trans woman coming out with this crap, perhaps because she’ll have a slightly better understanding of actual discrimination – this is directed at cis men who oppose abortion on these spurious grounds (I know many cis men who do not feel this way – these tend to be the kind of cis men I want to associate with).
Dear Cis Men Who Are Sad About Not Getting To Make Individual Choices About Abortion And Therefore Want To Make Choices For Everyone Else
I fully respect your reproductive freedom. As far as abortion is concerned, I have no wish for anyone to challenge your choices, choices which I will not put in scare quotes because I understand these to be actual choices, not casual whims.
Should you ever become pregnant, I want the decision to continue with or end the pregnancy to be yours, and yours alone. I won’t resent you for it. I won’t decide that making such a crucial decision relating to your short- and long-term health and bodily autonomy is something you should have to beg for. It’s your body, yours. If you choose to do something with that body which leads to the birth of another human being, I expect you to take responsibility for him or her, but as long as you own your flesh and blood, I respect your right to prioritise your own physical integrity and wellbeing.
I am sorry that, to date, there is no documented evidence of a cis man getting pregnant, let alone having an abortion. I’m sorry you feel you’re missing out. I often feel that way about vasectomies but manage to cope due to the knowledge that, if I ever did get some balls, you’d respect me enough to let me do with them as I pleased.
Now please trust others with their own bodies, and concentrate on making up bizarre economic rationalisations for dismissing the contributions to worldwide productivity of anyone who isn’t you (such rationalisations are so off the wall they’re not even annoying).
One of the could-have-an-unwanted-pregnancy-and-therefore-possibly-an-abortion privileged (although I’ll go through the menopause sooner or later, so then you can resent me and my ilk for entirely different made-up reasons)