So what–Fatherhood Aborted

One for the WTF files from National Right To Life News:

The recurring meaning of abortion for the men in this study was that of profound loss and a common reaction to that loss was anger. The men experienced significant, multiple losses related to relationships with their partners, their masculine identify, their self of self-esteem or self-worth,  and fatherhood

This makes my head hurt. But lets start with untangling the implications.

Firstly, there’s the issue of this hurting their manhood. Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon would consider this to be part of the belief in sperm magic. Apparently, you have to get a woman pregnant to be a man. (which is a refreshing change from having to have a kid to be a mother, but begs the question–if you have to get a woman pregnant to be  man, and give birth to be female, what does that make those of us who have done neither?) The whole idea of masculinity–or femininity–is basically just a way to shame people into proper behaviour anyways, but this one doesn’t even hinge on something that he can, or should, control.

Next is the implication that abortion hurt these mens’ relationships with their partners. Firstly I have to point out that

Half of the men were opposed to their partner’s abortion.

I’m not going to say that abortion has no effect on a relationship, because that’s just not a realm I want to cast judgment on. But being at odds on a major life decision like having a child? Huge red flag. Being in a relationship isn’t just about being with someone. Relationships are defined by communication, and this shows that there were troubles in that area. Not a situation to bring a child into to begin with, and also an indication that the relationships might have been in trouble to begin with. In fact, only one of the men in the study claimed to have been supportive of the decision. Big surprise–people who aren’t supportive of abortion aren’t happy with the outcome!

What really bugs me, though, is that this is being published by a, ahem, ‘pro-life’ organization, so this will probably be used as justification for more restrictions on abortion access. While the feelings of all these men are valid, they’re beside the point. For a man’s decision on the matter to outweigh a woman’s is in effect commandeering her body for the next few months. That this decision led to the breakup of the relationship is not an argument against abortion–the woman’s choice should always take precedence, and an inability to reconcile their differences is the result of either a breakdown in communication or a fundamental difference of opinion. (A side-note about regret–if we outlawed everything that someone regretted, we’d outlaw everything. Except maybe breathing.) These things transcend the issue at hand and are relationship enders in and of themselves. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing, either. Not all relationships are worth protecting, not all relationships can be saved, and bringing a child into the situation is a bad thing if the relationship isn’t solid to begin with.


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