The Morning Vent

Mary Katharine Ham
|
Posted: Oct 20, 2006 12:06 PM

The girls are on the couch again. This time, talking abortion. Woo hoo!


Oddly enough, I was in a conversation about abortion just last night at dinner. Gotta love D.C., huh? It was myself and a guy friend arguing with a lefty girl--very cool girl, by the way-- but she pulled out the "you don't have ovaries, so you can't have an opinion" line on my friend about 30 minutes into the conversation.

First, if you think he's not allowed to have an opinion, don't argue with him for half an hour and then pull that out. Let him know what he's in for from the beginning. Second, if a man can have no opinion on the subject of abortion because he has no ovaries; if he is prohibited from even pondering the question of whether taking a human life in the womb is right or wrong, why the heck should he feel any obligation to a child after it's born? After all, he doesn't have ovaries. The child was a choice and you made it. He had no say at all. Why does the child become his obligation once you need child support?

The logic of the pro-choicers has never sat right with me. I've never understood, from a purely intellectual point of view, why the woman's wanting the baby makes it a baby. It either is or it isn't. But, if a pro-choice woman wants a baby, tells her pro-choice friends she's having one, and then miscarries, she and her pro-choice friends are sad, no? Why? It's not a life. Wrong. Of course it is. It always was, and not wanting it doesn't make it less of one. But that's the rationale.  

The men-need-not-offer-opinions argument is more of the same. If a woman wants the baby, the man is expected, and legally required to some extent, to be a father. If she doesn't want the baby, he's no better than a turkey-baster. His fatherhood, according to the logic, depends upon her choice. And we wonder why so many men choose not to be dads to the children who are actually born. They're totally pro-choice, too. They just exercise the choice after the baby's born. By choosing not to be fathers, perhaps they make the children not really children at all?

I'm not the only one bothered by this. This conversation comes from a dKos diary, the thesis of which is that because not all Dems support first, second, and third-trimester abortion on demand, the Party is slipping into the back alleys.In the comment thread, the pro-choicers lose an ally:

how men don't get pregnant so we should exclude them from this discussion. I'm saying maintaining abortion freedom has nothing to do with who gets pregnant. It has everything to do with who has the power to keep it safe and legal. Hence my desire to keep men involved. But as the comments upstream clearly indicate, the wimin-folk would clearly rather drown in their own righteousness than get the actual rights they claim to want.

so i'm giving up on this one. I'm a man - abortion is not my issue anymore.

And, that's a pro-choice guy! Another commenter helpfully explains why men should just shut up:

You're right, men do have a stake in this too. But women have a lot bigger stake in it, for at least nine months.

A lot of men don't recognize that fact. A lot of men don't seem to understand how difficult and dangerous pregnancy and birth can be. A lot of men don't understand how frightening pregnancy and birth can be, or how strange it is to have something growing inside you that you will one day have to painfully expel. A lot of men don't understand how horrifying it might be to be forced to carry that for nine months when you didn't want it, hadn't planned for it, and don't know how you will take care of it when it is no longer inside you.

This is why so many women would rather exclude men from the conversation, because a lot of them don't seem to think about or understand all of the aspects involved for a woman.

I wonder how many women understand the pain of a man whose own child can be killed at someone else's whim. I imagine, for a decent man, if could be "frightening," "difficult," and "horrifying." A lot of these women don't seem to think about all the "aspects involved" for a man.

Then, of course, I have issues with the pro-choicers' infantilization of women and their own palpable excitement about killing children in the womb, but we'll leave those for another day. The discussion last night, just as the one in the Vent, was nice and civil, which can be kind of rare when it comes to abortion.