One of the most politically divisive policies proposed by the Republican Party is the anti-abortion bill, not because reducing abortions is wrong but because of the methods they plan to use. I have decided to place my experiences, thoughts, and reasoning here in hopes of improving the rhetoric of this very charged subject.
To begin with here are my experiences with the subject. I know of a family touched by abortion. One of the daughters was promiscuous and got herself pregnant wherein the father made her get an abortion to avoid embarrassing the family. I did not learn about the situation until much later in my life so I do not know if the daughter and her sex partner would have been of the same mind; however, the point is moot since she had the abortion. The mother was opposed to the abortion and was very hurt by the father’s decision. I have personally seen the problems this family has had.
I also know of a family touched by incest and rape. The mother had been raped by her father in her teens and was never quite the same. Effects from that trauma shaped many problems within that family and really caused them to cease being a family. The only good part was that there was no resulting child to further damage the mother.
Finally, I know of a single mother raising a daughter. Luckily she was married or else some of your zealous religious leaders would have called her a slut or a whore for having a child out of wedlock. The interesting fact in the story is that the child is not hers. It is; however, her husbands by way of an affair. When the mother chose not to keep the baby and the father couldn’t take care of it due to legal problems, she stepped in.
Why do I mention all of these stories, because they all have one theme in common, men behaving badly in sexual and pregnancy situations? Why is this important, because all of your ideas for stopping abortions are focused solely on the women who cannot hide the results of their poor choice? As I have heard many times, it takes two to tango. So why is your sense of outrage aimed only at the women? I bet any number of people who read this post can mention more stories like what I have listed.
I ask you to think about how we treat women and men differently in America. When a woman becomes pregnant, a man was involved period, even if by artificial means but leave that aside for now. When a woman is found to be pregnant out of wedlock she is called a slut or whore. When a man gets a woman pregnant out of wedlock he is called a victim or naïve. Daughters are kicked out of the house or shunned while sons are protected and sheltered. Women will still carry the stigma if they choose to keep the child when the father doesn’t take up his responsibility. Men will be considered heroes if they become single fathers, while the woman will carry the additional charge of abandonment. If women abort the baby they are killers but if they keep the baby they are sinners for not being married. With these kinds of choices available, is it really any wonder they make bad decisions. Instead of forgiveness and support in time of need, they receive condemnation and punishment. Most men get tolerance and protection. They hide behind the fact that pregnancy leaves no mark on them.
Until men are held as accountable in the issue of unwanted pregnancies, there will be no end to abortions in this country. Until the men that force women to get abortions are placed in jail as well as the women, there will be no end. Until we change the dialogue that men are given to reflect the same standards we hold women to, abortions will continue. Women are held to the standard that they must hold themselves pure until their wedding day, while men are encouraged to sow their wild oats. Men are taught to have pride in sexual conquest, while women are heaped with shame.
Recently I have seen a self-righteous post from a man angry about the women’s march on Saturday 1/21/17. In his post he said that if women want equality they should have to sign up for selective service, laws about violence toward women should be removed, and other things. I pointed out that there are reasons for these laws and that men being selected for selective service was a male decision. In addition, I pointed out that if he wants to see equality then men should suffer rape, pay discrimination, and the stigma of pregnancy. I also mentioned that women are volunteering for military service. His answer was that nobody said the world was perfect, in other words, the usual male response that as long as they are ok, nothing else matters. The facts that women are preyed upon much more than men was meaningless to him. He still felt his rights were being impinged upon. Interesting how men have no trouble with controlling women but don’t dare let it be the other way around.
Until we change this male centered dialogue to a human centered one, abortion continues. Until we hold men as equally accountable for pregnancies, sexual misconduct, and child support; abortion continues. Until Hollywood stops placing unnecessary teenage sex scenes in movies to draw young men, abortions continue. Until we stop selling everything through sexual marketing, mostly male oriented, abortions continue. Change the environment and you will change the illness, only treating half the disease does not cure the patient.
When we stop placing men in power who cheat on their spouses repeatedly such as Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Donald Trump we will begin to address the problem of abortion. Any man out of his teenage years that still gropes women is a thief and should be tried as such. He steals a woman’s dignity that way. Until then we are saying that faithfulness, women’s safety, and child welfare aren’t what we are really after. Until we stop telling women to keep their babies while taking away any financial help the child would need to prosper, abortions continue. All you are doing is placing women and children at more risk to satisfy your feelings of superiority. You are showing that you are a zealot without compassion for realities other than the one you have. Until you can project yourself into other people’s shoes to give better answers for their problems, abortions continue. They will go underground like alcohol did during prohibition. Men will use the extra power you give them over women to abuse them through forced pregnancies and the threat of exposure if they seek abortion. Men don’t need any help with abuse if you look at the news and statistics.
Yes, I know there are good men and women out there, but this is what they should be demanding not unilateral punishment of the side that cannot hide or run away from the results of pregnancy. Good men need to denounce bad men as vigorously as bad women. They should quit giving them passes or praise for sexual misconduct. Deadbeat fathers should be shunned from the church as unwed mothers are or better yet embrace them both to help change their actions through positive reinforcement. It is long past time to change the dialogue from punishment to understanding and forgiveness, you know, Christian values.
To conclude, I would like to reiterate that it is not your goal I oppose but your methods of achieving that goal. As I have said in a previous post, using bad methods to try to create good results in the short run almost always give rise to worse results in the long term. The Means will eventually justify the Outcome more so than the other way around. Until women are treated more humanely in this issue or men are treated more inhumanely for same, don’t talk to me about your Christian goal of stopping abortions.
P.S. Oh, in case you think I am some saintly man talking down to you from on high, I have failed in this arena as well. In high school I groped a girl. I did it because of peer pressure, male upbringing, and damned hormones. I regret it now but at that age it is hard to focus on right and wrong given all the influences out there. Luckily, she did not hold it against me and we remained friends. In addition, I had an affair with a married woman. I deeply regret letting myself go against my values for the sake of physical need and loneliness. I was the person to end the relationship but I still bare the guilt of the scars her children will carry in later years. So no, I am definitely not a saint. I am human and God knows we fail.