Solely a female issue?

I logged into Twitter yesterday to change some of my settings (never a good idea) and instantaneously the following came up on my timeline:

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I instinctively re-tweeted it and Jill kept us updated:

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Somewhat predictably Jill was then attacked by some angry pro-choicers, but as her avatar indicates, she doesn’t take any prisoners.

A few thoughts. Firstly, thank God for people like this who give care and support to those who may be grieving. No doubt she will be accused of lying or interfering but they saw a man sat in his car crying over the imminent loss of his child and went to comfort him. Note there’s no ‘judgemental’ attitude towards the mother but support for a grieving man in his hour of need.

What would the feminists say to this man? ‘It’s not really a baby? Her body, her choice. It’s between her and her doctor’? Or would they eschew their ideal of a man in touch with his emotions and tell him to ‘man up and be strong’.

There can be no better illustration of the fallacy that abortion is solely a woman’s issue, centred around the bodily autonomy of an individual. The unborn child is not a part of the woman’s body, the baby and the placenta have a unique DNA wholly separate to that of the mother. Does this man not have a right to grieve? Is it really fair not only to deny him the chance of fatherhood but also the baby the chance of life? How can one person take a decision that will decimate the lives of at least two others?

The notion that abortion is solely a woman’s choice is even undermined by the abortion lobby themselves. Consider the following from the Education for Choice ‘Abortion education toolkit’. 

If a young man has or goes on to have experience of unplanned pregnancy with a partner, it is important that he knows who he can talk to and where he can go for help and support, as well as being able to signpost his partner to appropriate agencies. This is especially important when a couple are not agreed about what the outcome of a pregnancy should be, which can be a very difficult situation for a young man to face. Signposting to young men’s services is an important part of abortion education. 

So it isn’t solely a woman’s issue after all then? If Education for Choice are concerned about how to support young men whose partners decide to keep a baby against their will, presumably they wouldn’t have any objection to them being referred to pro-life organisations? One can only imagine the outcry.

If men are allowed to moot abortion as a solution to women and should be encouraged to support, encourage and facilitate otherwise reluctant women in their decision to abort, then there should be no problem with them doing all their power to persuade and facilitate women who may be considering abortion, to change their minds?

But this is where the angry and often facile slogans about a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body come in to play, the baby’s inability to give consent to having their bodily autonomy violated is now  irrelevant and unimportant. As is the man’s right to decide what happens to 50% of his DNA. Rhetoric evoking violence, about a woman being ‘forced’ to be pregnant and give birth, is employed.

But how many women really are ‘forced’ to give birth against their will, compared to the amount of women who are forced to abort? It’s a bizarre concept, that the absence of an invasive surgical procedure amounts to physical force. The reality is that most women feel forced to abort through a combination of personal and economic circumstances. Most women testify that they did not feel able to mother a child due to a lack of support. That’s a very different prospect to ‘choosing not to be a mother’. Upon seeing the two blue lines on the pregnancy test, the first reaction of  a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy  is not a ‘shall I/shan’t I keep it’. She doesn’t toss a coin or choose an abortion as a ‘lifestyle choice’ because motherhood is currently in or out of vogue. Women who end up outside the abortion clinics are there because they see it as their only option, and frequently because its very existence enables others to put pressure on them to take a ‘responsible’ option. 64% of women having abortions said they had felt pressure to abort.

It is a known fact that domestic abuse either commences or escalates during pregnancy. Are these really the actions of men who are forcing their partners to give birth, or more likely, immature and resentful men lashing out because they will no longer be the focus of attention? Whilst its clear that domestic abuse in pregnancy is due to a bully picking on someone at a time that they are vulnerable, a woman who is having a baby against the will of her partner is at far more risk of domestic violence, than one whose partner wants to nurture and support the pair of them.

If abortion was not just another ‘choice’ open to pregnant women, I wonder how many women really would feel that they were being ‘forced’ into pregnancy and childbirth against their will? If abortion was not an option then surely men would begin to see the duty of care that they owe to their sexual partners as potential mothers of their children?  If abortion was not an option then how much more pro-life, child-friendly and family-centric would we be as a society? If women were genuinely terrified about the consequences of pregnancy then we would see far fewer unplanned or crisis pregnancies. If men knew that sex could land them with a lifetime of moral responsibility towards the women they casually chose to sleep with, not to mention eighteen years of financial responsibility, then they would be a lot more circumspect in their attitudes.

By deeming abortion a woman’s issue the entire responsibility for the consequences of mutual sexual activity is dumped on her doorstep, regardless of her decision. The only time she should have to pull the bodily autonomy card is when it comes to resisting the pressure from others to abort.

I’d love to know what the response of radical feminists would be to the tears of the poor man above who faces a journey of healing. His comfort must lie in the metaphysical and entrusting his baby to the Lord’s gentle and severe mercy.

www. run a healing ministry for fathers who have lost their children to abortion.

3 thoughts on “Solely a female issue?

  1. Many years ago I was faced with an unplanned pregnancy. And I was told by many pro-choice supporters that I needed to think of my life and do what was best for me.

    Well for me it was not even an option. But this has been raging on since I can remember. My outcome was that I now have a 27 yr old son with Autism and I told the father whom I am married to and in love with for 28yrs. It was never easy.

    But this entry did bring it all back and I just thank God for the blessings he as given me because of this unplanned pregnancy. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I consider myself very much a feminist but of course my heart breaks for this young man. It is a very difficult situation and I think you would be hard put to find many pro-choice people (which is the majority of the population in my country) who would not sympathise with this young man’s plight.

  3. I feel bad for this guy, but I can also imagine why his girlfriend has made this decision. Don’t misunderstand me – i think abortion is wrong – but being someone’s girlfriend doesn’t mean that you expect/intend/are emotionally in a position to become the mother of their child. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to explain this kind of possible scenario to people before it’s too late because discussions of sex before marriage very quickly turn into defensive ‘how dare you judge me? Just because someone puts a ring on your finger doesn’t mean they love you!’ unpleasantness.

    No doubt someone will reply to this email saying ‘Don’t you realise that married women have unwanted pregnancies too?’ Yes, but that’s the sort of thing it’s wise to discuss before getting married so you’re less likely to get massive, painful shocks like the one above.

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