Why Men Need To Be Involved In The Discussion Of Abortion
This Saturday, during the MSNBC show Up with Chris Hayes, I heard a common refrain from liberal men in the abortion debate. The hilarious and insightfulÂ W. Kamau BellÂ pleaded for men to just shut their mouths. Basically, just stop talking about women and their pregnancies and what they should do with them.
Bell is obviously not the first guy to stand up and say, “Hey fellas, let’s all just be quiet.” It seems like men normally fall into two groups, those that want to strip women’s reproductive rights and those that want to stop talking about it.
Even President Obama makes it a point to paint abortion as a women’s issue that men don’t have the right to talk about. When responding to Todd Akin’s deplorable comments about “legitimate rape,” the President had this to say,
“So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”
We shouldn’t let men make decisions for women. Men shouldn’t talk about women’s decisions. Men’s have no right talking about abortion.
I realize why liberal men use this line. It shows that they understand and respect that reproductive health choices need to be made by the individual. And when it comes to pregnancy, the individual making that call is going to be a woman. Liberal men say this not really to avoid the conversation, but because the talk doesn’t feel like one they have a right to participate in. They feel like it’s not their place to join a discussion about something that should be personally decided by each woman.
I honestly understand where all of this, “Men should just shut up,” talk is coming from. I appreciate that there are men who say, “This shouldn’t be my business.” But I would argue that liberal men need to stand up and start participating in the discussion. Men who believe that their wives, sisters, daughters, and mothers should have the right to make their own reproductive choices can’t be afraid of speaking up and getting involved.
The fact is that when men say, “We shouldn’t get involved,” they make this a male vs. female issue. The problem is that abortion isn’t argued along gender lines. There are plenty of women out there who are anti-abortion. And when men for choice are silent, we miss that perspective from the debate. Think of how powerful it would be not just to hear from the woman who made the decision to get an abortion because she had four children already and knew that she could support and care for the fifth, but to hear from the husband who agreed with her. Let’s hear from the guys who drove their young girlfriends to the appointment, because they both knew and agreed that they weren’t prepared to become parents. That’s hear from the fathers who support their daughters’ and respect them enough to trust their decisions.
Those are strong voices that we miss out on every time men stand back and say, “The guys have no right to talk about this.”