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Abortions Have Made Life Better for Millions Of Men: It's About Time to Speak Up in Support

It's time for pro-choice men to step up -- because our choices change their lives, too.

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Your life is the way it is right now because your female partner was able to make that choice when she needed to. If that hadn't been possible, you'd be having a very different day today.

That's why we need you to speak up now. What's at stake isn't just women's liberty -- it's yours, too. You don't have to tell the whole story. The details aren't anybody's business but yours and hers (and that's why abortion is legally a privacy matter). But we need to hear you say, "My life is better today because a woman made that choice. I supported her in making it, and we have no regrets." Every time you say that out loud, you are doing something that shifts the gravity of our national conversation a little bit for the better.

We need you in this conversation again, for a lot of reasons.

We need your credibility. As long as you keep silent, that small but screeching clutch of right-wing men will continue to command far more attention than the millions of embattled women who are trying to protect their reproductive rights. It's sad but true that male voices and interests still carry more weight in our culture than female ones do -- especially with the kind of patriarchal men who have chosen this as the political hill they're going to die on. We can't tell those guys to STFU. We've been trying for decades, but their sexism totally deafens them to voices in our higher register.

But you will be heard. If you start making it clear that this is an issue that matters to all men -- and that you're willing to defend it, because it matters to you very personally -- they will at least be able to hear you and respect you in a way that they will never hear or respect us. You bring authority that we can't. And that, right there, will change the dialogue dramatically.

We need your political support. As long as abortion is seen as simply a "women's issue," politicians can keep shunting it off to the side as a "special interest" matter -- the kind of thing Serious People don't really have to deal with -- rather than an everyday medical procedure that ensures the liberty and prosperity of every fertile adult American of either gender. If you guys start owning how important abortion has been in determining the path of your own lives, it stops being a women's issue and becomes a human right issue --  a non-negotiable matter of equality and opportunity for everybody.

We need your social support. I was in the room when Darcy Burner asked the women of Netroots Nation to stand if they'd had an abortion -- and then asked the rest of the crowd to "stand with these women." According to one woman who stood, "Having everyone else stand afterwards, saying, in essence, 'You are not alone' was incredibly powerful." She said she felt like 50 pounds had been taken off her shoulders. That's how heavy this burden has been for us. It's deformed us, silenced us and changed the way we view ourselves and our lives.

You can help us put that burden down for good. We, the women you love -- the ones who've mothered you, put up with you, slept with you, and been adored by you; the ones you've lived with, married and made witness to your lives -- have carried this burden of shame and isolation alone for far too long. More often than not, you have been our partners in making these decisions, and our main source of support in carrying them out. And your lives were changed by that, just as much as ours were. Abortion is your issue, your story and your fight, too. And when you stand up with us -- and for us -- in defending that story and fighting that fight, you bring with you the power to transform the entire conversation for everyone.

 
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