This article is reposted with permission from: Intelligent Christian Faith
If you are a pro-life man, like me, then you’ve heard a hundred times that men need to shut up about abortion. Apparently, we men have no right to talk about abortion unless, perhaps, we’re voicing pro-choice solidarity. #girlpower.
Why should men be silent? – The “No Womb, No Say” Position
Just being honest here, some men probably do need to shut their pie hole, but that’s because they’re lying, manipulative, idiot, blowhards. I’m sure you’ve met a few of those. Fortunately, that’s not every man. Some men have a word worth hearing. They can even have a timely word of protest against abortion. Sadly, a lot of people still believe that men have no right to protest abortion. This is the “no womb, no say” position.
Now “no womb, no say” is all sorts of wrong, but it’s not entirely wrong. We have to admit a kernel of truth to this popular maneuver. According to Captain Obvious, “Men can’t get pregnant.” Men don’t know what it feels like to be pregnant, carry a child to term, or have an abortion. We’ll never squirt out a seven-pound chunk of living flesh unless we have an organ removed. Abortion directly impacts women in the most intimate way. But, for men, it’s always indirect and it’s never as intimate.
There’s also a history of sexism getting in the way of things. Even today, it’s not hard, to find dark alleys, studios, and industries where women are treated terribly. Liberals and conservatives can debate about the extent of that problem, but we can all agree that there have been many cases of genuine sexism against women. We can also agree that one of the key reasons for the Roe v. Wade (1973) ruling was based on equalizing rights for women. Today, most all of us can agree, across political aisles and in every sector of society, that women have (or should have) an equal or greater voice on the subject of abortion.
But no one, in good conscience, should grant that women have the only voice on abortion. Given the scale of abortion (60 million in the U.S., 1.5 billion globally), and it’s profound and lasting effects on families, communities, nations, and the whole world, it is unconscionable to exclude fully 50% of society from that pregnant conversation. Here are…
59 Reasons Why Men Need To Speak Out About Abortion
- If men can make abortion-choice policy they can unmake it – seven old white guys legalized it nationally in Roe v. Wade (1973), and four white guys and one black guy just might overturn it if the stars align just right. If the men on the supreme court were to refuse to comment on abortion in pertinent cases, that would amount to a miscarriage of justice and dereliction of duty.
- Men played a huge role in creating abortion-culture, we owe it to society to clean up our mess – Men at have been known to support abortion policy, coerce women into abortion, abuse women, abandon families, and do various things that pressure women into having an abortion. Not all men are doing this, but all men should be working to undo the mess we’ve made.
- Men can protest abortion just as non-slaves can protest slavery, and white people can protest racism– if we don’t have to be black or a slave to oppose racism and slavery, then we don’t have to be women to oppose abortion. Bear in mind, abortion-choice policy currently permits race-based and gender-based abortion. So abortion is not just analogous to racism and sexism, abortion policy is racist and sexist. And everyone should oppose those things.
- Men can support the pro-life cause just like they supported women’s suffrage (voting) – Early feminists (A.K.A., First Wave), were committed to women’s suffrage and openly rejected abortion. They argued that it would lead to exploitation and violence against women. Men can unite with the better parts of feminism by agreeing with voting rights, and opposing abortion, just like they did.
- For men to comply with abortion-choice policy is suspiciously self-serving – Man-boy syndrome is real folks, and abortion is a factor. The latest numbers on marriage show our marriage rate is declining. Traditional marriages haven’t been faring too well since the sexual revolution, and definitely since Roe v. Wade (1973). Yet across world history, the most effective means for civilizing males on large scale is with marriage and fatherhood. Abortion-choice culture makes it easier to avoid both. In the old days, unplanned pregnancy led to a shotgun wedding. That’s not the best way to do things, but at least no one died from it. Now, abortion-choice interrupts the ceremony, “Stop the Wedding! She’s not pregnant!” Plus, abortion-choice is also portrayed as liberation for women, like it’s some great equalizer, empowering women to be on level ground with men in society. In reality, abortion standardized a roving “masculine” sexuality that never served well for women’s flourishing. Women have been lamenting ever since 1973 how much harder it is to find a good man who’s willing to settle down and start a family. Why on earth would a man settle down and start a family when his aggressive, roving, independent nature yearns to spread his seed wherever he can and virtually nothing in society discourages him from doing so? It’s not like he needs to procreate a boy child to inherit his kingdom, or have a gaggle of kiddos to help him run the farm. Abortion did not dignify feminine distinctives of child-birth and motherhood. Instead, it weaponized maternity, aiming the kill shot at their own child-in-utero. Meanwhile, non-committal man-boys can slink into the night without even a paternity suit to reel them back in. Abortion-choice works like a “get out of jail free” card for all the immature, predatory, and boyish males who think marriage and fatherhood are prison.
- Abortion is not just a women’s issue – the fallout from abortion isn’t limited to women, so it’s not just a “women’s issue.” It’s an “everyone issue.”
- Abortion kills males too (in utero) – Its effects aren’t limited to women
- Abortion impacts family court and paternity rights – Its effects really aren’t limited to women.
- Abortion hurts boyfriends, lovers, and male friends – It still isn’t limited to women.
- Abortion can traumatize fathers and grandfathers too – Did I mention it’s not limited to women.
- Abortion can traumatize brothers, sons, and extended male family – Yup, it’s not limited to women.
- Abortion can traumatize male medical professionals – Yet again, if you haven’t gotten the picture yet, its effects aren’t limited to women.
- Abortion can hurt marriages and families – Oh yeah, the effects aren’t limited to women.
- Abortion can harm churches, neighborhoods, and communities – Ditto.
- Abortion can damage the moral health of culture, society, and whole nations – Ditto times two.
- Some abortion survivors are men – Ditto times three. It would be patently absurd to claim that a man who has been maimed by a botched abortion, like Nik Hoot, has no right to speak against abortion. People who’ve been harmed by abortion have a vested personal interest in trying to protect others from abortion.
- As long as abortion is about human rights then all humans have a rightful voice on the matter – Abortion is about women’s rights, but it’s also about human rights broadly since it presses the question about when exactly do developing humans in utero acquire human rights.
- Female-led Organizations like Live Action , Eagle Forum, and Silent No More, encourage men to speak up on the issue – There is no unified voice, from women, telling men to shut up about abortion. Quite the opposite, females who are mobilized vocal and influential can be found encouraging pro-life men to speak up.
- Many other women don’t want men to be silent on abortion – Feminists are divided on several issues, including this one. Some women are happy to let a gentleman open their door, carry their groceries, and speak out against abortion. Often these women are quite liberated, empowered, and flourishing without any concern whatsoever about patriarchal oppression or toxic masculinity. They are too busy enjoying their family and exercising their freedom to be bothered with p*ssy hats and progressive politics. Maternal feminists, like Christina Hoff Sommers, typically appreciate the role of active, vocal, and even protective men in their lives, especially when it comes to issues as big as abortion.
- Medical experts, on abortion, are often men – Silencing them amounts to willful ignorance. They are worth hearing.
- Legal experts, on abortion, are often men – Ignorance is bad. Male experts are worth hearing.
- Scientific experts, on abortion, are often men – Ignorance is still bad. And male experts are still worth hearing.
- It’s an overreach – Neither women nor men have the right or the authority to demand each other to collectively shut up about anything.
- Men can offer relational and emotional support – When a pregnant woman wants to choose life so long as she can find some encouragement from a trusted male friend or family member, in that case, the “no womb, no say” position muffles those men, leaving that woman less support in their time of need. Women often see trusted male friends as allies, not enemies. So they welcome a male perspective as words from a trusted friend.
- If men can help a woman have an abortion, then they should at least be able to help her not have one – Demanding that men show support or stay out of it, even at the expense of their conscience, is to demand that they be cowards, immoral, or both. Civilized society should not wish for men to be immoral cowards.
- Some women don’t want to make the abortion-decision for themselves – I’m a married man, and I grew up with a mother and sister. And from my experience, it seems that sometimes, some women can feel too close to the situation to make a decision, or perhaps she doesn’t trust her own judgment, or she may even have some conflict of interest that makes her feel unsure. In that case, she may prefer to have a trusted man in her life help her make that decision, or even make the decision on her behalf. The “no womb, no say” position handicaps those women by demanding that all the men in their lives stay silent, even if they are strong, wise, loving, and great decision-makers for the family.
- Truth doesn’t have a sex/gender – If something is true about abortion, it’s still true even if a man says it. Moral facts are still the facts, no matter if a man or a woman is speaking.
- Men have access to moral facts just as much as women do – just as moral facts don’t care what sex/gender you are, knowing moral facts is likewise open to men and women.
- There are sex/gender-neutral reasons for doubting the “my body, my right” argument undergirding this “women only” mentality – It’s never been clearly shown, legally, that the right of privacy includes the privilege of intentionally killing one’s own, innocent, non-threatening, non-combatant, child-in-utero. Also, Roe v. Wade was argued on the belief that we aren’t sure when biological human life begins. But that question has long been settled: new human life begins at conception. Moreover, the “my body, my right” argument promotes extremism and contradicts normal guardian responsibilities. If bodily autonomy isn’t enough to even justify abortion, then it’s not enough to justify silencing all male voices on abortion either.
- “No womb, No Say” is sexist against men – The “no womb, no say” position is blatant sexism, discriminating against millions of people because of their sex/gender. It’s not the tame kind of discrimination either, like when employers discriminate against job applicants who are lazy incompetent nitwits. We’re talking about the lame kind of discrimination, attempting to restrict freedom of speech marginalizing men even if when the man was permanently handicapped in a botched abortion, or when he’s been traumatized by watching, assisting, or conducting an abortion, or if they’ve walked their wives through the long-term side effects of a past abortion.
- Abortion-Choice Policy Promotes Sexism against women – Not only is the “no womb, no say” position sexist, but abortion choice policy itself is sexist. Sex-selective abortion is currently legal, and that means girls in utero are sometimes aborted just because they are girls. Abortion also has a bad history of promoting negative health outcomes for women. Abortion itself is a violent act against women, especially when the mother’s “consent” is blurred with heavy pressure from parents or partners. And perhaps the most glaring problem sexism in abortion is how it enables irresponsible and selfish males to exploit women. They can “love ’em and leave ’em”.
- It’s hypocritical to encourage pro-choice men to speak up and prohibit pro-life men from doing the same – NARAL, URGE, and other supporters of the “Bro Choice” movement encourage men to speak up so long as they are supporting abortion-choice.
- It’s hypocritical to accept the verdict of Roe v. Wade (1973) and then say that men shouldn’t have a voice on the issue – Seven out of nine old white guys, on the supreme court, decided that abortion should be legalized across the nation.
- If pro-choice advocates tried to undo the hypocrisy, and still keep men silent about abortion, they would have to reject what men have already said on abortion – besides just the Roe v. Wade ruling, if male voices were muffled then that would mean rejecting the established insights from men in the past, regarding abortion, including expert testimony from doctors, judges, scientists, attorneys, pollsters, technicians, politicians, academics and scholars.
- “No womb, No Say” is a veiled attempt to stifle opposition – Pro-choice powers don’t really want men, generally, to be silent, they want pro-life men to be silent. It’s not a matter of ethics and rights, it’s a matter of convenience. It’s easier to advance a pro-choice agenda if roughly half of the opposition is silent.
- It takes two to tango – men are half of the pregnancy equation. Having a role in creating the child, it’s not clear why men would have no role when it comes to the (preventing the) fate of the child. Ideally, childbearing should be a team effort and not a lone burden for women.
- The Good Samaritan Rule – Morally we’re responsible to do the good that we can do. Tim Brahm of Equal Rights Institute explains this point with a story about watching a depressed woman attempt to drown her newborn child, then Brahm says, “Now, I’m a man. I’ve never been pregnant. I’ve never been a mother. I will never know what she is going through. . . But even though I can’t understand what she’s going through, shouldn’t I try to do something to save that kid?” Good question!
- Some women cannot get pregnant – By the logic of “no womb no way” those women would be denied a voice on the abortion issue.
- Men have freedom of speech, just like women do – If women can speak out about prostate cancer, and they have every right do so, then men can speak about abortion. The first amendment works either way.
- Abortion contradicts paternity rights – It is legally inconsistent for women to be able to ‘walk away from a pregnancy (abortion), while men are denied that right. Instead, men can be forced to pay child support even when they didn’t want to be a father. This inconsistency might be unjust, and so, men have reason to speak up.
- Men should use their privilege in society to offer solidarity with good causes – Supposing that men have a lot of privilege in society, we, therefore, have a moral duty to exercise our privilege in support of good. Fighting against the deadliest act against fellow human beings in world history is a worthy candidate.
- It’s good to defend those who can’t defend themselves, regardless of sex/gender – Their silent scream cannot be heard, so people with a voice need to speak up for them. Men and women alike can intercede for the voiceless.
- Abortion is an intersectional issue so that silencing men is too simplistic to represent it fairly – There are several different inequalities tied into abortion-choice policy. There are potential inequalities between men and women. But we can also point to inequalities along racial lines, or health, age, and so forth. Some of the most influential and expert witnesses for age discrimination, ableism, and racism are males. Silencing males on the issue of abortion restricts the voices protesting ableism, ageism, and racism.
- Men can help deter the jerks who pressure women towards abortion – Male influence can be positive or negative. It’s true that some males are horrible human beings: abusive, predatory, deviants, who exploit women and coerce them into abortion. These jerks need every societal corrective we can throw at them – police, prosecutors, jailers, therapists, etc. But often they descend into deviancy for lack of a healthy father figure or positive male friends. When decent men are involved as Big Brothers, for example, they can help counteract many of the factors driving women to abortion, such as coercion, poverty, abuse, abandonment, etc. That won’t work in all cases, but it will work for some. Decent upstanding men can help create a family-friendly pro-life culture just by modeling redemptive manhood.
- Men can work with women in teaching a family-based model of pregnancy – It’s no surprise that most women seeking abortion are not married or even in a healthy stable family. Healthy stable families are a historically well-established way to raise up the kind of people who don’t have unplanned pregnancies. Men and women together can promote healthy marriage, and parenting as a means of curbing abortion.
- Men are justified in wanting to defend women from harm – if chivalry is dead it’s because feminism killed it. But good men can always resurrect it, especially if it means protecting women from the violence in and around abortion.
- Men can speak up through their actions – Male culture is more than words. A healthy masculine voice is not just spoken, it’s modeled. Raising a child is hard work anyway, but it gets even harder when men don’t step up as fathers, friends, and husbands. Far too many men already lack the maturity, courage, and commitment to come alongside the women in their lives to help them choose life. Sometimes the most powerful words we can share about abortion are voiced in silent strength and quiet commitment.
- Fathers should be able to talk with their daughters about abortion – Fathers have a natural right and responsibility to raise their daughters, and that includes talking about sex, love, marriage, parenting, and of course the immeasurable value of human life.
- Husbands should be able to talk with their wives about abortion – healthy marriages should share decision making, and work as a team in their family planning. Silent men would be a disservice to wives who are wanting the support and input of their husbands.
- Brothers should be able to talk with their sisters about abortion – Healthy sibling relationships are another family tie where guys can have the rapport with their sisters to talk about important things like sexual health, pregnancy, and abortion.
- Women should be free to get counsel and advice from males – Male counselors, religious leaders, and caring friends can be a tremendous help for women in a crisis pregnancy. If men are supposed to shut up about abortion then they are handicapped in their ability to help.
- Silent men are a waste of resources –Disenfranchised males can be incredibly dangerous. Every society has an enormous burden in deciding what to do with the boys. When boys don’t have to mature, settle down, or become gentlemen to be accepted in society, then they will tend to settle for adolescence, never marrying, never committing to fatherhood, slinking towards addiction, apathy, violence, and crime. The problem isn’t as simple as “toxic masculinity.” Males are a resource in society; they can spoil if neglected and explode when broken. But when they are mobilized and directed towards human flourishing they are an irreplaceable source of innovation, defense, and development. With the issue of abortion, men can be incredibly useful. Besides lending strength, compassion, and service, they can have insights, research, and sage counsel to help struggling mothers in their time of need. It would be a pity to lock away all those resources just because of casual pro-choice rhetoric.
- Excluding men reduces diversity – We can learn a lot if we listen to a diverse array of voices sharing insights into issues that matter. Silencing all (pro-life) men artificially restricts that diversity.
- Men who care about the health and direction of the nation should speak up about abortion as it ties into our founding principles as a nation, i.e., an equal right to life from our creation onward – It has been said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. The benefits of a free and humanitarian society will not defend themselves. We the people have a duty, as citizens, to protect the better parts of our society, and that includes the notion of “equal rights.” The Declaration of Independence says, “all men [humans] are created equal . . . endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights . . . life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Our founding fathers didn’t know, at that time, that the biological moment of creation is at conception. And if we are going to avoid infusing some spiritually weighted notion about souls, then we have to legally treat that moment of creation as a biological question – the moment of conception, the onset of biological human life. See more about this point in my debate at UT-Arlington (TX).
- It’s not humanitarian to restrict whole demographics from discussing a human rights issue – the history of human rights legislation has, for the most part, been a gradual unveiling of our equal rights as human beings. But that process has had many pitfalls and perils. We cannot trust that any one group will safely lead the way without vital corrections arising from other groups. In this way, all of us are part of an ongoing conversation about the nature, extent, and grounding of our human rights. There is no settled and final conclusion, whether in the court of law, in the classroom, or in the science lab, dictating that men need to stay out of the abortion issue. It would contradict our humanitarian values as a nation to silence whole sectors of humanity because of their race, age, sex/gender.
- Silencing men is close-minded – No one on earth is 100% right all the time. We should be open-minded enough to where we can keep learning and correct our mistakes. Silencing an entire demographic does not signal open-mindedness. It’s dogmatic and close-minded
- Silencing men forces weird results with the LGBTQ movement – Do biological females lose their right to speak if they identify as a male? What if they have been pregnant before, but still identify as a male? What if a biological male identifies as a female, does that person get their voice back?
- “No womb, no say” discriminates against intersex people – Some people are born with male and female sex organs. They are not strictly male or female, biologically speaking. Yet, the “no womb, no say” argument operates on a simple binary notion that women can speak up but not men. What about intersex people? To my knowledge, intersex people are typically infertile but there may be exceptions that I’m not aware of. We are guaranteed to distort the issue if we frame an issue as a binary/dichotomous when it has three or more parties involved (male, female, and intersex).
- Silent men have done enough damage already – Far too many men are passive, wimpy, indifferent loafers too selfish and scared to protect, support, and honor the women in their lives. So it’s no surprise when those women end up having an abortion because they never had the support network they needed. No gentleman stepped in as a husband, a brother, a friend, or a father, to lend the support she needed to choose life.
These are just the first 59 reasons I could come up with. But that’s more than enough to prove that “no womb, no say” is a myth. Silencing men is a popular pro-choice tactic designed to smother opposition and shame men into silence. It’s worked well over the years. Perhaps if more men had stepped into the mix with a gentle voice of concern or a careful word of wisdom, then we might not be in this predicament, staring at an abortion total that dwarfs the holocaust ten-fold, literally. Men, your voice matters. Don’t just stand quietly on the sidelines hoping that your wives, sisters, daughters, and female friends will all do the right thing. Speak up! A word of compassion and truth just might make the difference between life and death.
If you are pro-life and you would like to discover your voice, or if you are eager to speak but you aren’t sure what to say, then you can get some great conversation training with the organization I work with, Equal Rights Institute (ERI). Just because you have a voice doesn’t mean you know how to use it. That’s why groups like ERI exist, we want to help pro-life advocates to think clearly, reason honestly, and argue persuasively.