What Should Men Say When Told to “Shut Up” About Abortion?

Too many men have let this argument be the kryptonite that keeps them from getting involved in the pro-life movement as equal partners with women.

by Roland C. Warren

I recently met a young man from an Ivy League university that started a pro-life group on his campus. I am always excited to see men take a proactive stand for the sanctity of life, so I thanked him for his leadership. And then I asked if there was a particular obstacle he faced where I could be helpful. Without hesitation, he told me the pro-choice folks on campus often tell him that since he cannot get pregnant and face the burden of an unplanned pregnancy, what he says or thinks about abortion does not matter.

As a man who is president of Care Net — one of the nation’s largest networks of pregnancy centers that offers women compassion, hope and help, as well as realistic alternatives to abortion — I have heard this challenge to men so often that I have coined it the “no womb/no say” perspective. In short, since a man does not have a womb to carry an unborn child, he should have no say in what happens to an unborn child in the womb.

Now, without analysis, this may seem to make sense. And, as a result, too many men have let this argument be the kryptonite that keeps them from getting involved in the pro-life movement as equal partners with women. However, when you really consider the underlying principle of this line of thinking, it quickly becomes clear that it may be a good “sound bite,” but it is clearly not “sound logic.”

That said, before I deal with the logic aspect, I would be remiss if I did not address the fact that those who use this argument are being disingenuous. A few years ago, the pro-choice movement started a very aggressive initiative to get men to support abortion rights. This effort challenged men to be “Bro-Choice” and even take a pledge.

Note what Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (URGE), a major proponent of the this campaign, says on its website: “Pro-choice men can be a powerful force in helping move our policy agenda forward, which is exactly why URGE leads the way in recruiting and elevating their voices within this movement. By building a network of outspoken, actively engaged men, we are building the power necessary to move policy and win on our issues.”

After reading URGE’s perspective, I was reminded of the old quip, “When I want your opinion, I will give it to you!” It also reminded of a bumper sticker I saw a few years ago on the car of a pro-choice woman. It said, “I don’t want my reproductive rights decided by a bunch of grey-haired white guys!” Of course, this woman missed the irony that abortion was made legal by a group of those guys: the Supreme Court in 1973. If old white guys can’t get it right now, isn’t it possible that they got it wrong then? In any case, for the “Bro Choice” advocates, it’s perfectly fine and even required for men to engage in the abortion debate — as long as they come down on the “right” side.

Now, the “no womb/no say” perspective is also very problematic when you consider it through the lens of logic. Essentially, the principle underlying the view is this: Unless one is impacted by an issue or action in the most direct way, one should have no agency in making decisions about that issue or action.  

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SOURCE: The Federalist

Roland C. Warren is the president and CEO of Care Net, one of the nation’s largest networks of pregnancy centers that offers realistic alternatives to abortion.