Anti-Abortion Logic: Men should have a say in abortion decisions

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Anti-abortion supporters have long stated that men that help create pregnancies should have a say in pregnancy decisions, usually alongside the old saying about sex “It takes two to tango”. More specifically, that those men should have the say in a woman’s decision to have an abortion.

Men are already given special treatment in the anti-abortion movement. They’re not told to keep their dick behind a closed pants zipper while holding an aspirin between their knees. Rarely are they shamed for having premarital sex and/or having sex when they weren’t ready to bear the responsibility of child-rearing and certainly never in the same capacity as women are. A man is given even more special treatment when he doesn’t want the woman he got pregnant to have an abortion while the woman’s wish to terminate an unwanted pregnancy becomes even more irrelevant to the anti-abortion movement than it already is. In order to drive the idea that men should have a say in pregnancy options, these men are made to be anti-abortion martyrs through things like memes that say “Her ‘choice’ was my child”, protest signs that say “Men Regret Lost Fatherhood”, and emotionally charged videos of men pleading outside of abortion clinics to the women they got pregnant not to abort her pregnancies.

But how much does the anti-abortion movement truly believe that men should have a say in abortion decisions?

George Takei’s Facebook page posted a story regarding a situation where the husband wanted to have a say in his wife’s abortion. In a now deleted Reddit post, a woman asked for advice:

“I have no idea what to do. I found out our baby’s gender today, and I had to beg my husband to come to my ultrasound. He didn’t want to but he gave in and said he would come. I knew he wanted a son so I worried he’d be upset but I didn’t think something like this would happen. As soon as the doctor said it was a girl, my husband’s whole demeanor changed. And he just went silent. And then he made me leave my appointment early. I tried to object but he grabbed by arm really hard and told me we were going home. I had to lie about why I was leaving. In the car, he was very agitated and I asked him why and he told me he doesn’t want a girl so I’ll get an abortion and well try again for a boy. I told him I’m not going to do that and he said “Yeah okay we’ll see.” I told him he can’t force me and he told me “you have two options honey you can have your girl and get pregnant again right after and pray that it’s a boy or you can do it the easy way and get an abortion right now.” I just started to cry and he shushed me and kept squeezing my thigh painfully tight. He’s been in a bad mood all night since but we haven’t talked anymore about it. I know this all sounds crazy and I know that it is but I’m just lost on what to do. I don’t know why he would put me in this position. I can only hope that he calms down and lets it go but I don’t think that will happen. My friends would never understand and I just can’t bring myself to talk to my father or brothers about this. I don’t know what I should be doing.”

George Takei’s Facebook has its fair share of conservative minded users that are quick to speak their opinion. Yet there didn’t seem to be a single comment rushing to the defense of the husband to demand his rights in pregnancy option-based decisions and how men should have an equal say.

Perhaps this is because the now-deleted Reddit post paints a perfect picture of something both anti-abortion and pro-choice supporters are against: coerced/forced abortion. Googling “forced abortion” or “coerced abortion” will yield some results from anti-abortion organizations relating to stories of women who were forced to have abortions. Heartbeat International, one of the biggest networks of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers, has reading material available for sale called “Preventing Forced Abortion”. The man in charge of the protest at the now-closed Essential Health Clinic of Black River Falls claimed that he would protest abortion clinics and see women being dragged inside against their will.

The “rights of the father” is only relevant to the anti-abortion movement only when a specific situation has arisen. It’s like how some arrogant heterosexuals insist on Straight Pride parades, but only during the month of June when confronted with LGBTQ+ people and rainbow flags. Like the idea of Straight Pride, this idea that men should have the say in pregnancy option decisions is brought up to invalidate a specific group of people—in this case, women who want an abortion while the men that got them pregnant does not.

But if a man wanted an abortion against the woman’s wishes, the anti-abortion movement is silent until they need to lament about instances where those same women were dragged to abortion clinics unwillingly by the same men that wanted the say in whether or not they have an abortion.  When the woman wants to carry a pregnancy to term like the anti-abortion movement wants, it’s not about what the man wants. It’s one of the few times the anti-abortion movement agrees that women should make their own decisions regarding their own pregnancies without interference from other people.

Yes, coerced abortion is most definitely wrong. However, its a bit hypocritical to campaign for men having equal say or even the say in abortion decisions in order to force women into options they do not want, but then turn around to say forcing women into options they do not want is wrong when the woman is being coerced into having an abortion against her will.

Anti-Abortion Logic: Demanding contraceptive use after defunding Planned Parenthood

Anti-abortion supporters immediately celebrated when Planned Parenthood withdrew from the Title X program they would have been kicked off anyways due to not complying with the “gag rule” regulation. Except Title X wasn’t funding abortions—it was helping Planned Parenthood provide reproductive healthcare and family planning services for free or on a sliding scale. It’s as if the anti-abortion movement has no clue as to why they’re celebrating and don’t care about the repercussions as long as it deals a blow to “Planned Murderhood” (as they so affectionately call the healthcare provider).

This ignorance is painfully obvious with a few anti-abortion supporters now telling women to use birth control.

Examples include:

“Keep em crossed or birth control or adoption.”

“A woman’s decision should be what kind of contraceptive use! That’s the only choice one should make! If you’re not intelligent enough to use contraceptive, you are certainly not intelligent enough to raise a child! Simple as that!”

“All you hoes better learn how to use birth control instead of taking away someone else’s life by aborting. Pro abortion is not pro choice you fucking demons.”

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Birth control? Do they mean like the kind my Planned Parenthood clinic you want to see shut down provides? Interesting.

So let me see if I got this right: Anti-abortion supporters crusaded for and then celebrated Planned Parenthood losing funding that allowed them to offer contraceptives for women who couldn’t afford them and then some of those same supporters have the audacity to tell their patients to use birth control—you know, like the kind that Planned Parenthood could have offered for free when they were still eligible for Title X grants.

Here’s an idea, Anti-Choice Supporters: Don’t tell women to use birth control if you’re for the defunding and shutdown of their clinics that provide birth control.

Anti-Abortion Movement Celebrates Defunding of Title X Funds

On August 19th, Essential Health Clinic officially became a part of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. Unfortunately, this came on the same day as another big piece of news: Planned Parenthood announced they decided to pull itself out of the Title X program. Due to a new “gag rule” that would bar anyone that offered abortion services or information from receiving Title X funds, Planned Parenthood would have been kicked off the program anyways if they hadn’t pulled out.

Anti-abortion supporters have long crusaded for the defunding of Planned Parenthood so they rejoiced at Planned Parenthood losing funding without any regard on how those funds benefit those who cannot afford reproductive healthcare and contraceptives—the latter being something that helps prevent unwanted pregnancies that would be terminated at the horror of the pro-life movement.

Yet many anti-abortion supporters still managed to gripe about the whole situation despite getting what they asked for in Defund Planned Parenthood attacks. There’s a surplus of comments bemoaning about how Planned Parenthood could have continued to receive funding if only they had stopped performing those evil abortions and that they showed their “true colors” as a “murder mill” by supposedly choosing abortion over funding for reproductive healthcare services. Once again, the anti-abortion movement oversimplifies things and the truth is more complicated than they would like to acknowledge.

The gag rule basically backed Planned Parenthood into a corner and they only had two options.

The first option would have been to continue to receive funding in exchange for stopping abortion-related services. However, they believe and have campaigned “Abortion Is Healthcare”. Allowing themselves to be suppressed from giving information on abortion would be in conflict with their beliefs that patients should have access to accurate information and resources on what is a medical procedure. Choosing to comply with the gag rule would also have barred them from performing abortions and this would have decimated access to abortion services. In Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood makes up 3 out of the 4 abortion providers in the state. It would have been hard to say “My Body, My Choice” if they were responsible for obliterating access to one choice. And surely the internet comments from the anti-abortion movement would be gloating that Planned Parenthood admitted that abortion wasn’t healthcare by receiving Title X funding in exchange for suppressing abortion information and wiping out abortion access.

The other option—the one they chose—was to refuse to comply with the gag rule and withdraw from the program. From the anti-abortion standpoint, Planned Parenthood chose abortion over providing reproductive healthcare and contraceptives. What Planned Parenthood actually did was choose both. Planned Parenthood is still providing reproductive healthcare and contraceptives despite the loss of Title X funding.

So what did the loss of Title X actually do? First you have to look at what Title X actually is. It is a federal grant program started by Richard Nixon in 1970 dedicated to providing family planning services and reproductive healthcare to the poor and uninsured. Services include “natural family planning methods, infertility services, and services for adolescents; highly effective contraceptive methods; breast and cervical cancer screening and prevention services that correspond with nationally recognized standards of care; STD and HIV prevention education, counseling, testing, and referral; adolescent abstinence counseling; and other preventive health services.”  What Title X doesn’t cover, as laid out in its five major provisions, is abortion. Additionally, the Hyde Amendment bars federal funding from being used to pay for abortion (except in cases of rape/incest or to save the life of the mother). Until this gag rule went into effect, healthcare providers that also provided abortion-related services in addition to a wide range of contraceptives and reproductive healthcare services could participate in the program, but the funding couldn’t pay for abortion services.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is already familiar with losing Title X funding as their funding wasn’t renewed earlier this year due to legislature passed in 2016. Thus, when Essential Health Clinic became Planned Parenthood, they ceased to be a Title X funded clinic. This meant they can no longer offer services for free or on a sliding scale based on income. Luckily, Wisconsin is one of several states that have a Family Planning Waiver program, a program similar to Title X in that it provides reproductive healthcare and contraceptives to low income women for free. But for Wisconsin women that don’t qualify for this program or women in states that don’t have such a program, they have to pay for services in full due to Planned Parenthood not having Title X funding that would reimburse them for providing services at a discount or free.

So the anti-abortion movement is celebrating the loss of funding that would help the poor and uninsured gain access to reproductive healthcare and contraceptives. It’s unclear if this is through sheer ignorance due to being blinded by their hate for abortion or that they don’t really care about the needy despite much of the anti-abortion movement being motivated by Christian philosophy.