I’m a Pro-Abortion Man, and I’m Not Going to Shut Up
Many cisgendered men feel like there two options right now, either stay quiet or “mansplain.” But there’s another way.
Here’s why pro-abortion (cisgendered) men should be speaking up right now:
This is an opportunity to practice talking about something we likely know little or nothing about without pretending like we do.
As boys, we got the message from adults that we should always be in control of ourselves (stoic), fully aware of what we were doing (cool and collected), a “man with a plan.” Asking for help, being curious, getting vulnerable, expressing emotions — these things made us soft, weak, like girls.
So, when we hear and read things like “my body, my choice.” Or, “Pregnancy begins with a penis, regulate that.” Or “Men should shut up about abortion,” we freeze up. We don’t want to say the wrong thing or take up too much space in the collective anger. We hope the news cycle passes quickly.
Or we intellectualize — another thing we were socialized to do at a young age. “This could be good for Democrats in the midterms,” I want to assure women in my life. “This is all happening because the rich and powerful need higher birth rates to produce more workers,” I want to explain.
Those feel like the two options: either shut up or offer some explanation in a futile attempt to calm everyone down.
But there’s another option. When I slow down, get quiet, and notice what comes after those gut reactions — thank God for meditation and therapy — underneath the tongue-tied and overly confident, mansplaining parts of me, I feel all kinds of things.
Anger at Republicans because they keep winning — and at the Democratic Party because they keep losing on the stuff that really matters. Sadness for the working and poor people who now will have an even tougher time getting abortions. Grief about all the people who have died (and who will die) from lack of abortion access.
But here’s the thing.
I’m also inspired by the women in my life. I’m also curious about how I should be in solidarity as a man. I even have a little compassion for those who feel differently about abortion than I do — the starting point for conversations that change minds.
And so, I’m going to speak up. I’m going to share how I feel. I’m going to share that there have been a few times after having unprotected sex with a woman that I’d hoped she’d get an abortion if she became pregnant. I’m going to share how scared I was to be a dad in this capitalist society that gives so little support to families.
I have to. Even (and especially) if it’s uncomfortable.
Hi, I’m Jeremy, a writer, therapist, and meditation teacher. Subscribe to my weekly email to get posts like this straight to your inbox here.