Last weekend the world watched as women came together, together with friends and family – both women and men – to march against the inequality women are subjected to every single day: pay, health care, choice over their own bodies, work, cultural stereotypes… it goes on. And by now you shouldn’t need me to tell you. The women can tell you themselves. They’re better at it than me.
One week later and there’s another march. An “Alternative Women’s March” you might say.
(And since crowd size is such a hot topic these days – the first one was bigger.)
This second march wasn’t officially deemed “For Women”. In fact, one man interviewed by the press said it was about human rights because it took two to make a child.
That’s right – this was a march about abortion, and how Roe v Wade should be aborted.
The crazy thing here: most of those who are represented and discussed in the media as having attended this “pilgrimage” (as some called it), the most notable speakers, were all men. Which shouldn’t be a problem as this is about humanity and not just women.
You know what I don’t get? Why is it only a human right – it’s for everyone – when the bigger impact is actually on someone who isn’t a woman? Or black? Or Latino? Or any other kind of immigrant? Or LGBTQ? Why is it that men – specifically white men – take such an issue with being pushed out to the side? Sorry guys – you can’t have that, that’s for me too!
We’re now in a world where abortion also belongs to a man. Where marriage equality only belongs to straight men. Where racial injustices impacts white communities. Where immigrants steal jobs from middle-class WASPs.
Yes. It does take two to make a child. But in too many cases only one of those people is forced to handle a child they aren’t prepared for, they have to carry inside them, they have to feed and clothe. Only one of those people has to endure the drastic body changes pregnancy forces you to go through. Only one of those people has to consider alternatives if bringing a child into this world, into their life, would be detrimental to said child. Only one of these people has to be there through it all while the other can weigh their options.
And unless we’re chattin’ about seahorses, I’m pretty damn sure we’re talking about human beings.
Abortion is a woman’s decision. Should the partner of that woman be involved? Yes, of course. And it is a position I would never want to be in, but if the partner says, “I want this,” while the pregnant woman doesn’t are we really going to force that woman to carry a child she doesn’t want in her body for nine months? To go through days of labor at the end and top it off with the emotional stress of having to keep a child she didn’t want or give it up to the partner or to an adopted parent? If the roles were switched I would be writing about whether steaks and pancakes were the best thing since chicken and waffles (clue: they’re better).
Personal anecdote time (well, just a personal):
I’m not for abortion. I’m pro-choice but I’m not “for” abortion. I personally don’t think anyone should be for it. It should be limited and reduced. People should practice safer sex and not allow abortion to become a form of birth control. But when it does happen it should be allowed to legally and safely.
Why am I against it? Because I actually do believe one shouldn’t take a life, and to me a baby unborn is a life. It may not have a name or a personality, but there is life there. No man or woman has ever said, “Oh I can feel the fetus kick!” And if there’s a miscarriage, mothers and fathers mourn the loss of a potential child, not of potential life.
I also know as a human being it shouldn’t be my business to tell women, or other couples what they should or shouldn’t do in an incredibly difficult situation. I have known people to have abortions. I don’t judge them and say they’ll burn in hell. Some have had completely understandable reasons. Some have never told me why, and that’s fine. It’s not my business. Because everyone has a right to decide these most personal of things by themselves.
And for the woman it is all the more difficult. Say what you want about fathers’ rights – and fathers should have them – but the decision is ultimately the woman’s.
“Why?” you ask.
Because men would shut that show down if women tried to tell men not to ejaculate without cause for conception. They would shout this is my body and I will decide what happens. “Government has no control over my body!”
Men have kept women down in the work place, and in the home, for millennia. We have made them secondary despite being around 50% of the global population. And this happens in every culture of humanity on this planet; North American, African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latino & Hispanic, European and Australasian. Yet in 2017 we are still telling women they don’t have the same rights to the long list of wrongs millions were marching for last weekend INCLUDING the right to decide what happens to their own bodies.
And now we have people marching for humanity. For humanity to say, “I will not allow a woman to kill her poor innocent child,” despite many of these also declaring they do not want any more refugees, even orphaned, injured and homeless children.
Abortions, which peaked in the immediate years after Roe v Wade, have been falling and are now lower than in 1973 when the ruling was passed. Most significantly, the number of infections and deaths due to illegal, unethical abortions has crumbled.
Not that quantitative evidence matters anyway; we’re in the world of Alternative Facts now.