At a recent dinner party, some how to ever so dinner party friendly topic of abortion was brought up. The table was comprised of both men and women of varying ages and the men began discussing the fact a young friend had recently announced that, on the subject of abortion, she believed ‘no vagina, no opinion’. The only voices that were heard were men, the only opinions that were got across were from males, and the women at the table were either ignored in their efforts to voice an opinion or just didn’t bother trying. And, shockingly, the idea of ‘no vagina, no opinion’ was dismissed as ridiculous.
There’s a view amongst men that having your opinion or voice discounted because of your genitalia is absolutely ludicrous. How dare that young girl tell them that, on account of their penis, they weren’t entitled to make a decision on whether abortion is acceptable. The irony of the fact that for thousands of years the world has universally accepted ‘vagina, no opinion’ is irrelevant. Women have been told they can’t vote, can’t work, can’t earn, can’t be elected and can’t make decisions for themselves forever. Now, on one subject, some are fighting back and saying this one is ours.
Is it fair?
Should men be allowed to voice an opinion on whether a woman should be allowed an abortion or not?
Medical professionals? Yes. There is science both physical and psychological that goes into laws surrounding abortion. Male doctors, male psychologists, male nurses and male counselors should all be just as respected on the subject as women as they are looking at it objectively. In my opinion, male medical professionals should be entitled to voice their views based on empirical data and professional views based on one to one dealings with the women seeking the abortion.
I give some credence to the fact the father of the potential child should express his opinion. If he is desperate to help the mother raise the child that would result if the pregnancy was allowed to continue, vows to support it and wants to be involved then of course he should be able to tell her that and to ask her to continue the pregnancy.
But should she continue if she doesn’t want to?
Putting your body through pregnancy is painful, exhausting, potentially life threatening, and terrifying. And, more to the point, that’s if you WANT to be pregnant. If you don’t? If every day you wake up suffering and hurting both physically and mentally because a parasite is feeding from your body and you wish it was gone? If every day you feel you are being violated from the inside out? That your body isn’t your own, that your choices are controlled, that you cannot work, eat, drink and live how you want to and you hate every second of it? The men don’t have to go through that.
If a man rapes a woman the worst he could come away with from the experience, other than a damaged soul, is an STD. A woman? She could come away with a whole human being grown inside her, the product of a rape, the daily reminder of what she has been through? Sexual abuse has a psychological impact that is immeasurable. If you combine that with pregnancy and, subsequently, a baby who screams and cries and demands from you constantly and is a totally emotionally and psychological draining thing on top of it? Men don’t have to deal with that.
If a woman cannot afford a child, if she is struggling to feed herself, house herself, and gets pregnant, she is the presented with the fact children are expensive. They need their home warm, their clothes dry, their bellies full of food, and all manner of things to keep them happy and thriving. They need a parent at home or they need childcare. If she doesn’t want to, she would have to. If he doesn’t want to? He can leave. The father can, and often does, disappear in that case. The woman is left to do it alone.
Labour is painful. PAINFUL. If you don’t go through a vaginal delivery and have a C-Section, this is not a get out of jail free card that people sell it as. Vaginal delivery often results in your vagina literally being cut or ripped open. C-Sections are major abdominal surgery where you’re cut open through skin, flesh, and fat to the uterus and it all needs stitching back up again. Both take time to heal, both are painful for a long time after the birth. If you end up with a child you’ve been longing for? You cope because it’s worth it. If you’re left with a child you don’t want, resent and who makes you feel disgusting? How do you cope?! Don’t ask men, they don’t know.
The first weeks of a child’s life are the most exhausting of your own life. They feed all the time, scream all the time. You’re tired, bleeding, confused and trying to process this sudden change in your world. Want it? You cope. Don’t want it? HOW DO YOU COPE!?
PND is a deadly illness. I wrote about a friend who died because of PND in Goodnight Sweet Lady. This was a woman who wanted to be a mother, wanted to have her children, and LOVED her children. She was still taken by this silent killer that invades a mothers brain. Can you imagine how easily that hideous illness would find it to break in and take hold if just having a child was something you found painful and horrible, let alone raising one? Men don’t have to go through this, so they can find it easy to prioritise the cluster of cells or unaware fetus’ life over that of the living, breathing woman with family, friends and a life.
And what of the child? Does it go into a foster system where all the men who are anti-abortion are clearly not adopting them? Or do they get raised by a psychologically damaged mother who actively does not want them. Do men have to worry about that? Do men have to try and raise a child under those circumstances?
The girl who had voices the opinion of ‘no vagina, no opinion’ was dismissed as a crazy lefty feminist child who would grow up and realise the error of her ways with embarrassment. They believed that she would quickly work out that trying to claim any decision in life was not an entitlement of those with a penis was crazy. Because OF COURSE men get to decide. OF COURSE men are entitled to choose for us.
If this girl has any sense, which to me it sounds like she does, she will hold that view and she will stick to it. She will learn and fight. She will respect women that don’t want an abortion, she will understand those who do. She will tell men who try and dictate what a woman should or shouldn’t do with their bodies to stuff it. Crazy, lefty feminist? I stand with you.
Me, personally, it would take a LOT for me to have an abortion. There are few circumstances under which I can foresee myself doing it. Very few. But that’s something I am entitled to decide for myself and I am in the fortunate position in this world that I get to.
No vagina, no opinion?
I hear you.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!