Abortion And Men's Rights

Some words on Abortion and the MRM

Someone once said, “Never discuss politics or religion.” Obviously they never had a discussion about abortion, which manages to raise the hostilities of both at the mere mention of the word. And a whole lot more.

We got an example of this recently on the pages of this website when I submitted, despite being personally opposed to the practice, that the editorial position here would be that an anti-abortion agenda would not be acceptable for article submissions, and would not be included in the revised mission statement to come in the future.

I got called a baby killer (figuratively). And that by someone I’d grown quite fond of over a period of years.

Whatever abortion is, it is not something people take lightly.

That intensity is magnified exponentially when you consider that this website is a growing part of a growing movement involving many men and women, but one where the responsibility and authority for editorial decisions rests solely with one person. I suppose I am a smart enough fella. Not smart enough to please everyone all the time, but smart enough not to try.

It’s a potential tinder box on minor issues, much less one as incendiary as abortion. So after having taken some time to digest the reactions and consider the future of this site, I want to take the opportunity to clarify policy and rationale. I do this knowing that fires are still smoldering and subject to instant flare up.

The question that I took into consideration for this as foundational was, “Does anti-abortion activism, as opposed to sympathies with those efforts, enhance or diminish efforts to advocate for men and boys?”

My personal opinion leans heavily on the side of diminishment. First there is the problem of political affiliation.  As already stated in the rough draft of the policy I wrote, the AVfM position on mainstream politics is clear. They won’t be part of the equation here except to point out that all popular political groups are misandric and antithetical to the cause.

Abortion is highly polemicist, with the mainstay of its opponents squarely on the neoconservative religions right.

Socons, as we call them.  It’s a group with more nuts than a pecan orchard, and most of them would love nothing more than to have all men chained into a state sanctioned marriage (between one man and one woman, of course), which is to say they would ultimately make slaves of all of us.

Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is just another enemy.

My personal opinion is that the MRM should not officially embrace causes that will attract mainstream political ideologues.  My personal decision is that AVfM won’t, for sure.  It will be more in keeping with policy here to run them off with a stick. I think I take that position for sound reasons.  During my time as Editor-in-Chief for Men’s News Daily, I was accused, regularly, of being a right wing demagogue. To be fair, I was accused of being a leftist sycophant from the other side as well.

It’s what happens when you refuse to join the circus or follow the thinking of people who educate themselves on sound bites from cable news channels. But, I digress.

The point here is that making abortion a part of the AVfM mission is a prescription for infestation by those who also undermine men and boys.  It’s like turning over a jar of honey on a picnic and then taking a nap. That is not going to happen here.

Then there is the matter of LC4M. As long as women have unencumbered power and authority over abortion it also gives them equally hegemonic dominion over men for the bulk of their adult lives.  In fact, child support is the primary instrument by which state functionaries assume and maintain iron fisted control over the lives of men in western culture.  We have an entire father’s rights movement necessitated by the fact that millions of men have had their lives eviscerated, their freedom forfeit, their assets garnisheed, even where paternity fraud has been proven and acknowledged by the courts.

If a man is even in the general vicinity of a pregnant woman, his life can and will be completely undone. The only possible solution to this, however unlikely, is the cause of reproductive rights for men.  And however doomed that cause may be, it at least can be a vehicle to start educating men to regard their sperm as property every bit as sacred as their blood. And it is a path that Karl Rove and his chivalrous ilk are not going to walk on right into our public identity.

I want to point out, though it hardly seems necessary, that the editorial policy of this site doesn’t stop anyone from throwing abortion directly into the faces of feminists wherever possible.  I know it won’t stop me. Feminist hypocrisy with abortion is one of many intellectual and moral weaknesses they are inextricably bound to.  They can be savaged with the issue at any time they bring it up, and even when they don’t.

But the point here is smart activism, not the most strident or flag waving; certainly not the most pigeon holing. Someone on this site, I believe it was the illustrious Dr. Snark, recently commented that we needed to be philosophical chameleons. I agree with that assessment entirely.

Abortion is a universally polarizing and defining issue, one that can be used to dismiss, anyone, at any time, as a religious zealot bent on the control of women.  That comes the territory when your main cause happens to be anti abortion, but it is not like the MRM needs any more of that.

So it will not be a defining cause of AVfM, or of the MRM in my opinion.  In that light, I see no value in chaining myself, or this site, to anti abortion activism, and a good many reasons not to. I know, for those who feel deeply about this issue, this will not suffice as an explanation.  Nor, for some, would any explanation do that did not result in a mandate for me to be in the street, waving a “BABY KILLER!” sign and frothing at the mouth.

So if there are to be some fireworks on this, let it be now. I will do my best to keep my mouth shut and enjoy the show.  And any readers that cannot abide by this, I understand.  I wish you well, and I appreciate your efforts on behalf of men and boys. I just can’t, won’t actually,  join you on this one.

About Paul Elam

Paul Elam is the founder and publisher of A Voice for Men, the founder of A Voice for Men Radio, and appears weekly on AVFM Intelligence Report, Going Mental with Dr. Tara Palmatier and monthly on MANstream Media with Warren Farrell and Tom Golden.

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  • Kratch

    tasha. the male contraception wouldn’t be for the woman’s confidance, she has her own options for contraception, and if she doesn’t want to get pregnant, she should use them herself. The male “pill” (or shot) would be for the man’s own assurance. It would allow him to feel confidant that he’s not going to get trapped. You make it sound like the male pill would allow women to have absolutely no accountability when it came to sex, rather then simply giving men a way to feel secure about themselves and not have to trust in the woman.

    As to proactive prevention. I agree, it is the best option, but that applies to both sex’s (I hate the idea of abortion as a form of birth control and would limit it to a 1 time limit for non-medical purposes if I had a say). Unfortunately, sometimes “oopsies” happen, condoms aren’t 100%, no matter how much people would like it to be. Additionally, sometimes, sabotage happens too. Perhaps not a lot, but certainly enough (and if men become more proactive IE, use a condom all the time so “trust me, I’m on the pill” wouldn’t work, I suspect it would increase). Men need a reactive solution akin to what woman have available, whether it be abortion or adoption or whatever. Proactive alone is not enough, unless that is all anyone (man or woman) gets.

  • keith

    As a father I would be sending my 14 year old son to get his injection and I would be explaining to him the implications of child support, marriage, divorce, and how that injection provides his freedom and choice over his own life.

  • keith

    More than anything else ownership of men’s sexuality needs to be in the hands of men not woman. The idea of proactive behavior typically perpetuates the myth that pregnancy can be a source of blame for men. I find it to be a double standard to expect such a thing from men while women continue to exercise control over reproductive rights.

  • keith

    In fact with male contraception, parenting, custody and child rearing plans can be carried out in a lawyers office long before any children are born.

    I think we would see a very significant decline in the birth rate in the first five years. I think men have learned a great deal from the womens movement in the last twenty years and are ready to apply their hard learned lessons.

  • http://truthjusticeca.wordpress.com Denis

    Men and women should be in complete control of their own reproduction. Boys need to be taught to distrust girls, just like girls don’t trust boys.

    There is a new pill in the works, it does not alter hormones.

    http://www.israel21c.org/201006238085/health/a-birth-control-pill-for-men

    Vasectomies are simple, cheap and reversible. You can even store sperm cryogenically.

    Men in complete control of their own reproduction will be a significant event in the MRM.

  • http://avoiceformen.com Paul Elam

    I am going to make a prediction here. When an easy, inexpensive form of male contraception (like a pill) becomes available, not that many men will take it.

  • A Steve (one of many)

    @Tasha you are absolutely right, but I don’t and wouldn’t ever say that the injection is an alternative to condoms they should always be used because lets face it, you don’t know where the other person has been and the point of a condom is to my mind more about preventing the spread of STD’s then pure birthcontrol, Ideally it would work out that both parties are using contraception inconjunction with condoms so as to prevent unwanted pregnancy and to prevent the transmission of disease

    @Paul I want to hope you’re wrong on this one. I want to hope that with proper education that we can teach those most vulnerable to being enslaved by CSA that being in control of their own fertility is at this point unless, LC4M comes along, their only salvation from what is nothing more then slavery imposed by the state, although I have my skepticism as to whether or not it’ll happen I think especially in this country there are too many religious conservatives that will no doubt raise a terrible shitstorm about the introduction of that into sex education as they will demand abstinence only. sorry bit of a mix and rambling thoughts, and I’m more in favor of an injection then a pill, cuz in my personal case I can’t remember to take a multivitamin, and barely remember to take antibiotics when I need em, but if I can schedule something and make a reminder or get a prior day confirmation I’ll be there with bells on. well maybe not I’m sadly habitually late too but you know what I mean. K enough rambling

  • Falsely Accused Soldier

    I won’t take a pill because as an athlete(judo) I don’t want to change my body chemistry.

    However I do use Trojan Condoms with Spermicidal Lubricant religously.

    The reason I don’t want to change my body chemistry is basically because of my size(250 pounds) and years of weight lifting. I am a natural weight lifter supplementing protein shakes(and other products) for milk and good nutrition.

    I would really need to see how such a shot affects testerone/estrogen levels in the body.

    However I would suggest to any man I know to use such a shot/pill if they weren’t in a situation like mine.

  • Falsely Accused Soldier

    As to Paul’s comment there is a good chance many men wouldn’t. Just like many women don’t use the pill.

    However another issue I see cropping up is state sponsored organizations that provide women free or next to nothing cost birth control. But not men who are in the same age bracket/economic situation.

    However I will say this in regards to contraceptives. The U.S. army provides free condoms to all male soldiers. Going so far as to put them in a cookie jar at troop medical clinics.

  • A Steve (one of many)

    @FAS

    your personal reasons are certainly understandable, I’m sure there are going to be side-effects with any hormone based contraceptive treatment, I guess the point I want to keep hammering is to have the best contraceptive options available to us and to educate all men but I think in this instance especially young men about the importance of controling your fertility cuz lets face it, our options are condoms, vasectomy and leaving it up to women and really hows that working out for us?

  • TicToc

    @ Men needing wifey’s permission for vasectomy:

    This was discussed at another group. The guy who posted it insisted it was a law even as others called BS . After many requests for proof, he could never provide anything that indicated it was law or ever had been law. The best he could do was provide a link to one clinic in the midwest that “strongly suggested” that wife accompany husband to pre-surgery consoltation. I think it is just a rumor that keeps circulating.

    @ LC4M

    What happens if a few years after a guy signs away his paternity rights he starts seeing the kid, maybe going as far as moving back in with the mother?

    My buddy has a somewhat similar situation. His girlfriend in the Phillipines got pregnant and he didn’t want anything to do with it so he took off. I went to his place yesterday and he has all these pictures posted of his five year old daughter and is planning to go back and visit her. I know it’s not quite the same as the question I am asking but you know what I mean.

    • Tasha

      Well, IDK. Good point. I would imagine that like any contract, it could be revised, or legally made moot. I would think it would be like renegotiating a custody agreement wouldn’t it?

    • Kratch

      This is why I see men’s reproductive rights more akin to adoption then abortion. A parent who gives their child up for adoption (sometimes) can still re-establish a relationship, if the new parent’s allow, but they have no rights to that child.

  • Tasha

    @Keith
    “I don’t think the communication you engage with younger men is the same as between men. Men of all ages I think are much less forthcoming with women and particularly female counselors. IMO”

    Oh of course it is. But we are talking about boys between 12-19 who were in this group of mine for other reasons beyond sexuality…their interpersonal and social maturity was not age appropriate, so I was just as likely to get the truth, as they saw it, from them than any censored speech because I was a woman. But yes, I agree, we all talk differently among same sex peers.

    @Kratch–

    “the male contraception wouldn’t be for the woman’s confidance, she has her own options for contraception, and if she doesn’t want to get pregnant, she should use them herself. The male “pill” (or shot) would be for the man’s own assurance. It would allow him to feel confidant that he’s not going to get trapped.”
    ******Totally agree….I thought that was the point I was making. How nice it would finally be for men not to be, at least partially, at the mercy of their female partners b.c. choices, to have something other than condoms

    “You make it sound like the male pill would allow women to have absolutely no accountability when it came to sex, rather then simply giving men a way to feel secure about themselves and not have to trust in the woman.”

    ********Hmm…not what I meant to communicate at all. What I was saying is that this could be very freeing for men, but will probably suffer a backlash from women who might be “how can i trust you are really taking it?” without seeing the hypocrisy when you ask them to prove they are using something.

    @Keith again :)

    “More than anything else ownership of men’s sexuality needs to be in the hands of men not woman. ”

    Perhaps one of the more provocative statements on this entire thread.

    So, do it. Own it. Take it, it’s yours. Don’t get bogged down in the semntics of an idea, dont let some volitile and ultimately non-productive conversation about abortion divert you from THIS part. Appeal to people like Paul and Harry and yourselves to make THIS the priority discussion…

  • ResoluteMan

    No no no

    Why are people backing away from the idea that men should have the SAME right to opt out of parenthood as women?

    To my mind the whole point of giving men this right serves three functions

    1) To give men a get out of parenting option that matches the adoption and ABANDONEMENT (via Safe Haven) options available to women, that give women the right walk away, with no repercussions. (notice I left out Abortion – nothing to do with me)

    2) To prevent unscrupulous women from imposing fatherhood on unwilling men as means to extort a lifetimes sum of money from them.

    3) To properly site the responsibility for the poor outcomes in the lives of children raised by single mothers at babymama’s door, and put an end to the culture of “deadbeat” dad blaming.

    Harrassing men to use contraception is what we do now, but oddly enough, never do to women. Odd because women are the ones who actually get pregnant. A male pill would only give the “keep it your pants” NAZIS even more ammunition to blame men.

    Indeed, eugenics has come up a lot this discussion and I can foressee a male contraceptive implant being shot into less docile boys who have been diagnosed as behaviorally disordered, in a drive to rid society of what they’ll call the anti-social male gene or something like that. Well why not? they’re already forcibly drugging boys.

    There are only two ways this thing can be resolved, either abolish all reproductive options available to women or give men the SAME options.

    • Eincrou

      ResoluteMan: “A male pill would only give the “keep it your pants” NAZIS even more ammunition to blame men.”

      A strong point. I’m also skeptical about a male pill/shot having any kind of effect on the issues we talk about. So far all I’ve seen are assertions that I cannot find a basis for through my own analysis.

      There are odd cases where this pill would be of benefit distinctly greater than condoms. I have been made aware of these.

      To be of great benefit to men as a group — a tide turning change– the pill would have to be used by more men, more often than condoms. That, and/or it must be significantly more effective. Even if these were possible or true, I still question how useful this is.

      I see how it can help individual men in ways they might find important. None of these ways that I can think of aggregate into any sort of leverage over the laws that are the fundamental injustices. At best, it’s a way to avoid them, which is great, but… then what?

  • A Steve (one of many)

    @RM

    I am not backing away from LC4M I firmly believe in as I like to call it “The right to walk” however we don’t have that yet, and while I agree we should push for it, we should also make sure that men have the same preventative options women have or atleast as equivalent as biology will allow us, (I’m not sure there is an equivalent to an IUD or how one would even begin to work) cuz I still believe prevention is better then trying to deal with that kind of thing after the fact even with LC4M

  • Red0660

    Women have rights over their own bodies, the bodies of children both pre and post conception and the body of men and thus the fruits of our labor.

    Men’s bodies are the property of women and the government for the purpose of external utility to serve their ends. Men ourselves HAVE NO RIGHTS, NO REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS, NO PARTENTAL RIGHTS, NO RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY, NO RIGHT TO THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOR. MEN ARE SHIT WE ARE NOTHING, WE HAVE NO RIGHTS!!!!!!!!

    • http://avoiceformen.com Paul Elam

      Red, Just my opinion, but I think you have a great way of cutting right to the chase. :)

    • http://pinterest.com/zetapersei/male-privilege/ Perseus

      This goes on the temple.

  • John A

    @Eincrou
    I wasn’t talking about an individual Doctor’s choice, rather any government regulation. I don’t know what regulations are in place in different countries, but a man should be able to get a vasectomy regardless of his partner’s wishes. Men should get the same rights that women have.

    One of my employees got a vasectomy after having two children, his wife wanted more. The doctor gave him a hard time and said he only did it so he could sleep around. The doc still did the op though.

    • Eincrou

      Gotcha. Thanks for the response.

  • Tasha

    @ResoluteMan

    I never meant the pill or the shot at the exclusion of the financial abortion option. The conversation at that moment seemed to be focusing primarily on PROACTIVE measures/options for men. Of course in addition to the opt-out.

  • Rocco

    Here here, nicely said, I’m personally against abortion…at least for my mom…..lol….and think that feminism has blood on it’s hands in that they made abortion available wholesale, an altogether different issue than legalizing the occasional abortion….

    … but I think the mrm should stear clear of the “issue” of abortion. We need to deal with what happens when she doesn’t abort…paper abortion for men.

    And I have no truck in this fight, I had a vasectomy.

  • Fr Bob

    I guess I don’t have to explain my position on the issue of abortion, no am I going to get into that discussion.

    I just wish to reiterate what has been said before on this site, that the MRM is made up of some strange bedfellows. We have athiests, Christians, Budists, and other faiths, we have men and women; some who are right leaning, right of center, left of center, and left leaning; but we are here because we know there are issues that affect men that really need attention and a lot of activism. All of us doing our own activism in our several different ways.

    My only wish is that we can respect eachother enough to get to working on these issues and try to not resort to attacking eachother because of who we are other then MRA’s. It only serves to divide us and if we are divided our activism will not be as effective.

  • Lee

    Old as this post is, its an interesting topic. I have to disagree with the notion that its not relevant to men’s rights. This is because currently, men have no say on whether or not a child is aborted.

    I believe that consent of both parents should be needed for abortion. And I’m sure some typical pro-choice person would argue that it’s the woman’s body that will carry child for 9 months. That’s whiny and should not trump the fact that the child is of BOTH parents.

    Also, child support is definitely stupid. Can’t afford the child? Then stop hogging custody. Also, required paternity test isn’t a terrible idea. After, let the father know in case she never told him.

    • Lee

      Having thought about it some more, it may be best if abortion stays a female decision only, because if a woman decides she doesn’t want that child, its the fetus that will suffer from whatever insane methods she’ll take.

      • Bombay

        This is the same argument for safe haven laws. If she does not have an out with no consequences then who knows what she will do the the baby.

        Perhaps guys should start murdering their wifes instead of divorcing them until the laws change for no alimony, no child support, and no consequences/responsibility. But there is the rub – one gender is responsible.

        • Lee

          Or not marry. Actually I don’t even think I came up with that idea. :P

          But yeah, I was just thinking of the cases I have heard of in which women try to abort with drugs, alcohol etc. and the child has to deal with the consequences after it doesn’t work. And also, technically a fetus is part of a woman until birth, so I see where the argument of choice may come from. The best situation as I see it would be to give woman that choice and if the child is born, give men the choice of whether or not to claim that child.

          • http://pinterest.com/zetapersei/male-privilege/ Perseus

            Interesting and good points, Lee.

            “That’s whiny and should not trump the fact that the child is of BOTH parents.” Yes.

            Also, yes, if females can put a child up for adoption from their responsibilities, so must men be able to. What is not obvious about this (to the world)?

  • Lee

    @ Perseus

    Yes, I do still agree with that statement I made. On the other hand, I do see how a woman could view the fetus as part of her own body until birthed, and view abortion as her choice alone. Its hard to prove one way or the other. That and its pretty easy for a woman to abort in more natural ways, for example queen anne’s lace.

    • http://pinterest.com/zetapersei/male-privilege/ Perseus

      Lee, I don’t disagree with what you’ve reasoned through in this series of comments. It’s good.

  • MGTOW-man

    Dr. Elam, I certainly respect your position on this multifaceted toxic subject. I wouldn’t allow religious zealots who also throw men under the bus as quickly as feminists do, to hijack this history -making site either.

    But just so you know, I am trying to comment on a new article titled, “abortion, adoption, save haven laws—and lies” by Michale Sharon. I am anti-abortion but my comments are not even trying to convey such. My comments have not been posted there, curiously, so I will try it here to see if I can have my voice anyway.

    Thanks…. here goes.

    I am surprised with an article this important and having been on the site for as long as it has, that there hasn’t been more comments. Perhaps this tells me that fellow MHRA’s have given up on restoring our humanity by making society afford us some power over our own procreation.

    Shame on them if I am correct.

    We can never fully obtain and enjoy our male sense of humanity and equality without restoring our power relative to our procreation rights.

    It is a greater reduction in ones humanity, a stronger blow to ones dignity for the man to have no procreation power at all (ZERO) than it is for a poor, poor pitiful woman to have to share, say 51/49, her favor.

    There is no way a woman’s plans, or lack thereof, are more important than the life of a child that DOES belong to her AND him. This is the only procreation system we have, so it must be shared, that is, in a true arena of equality.

    If the situation were reversed in which men bore the children, women would be rabidly outraged at having their procreation rights manipulated by men with women being shut out altogether, especially in ways that really matter to them.

    Women would fight it, and they should win because it is heinous to treat the other parent like they are a piece of shit not worthy of procreation dignity. Likewise, we should win our fight to save a child from abortion if the man wants his offspring but she doesn’t; and be able to opt out of all burdens of parenting just like what the women can do (even by killing the child if she pleases.)

    We men were punished for not sharing more with women. Yet, when they stole their power with deceit, mockery, exaggerations, manipulation, and scheming selfishness, they have not demonstrated any sense of wanting to share with men—you know, set the example of what they think is right. Asking one of those women to share is like asking a little child to quit being selfish.

    Then they wonder why men and women like us disagree with them, why we can be THIS honest, how we can claim to love women but still be unyielding and frank about their behaviors, mentalities, opinions, and plans.

    I, as a MHRA, will never abandon the right of men to have a say in matters concerning their own children, including the unborn. I hope more men and women of my ilk, regain their bearings to fervently oppose women to have the only power concerning our children…and abortion is right in the middle of it.

    Owning the equipment should have no bearing on decision making when this is the only procreation system we have. I firmly believe that.

    Even if abortion is a no-can-win thing for men, and if winning might just foster more female entitlements, etc, we should never throw down the gauntlet. It is our duty to maintain our fight for this incredibly important humanity-robbing atrocity.

    I understand why this site can’t and won’t allow it to be taken over by zealots who oppose abortion solely because it is murder, but I have not taken this stance.

    I will never stop. NEVER!

    I may not win, but fighting this cruelty against men and children is my legacy.

    • Theaverageman

      You also have to understand that abortion is a subjective divisive issue within the MHRM.You take a position within the movement against abortion and you alienate a large number of MHRA’s who have the potential to FTSU.The progressive and conservative mhras in this movement need to come together and work towards agreeable goals .