The other day I read perhaps the best article on abortion that I've ever read, and I started looking through the combox. There was one man, John, who seemed to be making the bulk of the pro-"choice" arguments, and so, like many others there, I engaged him.
He and I went back and forth a bit, but a red flag came up for me when the answers to very simple questions were met with multiple long and (seemingly) lofty philosophical treatises, metaphysics trumping science (the old "personhood" question), a limited understanding of history, and analogies that didn't make logical connections and/or proper distinctions. I tried to pull him back to basics, attempting a pseudo-socratic dialogue, but his words and paragraphs -- and justifications -- kept multiplying.
John insisted that his arguments for the killing of the unborn are based on "nuanced" considerations about which he has given much thought. And don't get me wrong, I am sure that he has indeed given a lot of thought to how he and society can justify abortion.
But as his academic theories, word play, and relativism reached higher and higher into the ethers, I came back with this:
Don't whitewash what you believe. Own it. Don't multiply words to justify it. Own it. You believe that an entire class of human beings may be killed at will by the stronger and more powerful. There is hardly a more fitting description of oppression. When the strong kill the weak, and champion it, it is most dishonorable. As a woman, it's the most disturbing thing in the world to find men such as yourself, who instead of protecting and providing, join the cads and the players who love nothing more than to help women get rid of their "mistakes."
I hope you will be an honorable man one day and protect the weak, not champion their killing. We have a crisis of manhood in America, and a strong, honorable, decent man is hard to find these days. Step up to your role, John.
His response was to quickly wave away my challenge ("One person's strong, honorable, and decent man is another's trash," he said, whatever that means), and return to the ethers of philosophy and why he has decided that some humans are less human than others.
Which brings me to my thoughts today. What follows is pretty much a stream-of-consciousness in which I attempt my own amateur (!) psychoanalysis of men who support abortion.
As I see it, there are three general types of male abortion supporters.
1. The Ignorant Apathetic
The ignorant and/or apathetic man supports abortion for no other reason than it's legal and it's what we have done in America for some 40+ years. "Sure, I support a woman's right to choose." And that's it. Not much thought goes into it, not much investment one way or the other. Just your typical man in the mushy-middle of morality and policy, a ball bearing who goes with the tilt of the culture.
2. The Lech (otherwise known as the cad, the reprobate, the rake, the libertine, the debaucher...)
The lecherous man supports abortion for obvious reasons: He uses women as objects for his own selfish pleasure, eschews any responsibility for her heart or her human dignity, and needs abortion to be readily available in case the baby-making act makes a baby. The lech demands consequence-free sex, and he must have freedom to use and abuse at will, with no respect for life, love, honor, or moral obligation. Abortion is a necessary "good" in his life, and he will vociferously defend its legality and accessibility.
3. The Man Trained Against Manhood
This man, in my humble opinion, is the saddest case. I believe this man is exemplified by Barack Obama. Stay with me.
I've often wondered why Obama, who is generally such a weak and unmanly man, would be so fierce, unyielding, and completely committed to abortion (even voting to let a child die who survives abortion). Why? How could this be? But it's a phenomenon that makes sense if we consider his background.
Obama was raised by a radical-leftist-secular-feminist-socialist mother. His father wanted nothing to do with little Barack, essentially abandoning him, and became simply a myth and a longing in young Barack's life and dreams. It's actually incredibly tragic to ponder, truly heartbreaking.
So, this fatherless boy was not raised to know what it means to be a strong man who stays, protects, provides. He had no idea, and in fact the opposite was modeled to him by his absent, negligent father. Meantime, he had his strong, outspoken, and deeply committed feminist mother who taught him what a "man" should be, according to her radical template. Obama himself has described his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, as "the dominant figure in my formative years.... The values she taught me continue to be my touchstone when it comes to how I go about the world of politics." He called her "a lonely witness for secular humanism."
Not surprisingly, he grew up and married another strong radical feminist, Michelle Robinson. Both these women were and are the dominant forces his life, and they no doubt pounded it home to him that women have an absolute right to abortion. I'd be surprised if Barack Obama has ever had a true friendship with a strong pro-life woman, or even meaningful interaction with one. But the message he received time and again, from all the women in his life -- the woman that raised and formed him, the woman that married him, and even the radical women he hung out with at Columbia and later in politics -- goes like this: "You men have no right to tell us women what to do with our bodies. We have a right to abortion on demand and without apology. You are either with us on this most basic of freedoms, or you are a misogynist brute oppressor."
What is a fatherless, lonely, ungrounded boy/man to do? I can hardly blame men like this, because at least for a time, they simply don't know any better. They defer to the women they love regarding "women's issues" and "women's bodies" and "justice for women", because they really believe it's not their place to speak. These men really believe that this is how one "supports" women.
They don't know that millions and millions of women do not believe that our liberation, success, and joy hinges on a contrived death match between mother and child.
They don't know that legions of strong, outspoken, intelligent women (including the classical feminists) do not accept that the "right" to shred and dismember our own offspring is essential to being "a fully participating member of society".
They don't realize that inherent in honorable manhood is the loving protection of the most weak and vulnerable.
I can only speculate that it's because they have rarely seen an honorable man up close. Maybe they haven't had a role model of a man who sacrifices his life for others, keeps his commitments, and steps up to defend and protect women and children.
But at base, this type of man champions abortion because he believes that's what he's supposed to do to show that he cares about women. His manhood is deeply impoverished, for sure, and it's been trained out of him, and I feel most sorry for this kind of man.
So there you have it. My thoughts for this day. Take them or leave them.
But women, we have a huge role here in supporting our men. We must continue to impress upon the men in our lives (and online, frankly) that real men, honorable men, are those who step up and protect the weak and the vulnerable, not try to find pseudo-intellectual loopholes to strip human rights from a whole class of defenseless human beings. We must impress upon them that they are hard-wired for this task, and that we women want them to be good men.
John from the combox, I don't know what shaped your views on abortion, but I want you to be a good, strong man. We women are cheering you on. You were made for this challenge. Live up to it, my friend. We need you.