Call me cynical, but when I see a young man marching with an “I Support a Woman’s Right to Choose” sign, there’s little doubt in my mind that he probably only supports a woman’s right to choose as long as she’s choosing abortion. What if this earnest lad came home from the demonstration and his girlfriend said: “You support my right to choose, right?” Sure! “Well, I’m pregnant and I’m choosing to have it. Get a job”? He might want to beat her to death with his picket sign and be done with the both of them. Okay, I exaggerate. But pro-abortion women aren’t concerned with male motives. A high turnout of marchers is always welcome—that men want abortion not because of a fervent desire for female empowerment but because it safeguards their own freedom, is a given. And who cares? Most women know that the guys with “The Future Is Female” t-shirts only wear that stuff in order to get lucky; when alone with their friends it’s another story. Does anyone seriously believe average dudes sit on the couch having passionate discussions about reproductive rights during the half-time break? What men think about abortion is only important in so far as it supports the narrative of abortion rights uber alles.
Call me cynical, but when the Democratic Attorneys General Association announces it won’t support any candidate that does not support abortion (because the party’s viewpoint is abortion is a social good and should be free of stigma)—or when New York City mayor Bill de Blasio says “Abortion is Sacred” during a television interview—it’s nothing but a cringeworthy vote- procuring scheme. Votes uber alles. Planned Parenthood fired their director last July because she repeated the Clinton era saw: Abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” The reasoning was that to say it should be “rare” might make women feel there’s something wrong with it. Horrors! Apparently, the motto has now evolved into: Abortion should be safe, legal, and illustrious. Well, call me cynical, but the fact is abortion is big business. Planned Parenthood recently chose to give up federal funding rather than submit to what they saw as any encroachment. Obviously they feel confident that the profitable business of abortion will more than make up for any shortfall in government money.
I have an e-mail list. I use it to send these blogs to friends, family, and associates for feedback, much of which is positive. Even if their stance is essentially pro-abortion, they’ll note that I brought up points not considered before. But there is negative commentary as well. The common lament is that I don’t appreciate how difficult a decision abortion is, or how badly women feel about it. Some have said they’ve volunteered at abortion clinics, and can testify to just how bad the women feel. And then what? If someone feels horrible about what they’re doing—but because of lack of money or lack of support feel they have no other option—wouldn’t examining what in her life brought her to this regrettable moment, and discussing ways to avoid those pitfalls in the future, be a kindness? Or is their “counseling” limited to unconditional pacifying? Indeed, would anything other than pacifying be allowed in an abortion clinic? Would a different mindset even be permitted on the premises? Not likely, but the flip side of this coin has recently been signed into law in New York State. The so-called Boss Bill, or Senate Bill 660, tells employers they must be willing to hire people who are abortion advocates, even if the place of business is a pregnancy care center. Anyone who thinks it serves justice to force someone to hire the fox to guard the henhouse doesn’t have the common sense that God gave geese. Thank Governor Cuomo and the Albany legislature for this latest foray into overreaching identity-politics “discrimination” jurisdiction.
Another mistaken notion is that women who wear “I Had an Abortion” t-shirts and join online “Shout Your Abortion” campaigns must be part of some extreme fringe. Gloria Steinem is a household-name feminist icon, not fringe, and she did a publicity shot sporting that t-shirt and gave her full-throated support to the “Shout Your Abortion” campaign. When she speaks women listen. Whether they fully digest what she’s saying, or because of her fame just go along with it, I don’t know. Women who feel conflicted are susceptible to the warm hug of blanket affirmation, and so are very grateful when an icon arrives to be “on their side,” no matter what she’s peddling. Call me cynical, but Steinem has made a lucrative career out of “empowering women,” and the one who’s most empowered is Gloria Steinem. What has she done with that power?
I do agree with my feedback friends that many women find the decision to abort difficult and stressful. My argument is with self-serving politicians and cavalier crusaders whose aim is to dull the senses and evade moral consequences, pied pipers luring thoughtful women away from their “regrettable moment” and into the land of “Abortion Is a Girl’s Best Friend”—the idea that Roe v. Wade, and only Roe v. Wade, can give women control over their lives.
It is still very much a man’s world we live in. I was very affected by one woman’s description of an encounter with Harvey Weinstein. It happened during a business trip when they took the same elevator to the floor in the hotel where they had separate rooms. When they got off he took her by the arm and authoritatively said, “We’re going this way,” and led her to his door. Her mind froze, and she found herself in a zombie walk, completely under his control. She managed to snap out of it, pull her arm away from him, and extricate herself, but for those first few moments she experienced a terrifying paralysis. I have had similar experiences, and others have told me of theirs. When a man employs an authoritative voice and presumes a commanding presence we are conditioned to automatically obey him, no matter how feminist we think we are. I believe this conditioning is present to a certain extent in all our interactions with men, and the ability to resist it depends on a number of factors, primarily our relationship with the man, and our own self-awareness. In marriage a woman has negotiating power, assuming of course it is a healthy relationship, because there are legalities and property concerns. It’s more complicated to walk away from a marriage than a more casual setup, especially if there are children, and more expensive. An unmarried woman, unless she’s paying all the bills, is less secure. And even if she is the bread winner, the conditioned reflex to obey a man can still be present. But whether unmarried or married, how many unwanted pregnancies occur either because the guy holds all the cards or the woman finds it easier to just go along with his demands, to cave to the obey instinct rather than to assert herself? And if pregnancy is the result, the default mode of abortion is always there. If that’s the key to her having “control,” she’s kidding herself. It’s not control, and it’s not feminist. It’s a dodge. Call me cynical.