What Does an Abortion Ban Mean for Men?

CommentaryWith the Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, abortion as a matter of law was returned to the states. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito stated (pdf): “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. “That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’ … “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” Contrary to the hysterical claims of pro-abortionists, the overturning of Roe did not remove a constitutional right for women, but, recognizing that there was no constitutional right for abortion, returned the question to be decided democratically, state by state, by the people’s duly elected representatives. The rules for abortion will thus, henceforth, as prior to Roe, vary from state to state, according to the voters’ will. Almost all discussion of (and shrieking about) this Supreme Court decision has centered on its effects on women. But what effect will it have on men? Mostly men have been left out of discussions about abortion, granting sole decision-making and responsibility to women, on the grounds that “pro-choice” women claim “my body, my choice.” Men have been given no legal say in the fate of unborn children to which they have been necessary biological contributors. That is unlikely to change under the new state-based, democratic dispensation. But in actual social life among people, men often do have a say. This is because pregnancy is usually the result of sexual intimacy between a male and a female. (I won’t open the woke semantic can of worms here by using the word “woman.”) In reality, some men on some occasions do have influence over women, especially to the extent that the intimate male and female are a “couple.” The male may not wish to become a father or face the legal obligations involved. It’s far from unusual for males in intimate relationships to urge their female partners to get an abortion rather than to give birth. Males and females enter into sexual intimacy in a wide range of contexts. Generally, in our now sexually permissive age, but particularly among sexually vigorous teenagers and those in their twenties, sexual relations take place in “hook-ups,” “one-night stands,” Tinder dates, and among “friends with benefits.” In other words, there’s a lot of recreational as opposed to procreational sexual engagement. In these contexts, pregnancy is usually a serious inconvenience and not rarely a threat to educational and professional expectations and plans. Guaranteed easy access to abortion is a boon to responsibility-free recreational sexual activity. Abortion is not the only procedure to guard against unwanted pregnancy. A variety of birth control methods and technology are readily available. And, while not entirely foolproof, they are effective. The demand by abortion advocates for “control over my own body” would perhaps carry more weight if greater attention to “control over my own body” was given prior to becoming pregnant. Abortion advocates such as President Bill Clinton promised that abortion would be “rare,” but in fact it’s anything but. Annually in the United States, more than a million or the better part of 1 million unborn babies were killed through legal abortion. In the 1980s and ’90s, a million and a half unborn babies were killed annually through abortion, while since 2013 annual abortions have dropped to 900,000. In those states with abortion bans or greatly restricted abortion time frames, the potential cost in life plans for unwanted pregnancy becomes greater. Recreational sexual relations are less risk free than they were before, and the consequences and responsibilities are more serious and more likely than under an easy-access abortion regime. “Free sex” may no longer be “free.” Consequently, people may be less willing to enter into sexual relations outside of committed relationships. Recreational sexual activity may be curtailed due to fear of unwanted pregnancy. For men, “free sex” is a dream. Men feel physical pressure to relieve the sexual needs that they feel. Easy access to female partners is good news to males. Even with resulting pregnancy, in some communities many men are happy to have a number of “baby mamas,” demonstrating their manly prowess. Impregnating as many women as possible appears to be the selected evolutionary strategy for males. For females, the evolutionary strategy is to give their all to protect their offspring. In contemporary industrial and post-industrial society, many women

What Does an Abortion Ban Mean for Men?

Commentary

With the Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, abortion as a matter of law was returned to the states.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito stated (pdf):

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

“That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’ …

“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Contrary to the hysterical claims of pro-abortionists, the overturning of Roe did not remove a constitutional right for women, but, recognizing that there was no constitutional right for abortion, returned the question to be decided democratically, state by state, by the people’s duly elected representatives. The rules for abortion will thus, henceforth, as prior to Roe, vary from state to state, according to the voters’ will.

Almost all discussion of (and shrieking about) this Supreme Court decision has centered on its effects on women. But what effect will it have on men?

Mostly men have been left out of discussions about abortion, granting sole decision-making and responsibility to women, on the grounds that “pro-choice” women claim “my body, my choice.” Men have been given no legal say in the fate of unborn children to which they have been necessary biological contributors. That is unlikely to change under the new state-based, democratic dispensation.

But in actual social life among people, men often do have a say. This is because pregnancy is usually the result of sexual intimacy between a male and a female. (I won’t open the woke semantic can of worms here by using the word “woman.”) In reality, some men on some occasions do have influence over women, especially to the extent that the intimate male and female are a “couple.” The male may not wish to become a father or face the legal obligations involved. It’s far from unusual for males in intimate relationships to urge their female partners to get an abortion rather than to give birth.

Males and females enter into sexual intimacy in a wide range of contexts. Generally, in our now sexually permissive age, but particularly among sexually vigorous teenagers and those in their twenties, sexual relations take place in “hook-ups,” “one-night stands,” Tinder dates, and among “friends with benefits.” In other words, there’s a lot of recreational as opposed to procreational sexual engagement. In these contexts, pregnancy is usually a serious inconvenience and not rarely a threat to educational and professional expectations and plans. Guaranteed easy access to abortion is a boon to responsibility-free recreational sexual activity.

Abortion is not the only procedure to guard against unwanted pregnancy. A variety of birth control methods and technology are readily available. And, while not entirely foolproof, they are effective. The demand by abortion advocates for “control over my own body” would perhaps carry more weight if greater attention to “control over my own body” was given prior to becoming pregnant. Abortion advocates such as President Bill Clinton promised that abortion would be “rare,” but in fact it’s anything but. Annually in the United States, more than a million or the better part of 1 million unborn babies were killed through legal abortion. In the 1980s and ’90s, a million and a half unborn babies were killed annually through abortion, while since 2013 annual abortions have dropped to 900,000.

In those states with abortion bans or greatly restricted abortion time frames, the potential cost in life plans for unwanted pregnancy becomes greater. Recreational sexual relations are less risk free than they were before, and the consequences and responsibilities are more serious and more likely than under an easy-access abortion regime. “Free sex” may no longer be “free.” Consequently, people may be less willing to enter into sexual relations outside of committed relationships. Recreational sexual activity may be curtailed due to fear of unwanted pregnancy.

For men, “free sex” is a dream. Men feel physical pressure to relieve the sexual needs that they feel. Easy access to female partners is good news to males. Even with resulting pregnancy, in some communities many men are happy to have a number of “baby mamas,” demonstrating their manly prowess. Impregnating as many women as possible appears to be the selected evolutionary strategy for males.

For females, the evolutionary strategy is to give their all to protect their offspring. In contemporary industrial and post-industrial society, many women are able to choose alternative life courses with no or a limited number of offspring, carefully timed not to interfere with educational and professional activities. Abortion served their plans. In a restricted abortion context, rather than changing their educational and professional plans, they may decide to curtail recreational sexual activity, and to giving great attention to pregnancy-blocking birth control methods.

In jurisdictions with no or highly restricted abortions, females may choose to be more selective in their sexual encounters. Males, then, would face restricted sexual access to females. With pregnancy a possible outcome, and ways to stop an unwanted pregnancy curtailed, both females and males would face more responsibility than they are used to in the recreational sex regime. Would this lead to females and males taking more responsibility for pregnancies? Would men’s role in pregnancy and in potential fatherhood be taken more seriously? Perhaps a world in which people took responsibility for their actions would not be a bad thing.

Large numbers of unmarried “baby mama” mothers might be a major improvement over hundreds of thousands of babies killed in the womb, but it’s far from an ideal solution. Single-parent families have exploded statistically. According to The Hill, in 2020 30 percent of America’s families, some 10 million, with children under 18 years were single parents, mostly single mothers, a tripling in percentage since 1965. In 2020, 25 percent of all children were raised in single-parent families.

According to the Kids Count Data Center, the percentage of children in single-parent families varied significantly by racial category. In 2019, the breakdown of percentage of children among Asian and Pacific Islanders in single-parent families was 15 percent; in non-Hispanic whites, 24 percent; Hispanic or Latino, 42 percent; Native American, 52 percent; and black or African American, 64 percent.

Single-mother families, in spite of valiant efforts by many hard-working single mothers, have far too many casualties among their children, especially boys. The statistics could not be clearer: boys bought up in single-mother households are many times more likely than boys brought up in two-parent families to live in poverty, drop out of school, join a gang, run away from home, engage in crime, use drugs, get killed in street violence, or end up incarcerated. However unintentional, this is terrible child abuse.

Men who father children need to step up and be fathers. Shirking this responsibility shows that these semen providers are not real men. For goodness’ sake, be a man! But the responsibility doesn’t reside solely with men. Women’s expectations need to include commitment from their children’s “baby dads.” And our feminist culture must stop demeaning, vilifying, discriminating against, and constantly undermining men. We have gone badly wrong, and we must seriously undertake a change of direction.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Philip Carl Salzman is professor emeritus of anthropology at McGill University, senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, fellow at the Middle East Forum, and president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.