• Men can talk abortion

    One of the hallmarks of the authoritarian left is their tendency to censor people, with any excuse — in their depressing and distorted understanding of reality, there is only room for the ‘right’ ideas. Much of this cancer has spread to rights issues, so it is not uncommon to find people saying, for example, that men shouldn’t talk about abortion.

    This is batshit crazy, because we can all have opinions on any subject and, additionally, we have the right to express those views as strong and often as we want. To limit the issues on which I can express views based on my biological traits is the same traditional and old fashioned racism and sexism — if someone doesn’t like the owner of a penis talking —in any way— on abortion, they can go cry me a river.


    I could leave it there, and the argument is complete; however, we will take the opportunity to examine this sexist tantrum.

    Those who insist that men have no right to speak on abortion, seem to base their advocacy of censorship in the belief that men couldn’t understand the problem given that we do not carry fetuses in the womb, we don’t get periods, nor we feel the effects of pregnancy on a day-to-day basis. But the legal status of abortion also affects men —and, again, that doesn’t confer or deny legitimacy to give an opinion—:

    To say that abortion is a woman’s issue, or that they’re the only ones allowed to have opinions about it because they bear most of the consequences, is to overlook a lot of social impact. Men have mothers, sisters, friends, and sexual partners would who be affected by the legality of abortion; some men who do not wish to become fathers are certainly affected by abortion laws, just as men who wish to become fathers might be.

    And it turns out we all understand the arguments for and against abortion, regardless of whether we get menstrual periods or not — lacking the ‘right’ biological traits has never been a handicap on this issue. And that’s for a very simple reason: opinions on abortion are not driven by sex, but by our sexual strategies, something all individuals of the human race have, regardless of our sex.

    And this idea that you can only comment on issues that affect you directly is as dumb as it gets, for two reasons: the first one is empathy and solidarity — I don’t need to be affected by classism or homophobia to understand that discriminating against someone because or their wealth or sexual orientation is wrong and I won’t tolerate it, even if I’m not on the receiving end.

    The second one is even more blunt: it does affect me. Once, a friend asked me why I was so concerned with LGBTQ rights if I’m straight. The response was swift — I live in this society, and when its public policies discriminate on biological traits or sexual orientation, that concerns us all, because denying rights to a group of people based on arbitrarily selected characteristics means that at any time they might come for any of us, for the most sovereignly absurd reasons one can think of —wearing glasses, having blue eyes, being AB+, not liking to wear ties, being gay, being an atheist, being Buddhist, being asexual—.

    The fact that today discrimination happens mostly against LGBTQ (and women, people of color, singles, poor people, etc.) is just a historical accident; any of us could be discriminated against and that, as a society, diminishes us. So it does affect me, because I want to live in a truly open and egalitarian society and, precisely because I can’t stand discrimination on the basis of any biological trait, I won’t stop saying what I think about any subject.

    I don’t need to be black to reject racism, I don’t need to be gay to reject homophobia, I don’t need to be Muslim to reject the anti-Muslim bigotry, and I don’t have to be a woman to support abortion. In short: I don’t need to belong to a discriminated group to oppose discrimination — how can anyone who claims to defend rights take on that reheated cultural Marxism is beyond me.

    Category: PhilosophySkepticism and Science

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    Article by: Ðavid A. Osorio S

    Skeptic | Blogger | Activist | Journalist
    • im-skeptical

      Well said.

    • sombodysdad

      It’s as if men don’t have any reproductive rights…

    • Fickbowt

      “The fact that today discrimination happens mostly against LGBTQ (and women, people of color, singles, poor people, etc.) is just a historical accident”

      That’s not true; discrimination is grown in a culture; and in a cultural and historical context. it doesn’t just strike a demographic by accident without any context whatsoever. That’s a stupid view to believe.

      Also; of course women are the key ones who decide whether to have an abortion or not; it affects their bodies more than anyone else.

    • sezit

      I would like to suggest a bit more nuance. The fact is that for thousands of years, men, many times using religious status as a tool, mostly owned the public discourse on reproductive rights. Women could mostly only act subversively. This is not over. If you look at legislative bodies making anti abortion law, they are mostly white men, using religion as the tool.

      What I would ask is not that men be silent, but that men give space for traditionally silenced voices. Your opinions are not usually silenced. Men mostly do not know what it is like to live life as a women, just as women do not fully know what is is like to live life as a man. But women usually know much more about men’s lives than men do of women’s, because in any hierarchy that is how attention is paid. It is the same for blacks, hispanics, american indians, the disabled, the deaf, etc. White male culture is everywhere, but minority cultures are much less known. So, if a minority or person of a subculture group is speaking, be aware that they have been talked over, interrupted, belittled, told what their opinions are, and not listened to many, many times. Why not let women take the floor for a while on this subject, and men can do more listening and learning?

      • “men, many times using religious status as a tool, mostly owned the public discourse on reproductive rights”

        Irrelevant. Again: opinions on abortion are not driven by sex, but by sexual strategies.

        “they are mostly white men”

        Irrelevant. Sarah Palin wouldn’t approve abortion, so this is total nonsense. Men can be for abortion and women can be against it.

        “but that men give space for traditionally silenced voices”

        This is batshit crazy: opinions don’t depend on sex.

        “Your opinions are not usually silenced”

        I’m a journalist. And an atheist. And left-leaning. And a cultural libertarian. In Colombia. Tell me again, about how my opinions are not usually silenced just because I have a penis.

        “White male culture”

        There’s no such a thing.

        “Why not let women take the floor for a while on this subject, and men can do more listening and learning?”

        Because I have an opinion and the right to state it, and I won’t give it up, even less due to a biological trait. And listening to a woman is not a synonym with learning something.

        So no. You can take your identity politics and your cultural Marxism elsewhere.

        • sezit

          Wow, you seem kinda angry! Not sure why, but I do have a few responses if you are at all interested.

          DAO: No such thing as “White male culture”

          Sezit: So think about the culture of, say, 1850 USA. Pre 13th, 14th and 19th constitutional amendments and the 1924 Indian Voting Rights Act. You may think those type of impediments to full citizenship are totally erased now. I think they are better but not gone. But they were definitely in place then, and people suffered and were jailed and died because of that culture. If that wasn’t white male culture, what else would you call it?

          DAO: opinions on abortion are not driven by sex, but by sexual strategies.

          Sezit: I find this statement confusing. When you say driven by sex, do you mean driven by gender or do you mean driven by sexual activity? And sexual strategies – that’s only one factor. Ther are many others – life strategies, outside influence, resources, nationality, geography, religion, wealth, etc.

          How about when a woman’s decision of whether or not to choose abortion is based on: Her morbid fear of going thru pregnancy or childbirth? Her worry about an inability to access the money, time, and transportation to access abortion, while nursing a 6 mo infant? Hormones flooding her body function, emotions, and mental process? Her level of pain or nausea or exhaustion or health impact? Her age (can a 9 or 10 year old pregnant girl really make sexually strategic decisions?) Her mental or physical reserves, reliable nutrition and access to health care? Addiction? Other’s (parents, husband, boyfriend) control of her body? Her judgement of the overall social stability she lives in (partner, family, community, and legal)? Her fear of going to hell for aborting, based on religious dogma? A man cannot speak to these with first person experience, only the woman in the situation can. And… You or anyone else holding or offering an opinion on abortion is one thing. But enforcing control over someone else’s body is something else. Do you agree that no matter what anyone’s opinion, the woman should have ownership over what she does with her own body?

          DAO: I’m a journalist… listening to a woman is not a synonym with learning..

          Sezit: Then how do you learn? I think being ready to listen is being ready to learn. Do you only interview and learn from men?

          DAO: You can take your identity politics and your cultural Marxism elsewhere

          Sezit: Is this just a rhetorical put-down, or is it really an order for me to go away? (Maybe your anger just happens to be pointed my way today.) Or is it something else? Is it just for this blog post, or are you telling me to never ever ever read your blog or comment here again?

          Yes, I am being a bit snarky. Your rude and aggressive reply seems odd in response to a serious first time poster. Your pronouncement of “irrelevant.” on my positions is not a counter argument, it is just a judgement. And, btw, is “identity politics” when a person has a political opinion based on their identity (lived experience)? Don’t we all? Finally, I’m not sure what cultural Marxism is, and don’t really care. How does it further a conversation to tell me what I think?

    • kristin

      This is absurd, women are the ones who get pregnant! We are the ones who have abortion! While I think that everyone should have a say in whether their genetic material is used to make a baby and whether they will take on the responsibilities of parenthood, this is secondary to ownership of one’s body. The reason men are asked to talk less on this issue is because men tend to drown out anyone else speaking.

      • “women are the ones who get pregnant! We are the ones who have abortion!”

        So?

        “this is secondary to ownership of one’s body”

        Who said anything about ownership of one’s body?

        “men tend to drown out anyone else speaking”

        Care to provide evidence?

    • Of course men can discuss abortion and have opinions on it. But we should not be forcing women to obey our opinions. When a government full of old white guys passes laws that women must obey, that’s just wrong.

      • “we should not be forcing women to obey our opinions”

        No one suggested such a thing.

        “When a government full of old white guys passes laws that women must obey, that’s just wrong”

        I couldn’t care less about sex and/or skin color: Government (actually, Congress) shouldn’t pass laws telling people what they can and cannot do with their bodies, period.

    • ockraz

      “opinions on abortion are not driven by sex, but by our sexual strategies, something all individuals of the human race have, regardless of our sex.” – Not really, unless you’re going to argue that “driven” merely means being one is subjected to the influence of culture and that will broadly have an effect on a group although it may not influence particular individuals at all. Our opinions are not “driven by” if that means being ’caused by’ or ‘determined by.’

      From ‘Genetic interests, life histories, and attitudes towards abortion’: “demographic and life-history predictors that are consistent with an interest-based perspective account for a meaningful percentage of the variance in abortion attitudes in two adult samples and a large percentage of the variance in abortion attitudes in an undergraduate sample.”

      In other words, there is a significant correlation, but… “these analyses cannot answer difficult questions of causation.” Ultimately, our opinions on abortion are motivated by our beliefs about morality, bioethics, & political philosophy.

      “I don’t have to be a woman to support abortion.” – Of course you don’t. However, you’re just focusing on people being silenced on this issue when they agree with you. Whatever hostility men in the atheist community are exposed to for advocating abortion rights, it’s trivial when compared to the hostility that both women and men receive within the atheist community when they advocate for prenatal human rights.

      You do not have to be a woman to support abortion, but one doesn’t need to support abortion to be a skeptic. You may find people discourage you from speaking, but there is no policy in place that would exclude you for your beliefs. You’re complaining of authoritarianism with regard for advocating a set of beliefs but the greater issue is when the community of skeptics would try to dictate which set of secular values are ‘correct’ and which secular beliefs are forbidden.