“YOUR BOOK TITLE MAKES NO SENSE”
Abortion: The Ultimate Exploitation of Women.
That’s a ridiculous title, isn’t it? Abortion doesn’t exploit women—it empowers them. Abortion is a legal right for women that permits them to do whatever they want with their own bodies. Abortion has freed women from the bonds of male dominance and biological slavery. It has narrowed the gender gap and elevated the value and role of women in American society.
Abortion is choice, and choice is power.
Men Started It. Men Oppress With It. Men Can End It.
And what’s this about men? They use abortion to oppress women? That’s just crazy. Why would men promote abortion? They don’t even have the legal right to influence the abortion decision. Socially, they aren’t even really allowed to talk about it.
We are told that abortion has nothing to do with men. It is a huge step forward for women’s rights.
There are three very good reasons why this should be true:
1. Abortion is legal in the United States, and that law empowers women. The landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case effectively stripped men of any legal right to protect or terminate the life of a child in the womb. The Supreme Court decided the right to abort rests solely with women. It found that right in either the Fourteenth or the Ninth Amendment.1 What it didn’t find was any legal authority for a father to have a say about the fate of his offspring.
In two subsequent abortion cases, the Court threw out a law requiring the husband’s consent to his wife’s abortion and another mandating that he be notified when his wife was on her way to an abortion facility. As the Court put it in the latter case, “[I]t cannot be claimed that the father’s interest in the fetus’ welfare is equal to the mother’s protected liberty….”2 So far as the Court is concerned, men have no rights whatsoever with respect to their progeny. The so-called right to privacy, as the Court said in Roe, “is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy”3—and to terminate the father’s rights, as well.
2. Abortion is a surgical procedure that, for obvious reasons, only involves the female body. Because women are entrusted with providing sustenance and proper living conditions for a developing, in utero human being, any changes to that process must be carried out within the woman’s body. Abortion is a surgical procedure that cannot be performed on men. Thus, men should not be able to dictate whether or not the surgical procedure is performed on women.
3. In America today, 40 percent of all births are out of wedlock.4 With 24 percent of mothers raising kids without a father present,5 women are increasingly responsible not only for carrying a child during pregnancy—but for fully providing for that child once she is born.
We often speak of abortion in biological terms, constraining the conversation to life inside the womb. But the implications of raising a child after birth are very much a part of the abortion decision.
If the father of the child has abandoned the pregnant mother, she is now put in a very difficult position. She carries the emotional and physical weight of carrying the child before birth, and she now can anticipate a drastic change to her lifestyle, expenses, and social status after her child’s birth.
The impact on lifestyle and finances are the two primary reasons women choose to abort in America today. A 2004 study conducted by researchers at the Guttmacher Institute— a pro-abortion organization—asked 1,209 women why they obtained abortions.
The reasons most frequently given: “having a baby would dramatically change my life” and “I can’t afford a baby now” (cited by 74 and 73 percent, respectively).6
Since more and more men are leaving pregnant women without financial, emotional, or physical help, the decision to abort should rest with the gender responsible for the entire process. Author Kathleen McDonnell summarizes this view succinctly: “Women are the ones who bear children. Women are the ones, still, who are largely responsible for their care and nurturing. It is our bodies and our lives that are at issue, so the decisions must be ours as well.”7
In a column responding to high school boys who petitioned her on behalf of the unborn child, Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Connie Schultz put it another way: “How do these boys figure that a woman’s womb is any of their business? How do men, for that matter?”8
Indeed, how is it possible abortion is anything but an empowering decision for women? If the Supreme Court supports the woman’s right to choose, biology mandates abortion only be performed on women, and women are increasingly being abandoned by men in the child-rearing process, why should men have any say at all?
For many men, it’s just fine that they don’t have the right to say anything. Their goal of using women to achieve their own selfish purposes has already been achieved. They now enjoy a new kind of freedom—a new kind of emancipation—because of a “woman’s right to choose.”
These “purposes” have very little to do with empowering women. In fact, man’s relentless promotion of abortion exploits women in the most personal, debilitating, and disrespectful way. It is yet another tool to persecute and diminish women, pushing them farther away from gender equality. In the process, men are doing enormous damage to the physical and emotional well-being of millions of American women and their families.
And men walk away from the damage with no responsibility or accountability. In fact, we are able to give the same passive rationalization we’ve been giving for millennia: “It’s her fault. It’s her responsibility. Not mine.”
How is it, then, that our culture celebrates abortion as a woman’s choice? It’s her body; it’s her life. If men are behind the abortion issue, why is it that women are taking full responsibility for the choice and its consequences?
The answer is simple: That’s exactly what pro-abortion men want our culture to think.
Early feminists were passionately against abortion, understanding that abortion exploited and harmed women.
In fact, I didn’t invent the book title, “The Ultimate Exploitation of Women.” The original architect of the Equal
Rights Amendment coined the phrase to describe abortion and its impact on females. Her name was Alice Paul, and she was a feminist.
But time, effective marketing and messaging, and money changed the culture.
And while men achieve their social and personal goals, women are victimized, yet celebrate their own exploitation and call it a right. Our culture bought the lie, and now millions of women celebrate their own degradation.
Women aren’t the only victims of abortion. There are many thousands of men who, today, continue to mourn the loss of children they had no legal right to protect. And there are untold family members of both genders who have been deeply wounded by abortion.
And, of course, there are well over 55 million human beings of both genders who have lost their lives to abortion— the most innocent victims of all.
If you are a post-abortive woman who regrets having an abortion, it’s important for you to know that I (and thousands of others) do not hold you in contempt or judge you. In fact, mercy, compassion, and grace are extended to you, and I hope you have found it or are on your way to doing so.
If you are a post-abortive man with regrets, know that I’ve spent time with men who lost children to abortion and are now deeply hurt because of it. In many cases it was your pressure, passivity, or pocketbook that caused it. In some cases, you desperately wanted to keep your child and had no legal right to do so. Either way, you lost. There is hope and healing for you, also, and I pray you find it.
If you are a post-abortive woman who does not regret the abortion decision and continues to favor abortion rights, there is no contempt or judgment for you. Abortion is legal, and you exercised your legal right to abort. I urge you, though, to confront the reality of the after effects of abortion and its horrific impact on society and your gender. And I will challenge your premise that abortion furthers gender equality. It does not. You are being manipulated in ways that are terribly unfair and unjust to women.
If you are a man who favors abortion (post-abortive or not), I challenge you to read this book and consider its facts. My hope is you will at least take responsibility for your role and acknowledge the degrading impact abortion has on women, men, the family, and society. Your active or passive promotion of abortion is destroying the fabric of what makes America great. This isn’t opinion. It is fact.
And for those men who claim they support life and true gender equality, I say this: Abortion will not be ended in America until you do something. As someone who sat on the sidelines for years, doing nothing to protect women and the unborn from abortion, I urge you to read this book and take action. I’ll give you some productive recommendations on what to do in the last chapter.
Just as abortion was wrought on America by men, it will only be ended in America when men stand beside women, as equals, to cooperatively rid America of the death and suffering. Don’t just sit there and say you affirm life. Saying you affirm life, but doing nothing, makes you irrelevant. Don’t be that guy.
ONE HOUSEKEEPING NOTE
I do not use the term “pro-choice” in this book unless it is a quotation. I use the term “pro-abortion” or “abortion proponent.” This is not because I am attempting to upset those who favor abortion. It is because the term “pro-choice” is misleading and incorrect.
There is a widely-held belief that one can be pro-choice and not pro-abortion. This means that a person supports the right to choose abortion but generally wishes abortion wouldn’t happen.
To be “pro-choice” means one is in favor of having options or choices. To be “pro-abortion” means one is in favor of the legality and practice of abortion.
I am as pro-choice as it gets. I am in favor of women having a myriad of options: where to go to college, what career to pursue, whether or not she wants to get married, who she marries, who to vote for, whether or not she wants to run a business, what she wants to do with her free time, whether or not to enter politics, etc.
However, I do not believe that any person, whether male or female, should have the option to take the life of another innocent human being.
The term “pro-choice” was invented in the mid-1970s to avoid using the term “pro-abortion,” a designation which “in the pre-Roe years had served as the standard label for a person in favor of legalization [of abortion].”9 Former abortionist Bernard Nathanson, a founding member of NARAL (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws), the group that led efforts to legalize abortion, called “pro-choice” a “Madison Avenue euphemism.”10
The goal of this effort by abortion activists to “remake the vocabulary with which Americans talked about abortion,” as abortion historian Cynthia Gorney described it,11 was to take attention off the abortion procedure and loss of life, and instead make the issue about women’s rights.
But to be in favor of the choice to take a life is to be in support of the practice of doing so. One could argue that to be offered the choice to abort is not the same as actually aborting. But one’s permission to do something is condoning and, therefore, supporting that practice.
The opposite of pro-life is not pro-choice; it’s pro-abortion— in favor of the practice of abortion.
My goal in writing this book is to shed light on the victimization of women, showing that the female gender is under attack in America. While I am life af rming, I am also a proponent of true equal rights for both genders, and that is the focus of this book.
Ending abortion in America would not just bene t the millions of children who lose their lives each year. It would be an enormous step forward for women in their appropriate quest for equal rights and equal protection. And, if men would be so convicted, ending the practice would be a step forward in their quest to live out their appropriate roles as sel ess partners, serving alongside women for their shared and mutual good.