opinion

Political group wants men to be given abortion rights.

When it comes to abortion, it might be argued that men have far too great an influence over what women do with their bodies.

To start with, abortion is technically illegal in many parts of Australia – a law established by generations of predominantly male politicians. Public discussion in Australia and elsewhere has also been unduly dominated by men, where abortion has become a political plaything to debate, along with the economy, infrastructure, and similarly deeply personal issues.

Abortion is a crucial political issue in the US at the moment, with presidential candidate Donald Trump arguing that women who have abortions should be punished.

You see, historically men really haven’t had enough of a say over women’s lives, so they feel they really need to weigh in on whether women deserve the right to terminate a pregnancy – a decision, by the way, that a man will never have to face.

And just recently, a political group in Sweden proposed that fathers should have the right to ‘legally abort’ their unborn baby up until the 18th week of pregnancy.

via GIPHY

Marcus Nilson, the chairman of the youth wing of Sweden’s Liberal party told the , “Men should have an equal right to opt out of parenting and choose whether or not to become a parent.”

“There are endless examples of men who can’t even say whether they want to be involved in parenthood or how involved they want to be,” he continued. “It is important that men remain honest with themselves and their intentions.”

The policy would allow men who don’t want to be fathers to abandon all parental rights and responsibilities, legally relinquishing their paternity, as long as it’s feasible for the woman to have an abortion.

Should the woman decide to keep the baby, the father would effectively renounce his rights to see his child, and all financial responsibilities towards them.

Luckily, at this stage the policy has been rejected by the wider Liberal party. (I wonder why?) But perhaps the most perplexing part of the whole proposal is the fact that the party insisted ‘male abortion’ was a feminist policy. 

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via GIPHY

They argued that ‘male abortion’ would provide equality for men and women. Having a man decide to ‘legally abort’ gives a woman the opportunity to know whether the father of her child wants to be involved or not.

Oh my gosh, stop it! We’re blushing! How lovely of you to consider a woman wanting to know whether her unborn child will be supported by it’s father. What a world…

It seems almost condescending to begin to dissect what’s wrong with the concept of ‘male abortion’. To start with, it’s just…not a real abortion. Men don’t have uteruses, they can’t get pregnant, and they can’t have babies. So men can’t have abortions, legal or otherwise.

via GIPHY

It’s also significantly easier to ‘sign away’ your rights and responsibilities towards a child, than it is to abort it. Oh, and YOU DON’T GET TO JUST SIGN AWAY YOUR CHILD if it’s going to be born. You don’t get to do that. Especially considering the very real and unfair pressure a man’s choice to ‘abort’ would place on a woman’s already difficult decision.

And once a baby is born, and its mother has chosen to keep it, it doesn’t matter whether you wanted it. Every baby is entitled to financial and social support from its parents. You don’t get to ‘opt out’ of that.

Sweden’s political conversation has essentially highlighted the absurdity that comes with men leading the discussion around abortion. They arrive at bizarre conclusions, and entirely discount the deeply emotional and personal experience of a woman who is faced with the decision of terminating her pregnancy. Perhaps it should be women, not men, leading policy change around issues that affect women’s bodies.

And perhaps we should leave abortion off the table as a political plaything.

via GIPHY

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