In a rare show of unity, Republicans and Democrats both see abortion as a woman’s issue. Well duh! I can hear you say. Of course it’s a woman’s issue. Men don’t get abortions. That is a fact, of course, that I cannot deny. But unlike cervical cancer which is 100% a woman’s issue or breast cancer which almost is, abortion required, at one point, a man’s involvement. So why make it a woman’s issue?
For Democrats, pregnant women (especially poor pregnant women) need the, somewhat patronizing, care of nurturing liberals. For Republicans framing abortion as a women’s issue makes it easier to ban.
It takes two to create a fetus, but Republicans see pregnancy and the decision to terminate it, as only a woman’s responsibility. I guarantee that many pregnancies occur because of bad choices by men – and it surely comes as no surprise that in the heat of passionate men have made bad choices - and yet it is duplicitous woman, daughter of the temptress Eve, who is held solely responsible.
I also guarantee that there are many men, who piously intone on the immorality of abortion, that have sweated the news of an unwanted pregnancy and have been relieved of the anxiety by an abortion.
Sex and the responsibility for it have been laid at women’s feet since the beginning of morality. The “original sin” was created in the offering of an apple. Abstinence-only sex education may nominally be addressed to both sexes, but so called ‘purity balls’ are strictly a father/daughter affair; there is no equivalent mother/son event. (In case you wondered a purity ball is an occasion where a daughter pledges to her father that she will remain a virgin until marriage)
This assigning of ‘blame’ for sex was illustrated when Santorum supporter, Foster Freiss, joked that in his day a cheap and effective contraception was a Bayer aspirin between the woman’s knees. What he might equally well have said, although it wouldn’t have occurred to him, was that the same result could have been achieved by the man inserting the aspirin into the opening of his urethra. But Freiss doesn’t believe that men have a responsibilty in decisions about sex.
Republicans make hay with the saint/sinner approach to women. Mothers, sister and daughters and to some extant wives are sainted figures, but those Jezebels down at the abortion mills are wayward sinners. Talk show hosts can talk of feminazis; female activists can be tarred as “sluts” and “prostitutes”. If abortion can be laid at the feet of these morally deficient harlots then it becomes an issue of no concern to ‘good’ women. Pregnancy is ‘punishment’ for immoral behavior.
By absolving themselves of any responsibility conservative men can take a position on abortion without risk of personal jeopardy. With contented self-satisfaction they can occupy the moral high ground. If the opposite were true then the situation would change. As Florynce Kennedy piercingly observed: “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament”