The Roe Vs Wade Decision Affects Men Too And It’s High Time They Speak Up
U.S. Supreme Court Repealed Roe V.Wade in a historic judgment, sending shockwaves across the world. It takes the country back to a time when women had no bodily autonomy and were seen as baby-making machines whose only job was to take care of the home and hearth. Social media has been filled with evocative images of women protesting in the streets against this primitive court act that allows men to control women’s bodies.
Amid all the fuss, I don’t see many men speaking out against this decision. Why?
America ladies and gentlemen! Where you can legally buy a gun and still shoot hundreds of people, but a woman has no autonomy over her own body or her choices #AbortionBan #WadevsRoe pic.twitter.com/5mPcH3R1NQ
— Michaela Perkins (@MichaelaEPerks) June 25, 2022
Last I checked, getting pregnant was a two-person job. How is it that only half the population is enraged while the other half remain silent? If you thought this decision doesn’t affect men, you’re very wrong.
And for those who think, ‘We live in India. How does this relate to us?,’ I have something else to offer you.
According to a report by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 67% of abortions in India are considered unsafe. Nearly eight women die every day from complications related to abortion. So before we mock the United States for their decision, pehle apne girebaan my jhaankiye (look at yourself first).
— Pushp (@cricorcese) June 25, 2022
reverse the Roe V.Wade The decision is the result of the lingering effects of Donald Trump’s presidency, where he instituted Supreme Court justices who favored anti-abortion laws. The ruling allows individual states to have their own laws on the matter, effectively criminalizing abortion. This could go as far as banning birth control products and medical procedures like vasectomy etc.
For women, this is a flagrant violation of their rights.
Imagine a group of men sitting together to decide what you should do with your body and your life. Men who have never had a pregnancy. Men in positions of power and privilege who don’t understand the fiscal and physical burden of an unplanned pregnancy.
— Remotabs (@remotabs) June 25, 2022
Those who have high-risk pregnancies may no longer have the choice to end them. For them, it is a choice between losing their life or facing a prison sentence. It’s especially horrific for rape victims, who will be forced to live with a living, breathing reminder of one of the most traumatic events of their lives.
Be careful, men are not spared either.
Urologists say they have seen a spike in vasectomies in response to the Roe v. Wade https://t.co/IPRgMVOkIf
— Phillip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 29, 2022
Many women in the United States report a sex ban, whether with potential partners or existing boyfriends and husbands. There are also reports of men rushing to get vasectomies before it was banned in their state.
Moreover, if we are to follow the patriarchal narrative of wanting to control a woman’s body to establish a man’s higher authority, an unplanned pregnancy also leaves it in deep water. He either has to deal with the financial burden of parenthood or take on the care responsibilities for a risky pregnancy.
In the absence of women’s rights over their bodies, it is up to men to prevent unwanted pregnancies and safeguard their reproductive health and that of their partners.
Simply because abortion is criminalized.
“I had a vasectomy to protest Alabama’s unconstitutional abortion laws,” left-liberal bravery. Brave liberal men promise to go to reasonably extreme lengths to protect a woman’s right to choose.#AbortionBan #NPCmeme #NPCmemeshttps://t.co/m8aChcfPe1 pic.twitter.com/gsxTkqIxUF
– Daily NPC (@npcdailysite) May 23, 2019
Unfortunately, these problems are not limited to the United States. Body autonomy is a global issue and before we as Indians stick our tongues out at America, it is important to understand India’s abortion laws and how they affect us.
Demonstrators in Warsaw against the almost total ban on abortion in Poland.
100,000 protesters took to the streets in the biggest show of popular anger.#IllegitimateSCOTUS #AbortionBan #Women’s rights #demonstration #prochoice #ProChoiceIsProLife #obgyntwitter pic.twitter.com/JbLFHBFlPF
— ElDoRado1239 (@ElDoRado1239) June 28, 2022
Credit should be given where it is due. India’s abortion laws allow medical termination of pregnancy if it puts the woman or child at risk. It also allows the termination of pregnancy in the event of rape, failure of contraceptives, and for couples who already have two to three children and come from economically weak families.
Sounds pretty progressive and simple, right?
At first glance, this looks like a law that favors women. Interestingly, the law never uses the term “abortion” and sticks to the technical jargon of “medical termination of pregnancy”. Why?
Because even our law follows the same narrative as US lawmakers. For them, abortion is not about a woman’s right to decide what she wants to do with her body or whether she wants a child. It is an act of survival. If the pregnancy harms her physical or mental health, it can be terminated.
Some also see it as a way to control the Indian population instead of giving women the right to make decisions about their own bodies.
First of all, emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) are over the counter, and the first gynecologist should have referred them to the pills immediately. Second, how ridiculous are these steps that single women must take to access care? #MyGynaecStory pic.twitter.com/HIPaFDJ1SW
— Feminism in India (@FeminismInIndia) June 28, 2019
Now leave the legal document and look around at the women in your lives. I bet every one of them has known or heard of women visiting their gynecologist and having their bodies and sex lives morally checked. The stigma surrounding sexual and reproductive health prevents people from talking about it openly for fear of being judged.
That’s why men should hide condoms and women should hide their pads and i-pills. This is the depth of taboo.
Choosing to have an abortion can be a confusing experience. It certainly does not require any additional judgment from our gynecologists. Have you faced something like this? Share your story with #MyGynaecStory! @Haiyya_Act pic.twitter.com/7IqKJ13hja
— Feminism in India (@FeminismInIndia) August 11, 2019
Anti-abortion laws are not just a violation of women’s rights. They also add additional pressure on men to support their families financially, whether or not they can afford to do so. I have often heard elders say:Aaj nahi toh kal, bachcha toh hoga hi. Toh deri kis baat ki. (You’re going to have kids one day. So why delay it?)”
What if a couple doesn’t want children? Each individual and each couple sets different goals and plans. What if having a child is not part of the plan? What if parenthood is a big question mark they decided to tackle later? The social stigma attached to abortion, even if it is legal, prevents many couples from living on their own terms and sacrificing parenthood in the name of social acceptance.
The ubiquitous, ‘Sign in kya kahenge? (What are people going to say?)” is not enough to decide if you are ready or want to raise a child. It is a lifetime commitment and unless you are physically, mentally and financially prepared, you should not go ahead.
Indian women have also raised their voices against the Roe V.Wade reign on social networks. Unfortunately, some men live in a bubble and have taken to trolling women for such posts. They feel like abortion laws don’t affect them.
Neha beta aise kisi bahari desho k personal mamle mai tang nahi adate. Bano matte alarm clock.
– Dark Companion (@narfault) June 25, 2022
It takes two to tango. Unless you are someone who prefers to abandon a woman with a child in her womb, abortion laws affect you as well. To be true allies, it is not enough to be silent spectators of women’s outrage.
Get up and speak. It’s about your rights too.