Monday, July 20, 2009

Does reproductive rights language undermine a man's investment in pregnancy?

At the Daily Dish, Conor Friedersdorf has a couple of posts which mirror some of my thoughts from a few years ago. He writes,
A culture that tells men they shouldn't have any part in decisions about abortion, as portrayed at the "abortion party," inevitably discourages them from responding to a pregnant girlfriend by asking, "What should we do?" And the notion that at most men should signal mutual investment in the process, and graciously support whatever the woman decides, may sound wonderful to a lot of people, but is it really realistic? A societal norm that elevates the woman's choice above all else can certainly safeguard widespread access to abortions. But I suspect that the same norm inevitably leads some men to ask -- wrongly in my view, but understandably -- if you think that abortion is ethically unproblematic, and whether to have one or not is your choice, why should I have to pay child support for 18 years if you decide against having one?"


The narrow assertion I want to make is that the social norms we are inculcating are working to safeguard reproductive choices for women, and to undermine men's investment in pregnancies and child-rearing.

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