Why I Don’t Agree That “Men Shouldn’t Be Making Laws About Women’s Bodies”
I’ve seen an image circulating on social media claiming that “men shouldn’t be making laws about women’s bodies” and some take it one step further to show the faces of all these (white) American lawmakers, and suggest or flat out blame their whiteness (as well as their maleness) for the oppressive outcome of their recent vote to ban abortions in Alabama, under the Human Life Protection Act. As a woman and human being, I am strongly against this statement and am here to elaborate on why.
Let’s get one thing straight: I am one hundred percent pro-choice when it comes to abortion. I believe abortion is a very complicated subject and I completely understand why some women (and men) wouldn’t choose to get an abortion even if the pregnancy is unwanted or unplanned, but that is their prerogative. It should be up to the woman to decide what is right for her body, and up to the man and woman who are facing the situation together to decide which path is right for them. Banning legal abortions will never stop abortions (just like banning drugs or alcohol won’t prevent people from using drug or alcohol). What legal abortions does do is protect the health and safety of women getting abortions. The whole debate is truly absurd, but that’s not actually what I’m here to talk about.
My problem is blaming men (or the colour of their skin) for the outcome of this ban on abortion, or thinking that men aren’t capable of making grounded, intelligent decisions when it comes to women and women’s bodies.
The panel of lawmakers in this case are white and they are men, but when we take this fact and being to perpetuate the belief that all white men are the problem, we actually fuel the problem of misogyny because we create a you vs. them— a war in which men, simply by being born, are guilty.
Abortion is more than a woman’s rights issue, it’s a human’s right issue. Abortions do not only affect women, they affect all people. It takes the acts of a woman and a man to create a foetus and the repercussions impact both parties (equally? perhaps not, but that’s not the point). To think that all men ought to be silenced on this issue or more importantly that all men are incapable of making wise, rational decisions is sexists, very problematic, and flat out untrue.
I know many, many men to whom I would entrust this duty. The problem isn’t men, it’s fools. The solution doesn’t lie in hexing men from lawmaking, it’s taking a step back and realizing that the very framework by which our laws are made and passed is outdated, and exists within a system that is corrupt and broken.
One of the pioneers for women’s reproductive rights in North America and abortion legalization in Canada is Henry Morgentaler: a man. We wouldn’t even be in this position to have legalised abortion revoked had it not been for many men (often white) who have fought and dedicated their lives to legalise it in the first place.
Should only men be involved in making decisions and laws regarding women’s bodies? Of course not. Should only white people be? No, of course not. Should ALL men be making laws about women’s bodies? Hell no. But this problem isn’t a reflection of all men or all white people, it’s a reflection of a system that is a magnet for sociopathic, power hungry individuals to live out their twisted fantasies (which in this case, happens to be a group of white men).
And in case you need more convincing, did you know who signed off on the Alabama Human Life Protection Act? None other than Governor Kay Ivey: a woman.
I’ll cap it there for now, because although I could dive down the rabbit hole and explore the many ways in which modern political systems are a gross abuse of power and greed, with almost no transparency or accountability— my point alone is that I’ve had enough of the man shaming and blaming.
For life itself to continue, we need both men and women. What kind of environment are we creating for the next generation of men being raised under a veil of guilt and shame? This isn’t to excuse the wrongdoings of the past, but instead of swinging the pendulum to the other side and blaming the boys of today for the wrongdoings of their fathers or grandfathers.. how about we raise them to be better? Instead of accusing all men for the wrongdoings of one specific group of ignorant lawmakers, how about we call them out on what they are: ignorant, as opposed to blaming their gender or skin colour. In fact, the divine masculine by nature is the protector of the divine feminine— the problem isn’t even remotely gender in of itself.
The more we create a world in which men are guilty by association, the more we fuel the problem. Let’s begin to honour the divine masculine, and the many many men out there who are living an honourable life.
Dear Divine Masculine,
I am sorry you are being cast in the shadow of your fallen brothers. I trust you, I see your light, and I believe in your ability to give and love and support the divine feminine. I know we can work together to mutually thrive, and I don’t blame you for the mistakes of those who have lost their way. Thank you for being patient in this weird time— we will get through this, together.