Weeping Christian men apologize for letting you have an abortion

Courtesy of Heroic Media, three Christian men feel they owe you an apology. In this four-minute video — aptly titled “The Apology” — each man confesses to having had an abortion. Okay, it’s not quite that interesting — what they mean is that they went halfsies on a fetus with a woman who then got an abortion. But what they have to say is actually kind of sweet, apologizing to women for the way they’ve been treated by people in the church, the condemnation that has been piled on them, and the shame and guilt they might feel for the choice they made and/or felt they had to make because of such judgement. They apologize, as men, for not being supportive of women during a difficult time.

DANIEL PHILLIPS. I’m so sorry.

JOHN BLANDFORD. I am so sorry.

PHILLIPS. I’m sorry for the burdens and the weight that you’ve had to carry.

BLANDFORD. I’m so sorry that women were subjected to such a terrible thing, and no one tried to rescue you.

SHANE IDLEMAN. I’m sorry for men not taking a greater stand in this area, and I’m sorry that the church has not been there for you.

BLANDFORD. I’m sorry that you’ve tried to hide this from everyone.

J/k! They’re sorry that abortion is available (quote: “I’m sorry that this is available”) and that there wasn’t a godly man around to stop you from doing what you felt was right for you. They could have had a healthy, giggling baby if they’d just stopped you from getting an abortion, but now they’ll never get to hang out with their cool kid. (Quote: “It would have been so cool to hang out with you here on earth.”) Because they didn’t stand up, make your choices for you, and make you bear their seed whether you wanted to or not.

But it’s okay, babykillers. Jesus will forgive you if you ask for it. And if you don’t know how, just look for the crying guy who had an abortion. He’ll show you the light.

[h/t TPM]

Sentimental piano music is backed by strings. Close-up, off-angle shots of dewy, sad men show us that they’re really, really sad about something they’re going to tell us about. Intercut with the shots of their sadness is shots of healthy, giggling babies, much like the ones you’ve heartlessly killed, sinner.

DANIEL PHILLIPS. My name’s Daniel Phillips.

JOHN BLANDFORD. My name’s John Blandford.

SHANE IDLEMAN. My name is Shane Idleman.

PHILLIPS. I’m a believer in the—in the Lord Jesus.

BLANDFORD. I’ve been following Christ since 2001.

IDLEMAN. I’m the lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship.

BLANDFORD. I lead a home group, I disciple a couple of guys.

IDLEMAN. I write weekly for the Christian Post.

BLANDFORD. And, uh, I had an abortion.

PHILLIPS. I had two abortions.

IDLEMAN. I had an abortion.

BLANDFORD. So, I was 28, and I didn’t know God. I called myself a Christian, though, at the time, I’d go to church a couple of times a month. And I’d just started dating this gal, and she got pregnant.

PHILLIPS. We had a, uh, passive-aggressive stance. Um, I was neither here nor there, so I never even fought for the opportunity to save the child.

IDLEMAN. I conceded to an abortion. And even as a pastor, that decision still haunts me today. What would they look like, would it be a boy, would it be a girl. Their first step, saying “Daddy,” watching them grow. But those are just dreams. Dreams that often leave me heartbroken.

BLANDFORD. I should have manned up, and I should have fought for you, and… I didn’t. … I didn’t. … I’m so grateful that you are in heaven, with Jesus, the king of kings and lord of lords, and you got to see Him before I did. And I know you’re gonna extend me grace, but I just… It would have been so cool to hang out with you here on earth.

IDLEMAN. The pain of regret is one of the hardest pains to deal with, because the constant reminder that we let down God, we let down others, and we let down our child. And I know I’m not alone, because it’s been estimated that about one in three in the church have participated in an abortion. … If you’ve had an abortion, I am so sorry.

PHILLIPS. I’m so sorry.

BLANDFORD. I am so sorry.

PHILLIPS. I’m sorry for the burdens and the weight that you’ve had to carry.

BLANDFORD. I’m so sorry that women were subjected to such a terrible thing, and no one tried to rescue you.

IDLEMAN. I’m sorry for men not taking a greater stand in this area, and I’m sorry that the church has not been there for you.

BLANDFORD. I’m sorry that you’ve tried to hide this from everyone.

PHILLIPS. I’m sorry that… I’m sorry that this is available.

BLANDFORD. I am hopeful — so hopeful —

PHILLIPS. I am hopeful that this younger generation, you guys, just keep contending for life. As someone who’s been on both sides, I’m telling you, keep contending for life. That is my hope, and my hope’s to see a generation rise up and say, “You know what? No more.”

IDLEMAN. Someone should have been there to rescue you, but you do have a rescuer. We find hope, we find peace, in Christ. You don’t have to live in shame and darkness, you can run to God’s light of forgiveness and grace and mercy. And even though some maybe know this, but they really haven’t lived in that — they know that God’s mercy and grace is — is real, but they haven’t felt it. I would just encourage you to turn to Him, and allow that forgiveness to take place. Open up your heart, begin confession again, repentance, if warranted, and turn to him, and say, “Lord, I need you today to bring this cleansing and this — this forgiving aspect to my life. I want to feel that.” And God will do that, Jesus will honor that prayer.


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35 comments for “Weeping Christian men apologize for letting you have an abortion

  1. DragonBreath
    January 22, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    More El Toro Poo Poo brought to you by holier than thou right wing christian hypocrites. Reminds me of a quote by Obi Wan Kenobi ” You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”. The religious right qualifies easily.

  2. asia
    January 22, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    I think it’s possible these men are lying completely for political points in their Churches. Otherwise, it’s emotional abuse towards their former partners.

    I would also ask them to define what exactly rescuing would entail.

  3. Donna L
    January 22, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    I assume “rescuing” would have entailed locking the women up in a basement somewhere and preventing them from accessing an abortion provider.

  4. January 23, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Erk. So disgusting.

    Things like this make me realise there’s a pretty big gap between the way they think and the way I think. I can comprehend a moral judgment (as in, I vehemently disagree but I can get how someone gets there), but the “I’m sorry this is available” – that sort of sentiment is what leaves me gasping for air and wondering whether any kind of communication is possible.

    /delurk

  5. pheenobarbidoll
    January 23, 2015 at 8:25 am

    It amazes me that men like this can get through life without having their faces slapped off. I have an ex like this now. He tried to weasel out of his half of the money. He’s now an ultra conservative Christian, and once tried to get snarky with me on Facebook. I verbally slapped him by reminding him about the abortion and his trying to weasel out of paying his half even though he was gung ho about said abortion. He’s still a jackass, but he no longer posts on my page trying to argue about birth control and abortion.

  6. January 23, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    It’s truly amusing that the men explicitly say that they had an abortion. Even in acknowledging the trivial detail that it was the women who actually made the decision to abort, they position themselves as the ones who made the decisions so that they can not only say “sorry for not controlling a decision you made about your body” but also appropriate women’s experience with pregnancy completely by saying that they made the decision and they regretted it.

    Male supremacy is so subtly repulsive. I don’t think I can even watch that video due to the creepiness of hearing conservative Christian dudes lament their lack of control over women’s lives. Ewwww.

  7. shfree
    January 24, 2015 at 3:55 am

    I simply can’t watch the video either. I don’t have the money for a new monitor, and I would most likely throw this one out the window if I did watch the video.

    Few things anger me more than men who think they have sovereignty over women’s bodies, and are shameless about it.

  8. a_lawyer
    January 24, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Perhaps we need a thread of people like me saying “holy shit sweetie, thank you so much for making the right call to have an abortion; we’ve been married almost 20 years now with three kids but we’d probably have been divorced and miserable pretty quickly if we’d had a kid back then when we were too young, busy, stupid, and poor.”

    • SMK
      January 26, 2015 at 6:50 am

      Not exactly the same, but my spouse continues to thank me for getting sterilized, before we were even legally wed.

    • Aaliyah
      January 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      I hope this doesn’t come across as jumping on you, but I can’t say I’m very comfortable with this idea. Granted, it’s conceivable that a man who doesn’t want to have kids for whatever reason would be glad that his female partner decided to have an abortion. In fact, I’ve known several men in real life who have said the exact same thing.

      That said, messages that convey this reality don’t constitute an appropriate response to these anti-choice men. While they appear to be pro-choice, they are in fact support inverted patriarchal logic.

      To elaborate further: men lamenting about their past failures to exercise sufficient control over their wives and girlfriends’ reproductive lives is anti-choice and misogynistic as hell. We can all agree on that, I’m sure. However, your suggestion of a response, while lacking in the exact same misogynistic rhetoric, nevertheless rests on the assumption that it is significant and relevant as to how men feel about the decisions that women make with their bodies. Even if those men are supportive of them, those men are supportive for self-serving reasons, therefore indirectly reinforcing the notion that women’s bodily choices can be meaningfully judged on the basis of how men react to them. As if the response to “We, as men, lament their bodily choice” should be “We, as men, are grateful that they made their bodily choice because it served our own interests.” Nothing more than a masking of the phenomenon of men prioritizing their needs and wants over those of women, even if that’s not what they mean to say.

      For men, I think the most helpful way for them to respond would be something like “I’m really glad that you were able to get the safe abortion you needed, and while your decision had effects on some of those around you, it was your own body that was the most important consideration in that decision, and you had every right to make that decision even if no one around you was accepting of it.”

      I’m not saying that men aren’t ever allowed to be glad that their wives/girlfriends had abortions, because there are valid reasons for them to be glad that they don’t have to take care of kids. I’m just saying that the politicization of such gratefulness tends to go into a misguided, dangerous direction. It’s great that so many men are supportive of women’s right to abort, but even if all men hated women for getting abortions, that wouldn’t mean shit.

      • January 26, 2015 at 3:50 pm

        Yea, the right to a abortion falls under woman’s autonomy and woman’s rights. However, I think the pro-life movement has been successful in portraying abortion as a horrible thing horrible women or desperate women do. Their video is straight up saying that abortion is a horrible thing and I should have taken responsibility for rescuing you. And we can easily argue that even if its horrible a women has the right to control her body. You are not responsible for another person and its to interfere with a woman’s choice.

        But abortion isn’t necessarily a horrible thing. I think is pertinent to draw attention to ways abortion impacts and benefits everyone. I don’t think a man openly saying he benefited from a abortion is part of the problem.

      • Aaliyah
        January 26, 2015 at 4:01 pm

        I don’t think a man openly saying he benefited from a abortion is part of the problem.

        I agree. That said, the main problem I have here with the suggestion is that it centers male perspective. The reason reproductive rights of women are attacked in the world is precisely that the patriarchy constructs the role of women as reproducers and sexual objects for men. Male entitlement is why women are, by various means, deprived of their access to bodily agency.

        So it’s important that a man who wishes to be pro-choice strives to decenter himself, so as to avoid reinforcing the dynamic from which his position in society benefits. Because the issue isn’t about him, he should make sure that he doesn’t, intentionally or otherwise, try to make it about him in any way.

      • a_lawyer
        January 26, 2015 at 10:32 pm

        Aaliyah
        January 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink | Reply
        I hope this doesn’t come across as jumping on you

        Not at all! I will treat this like a good faith disagreement and not “jumping on me,” and will reply in kind.

        I will strongly hope that you will treat my disagreement as an equivalent good faith argument and not as me taking on some ridiculous anti-choice position. Not saying you would, but I’ve seen it happen before.

        but I can’t say I’m very comfortable with this idea.

        which is fine with me. I don’t think that you have to be comfortable with it in order for it to have been proper and accurate for my wife and I.

        it is significant and relevant as to how men feel about the decisions that women make with their bodies.

        Well, that’s just our own personal view of marriage. It’s a tradeoff.

        For example, I got a vasectomy a while back. While of course it’s technically “my body,” I obviously was obligated to give my wife a say, because she’s my wife. In our version of marriage, of course she has that right to input and concessions and at least a bit of control; it’s part of the bargain. Can you imagine just making the “sorry, no more kids” call without it being OK with your spouse, unless you were willing to risk your marriage? I can’t; that would be bizarre.

        The same for everything else.

        As a liberal human I can do whatever I want–donate a kidney to a stranger, shave my head, get a facial tattoo, take up barehanded alligator wrestling, have sex with any stranger who is willing, spend all of my own paycheck as discretionary funds. I can live my own life, control my own body, and make my own choices…

        OR I can be married. Which means (in our case, not in all marriages) that I can work with my life partner and make a lot of mutually acceptable decisions that make her happy and that make her want to stay with me.

        I just can’t have both. Because I obviously have no right to do whatever the fuck I want and simultaneously expect that someone will stay with me as I do.

        Neither can she.

        And since a decision to have (or not have) a child is guaranteed to have an enormous effect on the marriage and the future of both parties, then it is firmly in the realm of “mutual input,” at least in the kind of marriage I have. To suggest that I shouldn’t have an opinion about an abortion is, basically, to suggest that I shouldn’t have stayed in the marriage (or that if I did, I shouldn’t let her have an opinion about what I do–which is basically the same thing as “don’t stay married” since I have no interest in that sort of dynamic.)

        So I think you’re making an analytical mistake here.

        The problem isn’t “having a say in abortion,” as you basically suggest. Instead, the problem is (or would be, if we had that problem) “having a say without giving your spouse an equivalent say.” There’s nothing wrong with either independence or groupthink, so long as it is balanced.

        So in my type of marriage this

        and you had every right to make that decision even if no one around you was accepting of it.

        is one of those things that sounds better in a blog post than in real life. I mean sure, everyone has the legal right to do about anything (including but not limited to abortion.) But “having a legal right” is not at all equivalent to “free of moral obligations.”

        Because the issue isn’t about him, he should make sure that he doesn’t, intentionally or otherwise, try to make it about him in any way.

        Bwahahahahahaha. [laughs so hard I cough up a kidney.]

        “I’m not so sure you have an entirely accurate understanding of how this works, generally speaking” said the primary caregiver of multiple children, before walking away chortling.

        I hope that was supposed to be a joke…?

      • January 27, 2015 at 8:50 am

        A Lawyer,

        Not to speak for Aaliyah, but my interpretation of her comment was more specifically a critique of the idea of a response thread that centers men who are GLAD their either-current-or-past partners had abortions.

        It would kind of be another drop in the ‘Don’t worry, ladies, this is okay because hey SOME guys are totally cool with it.’ bucket that is usually found more often when it comes to women’s aesthetic choices.

      • a_lawyer
        January 27, 2015 at 10:21 am

        It’s not like I generally pop up in abortion discussions yelling “it’s about MEEEEEE” demanding to be “centered” (whatever that means–it often seems to be pretty equivalent to “having an opinion,” depending on who is speaking.)

        But a bunch of idiots are saying “we didn’t like those abortions,” and an obvious counterargument is “well I did.”

        And also, I think the common response of “well it doesn’t matter at all what you think, whatsoever, because this isn’t about you” is incredibly and entirely unrealistic.

        Like, what, being a parent isn’t about me? I honestly think it’s so bad an argument that it works AGAINST what you’re trying to convey.

        but in the end, obviously, people can do whatever the heck they want. And nobody should ask their partner to cede control/benefits without offering up equivalent support/control/benefits in exchange. And the only judges of “equivalent” are, obviously, the people in the bargain.

        but when I see people arguing with a straight face that “feminism requires men to stand there and pretend they are opinionless about their parental status, and support all decisions equally,” I laugh. I suppose you could make a worse argument, and it doesn’t change my support of choice–but for most folks, that one seems almost designed to make men decide that they are antifeminists.

      • Aaliyah
        January 27, 2015 at 11:45 am

        Ok, I think you may have misinterpreted some of my points here. It’s entirely reasonable for couples to discuss things like how many kids they want. For the record, I don’t think you sound anti-choice at all, so we can get that out of the way here.

        But here’s the thing: women, within patriarchy, are functionally casted as reproducers of children. What that means is that, even though they can step out of this role under certain circumstances and to some extent, ultimately their social position is bound by this social role one way or another, reflecting the reality of their marginalization relative to men.

        And one the ways in which they are bound by this role is that they are directly affected by the social stigma on abortion and reproductive freedom (a term I am not using in the legal sense). Men are not, because they are not casted by society as reproducers, even if some individual men are primary caregivers within their families. It isn’t men who are targeted by videos such as the one that this post is about. It isn’t men who are harassed and threatened by anti-choicers as they walk to the entrances of abortion clinics (unless a woman is taking her male partner with her and he is being harassed due to being associated with her and supporting the decision, but even in that case the main target is the woman). And it isn’t men who are the target of constant pressure and misogynistic guilt-tripping performed in an effort to deprive women of reproductive choices. I could go on and on, but my point here is clear.

        And so they need to be aware of where they stand within this specific political discourse, and ensure that, in supporting women who fight for reproductive freedom, they don’t center themselves. Can they contribute to the discourse and support women who make stigmatized reproductive choices? Sure. But only as long as men stay in their lane, by not saying things like “It’s good that my wife had an abortion because I sure as hell don’t want to be taking care of a kid right now!” On its own, nothing is wrong with that statement. But in a political discourse about women’s reproductive freedom, it’s inappropriate and centers male desire, however well-intentioned the male speaker may be.

        There is a great difference between having a say in matters that are relevant to one or multiple people, such as in how many kids to have – and centering oneself in a discussion about a matter that doesn’t affect you on a greater social level.

      • a_lawyer
        January 27, 2015 at 2:32 pm

        Aaliyah,

        Not sure why (wan’t happening before) but I seem to be in auto-mod. It looks like you posted your reply before you got a chance to read my earlier response, and you may get this at the same time. If there’s a post in this thread that seems out of order or non-responsive that’s why.

        Can [men] contribute to the discourse and support women who make stigmatized reproductive choices? Sure. But only as long as men stay in their lane, by not saying things like “It’s good that my wife had an abortion because I sure as hell don’t want to be taking care of a kid right now!”

        I suspect we’d agree that (a) the main assholes causing problems here are men, and (b) that they are being sexist assholes; and (c) that said men find it unusually tempting to disregard the opinions of women.

        And I suspect we both have the same goals: I’m also militantly pro-choice (always have been.) To explain why I find it so obvious: I learned as a very young child that my mother had an abortion after I was born. And she explained that this was a wise and smart move. (Yeah, my mom is awesome.)

        But let me use a deliberately-extreme example here:

        Jane is a single childless post-menopausal woman who lives alone and has no female relatives or close friends.

        Bob is a father of two young girls.

        Under the “this is a woman’s issue” theory, it would seem like you’d argue that Jane should have a bigger say in the theory than Bob should. You might even go further and suggest that Bob shouldn’t really “center” his opinion at all.

        To me, that doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense practically, because it seems obvious that Bob cares more about his daughters than Jane does. And it doesn’t make sense morally, because it bases “who gets to opine” decisions solely on gender. And to put it mildly, that seems to be at odds with feminist principles.

        Of course when it comes to YOUR OWN body, the person with authority is you–or the people who you choose to consider. But when it comes to general risk that may affect a population or someone ELSE, I don’t think it’s reasonable to limit participation.

        I am not suggesting this in any way, because it is offensive. But to illustrate why you don’t have a logically-consistent “moral stakeholders” argument, I’ll note that such an argument would logically require you to limit participation only to potentially fertile women, i.e. “people who might reasonably require an abortion,” and to exclude anyone who wasn’t a stakeholder–infertile, trans, postmenopausal, and sterilized women, along with men. I suspect we’d agree that analysis isn’t appropriate.

      • Aaliyah
        January 27, 2015 at 5:51 pm

        Merely having an opinion is ok. What isn’t is expressing male-centric opinions within a discussion that is about women. You do not face the same disadvantages that women experience in regards to reproductive freedom.

        But a bunch of idiots are saying “we didn’t like those abortions,” and an obvious counterargument is “well I did.”

        The argument wasn’t simply a statement that they didn’t like the abortions, though. Rather, it was that they lamented the fact that they did not exercise sufficient control over their wives and girlfriends’ reproductive choices. That is explicitly patriarchal, and so the best response to that isn’t a representation of alternative male desires – men who say that they’re happy about abortions – but instead a representation of women’s desires to resist the misogynistic message that they shouldn’t have control over their own bodies. And that’s because the video isn’t aimed at men. It’s very clearly aimed at women to guilt-trip them, even though at some point the men address “young guys” (which they only do in relation to encouraging other men to restrict women’s freedom to abort).

        but when I see people arguing with a straight face that “feminism requires men to stand there and pretend they are opinionless about their parental status, and support all decisions equally,” I laugh. I suppose you could make a worse argument, and it doesn’t change my support of choice–but for most folks, that one seems almost designed to make men decide that they are antifeminists.

        If men become anti-feminist because they don’t like being asked to not center themselves in discussions about women’s lives (not men’s lives, obviously they have every right to talk about their experiences as parents and their opinions relating to parenting and whatnot), then I’m not really interested in their support anyway.

      • a_lawyer
        January 27, 2015 at 9:18 pm

        Aaliyah,

        In order to understand your argument and respond to it better, would it be possible for you to consider responding to the hypothetical I posed, or to otherwise consider responding to my second post?

        The argument wasn’t simply a statement that they didn’t like the abortions, though. Rather, it was that they lamented the fact that they did not exercise sufficient control over their wives and girlfriends’ reproductive choices. That is explicitly patriarchal,

        Agreed.

        and so the best response to that isn’t a representation of alternative male desires – men who say that they’re happy about abortions – but instead a representation of women’s desires to resist the misogynistic message that they shouldn’t have control over their own bodies.

        Disagree, obviously ;)

        Partly because I think you are conflating “control” and “100% consequence free decision making.” Because of course, lack of moral and partner support IS a factor in abortions. Perhaps if I had decided to radically change my life and personality and pleaded that we should have a kid, my wife would have listened to me.

        And partly because I don’t think “that’s patriarchal” is an effective argument for those folks. Politics is a bit like wrestling sometimes; you have to get close to them before you can grab them.

        I will concede that being a guy I probably have more pull than you do with men like that, but I am more than willing to use sexism to my advantage in this type of thing.

        If men become anti-feminist because they don’t like being asked to not center themselves in discussions about women’s lives (not men’s lives, obviously they have every right to talk about their experiences as parents and their opinions relating to parenting and whatnot), then I’m not really interested in their support anyway.

        Well, that’s clear, though we don’t agree.

        In any partnership, discussions about kids are not only about women’s lives. At least not if you want to preserve the partnership.

        And seriously: is “centering” actually definable here? Because I can’t shake the feeling that in practice it would turn out that most of what I would call “opinion” you would call “centering” and deem improper. I get that feeling reinforced when I read that last paragraph and that’s part of why i’m disagreeing with you. maybe I’m wrong.

      • Aaliyah
        January 28, 2015 at 12:38 am

        Jane has legitimate reasons to center herself in the discourse of women’s reproductive freedom because she is a woman. Bob isn’t, therefore he should prioritize women’s perspectives.

        You seem to be under the impression that I think men should never have any say in gender-neutral discussions about parenting and reproduction. Of course they have a say, because in that case prioritizing their opinions and desires doesn’t come at women’s expense. They deserve to have the space to talk about the things that concern them. But they just shouldn’t respond to other men expressing entitlement to women’s reproductive functions by saying that they find it beneficial for women to make certain choices.

        All that tells women, coming from a man, is that he approves of the woman’s choice to abort because it benefits him. And like I said, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging this benefit and talking about it. The problem arises only when he decides to enter a discussion of women’s reproductive freedom and brings up opinions that ultimately serve to make the discussion about him, and possibly other men.

        This isn’t about silencing men, or depriving them of the opportunity to speak. It’s simply about staying in your lane, making sure that you don’t end up derailing the conversation to try to make it about you when it’s actually not about you. That’s all.

        As someone who is middle-class, I must be considerate in similar ways. In particular, in a discussion about poverty that only concerns poor people, I need to stay in my lane and avoid talking about how the issue they are discussing also affects me. If the discussion is open to my input in some way, then I can participate, but only as long as I stick to the subject i.e. how poverty affects poor people.

      • ludlow22
        January 28, 2015 at 1:25 am

        Jane has legitimate reasons to center herself in the discourse of women’s reproductive freedom because she is a woman.

        How does that compute? I’d argue the people who have a legitimate reason center themselves in discussions of women’s reproductive freedom are people who are impacted by policies that deal with women’s reproductive freedom.

        Among other examples, people with uteruses who aren’t women have the right to be part of the conversation, no?

      • Broseidon King Of The Brocean
        January 28, 2015 at 8:26 am

        And seriously: is “centering” actually definable here? Because I can’t shake the feeling that in practice it would turn out that most of what I would call “opinion” you would call “centering” and deem improper. I get that feeling reinforced when I read that last paragraph and that’s part of why i’m disagreeing with you. maybe I’m wrong.

        Enough Motte and Bailey, a lawyer.

        Look at your actual original comment:

        Perhaps we need a thread of people like me saying “holy shit sweetie, thank you so much for making the right call to have an abortion; we’ve been married almost 20 years now with three kids but we’d probably have been divorced and miserable pretty quickly if we’d had a kid back then when we were too young, busy, stupid, and poor.”

        You’ve been arguing in this thread as that what you did was say the quotation. What you ACTUALLY did was suggest that we need many people like you to offer positive approval for their female partner’s abortion decision because of the positive impact it had on the couple: Look! Happily married abortionists!

        So stop pretending you don’t know what centering is, because you explicitly went out of your way to not only offer your opinion, but suggest that it was of such prime importance that we maybe needed a lot more of it.

        That’s centering. If you’d just said “My wife’s aboriton was great”, I can’t imagine anyone here would argue with you. But instead your comment was “My opinion on this as a man is really important” and so it’s like, no, it isn’t.

      • Aaliyah
        January 28, 2015 at 3:08 pm

        Also, you know what’s at least one thing that women face in discourses of reproductive freedom that men don’t, certainly at least not nearly to the same degree? Stigma. Men are, at most, attacked for associating themselves with pro-choice women, whereas women are attacked for daring to say that they don’t want to be forced to have kids. They are told that they should be ashamed of themselves, that they’re filthy and evil, and that they are complicit in genocide for having abortions. Talking about how some men appreciate the fact that their wives or girlfriends had abortions does nothing to challenge that stigma.

        What actually does is women who have aborted telling the world about their feelings and experiences surrounding abortion, to do away with the stereotypes about how women seeking abortion are either like this or that, to erase the tendency to hang onto respectability politics (such as saying “but women get abortions for GOOD reasons too!” or “but many women’s husbands approve of abortion for their own reasons!”) for the sake of insubstantial political advantage.

      • a lawyer
        January 30, 2015 at 9:33 am

        Let me try a different example:

        Some people are biased against gays, gay marriage, etc. And specifically addressing that bias can be an effective way to combat it.

        But it’s not the only way. Talking nicely about my gay family, and friends, and their partners, also acts to combat that bias. Bringing them up in conversation; referring to them in positive ways; etc. Even in situations where you can’t easily argue for normality you can represent normality.

        And there are more of those situations than it may seem at first glance. There are plenty of situations where you can’t just dive into the “we should all fight anti-gay bias” conversation but where you can slip in a “we had a great weekend with Joe and his husband; they are such a happy couple and my kids love them” comment.

        Similarly, “discussing abortion as a nice result of a perfectly normal decision” has an immense normalizing effect.

        That sort of comment represents that abortion is just a decision like anything else; that it doesn’t have a stigma of impropriety; that it isn’t per se a “sad thing;” and that it has no moral issues. “It was a great decision for her; it was a great decision for me; what’s all the fuss about?” is a GOOD thing. Trying to get it to the point where the reaction is “how do you feel?” rather than “oh god, I’m so sorry, what a horrible thing to have happen to you, I hope you never have to have that happen again” is a GOOD thing.

        I want people to see how happy I am because I want more people to think about abortion like I do. Especially men, who have largely been taught that Abortion Is Bad. Even if they think it should be legal, most of them think it is still a Bad And Sorrowful Thing, rather than just a normal personal/social/medical decision like anything else.

        Modelling that happiness isn’t designed to center male opinions. It’s designed to change male opinions.

      • PrettyAmiable
        January 30, 2015 at 3:32 pm

        Those aren’t mutually exclusive. You’re literally saying we should center men’s opinions because men are – what – likelier to listen to other men than women?

        Also, I’m not sure you understand the stigma at all. “What a horrible thing to happen to you” reads to me as concern – what person thinks an unwanted pregnancy and surgery is a good time? The issue isn’t concern trolls – it’s legislators who don’t focus on women and other folks who get pregnant, their voices, and their needs. It’s the elimination of abortion centers in the south, the creation of laws requiring you prove that you were raped. Not the sad fact that nobody showed up to Planned Parenthood with post-op noisemakers and party hats.

      • Donna L
        January 30, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        Especially men, who have largely been taught that Abortion Is Bad. Even if they think it should be legal, most of them think it is still a Bad And Sorrowful Thing,

        Not in my experience. Most men I’ve ever known (and I admit I haven’t been friends with that many “social conservatives”) claim not to have any problem at all with abortion (except perhaps with the apocryphal “woman who decides on a whim, five minutes before she’s due, that she wants to kill her baby).

        The problem is not their theoretical views; it’s that they don’t care about it enough to lift a finger to do anything about abortion rights, including doing anything to try to prevent the relentless real-world assault on those rights (see PrettyAmiable’s comment).

      • Aaliyah
        January 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm

        Talking about abortion as a normal reproductive health decision certainly does help women. I’m not disagreeing there. However, that discourse doesn’t require men’s participation outside of men supporting the woman’s right to choose and challenging the stigma that women face.

        Note that I’m talking about a specific discourse here, one that solely relates to women’s reproductive freedom. Not men’s reproductive freedom. Men don’t get to center themselves in that discourse because in doing so all they will accomplish, good intent notwithstanding, is a derail in their favor. They already have plenty of space to talk about how abortions can be beneficial in ways that don’t only affect the person who aborts, so they don’t need to introduce those opinions to a discourse in which women articulate their political aims in relation to gaining reproductive freedom.

        Do you want more men to feel the way you do about abortion? I can’t say I have a problem with that. But that aim can’t be the center of pro-choice politics, focused on women’s reproductive freedom, for very obvious reasons.

      • January 30, 2015 at 9:52 pm

        Especially men, who have largely been taught that Abortion Is Bad. Even if they think it should be legal, most of them think it is still a Bad And Sorrowful Thing,

        Not in my experience. Most men I’ve ever known (and I admit I haven’t been friends with that many “social conservatives”) claim not to have any problem at all with abortion (except perhaps with the apocryphal “woman who decides on a whim, five minutes before she’s due, that she wants to kill her baby).

        Most men in my social circle are pro-choice. But then again, no one in my social circle voted for George W. Bush, and somehow he was elected.
        Back when I was in high school and college, I would say that EVERY male I knew who identified as Catholic was a anti-abortion. I can’t tell you how often my assertion that the woman should be allowed to choose was countered with ‘but, doesn’t the man get a choice???’ I tended to answer that by saying I also believe any man who gets pregnant should be allowed to choose and rarely did they understand my point, generally straightfaced-ly retorting without a hint of irony, ‘but, a man can’t get pregnant.’

      • Asia
        January 31, 2015 at 9:36 pm

        In my experience, men have been taught that abortion is bad or sad. This is the political strategy of the pro-life movement. like Fat Steve said I too have experience with Catholics. I have never met a Catholic man that wasn’t pro-life. And I’m talking about liberal Catholic s who support gay rights and birth control.

        Donna I think part of the problem is that liberals don’t have experience with social conservatives. A large part of reproductive freedom is the frameing of abortion as bad.

      • PrettyAmiable
        January 27, 2015 at 11:40 am

        I’m with you, Aaliyah. My health and wellbeing is not in any way a favor for anyone. There are other medical decisions you make that impact those that are close to you, but no one is making videos that say, “Honey, thank you so much for getting a flu shot. We have a kid whose immune system is compromised, and this was the right decision for us” because that shit is patronizing.

      • a_lawyer
        January 27, 2015 at 5:07 pm

        Actually people make pro-vaccination statements all of the time.

        that particular example happens to be something with what used to be nearly-universal compliance so folks didn’t usually discuss it, but they do now.

      • PrettyAmiable
        January 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

        Cool – citations, please?

      • a lawyer
        January 30, 2015 at 12:38 pm

        Citations for what? High levels of compliance? those would take some googling though I’ve read them before.

        There didn’t used to be much other than “you should vaccinate” because there didn’t used to be a serious and effective antivax movement, much less one which was predicated on conspiracy. That really sprung up around people trying to find explanations for the rise (or “diagnostic rise,” depending on your level of understanding) for autism, which then led to things like the now-discredited Lancet study, which provided fuel for folks like Jenny McCarthy et al.

        As such, you find that while people and groups are now finally focused on dealing with the antivax folks, this just didn’t exist before. There wasn’t a reason to.

        And on topic (but brilliant,) I present The Onion.

  9. ludlow22
    January 24, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    This video is an awesome parody/response.

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