I was visiting with a (female) friend the other day who was commenting on how few stories we are seeing from men, speaking on their personal experiences around the issue of abortion and an individual’s right (no matter their sex or other characteristics) to control what happens with and inside their/our own bodies. Seemed a fair critique, so, here’s some of my stories. Names withheld to respect everyone’s privacy.
I’ve had several experiences with pregnancy, abortion and miscarriage, on different sides of the equation. One time, a former girlfriend with whom I had recently reconnected told me we had gotten her pregnant, and she wanted to have the child. She and I had had a complicated but in many ways beautiful relationship, and I had long loved her young child from a prior marriage. She took the most generous position possible—pledging to happily raise the child no matter how or even whether I chose to participate—and, welcoming my participation heartily, too. Still, I was profoundly unsure about any real longer-term prospects for she and I, and felt equally strongly that if I was to bring a kid into the world, I did not want to be a part-time or absentee father (having been on the business end of that approach and finding it not to my liking). At the same time, I had what I think many people have when facing an unplanned pregnancy: a fear that this might disturb the trajectory of our lives in a way that might have negative impact. How many relatively powerful or privileged men have “made a problem go away” by encouraging their lovers—in some cases “mistresses” or other unauthorized lovers—to have abortions, whether the woman wanted to or not? I’d wager perfectly good bitcoin that a majority of our publicly pious elected officials have done just this. More than once. Hypocrisy is as hypocrisy does.
In this situation—with a pregnant girlfriend, uncertain what to do—for the first time, I felt deeply conflicted. Ultimately, my FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) felt stronger than any optimism I could muster that this was a good idea–for any of us, frankly. But honestly, for me as much or more than whatever I could even envision as right for the collective.