Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Man's Choice

I know plenty of men who had to get married. We had a little epidemic among my friends in the sixties. Abortions weren’t legal. You did what you had to do.

Then came Roe v. Wade, and I thought: Thank goodness. We can make a mistake and get a second chance. We can have a choice about whether we are ready to be fathers. A choice that doesn’t involve putting a child up for adoption and feeling guilty about never seeing him for the rest of your life, for not doing your duty as a father and a man.

I’ll admit that abortion is an easier choice for a man than for a woman. When I was a young man, in the years when Roe was decided, I didn’t fully understand the psychic cost for the woman, or at least many women. I see better now that some women who have abortions live for the rest of their lives with that same guilt I would feel about abandoning a child to adoption. There are no easy answers here. We’re talking about the beginning (or end) of life. The prime directive for the species. There is nothing that is more important, or evokes more emotion.

But when a child is conceived by a man and a woman who aren’t ready for it, choices must be made. Make a sharp turn on the road of life or leave the baby behind. It’s easy (for me) to see how terminating an early pregnancy could be seen as the best among bad choices.

Abortion is seen as an issue for women. Their bodies, their choice. But it is an issue for men as well. Most young lovers, after they recover from the shock of the positive pregnancy test, sit down and talk about what to do. Before Roe, that meant, from the man’s perspective, either doing the honorable thing or in effect telling your girlfriend good luck with that. Roe gave men and women another choice, one that, while it shuts the door on one potential new life, re-opens it for two others.


  1. I actually think whether abortion is an easy choice or not depends on the individual, and isn't as dependent on gender as one might think. ("I’ll admit that abortion is the easy choice for a man.") But I agree with the rest of this, and especially the very nicely put last line.

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