I'm a mother of six, and a Mormon. I have a good understanding of arguments surrounding abortion, religious and otherwise. I've been listening to men grandstand about women's reproductive rights, and I'm convinced men actually have zero interest in stopping abortion. Here's why ...
If you want to stop abortion, you need to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And men are 100% responsible for unwanted pregnancies. No for real, they are. Perhaps you are thinking: IT TAKES TWO! And yes, it does take two for intentional pregnancies. But ALL unwanted pregnancies are caused by the irresponsible ejaculations of men. Period. Don't believe me? Let me walk you through it.
Let's start with this: Women can only get pregnant about two days each month. And that's for a limited number of years. That makes 24 days a year a women might get pregnant. But men can cause pregnancy 365 days a year. In fact, if you're a man who ejaculates multiple times a day, you could cause multiple pregnancies daily. In theory, a man could cause 1,000-plus unwanted pregnancies in just one year. And though their sperm gets crappier as they age, men can cause unwanted pregnancies from puberty till death.
So just starting with basic biology and the calendar, it's easy to see men are the issue here.
But what about birth control? If a woman doesn't want to risk an unwanted pregnancy, why wouldn't she just use birth control? If a women can manage to figure out how to get an abortion, surely she can get birth control, right? Great questions.
Modern birth control is possibly the greatest invention of the last century, and I am very grateful for it. It's also brutal. The side effects for many women are ridiculously harmful. So ridiculous that when an oral contraception for men was created, it wasn't approved ... because of the side effects. And the list of side effects was about one-third as long as the known side effects for women's oral contraception ("Male Birth Control Study Killed After Men Report Side Effects," National Public Radio, Nov. 3, 2016). There's a lot to be unpacked just in that story, but I'll simply point out (in case you didn't know) that as a society, we really don't mind if women suffer, physically or mentally, as long as it makes things easier for men.
A women can be the sluttliest slut in the entire world and she will never find herself with an unwanted pregnancy unless a man shows up and ejaculates irresponsibly.
But good news, men: Even with the horrible side effects, women are still very willing to use birth control. Unfortunately, it's harder to get than it should be. Birth control options for women require a doctor's appointment and a prescription. It's not free, and often not cheap. In fact, there are many people trying to make it more expensive by fighting to make sure insurance companies refuse to cover it. Oral contraceptives for women can't be acquired easily, or at the last minute. And they don't work instantly. If we're talking about the pill, it requires consistent daily use and doesn't leave much room for mistakes, forgetfulness or unexpected disruptions to daily schedules. And again, the side effects can be brutal. I'M STILL GRATEFUL FOR IT PLEASE DON'T TAKE IT AWAY.
I'm just saying women's birth control isn't simple or easy.
In contrast, let's look at birth control for men, meaning condoms. Condoms are readily available at all hours, inexpensive, convenient and don't require a prescription. They're effective, and they work on demand, instantly. Men can keep them stocked up just in case, so they're always prepared. Amazing! They are so much easier than birth control options for women.
As a bonus, in general, women love when men use condoms. They keep us from getting STDs, they don't lessen our pleasure during sex or prevent us from climaxing. And the best part? Cleanup is so much easier — no waddling to the toilet as your jizz drips down our legs. So why in the world are there ever unwanted pregnancies? Why don't men just use condoms every time they have sex? Seems so simple, right?
Oh. I remember. Men don't love condoms. In fact, men frequently pressure women to have sex without a condom. And it's not unheard of for men to remove the condom during sex, without the women's permission or knowledge. It's called "stealthing." (Pro-tip: That's assault.)
Why would men want to have sex without a condom? Good question. Apparently it's because for the minutes they are penetrating their partner, having no condom on gives the experience more pleasure.
So ... there are men willing to risk getting a woman pregnant — which means literally risking her life, her health, her social status, her relationships and her career — so that they can experience a few minutes of slightly more pleasure? Is that for real? Yes. Yes, it is.
What are we talking about here, pleasure-wise? If there's a pleasure scale, with pain beginning at zero and going down into the negatives, a back-scratch falling at 5, and an orgasm without a condom being a 10, where would sex with a condom fall? Like a 7 or 8? So it's not like sex with a condom is not pleasurable; it's just not as pleasurable. An 8 instead of a 10.
Let me emphasize that again: Men regularly choose to put women at massive risk by having non-condom sex, in order to experience a few minutes of slightly more pleasure.
Now keep in mind, for the truly condom-averse, men also have a non-condom, always-ready birth control built right in, called the pull-out. It's not perfect, and it's a favorite joke, but it is also 96% effective, according to information on plannedparenthood.org. So surely, we can expect men who aren't wearing a condom to at least pull out every time they have sex, right?
Nope. And why not?
Well, again, apparently it's slightly more pleasurable to climax inside a vagina than, say, on their partner's stomach. So men are willing to risk the life, health and well-being of women, in order to experience a tiny bit more pleasure for like 5 seconds during orgasm. It's mind-boggling and disturbing when you realize that's the choice men are making. And honestly, I'm not as mad as I should be about this, because we've trained men from birth that their pleasure is of utmost importance in the world. (And to disassociate sex and pregnancy.)
While we're here, let's talk a bit more about pleasure and biology. Did you know that a man CAN'T get a woman pregnant without having an orgasm? Which means that we can conclude getting a woman pregnant is a pleasurable act for men.
But did you further know that men CAN get a woman pregnant without HER feeling any pleasure at all? In fact, it's totally possible for a man to impregnate a woman even while causing her excruciating pain, trauma or horror.
In contrast, a woman can have nonstop orgasms with or without a partner and never once get herself pregnant. A woman's orgasm has literally nothing to do with pregnancy or fertility — her clitoris exists not for creating new babies, but simply for pleasure. No matter how many orgasms she has, they won't make her pregnant. Pregnancies can only happen when men have an orgasm. Unwanted pregnancies can only happen when men orgasm irresponsibly.
What this means is a women can be the sluttliest slut in the entire world who loves having orgasms all day long and all night long and she will never find herself with an unwanted pregnancy unless a man shows up and ejaculates irresponsibly.
Women enjoying sex does not equal unwanted pregnancy and abortion. Men enjoying sex and having irresponsible ejaculations is what causes unwanted pregnancies and abortion.
Let's talk more about responsibility. Men often don't know, and don't ask, and don't think to ask, if they've caused a pregnancy. They may never think of it, or associate sex with making babies at all. Why? Because there are zero consequences for men who cause unwanted pregnancies.
If the woman decides to have an abortion, the man may never know he caused an unwanted pregnancy with his irresponsible ejaculation. If the woman decides to have the baby, or put the baby up for adoption, the man may never know he caused an unwanted pregnancy with his irresponsible ejaculation, or that there's now a child walking around with 50% of his DNA.
If the woman does tell him that he caused an unwanted pregnancy and that she's having the baby, the closest thing to a consequence for him is that he may need to pay child support. But our current child support system is well-known to be a joke — 61% of men (or women) who are legally required to pay it, simply don't. With little or no repercussions. Their credit isn't even affected. So, many men keep going as is, causing unwanted pregnancies with irresponsible ejaculations and never giving it a thought.
When the topic of abortion comes up, men might think, "Abortion is horrible; women should not have abortions," and never once consider the man who CAUSED the unwanted pregnancy. If you're not holding men responsible for unwanted pregnancies, then you are wasting your time. Stop protesting at clinics. Stop shaming women. Stop trying to overturn abortion laws. If you actually care about reducing or eliminating the number of abortions in our country, simply HOLD MEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.
What would that look like? What if there was a real and immediate consequence for men who cause an unwanted pregnancy? What kind of consequence would make sense? Should it be as harsh, painful, nauseating, scarring, expensive, risky, and life-altering as forcing a woman to go through a nine-month unwanted pregnancy?
In my experience, men really like their testicles. If irresponsible ejaculations were putting their balls at risk, they would stop being irresponsible. Does castration seem like a cruel and unusual punishment? Definitely. But is it worse than forcing 500,000 women a year to puke daily for months, gain 40 pounds, and then rip their bodies apart in childbirth? Is a handful of castrations worse than women dying during forced pregnancy & childbirth?
Put a castration law on the books, implement the law, let the media tell the story, and in three months or less, ta-da! Abortions will have virtually disappeared. Can you picture it? No more abortions in less than three months, without ever trying to outlaw them. Amazing.
For those of you who consider abortion to be murder, wouldn't you be onboard with having a handful of men castrated, if it prevented 500,000 murders each year? And if not, is that because you actually care more about policing women's bodies, morality and sexuality than you do about reducing or eliminating abortions? (That's a rhetorical question.)
Hey, you can even have the men who will be castrated bank their sperm before it happens — just in case they want to responsibly have kids some day. Can't wrap your head around a physical punishment for men? Even though you seem to be more than fine with physical punishments for women? OK. Then how about this prevention idea: At the onset of puberty, all men in the U.S. could be required by law to get a vasectomy.
Vasectomies are very safe, totally reversible, and about as invasive as a doctor's exam for a woman getting a birth control prescription. There is some soreness afterwards for about 24 hours, but that's pretty much it for side effects. So much better than the pill, which is taken by millions of women in our country, the side effects of which (as discussed above) are well-known and can be brutal.
If/when the man becomes a responsible adult and perhaps finds a mate, if they want to have a baby, the vasectomy can be reversed and then redone once the childbearing stage is over. And each man can bank their sperm before the vasectomy, just in case. It's not that wild of an idea — 80% of men in the U.S. are circumcised, most as babies. And that's not reversible.
Don't like my ideas? That's fine. I'm sure there are better ones. Go ahead and suggest your own ideas. My point is that it's nonsense to focus on women if you're trying to get rid of abortions. Abortion is the "cure" for an unwanted pregnancy. If you want to stop abortions, you need to prevent the "disease" — meaning, unwanted pregnancies. And the only way to do that is by focusing on men, because: Men cause 100% of unwanted pregnancies. Or: Irresponsible ejaculations by men cause 100% of unwanted pregnancies.
If you're a man, what would the consequence need to be for you to never again ejaculate irresponsibly? Would it be money-related? Maybe a loss of rights or freedoms? Physical pain? Ask yourselves: What would it take for you to value the life of your sexual partner more than your own temporary pleasure or convenience?
Are you someone who learns better with analogies? Let's try this one: Think of another great pleasure in life, let's say food. Think of your favorite meal, dessert or drink. What if you found out that every time you indulged in that favorite food, you risked causing great physical and mental pain for someone you know intimately. You might not cause any pain, but it's a real risk. Well, you'd probably be sad, but never indulge in that food again, right? Not worth the risk!
And then, what if you further found out, there was a simple thing you could do before you ate that favorite food and it would eliminate the risk of causing pain to someone else. Which is great news!
BUT the simple thing you need to do makes the experience of eating the food slightly less pleasurable. To be clear, it would still be VERY pleasurable, but slightly less so. Like maybe you have to eat the food with a fork or spoon that you don't particularly like. Would you be willing to do that simple thing, and eliminate the risk of causing pain to someone you know intimately, every single time you ate your favorite food?
OF COURSE YOU WOULD. Condoms (or even pulling out) is that simple thing. Don't put women at risk. Don't choose to maximize your own pleasure if it risks causing women pain.
In summary: Stop trying to control women's bodies and sexuality. Unwanted pregnancies are caused by men.