Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Boys and Abortion

It's been a source of lingering shock to me that when we talk about abortion we NEVER talk about boys. Hello - girls don't knock themselves up, it takes two to tango so why does the abortion-drama happen entirely in womanland? The only men I see actively involved are the ones protesting outside the clinic (a conversation for another day)or the ones crying "but doesn't the father get a choice!?! (even writing that gets me sort of heated up). But I found this article Roe vs. Wade vs. My Boyfriend and it makes a little more sense. Not more sense that we don't talk about the boys involved, but more sense about why it's not always safe to take the convo out of womanland. Some lack of empathy, some disconnect between saying the words "I believe it's a woman's choice" (or not) and actually dealing with the physical and emotional reality of an abortion. It's like the difference between knowing that girls get their period and seeing the actual uterine lining.

It was simply something that happened to me, and I shared it with my friends like I would've shared any other story. It would have felt wrong not to. My female friends laughed when I laughed, commiserated when I needed it and treated the procedure as lightheartedly as I did. That's all I wanted. To be able to define my own experience, not the other way around.

But there was a palpable discomfort when I had the same conversation with men. For the guys I was dating, the idea of a vacuum-like apparatus being the last visitor in my vagina was more troubling than if it had been, say, Stalin's penis. Even die-hard liberals who would wax on about a woman's right to choose were downright uncomfortable when actually presented with a woman who chose.

My friend Allie was warned. When she'd had an abortion a year before me, she was treated by a sweet, tattooed, hippie nurse practitioner who provided her with some advice: "Do you have a boyfriend? Maybe don't tell boys. Sometimes boys don't know how to deal with this."


Jezebel's Megan wonders if it's not the maturity that comes from the experience of being in an actual long term relationship that privy's men to the inner workings of our female pipes, but I wonder if it's only in the best of relationships that the honest, open, communication gets to the point of seeing used tampons. I wonder if unfortunately (seriously - unfortunately)far too many men don't get enough of an education about "icky girl stuff". I wonder if men don't need to do some more research.

1 comment:

Justin said...

While I do not pretend to speak for all males, I do ratify the assertion that a disconnect exists between high-minded "Pro-Choice" positions and the reality of abortion and its physical and emotional ramifications. I do not have any easy answers, but I think that more males need to be alerted to the fact that all actions have consequences and they cannot simply play ostrich when it suits them. I hope, through discussion and education, we reach a point where males realize that their (our) responsibility is not over the second sex is finished.