E. Scott Cracraft - We guys don't get a vote on this

  • Published in Columns

In recent months, there have been letters to The Sun opposing a woman’s right to reproductive choice. While this may offend some men, “we guys” are not really entitled to a vote on this issue. Even anti-choice women do not really get a vote either, since the decision to terminate a pregnancy is a matter between the woman concerned, her doctor, and her God. It is no one else’s damn business. If men do not like abortion, they can take care that they not be the reason for one.
There are some men who think it is their business, especially if they are the father. Naturally, if a man and a woman are in a committed relationship, such a decision should be discussed but a man does not have the veto power. After all, all we men have to be is sperm donors if that is all we want to be. If that is the case, the birth, care, and raising of the child falls on the mom. The same is true of parental permission and notification laws. Even if a pregnant girl is a minor, it is still her decisions. Parental notification and permission laws are only an end run around the right to choose by making the choice more difficult.

It is disturbing that years after the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade (1974) ruled that a woman has to make that choice, we still have powerful forces trying to deny her that choice. Some of these same individuals and groups even want to deny a woman an abortion in the case of rape or incest. Many also oppose birth control which almost seems like working at cross purposes. Perhaps the real reason is that they just want women “barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen” and to be dependent on (and submissive to) men? Or, perhaps they are just anti-sex?

Since they have been unable to overturn Roe v. Wade, these forces work to make it difficult for women. They enact legislation that is so restrictive that in some states, women must travel to make this choice. Or, they favor legislation to make a woman afraid of an abortion or to undergo degrading, invasive procedures before being allowed to have one.

This writer finds the term “pro-abortion” misleading. He is not “pro-abortion.” He is “pro-choice.” He does not know that if he were a woman if he could make that choice. Many anti-choice advocates like to portray women relying on abortion as birth control. That may have been sometimes true in the Soviet Union and communist China but not in the U.S.A. Most women who choose abortion will tell you that it was one of the hardest decisions in their lives.

The term “pro-life” is misleading, too. It is difficult to believe that most of the anti-choice people are “pro-life.” Although there are some notable exceptions, most seem to favor some pretty “anti-life” policies. They often seem to care about a fetus only until it is born. Then they oppose anything that might make a mom want to keep her baby, thinks like affordable health care, welfare, food stamps, W.I.C., and a host of other social programs. Many support mean, inhumane socio-political agendas. Moreover, they are often also the ones who oppose comprehensive sex education in the schools.

Many picket outside abortion providers claiming to “counsel” women but actually harass them and prevent them from entering a clinic when perhaps they were there for prenatal care because they wanted to keep their baby! Some anti-choice activists go as far as picketing a provider’s private home and even harassing their children. A few even condone—and commit—acts of violence against abortion providers. Is this “pro-life?”
The anti-choice folks also engage in a fair amount of misinformation and disinformation. For instance, a recent writer to The Sun compared abortion to the Nazi Holocaust. As another writer pointed out, this was highly offensive. It was offensive to the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. It also shows a grave ignorance of Nazi Germany’s real attitude toward abortion and toward women.

The Nazis were trying to build a master race. While they had no problem with people they considered inferior having abortions, they did not want German, “Aryan” women to have them. Hitler wanted to expand the number of German people. He believed women should be home taking care of the house and having lots of babies. That is why women were not used for war plant work in Germany as much as in Britain and the U.S.A. Women who had six or eight kids were given awards. By 1943, a doctor could be executed for performing an abortion on a German woman. So, I guess that made the Nazis “pro life?”

In addition, they lobby against late-term abortions as though they are commonplace when in reality, these constitute only a fraction of one percent of all abortions and are always performed when the fetus is not viable or when the mother is in danger. Or, they spread misinformation that abortions are harmful to a woman’s mental or physical health.

Another example: many of the same people work to defund Planned Parenthood by spreading disinformation about the agency. Contrary to what these people say, no Federal funds can be used by Planned Parenthood for abortions. In addition, abortions are only a fraction of what Planned Parenthood does. The organization provides contraception, pre-natal care, and many other basic medical services.

Abortions have been performed since ancient times. Even the harshest laws do not prevent them; women who feel the need to make that choice will do so. If we made it illegal, women would still get them, often with the help of a sympathetic doctor who will write it up as something else. Others, however, will perform them on themselves and wind up with a serious infection or die. Let us all work to keep this basic right of any woman safe and legal.

(Scott Cracraft is a taxpayer, a citizen, a veteran, and a resident of Gilford.)