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Jul 23 2011

“Men should have veto power over abortions; Women should be held criminally liable if they refuse”

Put on your rage hats, folks. This one’s a doozy.
Keith Ablow – psychiatrist, psychological thriller author, and Fox News personality – thinks that not only should men have veto power over abortions, but women who ignore said veto should be held criminally responsible. Why? Take it away, Keith.

I have limited the scope of my argument intentionally, in order to focus on what I consider to be a question that puts fairness front and center: If a man has participated in creating a new life and is fully willing to parent his child (independently, if necessary), why should he not have any control over whether that life is ended?

Because I man doesn’t have to carry said child for nine months. When we achieve the technology to remove a fetus and put it in a mechanical womb chamber, then we can have the discussion on paternal input.

We are ignoring the quiet message that current abortion policy conveys to every American male: You have no voice in, and, therefore, no responsibility for, the pregnancies which you help to create. Your descendants are disposable, at the whim of the women you choose to be intimate with.


Or maybe you should know if a woman is pro-choice or not before you stick your penis in her, and if it’s so goddamn important to you, then don’t stick your penis in her. A mindblowing proposal, I know.

Giving would-be fathers a lack of veto power over abortions is connected psychologically to the epidemic of absentee fathers in this country. We can’t, on the one hand, be credible in bemoaning the number of single mothers raising their children, while, on the other hand, giving men the clear message that bringing new lives to the planet is the exclusive domain, and under the exclusive control, of women.


Whether stated or not, the underlying message of withholding from men their proper rights to father the children they create is that they are not proper custodians, nor properly responsible, for their children.


The notion that there is no emotional injury done men by depriving them of decision-making power as to whether the children they father are aborted is naïve.


Just in my own practice of psychiatry, I have listened to dozens of men express lingering, sometimes intense, pain over abortions that proceeded either without their consent, or without them having spoken up about their desires to bring their children to term and parent them.


Should we really continue to give men the clear message that that they should deny, and that we have no regard for, their feelings about the unrealized lives of their potential sons and daughters?

Isn’t it interesting that we don’t generally even ask fathers how they are feeling in the days leading to abortions, nor in their aftermath? We don’t even ask how they are feeling in the aftermath of abortions of fetuses who have reached the second trimester, even if they have been seen by their fathers during ultrasound imaging. Aren’t we at risk of suggesting that we don’t much care how they feel?

Men haven’t been taught that they should consider the lives they help create as their responsibility from conception (other than providing financially for the child if born), but I believe those lives are their responsibility. And I believe that with that responsibility ought come certain rights.

Citation needed.

I understand that adopting social policy that gives fathers the right to veto abortions would lead to presently unknown psychological consequences for women forced to carry babies to term. But I don’t know that those consequences are greater than those suffered by men forced to end the lives of their unborn children.



Um, actually, the consequences aren’t unknown, because we have data from thousands of years of women not being able to have abortions. We’ve historically been nothing more than baby incubators, and that’s exactly what you want to return to. And you know what happens when women are forced to carry babies to term? They still try to get back alley abortions, and women die.


Adult humans dying. Kind of more important than emotional consequences or the abortion of some cells that don’t have feelings or memories or dreams.

And I am absolutely certain that no woman needs to become pregnant who wishes not to become pregnant. Women taking full responsibility for their sexual activity and their bodies would mean that no woman would face the prospect of being compelled to bring a child to term.


But men can’t take responsibility for their sexual activity by choosing to have sex with someone who’s anti-choice. Because that would restrict men’s ability to have sex freely, when this issue is really about punishing women who have sex.


Seriously, if this paragraph doesn’t illustrate that mindset, I don’t know what will. In what world do we live in that we force people to suffer through all negative consequences instead of trying to alleviate them when possible? If you go skiing, you know there’s a chance you might break your leg. If it happens do we scream “WELL YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE GONE SKIING, SUFFER THROUGH IT!”?


No, we let you go to the fucking doctor.

It’s time to give men their due as fathers—from the moment of conception. Allow men who want to be fathers, and who could be good parents, to compel the women they impregnate to bring their children to term.


Because a man’s feelings are more important than control over your own body. Hear that, ladies?

Look, I do think open communication is important in relationships, and that serious issues like abortion should at least be discussed before making a decision. That’s assuming a healthy relationship, and not cases of rape, incest, abuse, etc where the woman’s disclosure may put her at risk. But we can’t ignore the fact that there’s a biological difference here – women carry children, men do not. That’s why the final decision ultimately lands in the hands of the woman, even if it does cause some distress to men. There’s absolutely no reason to give a man veto power other than the patriarchal idea that men deserve control over women.

I wish I didn’t have to explain this, but anti-choice and anti-women sentiments are rapidly growing in the US. A fact more terrifying than any of this guy’s novels.

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