You must see this video from Heroic Media in order to fully comprehend how manipulative, disempowering, and woman-erasing it is:
Under the guise of men taking responsibility, in the sense of guilt, they advocate aggressively for men taking responsibility to control the women in their lives. They elide the fact that it is women’s bodies (or, more precisely, those of female bodied people) that get pregnant, incur risks and responsibilities when pregnant, and that undergo abortions. They try to flat out erase the bodily reality of pregnancy and abortion.
Because apparently what a woman does is the responsibility of the man who got her pregnant to control.
Even though it was her legal right to make the choice without consulting him, he had the abortion. He didn’t just encourage it. He didn’t just reluctantly accept it. It was his agency at work and not hers. If he didn’t stop her, the buck stops with him. Because he’s the man. And men make no excuses. They get those women under control or they man up and take responsibility.
Even though it was her body that underwent the medical procedure, he had the abortion. Because the bodily reality of abortion is a mere triviality. All that matters was what the man’s will was. The man willing an abortion–or even merely respecting the legal or moral rights of the woman he is involved with to make her own decision–constitutes having an abortion. The bodily details involving the woman’s uterus is merely the details of implementing the man’s will apparently.
Even if she made the choices by weighing the potentially serious risks of pregnancy to her body (risks not incurred by the him), the man should take full responsibility for the choice. He should unequivocally apologize if he let it happen in the past and resolve to man up and not let it happen if it’s a prospective course of action under consideration in the future.
Even if her choice was made based upon her unwillingness to be tethered to the (controlling? abusive? disempowering? merely incompatible?) man who impregnated her, it was his choice and responsibility when she got an abortion. And he should have stepped up to intervene and stop it like a real man. Force her to be stuck with him around for the rest of her life, like a real man. He regrets not clamping down a little harder on her for her own good. All women’s abortions must be because men choose them for women, even in those cases where they thought they were making their own choice. No woman in her right mind would just not want children.
Even if her choice was about her own ability to strategize her life so that she could both fulfill her personal dreams of self-actualization, compatible with having children at the right time in her life, it was morally really up to him to determine whether she did that. And he apologizes for allowing her to be so selfish and exhorts all other men to dictate how the women they impregnate can balance their work and family life goals. Strangely though–he doesn’t say anything about how to reform the whole social conception of gender roles and create laws which favor more maternity leave, child care opportunities for working parents, and other financial aid to new parents. He also doesn’t talk about dealing with crippling income inequality that forces so many people to delay having children because they can’t afford them. He also doesn’t seem to care, like many women choosing abortions do, about the effects of having a new child might have on her other children (including those with special needs). In short, he takes responsibility for her having an abortion but he does not at all take responsibility for supporting less patriarchal laws and gender norms that might incentivize her to have children or make it less of an onerously disproportionate burden on her than on him to have children.
He’s so sorry that you were “subjected to such a terrible thing and no one tried to rescue you.” It’s awful that you were forced to do what you chose to do according to your own will. No one should be subjected to having choices in life. Not when those choices will drastically alter the course of your entire future and involve major responsibilities. He’s so sorry no one tried to rescue you from yourself. As women you are vulnerable creatures in need of the protection of strong men who will rescue you by forcing you to become a mother against your will, before you are ready, or after you have decided to stop having children.
He’s so sorry that “men [are] not taking a greater stand in this area.” Apparently having all the abortion restrictions of all time enacted by overwhelmingly male legislative bodies, who routinely hold hearings which privilege the voices of male clergy and other male lobbyists disproportionately over women’s voices, have just not shown enough male involvement. Men have left you in the lurch to still have some rights to abortion left. What is even the point of all this disproportionately male representation in government if it can’t do simple things like take away the rights of bodily autonomy from women? What is all this patriarchy even for if it’s going to fail in such a basic task that it exists to serve in the first place?
He’s so so sorry that the church has not pummeled you with enough propaganda about what murderers you are for having abortions. There haven’t been enough terrifying picket lines outside abortion clinics or threatening phone calls to abortion providers. There haven’t been enough doctors murdered or clinics bombed. There haven’t been enough attempts to turn opposition to abortion rights into the new test of what makes someone a Christian. There haven’t been enough attempts from Christian leaders to legislate their religious opposition to abortion to be imposed on everyone indiscriminately.
And he’s also so sorry you hide the fact you had an abortion. If only the churches had more messaging that you were a murderer for having an abortion, maybe you wouldn’t treat it like such an unspeakable and private matter. Maybe if you were just invalidated a little bit more after you exercised your will and your right to choose what happens in your own body, future and family… Maybe if you were taught to see yourself as helpless to make your own decisions and encouraged to see yourself as a damsel in need of rescuing by paternalistic men and a paternalistic church who restrict your options for you… Maybe if you had a big strong responsible man who could do the thinking for you… then maybe you he wouldn’t have to shame you like this. If you have less choice in the first place, that means you get to feel less guilty when you show up at church and get preached to about what a wretched sinner you are as a human being–and (especially) as a woman. Less choice in the first place means a man can come right out and force you to go through with your pregnancy rather than just try to passive aggressively manipulate you.
In short, he’s so so sorry abortion is available so you can choose it against his will. He’s here to rescue you by taking responsibility for you. He’ll be the man every woman really wants; one who frees her from the burdens of self-determination. He’ll be the self-styled martyr and savior everyone wants; one who shames you so he can “rescue” you. He’ll be Jesus for you. He’ll take your sin for you, he’ll take your guilt for you, and he’ll take your choices away from you.