Living “Bro-Choice”: It just doesn’t add up

Trying to cover up the incoherence with a euphemism: “reproductive justice.”

injustice social justice babyRecently, RH Reality Check published an article about Choice USA’s new “bro-choice” campaign. According to Andrew Jenkins, this campaign is designed to “lift up the work young men are already doing to challenge gender oppression in their own communities, and we’re recruiting more young men to do the same.” The article then tries to go through a host of issues men should be more outspoken about.

Should men stand against rape and sexual violence? Should they speak out about sexual abuse, seek appropriate health care for themselves, make healthy sexual choices, and build strong families? Without a doubt, the answer is a resounding yes.

However, Andrew Jenkins and Choice USA dance around one of the main issues at play – abortion. Very few would disagree that men should be involved with the issues listed above. Very few would ask a man who spoke out against rape to shut his mouth. Very few would call a man less of a man for working to build a strong family. Do more men need to be encouraged to do these things? Sure. But what does this have to do with abortion?

Jenkins and Choice USA imply that it has a whole lot to do with abortion. Now, only once in Jenkins’s article, not once on the Bro-Choice page, and not once in the Bro-Choice pledge is the word “abortion” mentioned. Instead, a new favorite term – reproductive justice – is thrown around without a real explanation or definition. Here are the phrases and sentences that use “reproductive justice”:

  • [men’s] self-interest in fighting for sexual and reproductive justice
  • an analysis of masculinity in the reproductive justice framework
  • disrupt the dominant narrative that reproductive justice is a “women’s issue”
  • the relationship between men, masculinity, queerness and reproductive justice
  • If you stop a person on the street and ask them to describe what they think a reproductive justice activist looks like, chances are they are going to describe a woman (who may or may not be standing next to a pile of burning bras).
  • In order to truly win reproductive justice, we have to undertake a serious dialogue about the indisputable connection between traditional representations of masculinity and reproductive oppression.
  • challenge traditional gender norms and actively speak out in favor of reproductive justice
  • Living Bro-Choice means being a vocal advocate for reproductive justice, and an authentic ally to women.
  • Be an outspoken champion for reproductive justice.

socialjusticeOkay, we can gather a few things from this list:

  1. Men should fight for reproductive justice.
  2. Traditional masculinity doesn’t support reproductive justice; therefore, it needs to be re-analyzed.
  3. Advocating for reproductive justice is being a true ally of women.

But here’s the problem: it just doesn’t add up. Regardless of the failure to acknowledge that reproductive justice is a new term for abortion (as well as other related issues), we know what the Bro-Choice campaign is talking about here. Despite the pro-choice movement’s typical disdain for any man who speaks out against abortion, they apparently need allies so badly that they are encouraging men to stand up for women – as long as the men do it their way.

Why should men stand up for a notion of “justice” that isn’t true justice at all?

Under the true definitions of justice, it is dishonest to redefine justice to include an action that is, by nature, unjust.  Abortion – which is included and emphasized in ‘reproductive justice’ – violates every single understanding of justice out there.

Abortion does not give every person what they are due.  Instead, it prematurely takes the life of an innocent human being who never had the chance to exercise their equal right to life. …

Abortion conforms neither to truth, fact, or reason.  Truth, the facts of medical science, common sense, human dignity, basic moral decency, and reason all tell us that the unborn child is a person, deserving of the equal right to life.

Abortion is as far from true justice as you can get.

True, traditional masculinity doesn’t support abortion. Men used to be taught to value the lives of their children. They used to be taught to care for the women in their lives – not because women were completely unable to take care of themselves, but because it’s the right thing to do to care about someone you love. Traditional masculinity recognizes that you don’t build a strong family by supporting the killing of the family’s most innocent and helpless members. Traditional masculinity does not allow men to take the “easy way out” by aborting an unplanned child. Traditional masculinity does not allow men to hand a woman the cash, drive her to the clinic, and leave her to suffer through the physical and emotional consequences of abortion for the rest of her life.

It’s obvious that the abortion wrecked my life. Emotionally, I was a different person before and after it. It left a path of destruction in my life. My family, my first marriage, my image of myself – all a total wreck. Nothing will ever be the same.

I know now the lies I was told, the truths that were withheld from me, the facts that were glossed over or left out. As a pregnant woman, I go to my doctor’s office and see pictures of babies in tummies. Month by month, I hear my baby’s heartbeat. I’m told how to do everything that’s best for my baby’s health. Why is it legal across town to NOT tell these things?

Supporting abortion is the absolute last way to be a true ally of women. Women do not need more men speaking out and encouraging them to get abortions or even informing them that it’s “their choice.” Women do not need men taking them to places that lie to them, all the while claiming to provide “services.” Women do not need to end up at a clinic like Gosnell’s or like Delaware Planned Parenthood because men told them it was okay. Simply put, advocating for abortion is not being an ally for women.

Also – since the “Bro-Choice Pledge” advocates asking for women’s consent and respecting her answer, where is the section where Choice USA speaks out against men who commit violence against women who refuse to get an abortion? Where’s the outcry against that widespread violence and the respect for those women?

(Interestingly, in Jenkins’s only use of the word “abortion,” he asserts that “the truth is that women aren’t the only ones who have abortions.” Whaaaat? Since when have men lain down on the operating tables, put their feet in stirrups, and been subjected to abortions?)

Perhaps if Jenkins wants to advocate for men becoming allies of women, he could get his most basic facts straight first. Women are indeed the ones who have abortions. They are not the only ones affected, but they are the only ones who can have them. And any true man will refuse to let a woman get an elective abortion (of course, in nonviolent ways). He will refuse to let her walk through the doors of any clinic, hospital, or other place that does abortions and, in so doing, hurts women and children in unspeakable ways.

A true man will stand up as a woman’s real ally in the situation and do everything in his power to care for the child he helped to create – as well as for the woman who is carrying his child.

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