Men Should Care About Abortion Rights… Because It Affects Them Too

"This ruling in the US will affect men profoundly."

Image Credit: Reuters

Women have been, understandably, sharing their outrage since Roe vs Wade was overturned. But here’s why men should be outraged too.

In 1973, a landmark legal case in the United States – called Roe vs Wade – set the precedent that all women in the US had the constitutional right to an abortion. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the news that last week, on the 24th of June, Roe vs Wade was overturned.

This means that abortion is no longer legal across the US; instead, the individual states can decide whether American women have the right to an abortion.

In the nine days since Roe vs Wade was overturned, there are now six states – Wisconsin, South Dakota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Alabama – where abortions are flat-out illegal (meaning there’s not even an exception for rape or incest). And more states are expected to ban abortions over the next few weeks too.

Understandably, women have been sharing and voicing their outrage over the overturning of Roe vs Wade – millions protested across the US and took to social media to express both disgust at the decision and support for women living in the US.

Most notably, during the Glastonbury music festival, Olivia Rodrigo and Lily Allen sang Allen’s song F*ck You and dedicated it to the five members of the Supreme Court who ruled to overturn Roe vs Wade.

Rodrigo and Allen performed F*ck You after speaking about the overturning of Roe vs Wade; Rodrigo said, “I wanted to dedicate this next song to the five members of the Supreme Court who showed us at the end of the day they truly don’t give a sh*t about freedom.” Image Credit: WireImage

Many of my female friends, most of whom are fellow Australians, also took to social media to post about Roe vs Wade being overturned… but none of my male friends did. I also can’t help but notice that while many notable female celebrities – like Michelle Obama, Taylor Swift, Viola Davis and Madonna, just to name a few – have spoken out about Roe vs Wade, not many male celebrities have.

I understand that abortion rights are primarily a female issue but I think men should definitely care more about them and act as allies in this turbulent time. Firstly, because men should be more supportive of women’s rights in general but also because abortion rights actually do affect men too.

In fact, Kirsten Black, a Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health at the University of Sydney, exclusively told DMARGE, “This ruling in the US will affect men profoundly.”

“Women’s ability to plan if and when to have children impacts on the social, financial and [educational] well-being of not only women themselves, but on their partners and children.”

Kirsten Black, Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health at the University of Sydney

“Furthermore, the risk, as in many other settings, is that if you make abortion illegal it will not reduce the number of people seeking to terminate pregnancies but will just increase the chance that unsafe methods are used. The consequences of this are that women will suffer from complications and even death, with devastating consequences for all.”

Protests have been taking place all across the US since Roe vs Wade was overturned. Image Credit: AP Photo

I also think many men do already care about abortion rights but, perhaps, are unsure whether they should post about it on social media or speak up about it; they may fear that doing so is overstepping their bounds or that they’ll be called a ‘mansplainer’.

However, men shouldn’t be passive; they need to find that happy medium. David Cohen, a law and gender professor at Drexel University, told Fortune, “Men should not be out there trying to run the movement or take away leadership positions. But being a part of it, supporting, listening, and being active are all things that men can and should be doing.”

Likewise, Oren Jacobson, the co-founder of Men4Choice, said men should speak up more when it comes to abortion rights – women shouldn’t have to do it alone.

“… millions of men, who in theory are pro-choice, but are completely passive when it comes to their voice and their energy and their time in the fight for abortion rights and abortion access [need] to get off the sidelines and step in the fight as allies.”

You could also talk to your female loved ones (partner, friends, sister, mother, etc.) and get their perspective and advice on how to best be supportive. Failing that, if you don’t want to be vocal about the overturning of Roe vs Wade but do want to be supportive in some small way, you should donate money to either a reputable pro-choice activist group or an abortion fund (non-profit organisations that provide financial and logistical assistance for patients who cannot afford the costs of an abortion).

Just make sure you do something; no matter how minor it is…

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