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Health Political Commentary

Do men think about whether they want kids every day?

Liked Don’t Show Up for Men Who Won’t Show Up for You by Jill Filipovic (Jill Filipovic)

Democratic voters were fired up about abortion — the number of Dem voters who listed abortion as their #1 issue far outpaced Dem voters who listed anything else.

In the midterms, an astounding 72% of women under 30 voted for Democrats. Among men the same age, it was 54%. These gaps persist with age: Among women 30-44, 57% voted for Dems, while just 43% of men did.

I highlight these age ranges because these are the people getting pregnant.

I am a woman who does not want and has never wanted children. This is an unpopular choice in our culture. But I must renew this decision on a daily basis when I take my birth control pill* to prevent pregnancy. Every day of my adult life, I have started my morning by making the choice not to be a mother again. 

Even for those not on the pill, reproduction is embedded in the typical adult woman’s physical lived experience, with thirty-odd years of monthly reminders of our fertility.

Maybe men also think about having kids every day. Without the daily reminder, I probably wouldn’t that often. I’m guessing most don’t? I hope not, because if they do and half of American men still care more about tax rates and gun rights than women’s right to choose whether to have (more**) kids or not, that’s even more depressing.

It is a very, very complicated thing to hold that a man can love you personally — as your father, your brother, your partner — but also devalue women as a class. Even more difficult is to truly understand that when he devalues women as a class, that includes you.

I see how women are being treated in Iran *today* and know how lucky I am to live in a Blue state. And I fear the American evangelicals who are just like the religious extremists in power in Iran, who want America to be a Christian nation so they can control women’s bodies and minds. They are chipping away at us, little by little. The courts recently ruled businesses don’t have to cover pRep in their insurance plans because they’re allowed “not to support the gay lifestyle.” It isn’t much of a stretch to extend that to birth control: they will paint women who use birth control as promiscuous and they will come for it.

*I could switch to another birth control method that doesn’t require daily use, but even with the annoyance of remembering to take it every day, the pill still seems like my best option. The side effects are minimal, and I suspect it might help prevent hormonal migraines which seem to run in the family. I know many women with an IUD and every one has told a story of agonizing pain to have it inserted, so I’d rather take the daily chore and need to get my prescription renewed annually.

I just want men to recognize just how much thought and effort women put into reproductive choice, constantly. Abortion is a last defense when our other tools fail. See also: who our culture considers responsible for contraception

** The majority of people who get abortions already have children.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at tracy.durnell@gmail.com. She/her.

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