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Punish The Men, Too

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I usually stay away from politics in my blog, but Mr. Trump’s recent comments on abortion have single-handedly pushed me over the edge.   “Punish the women,” indeed.

To the best of my knowledge, there is only one case of immaculate conception on record. All of the other pregnant women in the history of the world have had a partner in conception. A man.

Why am I writing about this in a space usually reserved for After 50 issues?  I’m not having any more children, but my granddaughters are approaching the age of reproduction AND it’s my issue because I vote and have at least some responsibility for creating their futures and the future of the society they will inhabit.

This isn’t a pro- or anti-abortion column.  It’s a column about responsibility.

Take a look at photos of protesters in front of Planned Parenthood clinics.  How many of them are men?  How many are holding signs that say, “We are equally responsible for unwanted pregnancies” or “Women don’t get pregnant by themselves, you know” or “Men For sane, safe sex”?

I know we get caught up in the pro-life/pro-choice rhetoric–and the delicious, powerful current of righteous indignation on both sides.  Even so, this wouldn’t bother me so much if the people posturing in this debate weren’t mostly men.

What would happen if we passed a law that said every man who participated in creating an unwanted pregnancy had the choice of either a public flogging or castration?

That’s an interesting way to frame the punishment conversation.

Mr. Trump, thank you for making the issue so very clear.

9 responses to “Punish The Men, Too”

  1. Mike says:

    I understand what you’re saying George, but only women have the choice to get an abortion. You are assuming all men are on-board with that decision. In fact, many men want the child and the woman doesn’t want to carry and/or raise the child. So, I guess my point is you can’t punish the man if he’s failed to stop a woman from getting an abortion. Ultimately, only she can sign on the dotted line and there’s no box to check that says the father disagrees with her decision.

    • George Schofield says:

      Hi Mike. Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. I’d be interested in where you get your data about many men wanting to keep the child when the women does not. If I can read more about that – especially any research about it – I can include that in future writings. Of course, abortion would not be an issue if both men and women, together, took the necessary steps to not get pregnant to begin with. George

      • Your point IS the point, George. Awkward decisions are made unnecessary by precaution. Because of HIV/AIDS and STD’s, it really is now both men and women who have to make decisions about what is safe sex. If people are responsible before the fact, then no woman is left to deal alone with the decision about what to do after the fact, and no man has to face the realization that failure to be responsible at the time left both of the parties in a difficult, sometimes conflict-ridden, situation. In truth, as a woman who has known a number of women in this predicament across my lifetime, the more common experience is that the man pushes FOR abortion, or just abandons ship and says, “Do whatever you want. I’m out of here.” I can only think of one instance of someone I knew where the man wanted the baby and the woman didn’t; in that instance, she had the baby, and then he refused to support her or the child and she had an extremely difficult life.

        • George Schofield says:

          Hi Judy.

          Thanks for weighing in. In the end, like vehicles and firearms, the impact of sex requires responsibility and good judgment. From both men and women. Also like vehicles and firearms t’s so easy to have but with such long term potential consequences.

          George

  2. Mark says:

    Hi George,

    The point you make is a good one, but I admit I can be a cynic… I just see both the man and the woman ending up getting punished and lawyers growing rich in a new industry speciality debating the nuances of the term ‘unwanted’…

    I think the root of the problem is that the seeds of tolerance, understanding and love (in the sense of caring about another’s evolution as an individual) have found stoney ground around the world at the moment. The only way to fight this is to keep replanting the seeds of tolerance, understanding and love until they outgrow the negative values that are dominating.

    All the best,

    Mark

    • George Schofield says:

      Great point, Mark. Stoney ground can be all around us. In an unanticipated/unwanted pregnancy situation, who deserves kindness, especially connected to individuals’ own evolution? I’ll have to think about that and do something with it. George

  3. Adrienne Wagner says:

    Hi George, thank you for tackling such a sensitive subject. It’s hard to believe that Trump would utter such a moronic statement. Is he not aware of how many young teens become pregnant from a total stranger, or a male family member, so he wants these innocent victims punished? If my daughter found herself in this situation, I would have taken her to my very understanding gynecologist, and he would have taken care of this unwanted embryo.
    This is not a wanted child or one created out of love.
    Your granddaughters are very fortunate to have someone like you in their lives,
    Thanks again,
    Adrienne

    • George Schofield says:

      Thanks, Adrienne. Unanticipated pregnancies can tend to echo down the generations and, unfortunately, be repeated. My point continues to be that women don’t create it alone. Men are equally responsible. If we can shift our attention to intelligent, responsible prevention, we can save everyone a lot of grief.

  4. Jari Searns says:

    Hi George,

    An intriguing subject and every person who responded thus far seems to have a thoughtful reply. I too have a Granddaughter who is now of an age when she could possibly be faced with this type of dilemma and like you should this occur, I would expect that her male partner would accept responsibility and together with possibly the input of the parents involved they would reach a satisfactory assessment and a thoughtful conclusion.

    You see I have so much confidence in my Granddaughter that I’m certain, except in the case of unexpected rape, she would only engage in protected sex to prevent such an unwanted scenario from occurring in the first place.

    I think it’s a shame that a neophyte politician like Donald Trump got caught addressing this question the way he did and as is his usual reaction opened his mouth before engaging his brain…isn’t it a shame that our choices for the next leader of our country are so distasteful…

    We can raise our children to be responsible, but we seem to have little or no control over those people who seek to hold the highest office in our country…

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