Freedom From Religion Foundation
This week would have been the 51st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion but was sadly overturned two years ago. So, it is important to reiterate why men should have no say on the issue.
Matters of birth control and abortion should be controlled by women — because only women can fully comprehend how motherhood radically alters a woman’s life. The reasons behind this fact are not merely cultural or social. They come from a fundamental physical phenomenon that underlies the very process of evolution on this planet.
Growing up, I was never particularly drawn to babies. In some ways, I found them rather repellent. I thought puppies and kittens were much cuter and more cuddly. But during the process of giving birth, a complex cocktail of hormones (still not completely understood by medical science) so affected my body and brain that I instantly knew I would give my life to protect this odd little critter that I had never seen before that moment. The hormones not only bring on lactation and other bodily changes; they alter one’s whole mentality.
It is said that women fall in love with their babies. This is not a human phenomenon only. It is seen in every mammalian species and also in birds, some reptiles and even lower animals. As surely as a spider knows how to create its web, a mother knows how to care for helpless offspring.
Males do not usually display similar behavior. In some species, males will even kill the offspring if the mother isn’t around. The general rule is that males compete, females nurture. This works to improve the species, because only the stronger, healthier males get to breed after winning their rutting battles, or females choose the fitter males. That’s why nature encourages males to strut and show off for potential mates.
In human terms, this also explains why patriarchal societies tend to become cruel and warlike. In making war, fathers are willing to sacrifice sons, as in the example of the father-god himself. But generally, mothers are not willing to sacrifice anyone’s children, especially not their own. The prehistoric matriarchal societies were generally peaceful because the laws of moral right and wrong were made by the mothers.
Instinctual mothering behavior, even more than sexual behavior, is the fundamental root of ongoing evolution. Without its essential assistance, there could be no life forms much higher than amoebas. The more evolved and complex the animal, the weaker and more helpless its young tend to be. Humans are weakest of all, requiring many years of nurture and training before they can even begin to fend for themselves.
The physical phenomenon is beyond the comprehension of men even if they enjoy fatherhood in a secondary sort of way. It means that giving birth causes a radical change in a woman’s life, demanding a complete change in emotional and behavior patterns. Even if she doesn’t keep the baby, she has been altered and must overcome the feelings that are created by those hormones. If she does keep the baby, her whole lifestyle must change to accommodate new demands and responsibilities, which apply not just at the time of giving birth but for the rest of her life.
That is why the matter of abortion should belong to women and should never be dependent on any decisions of all-male groups of legislators. Patriarchal religious groups are particularly unsuitable, because of their radically misogynous history. Their deliberate insistence on the bearing of unwanted children was one more means of enslaving women while increasing the population of their adherents. No man, but a woman can decide whether she is physically, emotionally, and economically prepared to undertake this — the most basic and demanding role among life forms in general.