Why Should Men Care About Abortion Rights?


Many men say that they don’t want to speak about abortion because it doesn’t concern them, but studies show that abortion has both direct and indirect effects on their lives.

Our collaborator, Charles-Étienne, examines the myth that abortion only concerns people with a uterus.


Biology 101: We remember that the egg and the sperm come together to form a zygote, which will become an embryo. While this operation requires two people, the sperm-producing party tends to be rather discreet in debates about abortion rights.

The thing is that, recently, a lot has happened regarding these rights.

Indeed, the summer of 2022 will be remembered as the one that marked the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which until then protected the constitutional right to abortion nationwide in the United States, a decision described as a “tragic error” by American President Joe Biden. As of June 2022, the right to abortion is no longer protected by law. This leaves individual states free to regulate it (read: to restrict access, or worse, to criminalize it). To date, 13 states have decided to ban abortion.

A multitude of women spoke out against this historical step back via protests, articles, and testimonials on social media.

However, to my knowledge, very few men have done the same, possibly because they feel that this debate does not concern them.

Yet, this is far from being the case.

I have spoken with several men on the subject. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Because at least one woman you know has had (or will have) an abortion, even if she doesn’t tell you about it.

In Canada, between 75,000 and 100,000 abortions are performed every year. It is estimated that one in three Canadian women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Let me ask you: How many women do you know?

“I had a partner who had an abortion. Not while we were sleeping together. But I still saw her go through it from afar. It’s so… I think that people, at least anti-choice people, underestimate the impact that it can have on someone’s life and how heartbreaking these decisions can be, for so many reasons », even when you know what you’re going to do,” one man, who prefers to remain anonymous, said.

Even if you’ll never have to go through this because of the type of body you were born with, it is very likely that people close to you have had to experience at least one abortion. Even if you don’t have the slightest idea.

2. Because becoming a father without wanting to could jeopardize your life.

A child’s arrival doesn’t only disrupt the mother’s life.

What awaits all unprepared parents is a future of financial insecurity combined with a suddenly busier-than-ever schedule and the responsibility for a small living being who depends on you completely. The cost of raising a child to the age of 18 in Canada is estimated at $280,000. That works out to about $300 a week.

“In the world of media, music, and showbiz, half of us wouldn’t have had a career if we had had to take responsibility for all the aborted children in our lives,” says Billy. “I would have children older than my boss! I find it a bit fucked up that guys don’t talk about it more. It’s as though it matters less to them.”

The freedom to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term also enables you to choose to complete your studies or achieve professional goals—in short, to exercise control over your own future. People’s reasons to terminate are endless, and no one should need to justify their choice.

3. Because a step back in abortion rights opens the door to revisiting other social and reproductive rights, such as same-sex marriage or access to contraception.

In addition to abortion, other rights are under threat, including access to contraception, marriage equality, and sex between same-sex partners. US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that it was high time to review these rights (ouch…).

I suppose that right-wing extremists saw the criminalization of abortion as a victory and now see the potential to go even further. Of course, when we look to a constitution dating from 1787 to determine what rights are guaranteed, we miss a lot of concepts that simply did not exist at the time… Is it even “legal” to own a smartphone? It’s a slippery slope towards a step back that’s far too steep to keep quiet.

The fight for abortion rights is everyone’s business.

Whether you have a womb or not, it is imperative to speak out to claim the right to bodily autonomy and fight against those who believe they have the moral authority to dictate how people should manage their bodies.

Illustration: Clémence Langevin

Beware! Some organizations that claim to offer support services for pregnant women are actually anti-choice. Here are some resources that are definitely pro-choice:

  • Biggs, M. A., Gould, H. et Foster, D. G. (2013). Understanding why women seek abortions in the US. BMC Women’s Health, 13, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6874-13-29

    Bordogna, A. L., Coyle, A. C., Nallamothu, R., Manko, A. L. et Yen, R. W. (2023). Comprehensive sexuality education to reduce pregnancy and STIs in adolescents in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Sexuality Education, 18(1), 39-83. https://doi.org/10.1080/15546128.2022.2080140

    Chae, S., Desai, S., Crowell, M. et Sedgh, G. (2017). Reasons why women have induced abortions: a synthesis of findings from 14 countries. Contraception, 96(4), 233-241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2017.06.014

    Meston, C. M. et Buss, D. M. (2007). Why humans have sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 477-507. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-007-9175-2

    Patev, A. J., Hall, C. J., Dunn, C. E., Bell, A. D., Owens, B. D. et Hood, K. B. (2019). Hostile sexism and right-wing authoritarianism as mediators of the relationship between sexual disgust and abortion stigmatizing attitudes. Personality and Individual Differences, 151, 109528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2019.109528

    Prusaczyk, E. et Hodson, G. (2018). Left-right differences in abortion policy support in America: Clarifying the role of sex and sexism in a nationally representative 2016 sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 127, 22-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.01.030

    Rocca, C. H., Samari, G., Foster, D. G., Gould, H. et Kimport, K. (2020). Emotions and decision rightness over five years following an abortion: An examination of decision difficulty and abortion stigma. Social Science & Medicine, 248, 112704. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112704