Someone once said, “Never discuss politics or religion.” Obviously they never had a discussion about abortion, which manages to raise hostilities at the mere mention of the word. And a whole lot more.
We got an example of this recently on the pages of this website when I submitted, despite being personally opposed to the practice, that the editorial position here would be that an anti-abortion agenda would not be acceptable for article submissions, and would not be included in the revised mission statement to come in the future.
I got called a baby killer (figuratively). And that by someone I’d grown quite fond of over a period of years.
Whatever abortion is, it is not something people take lightly.
That intensity is magnified exponentially when you consider that this website is a growing part of a growing movement involving many men and women, but one where the responsibility and authority for editorial decisions rests solely with one person. I suppose I am a smart enough fella. Not smart enough to please everyone all the time, but smart enough not to try.
It’s a potential tinder box on minor issues, much less one as incendiary as abortion. So after having taken some time to digest the reactions and consider the future of this site, I want to take the opportunity to clarify policy and rationale. I do this knowing that fires are still smoldering and subject to instant flare up.
The question that I took into consideration for this as foundational was, “Does anti-abortion activism, as opposed to sympathies with those efforts, enhance or diminish efforts to advocate for men and boys?”
My personal opinion leans heavily on the side of diminishment. First there is the problem of political affiliation. As already stated in the rough draft of the policy I wrote, the AVfM position on mainstream politics is clear. They won’t be part of the equation here except to point out that all popular political groups are misandric and antithetical to the cause.
Abortion is highly polemicist, with the mainstay of its opponents squarely on the neoconservative religious right.
Socons, as we call them. It’s a group with more nuts than a pecan orchard, and most of them would love nothing more than to have all men chained into a state sanctioned marriage (between one man and one woman, of course), which is to say they would ultimately make slaves of all of us.
Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is just another enemy.
My personal opinion is that the MRM should not officially embrace causes that will attract mainstream political ideologues. My personal decision is that AVfM won’t, for sure. It will be more in keeping with policy here to run them off with a stick. I think I take that position for sound reasons. During my time as Editor-in-Chief for Men’s News Daily, I was accused, regularly, of being a right wing demagogue. To be fair, I was accused of being a leftist sycophant from the other side as well.
It’s what happens when you refuse to join the circus or follow the thinking of people who educate themselves on sound bites from cable news channels. But, I digress.
The point here is that making abortion a part of the AVfM mission is a prescription for infestation by those who also undermine men and boys. It’s like turning over a jar of honey on a picnic and then taking a nap. That is not going to happen here.
Then there is the matter of LC4M. As long as women have unencumbered power and authority over abortion it also gives them equally hegemonic dominion over men for the bulk of their adult lives. In fact, child support is the primary instrument by which state functionaries assume and maintain iron fisted control over the lives of men in western culture. We have an entire father’s rights movement necessitated by the fact that millions of men have had their lives eviscerated, their freedom forfeit, their assets garnisheed, even where paternity fraud has been proven and acknowledged by the courts.
If a man is even in the general vicinity of a pregnant woman, his life can and will be completely undone. The only possible solution to this, however unlikely, is the cause of reproductive rights for men. And however doomed that cause may be, it at least can be a vehicle to start educating men to regard their sperm as property every bit as sacred as their blood. And it is a path that Karl Rove and his chivalrous ilk are not going to walk on right into our public identity.
I want to point out, though it hardly seems necessary, that the editorial policy of this site doesn’t stop anyone from throwing abortion directly into the faces of feminists wherever possible. I know it won’t stop me. Feminist hypocrisy with abortion is one of many intellectual and moral weaknesses they are inextricably bound to. They can be savaged with the issue at any time they bring it up, and even when they don’t.
But the point here is smart activism, not the most strident or flag waving; certainly not the most pigeon holing. Someone on this site, I believe it was the illustrious Dr. Snark, recently commented that we needed to be philosophical chameleons. I agree with that assessment entirely.
Abortion is a universally polarizing and defining issue, one that can be used to dismiss, anyone, at any time, as a religious zealot bent on the control of women. That comes the territory when your main cause happens to be anti abortion, but it is not like the MRM needs any more of that.
So it will not be a defining cause of the MHRM in my opinion, or of AVFM, in fact. In that light, I see no value in chaining myself, or this site, to anti abortion activism, and a good many reasons not to. I know, for those who feel deeply about this issue, this will not suffice as an explanation. Nor, for some, would any explanation do that did not result in a mandate for me to be in the street, waving a “BABY KILLER!” sign and frothing at the mouth.
So if there are to be some fireworks on this, let it be now. I will do my best to keep my mouth shut and enjoy the show. And any readers that cannot abide by this, I understand. I wish you well, and I appreciate your efforts on behalf of men and boys. I just can’t, won’t actually, join you on this one.