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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Abortion and Misandry

For those who don't know the word, misandry means hatred of men, as misogyny means hatred of women. Some of us have long suspected that abortion and misandry are connected, even if we didn't know the word. Now, another abortion promoter has given yet further evidence of the truth of this suspicion. In a recent post to the blog Open Book, Amy Wellborn refers to an event at which popular Sci-Fi writer Ursula Le Guin stated before an audience of 400 that if she had not had an abortion, she "would have been an unwed mother with a 3-year-old in California, ... unmarriageable. Another useless woman."

One assumes she did not really intend to call single mothers "useless" but instead was pointing out what she perceives as society's stereotype of unmarried mothers. Yet quite aside from further stigmatizing those who already have a tough row to hoe, Le Guin reveals some rather unsettling stereotypes of her own. Men, she seems to be implying, are all honorless and lacking in protective or compassionate instincts.

It's not as big a leap as it first sounds, especially in the context of abortion. Abortion is, in itself, a misandristic act. In particular, the notion of complete freedom of woman to make the choice without her partner denies him any say in the destruction of a child they both created and for whom they are both responsible. It does so, further, without relieving him of any of the responsibility. While he has no choice to keep his child alive, should she choose to allow the baby to live, he is still held financially responsible -- whether or not he is granted the right even to know his child.

There's nothing new in that argument, though the truth of it bears repeating. What should really draw attention about Ms. Le Guin's comments is her assumption that no man would have a single mother. She does not even give men the opportunity to prove their worth; she damns them all without a hearing.

Why would she assume no man would have a single mother? Is it because all men inherently hate children? Is it because no man would willingly raise a child who does not share his blood?

Obviously, if you give any thought to the subject at all, you know that neither of these claims is true. I imagine most of us can think of at least half a dozen examples to the contrary, just off the top of our heads. My father, two brothers in law, and my father in law all raised children who were not biologically theirs. A woman I know was pregnant and engaged to the father of her baby, when her next door neighbor offered to marry her instead, knowing she was carrying someone else's child.

My husband is my favorite example. Not only is he willing to raise my three, and treat them as he would his own flesh, he has raised his own daughter as a single father for many years. He would never give her up without a fight. Nobody can tell me that men don't have sufficient parental instincts to be interested in raising a child. And it is completely unfair to imply such a thing in the first place.

If someone had implied anything remotely similar about the unwillingness of women to care, feminists would be in an uproar; yet a woman like Ursula Le Guin gets praise for her support of a woman's most uncaring act.

In case it is not clear enough, let me put in blunt language: while she is accusing men of being hardened toward children, she is promoting the right to kill them.

Rather than turning this into a case of men condemned of hard heartedness without a trial, perhaps she might have, instead, considered putting her child up for adoption. Then he or she could have been raised by someone like my parents or in-laws, who don't share her callousness. It is she who rejected her child, not the many good men of the world.