… One of the most insidious aspects of the abortion controversy has been the success of the feminist movement in presenting abortion on demand as a matter central to the liberation of women. The feminist logic suggests that women can never be seen as equal to men in terms of career so long as the “risk” and reality of pregnancy and motherhood are present. As the feminists argue, abortion becomes a mechanism for leveling the playing field and for liberating women.

As far back as the 1970s, at least some feminists saw through this logic. Catherine MacKinnon, a radical feminist legal scholar, argued that legal abortion would merely facilitate the “heterosexual availability” of women. In other words, abortion would be a benefit to men, who would be liberated to take sexual advantage of women, knowing that the availability of legal abortion would effectively remove their risk of the entanglements that would come with pregnancy and parenthood…

Over 30 years after Roe v. Wade, we now know that abortion “has increased the expectation and frequency of sexual intercourse (including unprotected intercourse) among young people,” Stith observes. As he explains, the post-Roe expectation is that a woman now has less justification for refusing the sexual advances of a male. By and large, abortion has liberated men from the fear of parenthood, if not of pregnancy. Beyond this, if the woman with whom they are having sex becomes pregnant, the availability of abortion serves, in the mind of men, to reduce if not to remove their responsibility for fatherhood.

The availability of abortion means, in the thinking of many men, that the entire responsibility for pregnancy and parenthood now falls to women. If a woman refuses to have an abortion, having the baby is simply her “choice.” As Stith realizes, this gives many men even more leverage as they demand an abortion as the cost of continuing the relationship. Stith cites a report from the Medical Science Monitor indicating that 64% of American women who have had abortions felt pressure from others to do so.

As Stith explains:

Prior to the legalization of abortion in the United States, it was commonly understood that a man should offer a woman marriage in case of pregnancy, and many did so. Though with the legalization of abortion, men started to feel that they were not responsible for the birth of children and consequently not under any obligation to marry. In gaining the option of abortion, many women have lost the option of marriage…

More… (source)

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