A new study of unmarried men living (in sin, hellfire, brimstone, blah!) with female partners has found that most of them would prefer to be consulted about an impending abortion, and, perhaps encouragingly, that this insistence to be included in a pregnancy-terminating decision had less to do with entrenched religious or political beliefs, and more to do with personal circumstances.
These circumstances, according to study author Amanda J. Miller, Ph.D. from the University of Indianapolis, included financial concerns, evaluations on personal maturity, and the quality of current relationships. Collaborating with Sharon Sassler of Cornell University, Miller conducted in-depth, search-your-soul-because-there-is-no-God-and-the-universe-goes-on-forever interviews with 61 men, ages 18 to 36, asking them questions about reproductive choices they have made in the past and would like to make in the future. Participants were categorized as either lower or middle class based on their educational attainment.
So, under what circumstances do men feel like they have a responsibility, nay, a patriotic duty to meddle in the reproductive choices of their live-in ladyfriends? Pretty much whenever the prospect of having and raising a child seems most untenable — when men either felt like they couldn't afford a kid, weren't mature enough to be a father, or simply didn't want to raise a kid with the woman with whom they were currently cohabitating. Though some men were stubbornly pro-life in every circumstance or insisted that reproductive choices are strictly a woman's burden to bear, most said that determining whether or not to terminate a pregnancy would inevitably have something to do with their circumstances, meaning that their views on abortion had changed or were subject to change.
Miller found that middle class men seemed more prepared for fatherhood, mostly because they had attained higher levels of education and felt more secure in their careers. Conversely, working class men, feeling like they were on unstable financial ground, more often preferred that their partners terminate an unexpected pregnancy. According to Miller, another key difference between working class and middle class men was that middle class men seemed to be living with an urban-coyote-forever lifemate, whereas working class men were not quite as content:
A number of the working-class men were living with women that they were certain were not 'the one.' On the whole, the middle-class men felt more prepared for parenthood because they felt far more stable in their relationships. They were more likely to be engaged and have a wedding date set, for example.
People with larger income and more education tend, according to Miller, to draw from a larger pool of prospective mates, which is part of the reason why middle class men regarded pregnancy as less daunting: they were paired up with someone they saw themselves being with long-term.
Based on a subsample of 22 men, Miller tried to further figure out how big a role men who'd experienced pregnancies actually played in abortion decisions. The verdict: not that much. Even though almost all of them wanted to have input, most of those faced with an abortion were not involved in their partner's decisions, because, after all, whose body is it? Not Arnold Schwarzenegger's, that much is for certain.
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