What's a dude allowed to feel when his mate decides to abort their fetus? It's a question explored in a fascinating LA Times story today about the post-abortion baggage of the sperm-having set. We meet a secular sociologist named Arthur Shostak who has interviewed thousands of men in line at abortion clinics and finds them filled with conflicted emotions they rarely voice. We meet Mark Morrow, a Catholic counselor who got into the movement when he suddenly realized he was the "father of four dead babies." (When he reached out to an ex-girlfriend who'd aborted two of them, she sent him a letter saying, ""That long day we sat in that God-forsaken clinic, I hoped every moment that you would stand up and say, 'We can't do this'. . . but you didn't.") And then we meet a lawyer and activist named Chris Aubert, the father of five children and two college-age abortions, who has since converted to Catholicism and struggles every day with the burden of balancing his happy marriage and current life with the moral certainty that, if he could turn back time, he'd have to object to his girlfriend and figure out a way to "save the babies."
Every now and then, though, Aubert wonders: What if his first girlfriend had not aborted? How would his life look different? He might have endured a loveless marriage and, perhaps, a sad divorce. He might have been saddled with child support as he tried to build his legal practice. He might never have met his wife. Their children — Christine, Kyle, Roch, Paul, Vance — might not exist."I wouldn't have the blessings I have now," Aubert said. So in a way, he said, the two abortions may have cleared his path to future happiness.
"That's an intellectual debate I have with myself," he said. "I struggle with it."
In the end, Aubert says his moral objection to abortion always wins. If he could go back in time, he would try to save the babies.
But would his long-ago girlfriends agree? Or might they also consider the abortions a choice that set them on a better path?
Aubert looks startled. "I never really thought about it for the woman," he says slowly.
Well if we don't have ourselves a common theme here! Moral certitude or no, dudes are all completely clueless. And just to add a little twist to this post I'm going to direct you to a story I read once about a guy in Portland who filed a lawsuit after a colossal fertility clinic mix-up resulted in his sperm being injected in another woman's vagina. See, the woman wanted to go ahead with the pregnancy, even though the sperm was not her husband's, because she was some combination of Christian and/or infertile, and this guy basically thought he should be able to order her to have an abortion because it was his sperm, goddamn it. And you know what, guy? I'm sorry about the mix-up, but did you ever put yourself in her shoes? Probably not. Because you're a dude and you somehow weren't evolved that way. Which is fine, but when it comes to trying to fuck with the laws that govern our reproductive decisions maybe you should remind yourselves that you DON'T REALLY GET IT.
Changing Abortion's Pronoun [LA Times]