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I'll give you a hint - it is never to give women "rights", "autonomy", or "control over their own bodies".

More below.....

Prior to the political rise of the religious right in the late 1970s, legalizing abortion had pretty mainstream support. Several states with virtually all-male legislatures legalized it, at least in some circumstances, prior to Roe. Conservative and male dominated medical organizations like the AMA wrote briefs in support of Roe. Why?

The reason is that although criminalizing abortion may have been seen as desirable by the male "powers that be" of the time, the cost to them was too high. That cost included the septic abortion wards at every large hospital, and the cost of caring for children in orphanages whose mothers had died from illegal abortion. It also included the cost of caring for the unplanned offspring of women who relied on welfare to raise them.

The cost also included the eroding of respect for government authority that comes from a law being widely flouted by a large cross-section of society, and finally, the profits being made by criminal elements involved in illegal abortions. Pre-Roe abortions weren't always back-alley jobs performed by individual operators. One of my friends from high school had a harrowing experience in 1971 of making arrangements over the phone, then being picked up on a street corner in Chicago by a limo and taken to a motel where a complete operating room was set up, complete with stirrup-table. The cost was $300 in 1971. She's convinced, with reasonable evidence, that it was an organized crime activity.

(edited to avoid tarring the many progressive men who support women's rights) men who are not likely to be swayed by arguments based on women's rights may be induced to support measures that benefit women if they can clearly see the benefit to themselves. Women in Western countries may have come a long way in some respects, but we should still keep this is mind if actual access to abortion and contraception are more important that the ideological point about women's rights. Purely economic arguments that emphasize what's in it for old white men may be more persuasive.

Originally posted to blueisland on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 03:35 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What a repulsive opinion. (3+ / 0-)

    That's all I've got to say about that, Ms Dworkin.

    Where the brook puts out of the roots of the old tree and flows to the meadow

    by peterborocanuck on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 03:45:06 PM PST

    •  Ya know (0+ / 0-)

      the diarist wasn't talking about what you, as a man, personally think about abortion, s/he was talking about what kind of economic/political forces have to act on the "them" that makes decisions for us little people, for abortion to be legalized.

      Makes perfect sense really.  Criminalize "vice" and organized crime will profit.  Happened with prohibition, happens with drugs and prostitution, I have no trouble believing that there was organized crime involvement in providing illegal abortions.  And dead women in puddles of blood -- that was bad political juju right there, once those pictures started getting pushed openly it looks bad for the guys who'd criminalize, why do you think the right is so fond of bloody fetus pictures right now?

  •  Generalizations of this kind (5+ / 0-)

    are as prejudiced as the prejudice you think you are combating. Rather than promote equality, you promote the notion that all men are evil, a rather unhelpful antidote to the notion that all women are inferior.

    "Men" are not the enemy. Prejudice, and an eagerness to embrace simplistic binary thinking without question, is the enemy.

    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

    by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 03:45:23 PM PST

  •  umm, no. (4+ / 0-)


    I ♥ President Barack Obama

    by ericlewis0 on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 03:50:07 PM PST

  •  this is silly!!! (0+ / 0-)

    i don't agree with this!

  •  Uh (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, DBunn, ericlewis0

    Men in male-dominated societies can only be induced to support measures that help women if they can see clearly what is in it for Numero Uno - themselves.

    This may be a bit broadly framed.  More importantly, in a backwards way you are lambasting men who support abortion as hypocrites.  Are you suggesting men should all oppose abortion?  

    I can't make any sense of rhetoric that, if successful, would serve to alienate all the male supporters of abortion.  Why are you screaming at men who support abortion, when you could scream at the ones who oppose it?

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 03:51:03 PM PST

  •  I was around in the 1970s. (0+ / 0-)

    You don't know what you are talking about. The history you claim, did not happen here.

    •  what history is that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have had the opportunity to talk to many male physicians who started providing abortions shortly after Roe v Wade, and who have talked about being moved to do so by some of the horrible results they saw from illegal abortion

      •  This, used to claim it wasn't controversial: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gavodotcom, nickrud

        Several states with virtually all-male legislatures legalized it, at least in some circumstances, prior to Roe.

        The big vote was New York State and swung on a single (male) state Senator. He switched and supported abortion rights - after listening to his wife and daughters - then lost re-election.

        The notion that there was an era of "pretty mainstream support" isn't true. An era of less organized opposition, sure.

  •  Of course some men are progressive! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    I am not saying that men never support women's rights. Of course they do! I am saying that the men who are most opposed to available abortion and contraception are not likely to be swayed by an arguement based on women's rights.

    •  Then say that, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that is a reasonable argument, but what you wrote was a generalization that's honestly a little insulting to progressive men.

      •  You know (4+ / 0-)

        after a few days of being told to sit down and shut up about the abortion thing so's we can just get health care for what "everyone (everyone who?) agrees on are basic health care needs" by "progressive men" on this forum (present company excepted, I suppose) I'm feeling a little less than concerned about maybe hurting a few people's feelings.

        There are plenty here who need to hear and to develop some empathy for their female comrades, including understanding our anger about what "progressive men" have been saying to us all over the big orange.

        •  1960s redux. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brooke In Seattle

          Hey progressive men, hate to tell ya, this ain't about your feelings. If you are taking this personally sounds like to me you need to develop a thicker skin and lose some of that ego. Take a back seat for a change and listen to women. You sound like whites who get tired of legitimate black anger.

          Where are all you counter protesting  the anti's at abortion clinics?

          I'm married to a progressive man; he doesn't sit around whining when women get po'd at the male gender.

          Co-op + Public Option = Co-option. Call your Represenative, Senator, and the White House to Demand Public Option

          by SuburbanGrrrl on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 05:28:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  GET over it! We are talking about (4+ / 0-)

        something that goes to the heart of being a woman of childbearing age - the difficulty of being able to chose when or whether to have a child.

        Of course there are pro-choice men in political power.  The problem is that the men who are anti-choice fight harder and unite more to make access to birth control and abortion difficult for low income women (high income women can always manage to get what they want fertility-wise.)

        The Stupak admendment is a classic case in point - first it is a man fighting to reduce access to abortion.  (There are anti-choice women, but they don't ever seem to be in the forefront of anti-choice legislation.)

        The gender basis of anti-choice activity and legislation is worthy of analysis.  Comments like "not all men are...." aren't really helpful.

        Women have to figure out how to maneuver around these male roadblocks.  Right now, if the Stupak admentment gets through the Senate, women will have to fund a foundation to provide affordable abortions for lower-income women.

        Finally - look at how many so called "religious" men in politics step out on their wives while calling themselves a 'family man.'   If this is the case, think about how many anti-choice men are denying poor women access to abortions, while making sure when their daughters (or mistresses) get pregnant they get the best abortions money can buy.

        The land was ours before we were the land's...Robert Frost, The Gift Outright

        by HylasBrook on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 05:22:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, that's reasonable (0+ / 0-)

      But if that's what you are saying, how about rewriting this line (as others have requested):

      Men in male-dominated societies can only be induced to support measures that help women if they can see clearly what is in it for Numero Uno - themselves.

      Also, what explains the many women who are against women's rights, support genital mutilation, and so forth? I know, that's beside the main point of your diary. But it suggests that a lot of the problem is cultural, rather than just gender based, so a gender-based analysis is incomplete.

      •  Nice edit (0+ / 0-)

        The sad truth is that there are many men and woman who mostly only care if they see a benefit to themselves. Sometimes this is explicit, and other times it comes in the form of people who can't see that something is a problem until it affects them personally.

  •  Stop. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sometimes people really do care about others.

  •  Read the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, Brooke In Seattle

    You will never encounter a saner statement.

    The Roe court was all-male.  The majority of those men stated very clearly that the decision to seek an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy is a matter of privacy in which the state has no business interfering.  

    State legislatures and courts have since found ways to undermine Roe,  and later Supreme Courts upheld them.   But that doesn't negate the action of the Roe Justices.    

    I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones. (John Cage)

    by dotalbon on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:08:52 PM PST

  •  America Is About 500 Different Societies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The several main heritage groups of my family have very different attitudes about women from many of the others. We're about as far from your extreme as Europeans get. Women are a majority in government in one or two of these countries. God knows we have our share of evils but this isn't one of ours.

    The movement taking away your rights is fundamentalist religion, a movement that has been very destructive of the economic prospects of most of its men. The only reason the male power structure has any involvement is because the fundamentalism is powerful enough to convince the masses to give away their future to the rich.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:10:22 PM PST

  •  Ummmmmmm..... (0+ / 0-)


    I'm a white male that supports abortion rights because I care about women.  

    We do exist.  

    I'm a little insulted that I need to be shown what's in it for me for me to be supportive of it.  

    Some of us do care about other people besides us.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

    by Adam Blomeke on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:13:56 PM PST

  •  Telling people they suck (0+ / 0-)

    does not work out

    Especially people who belong to a huge group, ie. males.

    Men are fairly common these days. They are everywhere.

    It's raining men, practically

    Everything's coming up Acorn

    by Krush on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:16:24 PM PST

  •  That is why abortion will never be banned (0+ / 0-)

    and the GOP elder's are bluffing;

    they love the fact that poor people, feminists, and minorities willingly kill their own offspring!

    I'm surprised they aren't willing to pay for it.

    a hard rain's gonna fall

    by Paul Goodman on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:19:25 PM PST

  •  This is really an insulting argument (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cardinal, gavodotcom

    And assumes the worst about the courageous men who have fought for a woman's right to choose, in and out of government.

    Moreover, it's logically fallacy is that there are many other women's rights issues that men have supported over the years that at the time could have been seen detrimental to men in the home and workplace.

    Men have been an important part of the womens rights movement in this country since its inception, just as many whites were an important part  of the civil rights movement.  To imply purely  selfish motives, I think, is not helpful and takes away from their humanity.

    I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places...arousing and persuading and reproaching you.-Socrates

    by The Navigator on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:23:48 PM PST

  •  In part you say: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gavodotcom, Kingsmeg, Krush

    Men in male-dominated societies can only be induced to support measures that help women if they can see clearly what is in it for Numero Uno - themselves.

    Who told you this? Which guy broke ranks and ratted us out? I'll kill the fucker! Who told the women that we're only in it for ourselves? Traitor!

    I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

    by doc2 on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:25:32 PM PST

  •  The Christian Taliban is winning. (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, the brainwashing of religion in our country is at epidemic levels.  Some of you reading this don't even know you are brainwashed.  You really believe  this crap about Jesus and how he is watching over you, and how your team won the game only because of God and his help, and blah, blah, blah,  This is just as crazy as the 72 virgins that are waiting for the other brainwashed lunatic that is about to blow himself up next week.
    You are both the same to me.  Lunatics.  And your Lunatic behavior is out of control.  A woman should have the right to choose what is best for her.  Not a bunch of Jesus freaks.  Men or Women.  

    Well you can't have it both ways.  Your Jesus crap has won over a woman's right to choose.  YOU LOSE.

    I don't care what religion you got crammed into your brain since you were 5 years old, its bad for the county, it's bad for the women of this country.

    The Christian Taliban has taken over politics.

    This is a sad situation.  

    "Hey, with religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 04:32:52 PM PST

  •  ugh! (0+ / 0-)

    Yes.. we men are all a bunch of selfish bastards who don't give a damn about anyone but ourselves!

    Men in male-dominated societies can only be induced to support measures that help women if they can see clearly what is in it for Numero Uno - themselves. Women in Western countries may have come a long way in some respects, but we should still keep this is mind if actual access to abortion and contraception are more important that the ideological point about women's rights. Purely economic arguments that emphasize what's in it for old white men may be more persuasive.

  •  So, by your argument (0+ / 0-)

    Post menopausal woman have no personal interest in legalizing abortion either, since it would have no affect on the choices available to them.

    Now, you can argue that they are still interested in the well being of their 'sisters', but really why would you feel more concern about my actual sister and the choices available to her than I do?

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