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Texas signed into law one of the strictest abortion laws in the United States (named the Texas heartbeat bill), which goes into effect September 1st, and empowers private citizens to sue doctors, nurses, members of staff, as well as anyone else who “aids and abets” an abortion.
This includes family members and friends who provide rides, faith leaders who provide counseling, abortion funds, even Uber drivers who drive a patient to the clinic—for 10,000 dollars each.
It is essentially a “bounty,” applying to abortions that take place after heart activity can be detected in the embryo—six weeks gestation, or roughly two weeks after a woman’s missed period, when many women don’t even know they are pregnant yet.
This includes women who have been impregnated due to rape or incest.
So what does this mean?
Well, for example, it means that in the state of Texas, you can be held responsible for helping a 15-year-girl who’s boyfriend didn’t wear a condom, or who was raped, and be held accountable for supporting her.
So let’s get this straight: the impregnated woman is held liable, the cab driver who gives her a ride can be sued, the doctors, nurses, and support staff at the clinic she goes to can be held to blame, and the family members or friends who escort her can all be persecuted as well.
It begs the question—where is the consequence for the father of that child?
It’s beyond time for men to step up and take responsibility for not only abortion, but birth control as well. For far too long, the costs, side-effects, and emotional and physical responsibility have been the woman’s, and the woman’s alone. This is no longer appropriate; this is no longer tolerable.
As young as 12 or 13, girls are encouraged to take the birth control pill, creating hormone imbalances and other issues, which include weight gain, acne, mood swings, blood clots, and many other ovarian symptoms.
As we get older, our bodies are continuously pumped of hormone-related methods or devices used to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Birth control, implants, IUDs, injections, patches, and vaginal rings are just a few that we use to help block fertilization.
There are currently only three methods of contraception for for men: condoms, vasectomies, and withdrawal. (The male birth control has not been perfected and has a long way to go.)
As either a man or a woman, we all know how males hate to use condoms (it doesn’t feel as good, they aren’t comfortable,and so on) and vasectomies are usually done post-children and in more mature years. Even though reversible, most men do not want to go through the pain of having the procedure done as a preventive measure.
So if men are to participate in the act of sexual relations, then why does half of the consequence not fall upon his shoulders?
Our society is completely okay with subjecting women to pain for the sake of birth control, and the sake of protecting men’s pleasure, rather than holding men accountable, too.
The message that we are sending women is that men’s pleasure is deemed more important than women’s health or safety.
This is not okay.
So how do we create change? How can things be different?
Believe it or not, it can start with men.
We need more men to take decisive action. Men who call other men out, who take responsibility for birth control roles, who stand up against sexual violence, and who, in turn, shape younger generations of boys into like-minded, accountable, and supportive men.
By showing up in gender justice movements, they can strengthen feminist efforts. We need men in the trenches with us, not just shaking the pillars of the patriarchy, but taking a sledgehammer and smashing them down completely.
We need active participation from the masculine.
So men: let’s stand up, let’s step up.
Let’s flip the script.
Let’s do better.
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