Men are finally sharing their abortion stories

Roe v. Wade was challenged through restrictive anti-abortion bills in six different states last week. There is the so-called “heartbeat bill” in five of the states, Georgia’s law that could potentially punish women who travel out of state to get an abortion, and Alabama’s bill that punishes doctors who perform abortions and doesn’t allow abortions even for victims of rape or incest. The renewed policing of women’s bodies is at the forefront of online discussion, and even conservative pundit Tomi Lahren spoke up against it

Of course, men rarely have to worry about the repercussions of having an unwanted pregnancy despite having a full role in unwanted pregnancies. Over the weekend, this sparked a Twitter discussion calling on men to share how having their partner’s abortions benefited their own lives.

Arsenal soccer player Héctor Bellerín drew attention to the issue as well, urging other men to own up to the role they play in pregnancies and share their accounts.

The conversation isn’t just happening on Twitter. In an open letter published via GQ, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Friday wrote about the need for men to start speaking up about their experiences with abortion.

“For men, abortion is not something many feel the need or desire to talk about—it’s too uncomfortable,” he wrote. “But that’s a trap—and one we need to get out of immediately. Men need to acknowledge that they benefit from abortion rights and reproductive health care, too.”

Booker and other men drew online backlash: Many men responded to their posts with their personal accounts of how they were “responsible” or “man enough” to have gone through with the pregnancy of their partners, and chided these men for not doing the same. They seemed to miss the point that pregnancy is a unique experience for literally every couple and not all women have the support from their partners to even see a doctor with them, let alone raise a child. Furthermore, not all pregnancies happen because the involved parties weren’t being “responsible” enoughsometimes, unwanted pregnancies can arise despite taking precautions.

And that’s precisely the message Booker shared in his letter as well—beyond sharing their own experiences with abortion, men need to be allies in this situation not because of their relationship with women but because women are people, period. 

“Men, it’s on us to listen, to speak out, and to take action. Not because women are our mothers, sisters, wives or friends—but because women are people. And all people deserve to control their own bodies,” Booker wrote.

This is especially crucial because there are men who speak loudly about their anti-abortion stances while personally benefitting from abortion in their personal lives. In 2017, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Penn.) had to resign after it was revealed that he had asked a woman he had an affair with to abort her pregnancy. Rep. Todd Rokita (R – Ind.) has been exposed for being vocal about his anti-abortion stance while a political action committee affiliated with him donated thousands to the campaign of a congressman who had personally benefitted from the abortions undergone by his wife and a girlfriend.

There’s no doubt that men, too, benefit from abortions of unwanted pregnancies, and pro-choice Twitter is here for this allyship:

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Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque