What is the difference between a woman who has an abortion and a man who opts out of his parenting duties? From where I stand, none.
I met this 16-year-old the other day. She has a two and a half year old son. Pregnancy forced her to grow up fast to fit into adult shoes, so now she works as a waitress in a small cafeteria seven days a week. She can’t go to school; she can’t be a happy-go-lucky teenager. She has a child to take care of.
She tells me that when she was pregnant, she wasn’t given any choices. Her mother and grandmother made sure that she had her child. As soon as she delivered, she was left to her own devices. The man involved, on the other hand, had a choice – and he opted out of her life. He is a free man.
This is a glaring example of how men, Kenyan and others the world over, get to make the choice of having an abortion without morality being thrown in their faces. Meanwhile, women are constantly held to impossibly higher standards than men.
The pro-life and pro-choice debate is very delicate, so I am not going to take sides.
What I am asking for is fairness: A woman who finds herself in the midst of a crisis pregnancy will be talked at, lectured to, even bullied into keeping the child, never mind that none of these very zealous people sticks around long enough to help with the parenting responsibilities.
Thereafter, when she becomes a single mother, more often than not, she will be ostracised for making this very choice that society thought was right. The saddest part is that those who counsel a pregnant woman on whether to not have, to parent or to give up the baby for adoption usually aren’t thinking about the child or mother.
They are usually thinking about their own moral and religious views. Why don’t we use this same zeal that we apply on women to bully and shame men who walk away from their children?
I have heard that argument that women make the choice to have sex, and I do not think it is a valid one. First, show me someone who hasn’t made a mistake. Second, didn’t the man who she is pregnant with also make that choice in the bedroom? Why the double standards?
I see no difference between a woman who chooses to have an abortion and a man who chooses to walk away. So when we are shaming and guilt-tripping women, let us not forget the men as well.
If a woman who has had an abortion isn’t good marriage material, neither is a man who walked away from a pregnancy.
Let’s be more supportive of women and girls in crisis pregnancies. Rush in to offer solutions and a helping hand with the same speed that you do your opinion.
Let’s support needy single mothers. Let’s hold our men to higher standards. I think that whoever founded that infamous Facebook group, Dead Beat Dads, was onto something.