John Tierney has joined the list of NY Times contributors to bemoan the plight of men who have no choice when it comes to a woman bearing or aborting their offspring. Claiming a gender-neutral approach, he supports spousal notification for abortion and birth.
Tierney argues that since woman have to go through the pregnancy or abortion, they also have “exclusive control over some forms of contraception.”
But he leaves out at least one form of contraception over which men most definitely have control — a condom. Federal research suggests that 70 percent of men are willing to use reliable contraceptives. Yet only 30 percent of contraception in the United States is male-based, including condoms, withdrawal, abstinence, and vasectomy.
Columnists such as Tierney consistently fail to criticize the fact that the development of other birth control methods for men has been painfully slow due to a lack of economic and commercial support. If Tierney wants to advocate for male reproductive choice, he should focus his energies there.
His current approach does nothing to address the systemic reasons for unintended pregnancy, and serve only to reinforce the stereotype that women, and their decisions, cannot be trusted. Naturally, in an ideal world, every woman would be able to discuss her pregnancy options with the man who impregnated her. But if she decides not to inform the father, can we not presume that she has good reasons for that decision?
The assertion that men should always be informed amounts to the outdated presumption that father knows best.
- Jessica Arons