Why Don’t Laws Punish Men For Abortion?

Laws punishing women and doctors when an abortion is performed are proliferating. But it takes two to tango. Why are guys left off the hook?

Photo by Duanu00e9 Viljoen on Pexels.com

Some folks have suggestions about how men, too, might be punished for abortion:

  • Third-party vigilantes can collect a $10,000 bounty for turning in men who impregnate leading to abortion 
  • Automatic child support from fathers to mothers forced to have unwanted pregnancies 
  • Men must pay half of prenatal care and hospital costs related to the birth
  • Sue men for the cost of raising a child to age 18
  • Sue men for pain and suffering if they avoid helping to raise their child
  • Compensate mothers for loss of income due to child birth and child raising 
  • Life imprisonment for rapists, since they shouldn’t face lighter sentences than the young woman and girls who abort after rape or incest

And have you noticed that anti-abortion laws look more like misogyny than efforts to save lives? As I’ve written before, these same legislatures vote against:

  • prenatal care
  • gun safety laws
  • mask and vaccine mandates to protect the lives of others
  • food stamps for poor kids, disabled and elderly
  • climate legislation to prevent death from fires, polluted air, hurricanes, floods and drought. 
  • Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act that save lives

New anti-abortion laws mean that:

  • more women will be prosecuted for miscarriage
  • women could be stopped at the border to take a pregnancy test before she can go out of state
  • if a woman’s health or life are threatened too bad – it’s okay if the fetus kills her

Women and fetuses are not morally equivalent. If a fire broke out while “pro-lifers” protested a stem cell research lab, would you ignore the terrified screams of a two-year-old whose mother had brought her to the protest, so that you could save thousands of fertilized eggs — or as pro-lifers call them, “people”? I’ve never met anyone yet who would.

And in case you missed this, I saw the below on Facebook from Nev Schulman:

How about we treat every man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion?

  • Mandatory 48 hour waiting period
  • Parental permission
  • A note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do
  • Video he must watch about the effects of gun violence
  • An ultrasound wand up the ass (just because)
  • Close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun
  • Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun

“It makes more sense to do this with young men and guns than with women in healthcare right?”

Right! 

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on June 7, 2022, in reproductive rights and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. This is so messed up what happened. I’m catholic and I’ve never saw abortion lightly. It’s something I hope is very last resort, like serious, like rape or health issues or something where child would not survive because of mother’s circumstance. Hopefully not because of inconvenience and because having a child get’s in the way of the life the mother wants. I believe it’s much more often the former than latter for women. But banning it doesn’t prevent it like others have said, so this just punishes women. The focus should be prevention, meaning creating the society where women abort at the lowest rate as possible. There are a lot of ultra conservatives which were happy about roe vs wade being over turned. However, I think and hope we’re going to see karma. I’ve already read reports some in the gop and trump himself expressed regrets of setting the situation where roe vs wade got overturned. Not because trump or gop care about women.

    But they maybe came to realization that this goal of there’s might have just punched them back in the face. Without this, republicans probably had a good chance of being voted in for midterms. It’s not true or right but democrats have been blamed for gas prices, inflation, the war, etc. So People upset even if they were in the middle might have voted R to try to see if that will make a difference. Now with this, I see this going back to many ppl choosing democrat back again out of being pissed off about this. They are learning that his pissed off A LOT of people particularly women. And not just liberal women, but I just seem from facebook, many women who are also independent, moderate but also republican. I’ve seen women who have agreed with a lot of conservative policies in the past or maybe for trump, but who were pissed about this over turn. I told my friend who wants a republican governor to get voted in, that this ruling might have just caught him from getting it. BEcause while he hasn’t talked about abortion, people may not trust that he will keep things or they may feel they can;t trust him to not ban abortion or severe restrictions. They just single handedly motivated people to vote or who may not come out to vote as much before such as people on the fence or in the middle as a result of this. The GOP better get ready, women remember and they are coming with a vengeance come mid terms and probably when voting comes for state governors too.

    • Yeah, laws against abortion have very little effect on abortion rates as desperate girls and women find ways to abort. And when it’s not safe and legal too many of them die trying.

      And I wonder how much people realize that the Republicans have no secret plan to fight inflation. Inflation is global, due mostly to buying patterns changing post-Covid with supply chains having a difficult time adjusting to the new patterns where people buy more product and less services. Plus the Russian War effect on gas prices.

      I hope people realize this.

      And yes, the best thing to do is prevent pregnancy. And now Justice Thomas (such a misnomer) wants to get rid of birth control.

      The countries with the lowest abortion rates have sex education and easily available contraception. Both things that this court would not like.

  2. The recent regulations and laws are really appalling, and you say it well: “anti-abortion laws look more like misogyny than efforts to save lives.” As a man, I’ve always felt strange how “we” are the ones making arbitrary rules and regulations regarding something that only women are qualified to make.

  3. Regarding abortion, I’ve never considered how guys are never questioned and let off the hook so easily. It’s ludicrous that only the female gets punished as if women select abortion as their primary contraceptive. Men should also be penalized. There is no reason why the man should be let off the hook because, as the article states, “it takes two to tango.” I agree that if women are held responsible for abortion, men must also be held accountable. Because women do not become pregnant on their own, if women are arrested for abortions, males must also be arrested. I oppose anti-abortion legislation because I believe every woman should be able to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

  4. I have never thought about how men are never questioned and are left off the hook so easily when it comes to abortion. Which is why this topic interested me a lot because like the beginning of the blog states, it takes two people to create a child and fingers are always pointed towards the women when they get pregnant but never the man. It has always been much easier for the man to walk away and leave the woman who they got pregnant with the child and most of the time not even care what happens to their child or the women. Why are men being left off the hook like this and not being punished at all for it.

  5. It’s very absurd that the female is the only one being punished as if women choose abortion to be a primary contraceptive. Men should be punished as well. Like the articles says ‘it takes two to tango” there is no reason why the male should be left off the hook. These anti-abortion laws are coming off very misogynist. Male impregnates female, female has abortion, female gets punished and male walks off scott free. I don’t agree with the laws of anti-abortion being passed but I do agree with holding both partners accountable and not just the female. Women are not impregnated themselves here..

  6. This post was really important because the truth is that women suffer all of the consequences and men are left off the hook and that is just infuriating. The post talks about how in some states women have a heavier sentences for getting an abortion than their rapists do for raping and impregnating them. This fact is absolutely sickening. I feel for all the women who have been in this situation and have to suffer the trauma that they do and then on top of that to know that their government cares more about protecting their rapist than themselves.

  7. I completely agree that if women are held liable for abortion, males must be held responsible as well. Women don’t get impregnated on their own, thus if women are arrested for abortions, the males must be arrested as well. I disagree with legislation prohibiting contraceptives because I think that every woman should be able to choose whether or not to have an abortion. Every woman should be entitled to choose to have an abortion without fear of repercussions. If it is, nevertheless, unlawful, all individuals must be held liable. After reviewing the provided list of male implications, I believe the following are worthwhile consideration.

  8. I found this post to contain many interesting points and suggestions. The men are just as responsible for their actions and those actions should also have the consequences women face. I agree that many anti-abortion laws seem to be passed in order to perpetuate misogyny instead of being intended to actually save the lives of unborn children. The over regulation of women like the law that could require women to take a pregnancy test to leave the state is very intimidating to consider.

  9. The most interesting thing to note about the abortion restrictions for women is the fact that in certain states if a women gets an aboriton or miscarries she might legally become a criminal through prosecution. The reason that is interesting is because criminals can’t vote. Now I know that this may just be a coincidence but if you look at the states that are currently making abortions barely legal, it coincides with anger towards women and obviously democrats that Trump didnt win the 2020 election. Statistically speaking some articles came out after the 2020 election that women had voted more than ever that year and it might be a reason that some states turned blue. There is also the fact that many of the states making abortions very hard to get, are ones that love to make laws surounding religion. It just leaves me unsettled everytime I think about the fact that the laws that many men are trying to pass in these states would make women criminals, who can’t vote, for miscarrying or making a tough decision and getting an abortion.

  10. I find this topic interesting. The author is right when he said “it takes two to tango.” Making a baby is a two people job so why are they punishing the women for abortion and the men are off the hook. They should also punished the men as well for impregnating the women and when they feel, they are not ready to start a family and be a mother. They will think of giving up the baby and have an abortion or they can just give birth to the baby but give them up for adoption. I like one of the suggestion that people have make regarding punishing men for women abortion. They suggested that the rapist should get a life sentence for raping young women and girls because this is not a choice. The young women and girls did not get a choice in the matter of having the baby and many of these young girls are probably under age and don’t know what to do with the baby. They are just not mental stable to have a baby and be a mother since many of them might still be going to school.

  11. “If you outlaw abortions, they will just happen illegally”….
    “But if you outlaw guns, we will be magically safe from gun crime”.

    • You make an interesting point but we actually have data on this and it’s not as equivalent as one might expect.

      In places where abortion is outlawed, desperate women and girls go underground or try to do it themselves so that both fetus and mother end up dying at a higher rate than when abortion is legal and safe. That’s the main reason I am against laws against abortion.

      On the other hand, if you outlaw guns people are less desperate to get them. People who are desperate to kill like get a knife, which is less deadly. Or use their fists, again which is less deadly.

      But in countries that have strict gun laws there are hardly any mass murders compared to us.

      • It makes me wonder if it’s a psychological reason for that though. Mass shooters are often loners, so I think they fit a different mental profile to gang members. Both killers, but different ways of going about things. It’s like how serial killers are often loners too in prison whereas, gang members are cold hearted killers, but they are more “social” because they connect and come in groups with other gangs. Gangs are like a wolf pack, whereas, serial killers and perhaps mass shooters are “lone wolf?” Fred makes a good point about that though. Guns being illegal doesn’t stop killers from getting guns or else gangs and cartels would not have guns. It doesn’t stop murders and homicides from such as most of the guns owned by these men are from the black market or illegally. But perhaps gun restriction would limit mass shooters from getting them like gangsters do, because mass shooters are loners who would rather get them at the shop and not have to connect or meet with gangsters to buy black market guns?

      • Doing gun laws state by state isn’t as effective as nationwide, because it does make a black market much easier.

        It sounds like they are going to pass a red flag law, which I think is very important. Because if someone is talking on Facebook or in a school paper about how they want to kill everyone I think they should be flagged.

        Mental health would certainly also help but the same people who don’t want to have any gun safety laws don’t seem to want to fundamental health either. Make up your mind, I say!

  12. I agree with this completely I think if people are going to take action like this on women then it should be equal and men should be going through this as well. Men should also be taken accountable for their actions as well, and the list that was given on what men could be punished with is so smart and it should be that way because sadly they get it so easy and we as women don’t and that is the reality and men should be facing the same or worst punishments such as what they want to punish women for. The part that talks about the guns and how it should be the same as buying a gun to getting an aborition should be mandetated as well because it is so easy for a man to buy a gun without any of those things listed needed and for a women to get an abortion it is literally going to be hell and almost impossible, it should seriously be equal.

  13. I one hundred percent agree that if women are to be held accountable for abortion, then the men should be as well. Women aren’t getting themselves pregnant so if they get in trouble for abortions then the men need to be too. I don’t agree with the laws being passed on banning abortions because I believe that every woman should have the option of getting an abortion. Getting an abortion should be a choice available to every woman without consequences. However, if it is illegal then all parties need to be held accountable. After reading the list of consequences for men that people suggested I think that the following are worth considering. I believe that automatic child support from the fathers of the child should be paid. I also believe that the men should pay for half of the costs of prenatal care and hospital care. I believe that women should have the right to sue the man that impregnated her and didn’t take part in raising the baby especially if she didn’t want to have a baby and didn’t have the option of abortion. I especially believe that men who rape women and get them pregnant should spend life in prison or the be sentenced to death. I believe that is valid because for someone to rape someone it is very inhumane and wrong, and they should be held accountable to the worst degree.

  14. Virginity was invented to stop women from having sex. Abortion bans are implemented to stop women from enjoying sex. Slut-shaming is enforced to stop women from consenting to sex. And when you don’t believe that women should have, enjoy, and consent to sex; you also won’t believe that a woman expressing her sexuality in any way- is doing it, not for you, but for herself. – Farida D.

  15. “$10,000 bounty for turning in men who impregnate leading to abortion “… I’m confused, how does impregnation lead to abortion? It leads to the opposite of abortion, a new life.

    “Automatic child support”… I’m confused, this already exists

    “Sue men for the cost of raising a child to age 18″… I’m confused, it’s called child support.

    “Sue men for pain and suffering if they avoid helping to raise their child”… if they somehow can avoid child support, how will you sue them?

    “How about we treat every man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion?”

    Are you suggesting that women wanting a gun shouldn’t have to wait, and men wanting an abortion should be treated differently?

    • Impregnation may or may not lead to abortion. I wrote, “Third-party vigilantes can collect a $10,000 bounty for turning in men who impregnate leading to abortion”

      Meaning if the pregnancy leads to abortion the man should be punished too.

      On your next two points I am sure that that is true, at least in many states.

      On your next point, I guess they’ll have to figure out how to better track them down.

      On your final point, nope. I’m suggesting that men buying guns (they are almost always the mass murderers) should be treated the same as women trying to get abortions in states that ban them.

  16. Read together with your previous post, it is sad to see such regressive pieces of legislation even in the US, still blind to the havoc played out by school-going teens with guns in their pockets and the unhealthy impact of out-of-the-ark regulations on medical termination of pregnancies. There are no quick fixes and these problems are not going to be resolved by the males; the way forward is for women to organise themselves to achieve greater equity and a better quality of life.

    • It wasn’t so long ago that I had thought there wouldn’t be much to fight for much longer as we would have made so much progress. Boy was I wrong! We’ve got quite the backlash going on in the US. Mostly older folks. Guess we will have to wait for them to die off.

  17. I saw that FB post and loved it. Being from Canada it’s really difficult to understand what is happening in the US with more guns but fewer abortions. Love your post. Maggie

  18. I read recently about protests outside abortion clinics in the UK. I agree with protests, but not when it comes to surgery that anyone, male or female, elects to have done. No exceptions, it is their body, their choice.

    If a woman down the end of my road, or in my town, or in my country, or any country in the world, chooses to have an abortion, they have their reasons. Those reasons are none of my business whatsoever. Their actions will have no effect on my life. People make choices about what they consider is the best for any situation, there are times when they may regret a decision, who hasn’t, but any personal decision is theirs alone.

    It really infuriates me when people use abortion for their political agenda, or use their religious beliefs, to justify denying women the freedom to decide the best course of action that should take. I abhor people who want to control other people, or inflict their own beliefs upon them. Too many people like playing God.

  19. It’s truly unfortunate to see how far our country is regressing toward an America that didn’t value a women’s right to control her bodily autonomy. The current state of our country, in general, is on a steady decline when it comes to the protection of its citizens and their well-being. On the one hand, we see lawmakers punish women for wanting to get rid of unwanted pregnancies, yet do nothing to save the adolescents dying at their desks in underfunded schools. We see the condemnation of women for having unprotected sex, yet instead of instilling better SexEd in schools and funding/creating more organizations like Planned Parenthood–which do more for women’s health beyond abortions and pregnancies– legislatures are punishing women, forcing them to carry a burden—preaching pro-life with little regard to how they’re impacting the life of an individual with actual feelings/cognitive functions and fully developed organs. The double standard that exists and pertains to many facets of life regarding men and women is deplorable, and it’s like certain individuals are forgetting that a woman wouldn’t be pregnant without the fertilization of her eggs, which is what a man does when ejaculating. For that reason alone, to place all the blame and punishment on women is unacceptable. It goes to show the lengths to which men and the patriarchy will go before owning up to their actions and taking accountability for themselves. And not to mention the religious motives leaking into such policies, what happened to the separation of Church and State? In all honesty, seeing multiple videos of lawmakers and legislatures trying to justify these motions is mind-boggling. And it’s important to note such motions don’t only apply to women over the age of 18 participating in unprotected sex, but in a lot of states cases rape victims–no matter the age– and victims of predatory incestual “relations.” In Ohio, when asked what would become of a 13-year-old girl if she were raped (alluding to if it was also an incestuous assault) and forced to carry the baby to term regardless of any emotional, physical, or psychological trauma Rep. Jean Schmidt replied “rape is difficult issues, and it emotionally scars and individual… just as child abuse does. But if a baby is created, it is a human life, and whether that mother ends that pregnancy or not, the scars will not go away. It is a shame that it happens, but there is an opportunity for that woman, no matter how young or old she is, to make a determination about what she is going to do to help that life be a productive human being.” As a woman, to try and justify the torture of another innocent girl and the birth of a child who could experience congenital disabilities due to the incestuous nature of its conception is despicable. People who oppose feminism will argue that women have the same if not more freedoms and rights as men, but motions such as these obviously prove otherwise.

    • Yeah, good point about the separation of church and state. It’s one thing to be personally against abortion. Forcing your beliefs on everyone else is another matter. And freedom of religion protects religion, too.

  20. You are spot on! The suggestions about how men, too, might be punished for abortion make total sense.

    • Yeah! And if we did I bet there would be a lot less people hammering away on how we need to end Roe v Wade.

      • The thing is this. And it’s probably due to ultra religious, conservative, probably evangelicals. But there are almost just as many women creating this obstacle as men. I thought there were key female politicians in senate or in political roles that have just as much to do with voting out roe vs wade or trying to make it illegal for an abortion. The question comes, why do many women go against other women or a situation that could harm them should they need an abortion? It’s due to religious, conservative views I believe which there are just as many women ingrained and share as men in the US. But ultimately what gives this power is this divide and women backing this patriarchal view that is anti abortion. I don’t believe, even if conservative men wanted to create laws that are anti abortion.

        That they would if most women, a great majority were pro choice. Because men’s relations are tied directly to women because most men have family, friends, wives, gfs that are women. If most women were against this instead of it being split or there being a big portion of conservative women who are pro life and against abortion that give power to these laws. If most women were pro choice, men even who were pro life, anti abortion, would hold off on making laws against abortion because they would be sleeping in the couch, and women having relations with them, forcing such men to change their ways or else no support., But there are a lot of women that are for anti abortion too. I guarantee you these conservative men making these laws, have wives that have those same views against women and abortions. So these views men have don’t hurt them, because there are plenty of women who agree because many women have it ingrained in them of such religious, conservative views.

      • I grew up in a conservative religion, and I probably wouldn’t be a feminist without it. But I was always amazed, wondering why women fought against their own interests. When I got into sociological social psychology I began to understand, and I have written a few posts on the topic. Here are a couple of them:

        https://broadblogs.com/2011/10/21/why-do-women-fight-against-their-own-interests/

        https://broadblogs.com/2014/08/08/why-would-women-grumble-and-tumble-over-feminism/

        PS: it’s late and I will get to your other comments later to do them justice. Always interesting to read your thoughts.

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