Women who seek out abortions to end unwanted pregnancies are often demonized for that decision, blogger and designer Gabrielle Blair says. But she maintains that the blame should fall squarely on the shoulders of another group: men who orgasm irresponsibly.
In a lengthy Twitter thread that went viral over the weekend, Blair, who identifies as a Mormon and is a mother of six, suggests that we should change the way we see unwanted pregnancies.
The burden of preventing pregnancy often falls to women, Blair argues — and though she says the birth control pill is undoubtedly a wonderful and important tool that helps women exercise their own agency, it comes with a host of side effects. Medical News Today lists some of the common side effects as nausea, mood changes, breast tenderness, headaches, migraines, decreased libido, and weight gain. In rare cases, oral contraception can also lead to blood clots, which can occasionally be fatal.
"As a society, we really don't mind if women suffer, physically or mentally, as long as it makes things easier for men," Blair writes in her thread.
She includes a link to an NPR article about how a male birth control pill was shut down after men complained of symptoms including acne and weight gain.
"There's been a lot of eye rolling on the Internet about these side effects, because women have been experiencing things like mood swings and weight gain for decades with hormonal birth control," the reporter in the story comments to the network's science correspondent.
"The list of side effects was about 1/3 as long as the known side effects for women's oral contraception," Blair wrote in her thread. She also points out that birth control pills require a prescription and are often expensive.
If women decide not to take the pill, Blair goes on, there's an alternative that's fast-acting, easy to access, relatively inexpensive, and without major side effects: condoms.
But, she points out, for reasons that have to with prioritizing male pleasure above all else, condoms often aren't used. And some men decline even a more pleasurable and slightly riskier option, pulling out, for the same reason: it feels better not to.
This "irresponsible ejaculation" is the crux (climax?) of Blair's argument. "Men are willing to risk the life, health and well-being of women, in order to experience a tiny bit more pleasure for like 5 seconds during orgasm," she writes. "It's mind-boggling and disturbing when you realize that's the choice men are making."
She goes on to say that women can orgasm without penetrative sex or ejaculation, and that the male orgasm is what causes pregnancy: "Unwanted pregnancies can only happen when men orgasm irresponsibly."
For that reason, she says, focusing on men and male behaviour — not on female sexuality — could have a massive impact on the rates of unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
She takes the argument even further: what if men's bodies were policed in the same way women's are, and if pregnancy were seen as male responsibility equal to a female one? What if men were required by law to get a vasectomy at puberty?
They could always reverse it if they decided later in life that they wanted children, she says. And vasectomies might be slightly painful and a little invasive, but no more so than a doctor's appointment to procure birth control and the subsequent side effects of the pill.
"Ask yourselves: What would it take for you to value the life of your sexual partner more than your own temporary pleasure or convenience?" she asks men.
Blair's thread spread quickly, with many Twitter users — mostly women — thanking her for her clarity and eye-opening reasoning.
It was also retweeted nearly 70,000 times, and was shared by people including Alyssa Milano, Don Cheadle and author and activist Glennon Doyle.
On her blog, Blair said she had originally wrote the thread out months ago, but had been hesitant to share it. "Hearing so many men talking about women's reproductive rights (related to the Kavanaugh hearings), brought me to hit publish," she wrote.
Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, and if he is confirmed, many believe the court will be able to overturn the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling that made abortion legal in the U.S. During his confirmation hearings earlier this month, Kavanaugh referred to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs," a term Senator Dianne Feinstein said showed "a gross misunderstanding" of the case about which he was being asked.
In Canada, there is no formalized abortion law — it's treated like any other medical procedure. The Conservative Party came very close to re-opening Canada's abortion debate at their convention last month, but ultimately decided against it.
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