Men Writing about Abortion: Shape Up or Shut Up

On Tuesday, Steve C. Jones, a federal judge in Georgia, blocked a law signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in May that would ban abortions occurring after six weeks of pregnancy. 

I read an article published in the New York Times about this. It framed the issue as being part of a larger shift in policy happening across the country in the wake of conservative nominee Brett Kavanaugh being appointed to the Supreme Court. Mihir Zaveri, who wrote the article, suggests that this legislation is part of an attempt to weaken or even overturn the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, which allows individuals to terminate pregnancies before viability. 

While it is important that articles linking this case to cases occurring in other states like Mississippi and Arkansas, I was intrigued by the last sentence of the article:

“The state has faced a shortage of obstetricians and has one of the highest maternal death rates in the country.”

It seems to me like that single sentence deserves its own story.

The fact that this journalist structured the story in a way that placed (mostly) male political actors in the forefront, and saved the extremely troubling statistic about maternal death rates for the very end of the article, is not at all surprising to me. A recent study conducted by the Women’s Media Center  showed that men tend to frame abortion as a political issue, while more women frame it as a healthcare issue. 

Male politicians, like Governor Kemp, who are very frequently centered in stories about abortion, are not often directly impacted by these policies. Personally, this makes me super uncomfortable, because it removes readers from the reality of the situation. Whether or not this bill goes into effect could drastically change the course of life of millions, and articles like this do little to emphasize the real human consequences of the governor’s/ the judge’s actions. 

*The study also pointed out that the New York Times had men cover issues related to reproductive rights at about twice the rate that women do. Interesting… 

One thought on “Men Writing about Abortion: Shape Up or Shut Up

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  1. Disappointed but not surprised is the only thing that comes to my mind when I read stories about abortion written by men. Time after time they decide to have a say in what we want do with our bodies. Even when they’re just reporting on it, it doesn’t make sense to me. They will never understand or even fathom what it is like to be a woman, to have a period, or to have the possibility of being pregnant – let alone be pregnant and face the decision if you want to keep it or not. I agree with you, they need to shape up or shut the hell up.

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