Why Men Should Have No Say In Women’s Reproductive Rights

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Women’s bodies men’s rights? Aren’t reproductive rights basic human rights? When it comes to women’s reproductive health and rights men’s voices have been echoing more than women’s. Should men have a seat at the reproductive rights table? What do men have to do with women’s reproductive rights, the obvious answer is- to stay away.

May it be their productive or reproductive rights men have been controlling women for ages. Men are supposed to make rules and women are supposed to follow. This has been the widely accepted narrative f0r so long but it’s changing gradually.

Bodily Autonomy

It’s really distressing that even in the modern age where we debate about equality and talk about women’s rights, there is still a ‘need’ to elucidate why women deserve autonomy over their ‘own’ bodies.  Women’s bodies are seen as mere baby-making machines as if the body doesn’t have any other role other than that. But do all women wish to be mothers? NO. But putting women’s reproductive rights under great scrutiny raises the question of their bodily autonomy. Do women have autonomy over their bodies? Do they have the right to decide what they want to do with their bodies?

Looks like even the right to bodily autonomy is gender-specific. Oh! This right too for men?  Gender shapes the concept of bodily autonomy and ‘My body my choice’ is slowly fading away. May it be giving birth to a child, the time when the woman wants to have a child, or the decision of keeping the child or not, every decision becomes the decision of the men. The fact that in all these acts it’s the woman’s body that goes through drastic changes is undermined to a limit that their right to choice is not even recognised.

The Question Of Abortion

‘No Uterus No Opinion’ is a famous quote by a  F.R.I.E.N.D’s character. In the present day scenario, its meaning has extended to women having the sole right to make decisions about their bodies. When it comes to abortion, if anyone should have the right to decide whether to keep the child or not, it should be the one who’ll be giving birth and rearing the child. It should be up to the woman to determine whether she wants an abortion or not. Men can never empathise with the process that a woman undergoes during her pregnancy as they do not personally experience it, which makes them ineligible and simply kicks them out of the race to judge the women’s decision.

It’s really distressing that even in the modern age where we debate about equality and talk about women’s rights, there is still a ‘need’ to elucidate why women deserve autonomy over their ‘own’ bodies.

In the United States, the Alabama Human Life Protection Act bans the practice of abortion except when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. Apart from men, even the state has always been moral policing women’s bodies. Feels like women’s bodies are everyone’s business except them.

The fact that these legislations are passed by a bunch of men who had never experienced what the female body goes through while preparing for a child is problematic in so many aspects. The woman may not be emotionally, financially, physically, or mentally prepared to give birth to a child, but she’ll still have to bear the child and keep it.

The question is should men have a say in women’s reproductive rights when these men will probably never experience the situations a woman goes through? They cannot understand the conditions, cannot relate, and cannot empathise with the women. That’s why the answer is a big grand ‘NO’.

Using Contraceptives

When it comes to preventing an unwanted pregnancy the burden seems to lie on women because men are too big for a contraceptive. Just because a man refuses to wear a condom, the burden of pregnancy comes on to the women. An unwanted pregnancy takes place and the only option left with the women are consuming pills, or abortion or termination acts.  No one tries to even think of the affects they have on women body. Men don’t have to do a single thing to avoid a pregnancy. Men don’t have to screw their normal bodily functions in order to terminate a pregnancy which is a result of sexual pleasure of both. Why does the onus falls on the women alone?

It’s high time we recognise that women are humans too with a bodily autonomy. It’s high time we give them their due human rights. It’s high time men stop controlling women’s reproductive rights and ‘women’. The new mantra is ‘If it’s not your  body it’s not your decision’. Stop policing women’s bodies it’s not your property!

Suggested Reading: Abortion Laws For Women: Why Is The Womb So Heavily Legislated?