Saturday, January 19, 2008

PAS for Men

The Reproductive Rights blogsphere has been buzzing about the new trend in the anti-choice movement - men's PAS. It all started with this article in the LA Times. And now, there is an excellent article over at AlterNet about this nonsense and how it might pose a danger for reproductive rights.

PAS, or "post abortion syndrome" has been something that the anti-choice crowd has been harping on for some time. It's modeled on PTSD, but, unlike PTSD, there is no real scientific evidence that PAS exists even in women who have had abortions. This hasn't dissuaded anti-choicers from now claiming that men experience it too. Oh, pobrecitos!

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that there are going to be a wide range of emotional reactions to an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy, and to an abortion. Different people are going to react differently both to the situation and to the choice that they make. But a syndrome? If there were some actual evidence, then maybe I'd sit up and take notice, but there isn't. And what the anti-choice crowd doesn't seem to notice (or perhaps, doesn't care about) is that even if PAS existed, this would still not be an argument for making abortion illegal. The fact that the exercise of my rights has an emotional impact on you doesn't mean that I shouldn't have those rights. Unless there are some premises added there, all you've got is a wild non-sequitur.

On a side note, I find this part of the oh-so-woeful story told in the NY Time article particularly telling:

Chris Aubert, a Houston lawyer, felt only indifference in 1985 when a girlfriend told him she was pregnant and planned on an abortion. When she asked if he wanted to come to the clinic, he said he couldn't; he played softball on Saturdays. He stuck a check for $200 in her door and never talked to her again.
Aubert goes on to say that while he feels as though the abortions cleared a path to success for him, his moral compunctions compel him to say that, if he could, he would go back and "save the babies". But when asked whether the women who he impregnated might feel differently, his shocked response is "I never really thought about it for the women".

He never really thought about it for the women. Given his decision to slide a check in the door of one woman and walk away like a jackass, I can't say that I'm surprised. Maybe if he had thought about it for the woman he would have a better understanding of both the reason why women need to have a choice and the choice that this particular woman made. Maybe if he had actually given any thought to it at all, he wouldn't now be so pained by something that, at the time, mattered less to him than a softball game.

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