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I Better See Straight Men at Abortion Rights Rallies This Weekend

Every time a facet of abortion rights is obliterated, women get up and publicly beg for their human rights. I watch, and I’m sure you do too, as our newsfeeds fill with absurdly intimate disclosures—the pain of ectopic pregnancy, or the fallout of rape, or the horror of nearly being forced to become a parent. Plenty of abortion stories are joyous and liberating, but still not necessarily the stuff people dream of sharing with bosses and grandparents.

Those of us who live in fear of unwanted pregnancy listen and magnify these stories, hoping we will help move the hearts of a stray republican acquaintance or key lawmaker. These testimonies are a kind of public bleeding, and as we count down to the rollback of Roe v. Wade, this will be the greatest bloodletting in 50 years.

It’s kind of hilarious, as women and queer people prepare once again to make the case for their humanity, to wonder: Will men even show up?

If cis straight men are trying not to take up too much space in the reproductive justice movement, they’re succeeding. We have evidence that men know how to get involved in abortion rights, because plenty of men devote themselves to remove them. “In the anti-abortion movement, men feature prominently,” Ashley Fetters said The Atlantic in 2018. This is clear in the leadership of anti-abortion groups, and in public displays, she noted. “Every year, men are robustly represented at the March for Life, both in men-only groups and in mixed-gender coalitions. But in the abortion-rights movement, men are far less visible.”

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It can be hard to get up on a Saturday and go to marches like the ones this weekend, or to find a time to volunteer on behalf of other people. But if you’re a cis man who has sex with people who can get pregnant, abortion rights aren’t for “other people” and supporting them does not make you a “male ally.” Abortion rights is actually your issue. This isn’t a burn, it’s just true: If you’re a man and you have sex with women who can get pregnant, it is your moral obligation to put yourself on the line for reproductive rights. It is literally the least you can do.

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