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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Tadross

It is not about life, it is about men's unwillingness to take responsibility

In the famous science novel The Selfish Gene, ethologist Richard Dawkins succinctly explains how gender discrimination might come down to our sex cells.

The first microorganisms at the beginning of time were “isogametes,” meaning they had no “gender” and there was one type of sex cell. Any two sex cells could join to form a new microorganism. Each organism’s goal was to perpetuate its own genes.

To achieve this goal, the isogametes began to evolve — into two different sexual beings. Some developed sex cells that were smaller and smaller, and that could release in large amounts to “swim” and join with other sex cells. The other group’s sex cells became large, few, and more stationery, with a supply of nutrients to support a developing child. It was a competition between speed and success rate. The two competed to each try to perpetuate their genes faster. Those with smaller and faster sex cells benefited from mating with multiple people and being disloyal to "trick" those with larger sex cells into caring for a being with their genes. This takes time and energy, as well as the opportunity cost of not having more children in the meantime. Those with larger sex cells evolved to detect disloyalty so that their counterparts could not get away with this “poaching.”

These two groups are obviously men and women. Men have evolved to be disloyal, and women have evolved to detect disloyalty. As a result, women demand long courtship periods from men, during which men prove their loyalty so that women don’t have to bear the costs of raising a child on their own. Abortion is another tool to protect women in the evolutionary "battle of the sexes."

On a side note, I recognize that this grim portrait of gender discrimination doesn’t tell the full story about men’s intentions. Genes don’t tell the full story about humanity. I will not get into that now, but feel free to check out this more comprehensive outlook on the male sex in Chapter 6 of th Happiness Hypothesis.

In my OpEds in the Tennessean and The Vanderbilt Hustler about finding common ground over abortion, I write about how 20% of all fathers and 80% of teen fathers leave their families. It is hypocritical for men who are not standing by their families to demand that women do so. It is hypocritical for men who ask women to deal with birth control even though female birth control is significantly more detrimental to health, to demand that women deal with the consequences of sex. Of course, not all men fall into these categories. However, it is an unfortunate trend that men are not willing to care for human lives in the ways that many of them demand women do.

The pro-life movement is not about life. It is about men refusing to take responsibility for their actions, while demanding that women do.

Men’s unwillingness to take responsibility in the face of murder has been happening for centuries. Just consider the scope of war crimes in the past century primarily perpetrated by men, or the disproportionate harm that birth controls causes to women compared to options for men that they don't always take advantage of.

To this day, many human men want to “perpetuate their genes” without taking responsibility for it. You can not claim to be pro-life if you are only pro-life when it means demanding women take responsibility for their actions. It is far too common in our world for men to ignore their own atrocities, silence women, and blame evil on them. The abortion debate is just another place where men are doing this. It is not news.

Abortion gives women the same rights men have had for millennia. To promote life, we not only need safe abortion access, but to hold men accountable for the millions of murders they have caused throughout history, and that our flawed, male-created systems are still causing today.

You can read more about my full perspective on the abortion issue in my OpEds for the Tennessean and The Hustler. Dawkins’ perspective is enlightening as to the purpose of abortion rights, showing both why the procedure is important and how it helps to correct an inequality that may be built into our n


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