Relationships can be hard, with all of the expectations, trying to fully support your significant other, and planning for the future. Now what do you do when you realize you may not actually be as supportive as you think? That was the one question a young man sought to answer in a recent advice column in Slate.
This young man explains that his girlfriend is currently finishing up med school and training to commit abortions on her own. He says that while as a “pro-choice liberal” who should support “her career choices,” the ethics make him “squeamish.” He says that the idea of sleeping next to his girlfriend every night knowing that she is committing abortions is taking its toll.
In response, Slate suggested that maybe it’s the fact that his girlfriend would commit them daily or maybe he’s scared of the judgement of others. Maybe he supports abortion but doesn’t like knowing who does them, or maybe he thinks fewer abortions should be happening, and that “squeamishness” is not the right way to describe an ethical objection. Overall, the Slate responder is plenty affirming of the abortion industry and the abortionist “career” path.
Although this piece is more used as a defense of abortion, it brings up valid questions. First, it seems the unsupportive feelings result less because his girlfriend would do abortions daily, but that she would do them at all. I too would have a hard time being in a relationship with someone who made their living by intentionally ending the lives of human beings. As for the judgement from others about dating an abortionist… it might be worth listening to the respectful critics for help determining a way forward, especially for a person unsure about their feelings.
Additionally, if you’re concerned that your feelings arise from an ethical dilemma, you don’t support abortion as much as you think you do. You may not even support it all. Scientifically, we know that at the moment of conception, a whole and distinct human being is created that philosophically has the same worth as any other human being. They’re right that it’s not simply “ickiness” but rather your conscience telling you that abortion is morally wrong, just like any other harm committed against other humans. Fewer abortions should happen and maybe the unwillingness to support your girlfriend is rooted in a desire to truly help women, and the knowledge that nothing exploits them more than abortion.
The largest problem present is that abortion is an important “value” of the girlfriend. The Slate response says the young man should simply support her, and if he can’t, then she deserves better. Basically to the author, since he is the man, he doesn’t really have a say, so either he can forfeit his opinion and be supportive or he can get out. It’s the logic that we constantly hear from the pro-abortion side – that men have no say in the abortion debate (unless, of course, they’re supportive of abortion.)
However, this is a fundamentally flawed argument. With the same logic, I could conclude something like, “I’m not homeless, so I should have no say in how to help these individuals.” Abortion is a human rights issue, as it ends the life of a human being. It harms not only one person but two, the child and the mother. I think to truly be a loving boyfriend, you have to be willing to have the hard conversations. There are resources to help those in the abortion industry find new work. To help show your girlfriend that under no circumstance is abortion morally permissible.
In fact, the most caring supportive thing you can do is to no longer let yourself buy into the logic that you cannot have a say as a man and defer to your girlfriend’s beliefs. Allow yourself to speak against any wrongdoing, even if you love the person committing the wrong. Especially in the midst of a pandemic, encourage your girlfriend to commit to saving more lives, not ending them.
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