My maternal grandfather sits at his round wooden table, in front of a computer he doesn’t wish to or know how to use, beet red, about to launch an avalanche of verbal torpedoes.
“We are living in a watershed moment! No doubt about it. 50 years swept away with the clicking of a judge’s pen. And what do you have to say about it? Do you support a women’s right to choose?”
I sputter, trying to articulate my thoughts against an agitated face of both an adversary and friend.
“With all your education, you don’t have an opinion? You do about everything else!”
I imagine that similar scenes will occur all across the United States as liberals face off against conservatives, Democrats clash against Republicans, pro-life battles pro-choice with Roe v. Wade’s overturn.
Perchance I exaggerate, as most people have already collapsed into their own echo chambers, avoiding don’t politics with whom they disagree.
For those who read this blog, you may be aware that my grandfather passed away in 2019. We discussed almost anything, from politics to history to fiction to sports. It wasn’t uncommon for discussions to become contentious.
Due to our upbringings, experiences and personal choices we disagreed a fair amount. In regards to politics, many of the issues directly affected us, producing direct disagreements.
A child of the Great Depression, he trusted the government to impose more taxes for its services.
A child of the 1990s, I wasn’t as trusting, witnessing how abundance can make Uncle Sam fat and unaccountable, like any citizen
A WWII veteran, he had seen the horrors of combat and lived to tell about them, survivor’s guilt still strong after half a century.
A civilian who could not be drafted, I supported the War On Terror and similar initiatives to counter the worst example of foreign terrorism I witnessed on our soil.
So it went, topic after topic, issue after issue, candidate after candidate, with understandable yet deep disagreements.
However, abortion is distinct from almost all of those topics, issues, candidates and disagreements.
Because of mammalian reproductive peculiarities, a man impregnates his seed and a woman carries the fertilized egg to term.
Two are required to create human life.
Then, the path diverges.
A mother has the baby inside, whether or not the father sticks around. She has to make many consequential, life changing decisions, while her reproductive partner has the option to participate.
Biologically, it’s obvious to most men. Emotionally, not so much.
For me, the most damaging outcome of abortion would be my partner deciding not to keep the baby. Part of me would die, literally and spiritually.
Yet, the baby isn’t kept inside of me. It’s easier for me to say I want my child since it isn’t dependent on me for nine months. After birth, I don’t face complications such as post-partum depression or other physical and mental afflictions. My partner would.
I would like to think that I would stand by and assist my partner with the child. But human personalities are fickle. It’s possible that I would freak out and run off.
Aside from my guilt, the entire burden would be thrust upon my partner, who doesn’t have a choice in what’s growing inside her.
The overturn of Roe v. Wade has made me pensive. 50 years of reproductive rights have ended.
Where will the U.S.A. go now?
What other landmark cases could get overturned?
How much further will red and blue America grow apart?
I have discussed abortion with female friends, family members and associates, but the most vivid memories I have are with my grandfather.
I keep thinking of what he, another male, would say.
Perhaps that indicates the overall problem.
How much input men should have is tricky if you consider a fetus an individual life. Men are required to create, but choose how involved they are in their potential offspring. Whereas women are saddled with a life for up to nine months after initial fertilization.
Random chance and evolution put the burden of pregnancy and childbearing onto women.
Our society should confer them the driver’s seat of the discussion, whatever their position: pro-life or pro-choice.