Society often characterizes abortion as a women’s rights issue, but allyship from pro-abortion rights men that is active, not performative, is needed more than ever in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. States across the country are enforcing tyrannical abortion bans that treat women like second-class citizens and will disproportionately impact low-income women and women of color. To fight back, men have to stand up for abortion rights without speaking over women or interfering with women’s bodily autonomy.
We need to realize that we also benefit from expansions in healthcare for women and abortion rights, such as in situations where men may not be ready to enter parenthood or may be in a situation where they cannot help provide for their future child. We have to embrace our ability to become a positive force for change through allyship. The fact that four of the five Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade are cisgender men who can never understand what women experience during pregnancy is absolutely ridiculous, and it shouldn’t only be women voicing their outrage over this.
Over the last week, I’ve noticed a lot of men resharing pro-choice infographics and posts on Instagram, or retweeting statements made by prominent pro-choice political figures. This is a great start, but we have to confront the reality that many of us exist in social media echo chambers where our audience is often of a similar opinion as us on the issues at hand, so spreading awareness via social media isn’t enough. Reproductive rights are human rights, so we need all hands on deck if we’re going to push for real change. We as men can radically transform the way we approach women’s issues and women’s rights by lending our emotional, physical, and financial support in any way we can.
We can directly support organizations that are fighting on the front lines for abortion rights by making monthly donations to the National Network of Abortion Funds or the Guttmacher Institute, asking our employers to match our donations to National Women’s Law Center, and raising funds for abortion providers through the National Abortion Federation. These groups are some of the most prominent examples of the many that exist across the United States. We can also donate to organizations that protect abortion rights for women of color, such as the National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice. Additionally, we can join and donate to groups like Men4Choice, which mobilizes men across the country to publicly and assertively fight for women to have the right to self-determination surrounding their pregnancy. And alongside donations, we can volunteer nationally for both Planned Parenthood and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
We can send emails to our elected representatives to urge them to pass legislation that strengthens protections for abortion and reproductive rights, especially in Pennsylvania. The pro-life Republican Party currently controls both the Senate and House of Representatives in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, while pro-choice Democrats occupy the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, turning the state into a major battleground over abortion rights. This is especially pertinent for the upcoming 2022 midterm elections this November, where there is a high risk of anti-abortion candidates being elected to state offices in places like Pennsylvania. Current State Senator Doug Mastriano has repeatedly called for a total abortion ban without exceptions in his 2022 gubernatorial campaign and trails pro-choice candidate and current Attorney General Josh Shapiro by only a few percentage points in the latest polls. By volunteering for pro-choice campaigns through phone banking, mass text messaging, door-to-door canvassing, and more, we can elect pro-choice candidates up and down the ballot. Simply voting is not enough — through grassroots organizing, we can convince others to vote for candidates with a track record and commitment to defending women’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy.
And finally, we can help friends and family members directly and negatively impacted by the end of Roe v. Wade by simply listening to them and being there for them. Being available for those who need it and showing empathy can go a long way in demonstrating your commitment to helping important people in your life protect their reproductive rights. And by doing so, you are also preparing for a potential future event where a friend or family member may have to make a decision about whether to get an abortion, where they can go to get an abortion, and if they need help getting an abortion in a post-Roe world. To all men, I would highly recommend reading through this guide put together by the International Planned Parenthood Federation on inclusive language and messaging for discussions about reproductive rights. Additionally, we can engage in meaningful conversations with other pro-choice men about our own reactions to the recent Supreme Court ruling, and how we can work together to support the fight for women’s rights. We can participate in peaceful protests and rallies with others in cities across the United States, demanding that our elected leaders step up and take action.
With pro-life male lawmakers and justices criminalizing women for making their own decisions about their health, body, and future, pro-choice men need to help advocate for the right for women to choose in any way we can — whether that be through donations, protests, canvassing, voting, vocally demanding change, and so much more. Like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) wrote in his open letter to men on the need to support abortion and women’s reproductive rights in 2019, “Men, it’s on us to listen, to speak out, and to take action. Not because women are our mothers, sisters, wives or friends — but because women are people. And all people deserve to control their own bodies.”
KESHAV RAMESH is a rising Wharton and College sophomore studying finance, statistics, and international studies in the Huntsman Program from South Windsor, CT. His email address is email@example.com.