A Twitter thread on unplanned pregnancies by a mom-of-six is causing quite the debate.
Author Gabrielle Blair of Oakland, Calif., wrote a 63-part Twitter thread last week, pointing out that when it comes to abortions, men have no interest in avoiding it.
“I’m a mother of six, and a Mormon. I have a good understanding of arguments surrounding abortion, religious and otherwise. I’ve been listening to men grandstand about women’s reproductive rights, and I’m convinced men actually have zero interest in stopping abortion,” she wrote on the social media site. “If you want to stop abortion, you need to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And men are 100 per cent responsible for unwanted pregnancies.”
She added while the common narrative around getting pregnant is “it takes two,” she argued it doesn’t always fall on a man.
“All unwanted pregnancies are caused by the irresponsible ejaculations of men. … Let’s start with this: women can only get pregnant about two days each month. And that’s for a limited number of years.”
READ THE FULL THREAD HERE:
That’s about 24 days a year when women can get pregnant. “But men can cause pregnancy 365 days a year. In fact, if you’re a man who ejaculates multiple times a day, you could cause multiple pregnancies daily. In theory a man could cause 1000+ unwanted pregnancies in just one year.”
Dr. Jess O’Reilly, host of the @SexWithDrJess Podcast, told Global News we do hold women to a higher standard when it comes to sex, pregnancy and child-rearing.
“This is evidenced in the fact that women are framed as gatekeepers of sexuality and generally tasked with a disproportionate share of labour related to childrearing — regardless of age and income. There are, of course, exceptions, but overall women are more likely to be judged for their parenting decisions and roles than men.”
But in regards to this thread, she said it’s not just a debate about men and women — it boils down to education.
“I see this as an issue of health, safety and happy relationships. Don’t we all want partners who share in the responsibility of caring for our bodies (and children) regardless of gender?”
The use of birth control
Blair also mentioned birth control, adding women often take the blame if they get pregnant. “Modern birth control is possibly the greatest invention of the last century, and I am very grateful for it. It’s also brutal. The side effects for many women are ridiculously harmful.”
And while male birth control was first introduced years ago (and continues to be studied), some participants of a study reported side effects, eventually killing off the study. “We really don’t mind if women suffer, physically or mentally, as long as it makes things easier for men,” Blair said.
Even with side effects, women still are willing to take the pill, she argued, even though it’s not always accessible. But when it comes birth control for men, or condoms, we’re always reminded that men don’t like to use condoms.
“There are men willing to risk getting a woman pregnant — which means literally risking her life, her health, her social status, her relationships, and her career, so that they can experience a few minutes of slightly more pleasure? Is that for real? Yes. Yes it is.”
O’Reilly added the issue is that sex education programs still highlight women’s purity and men’s self-restraint, reinforcing the notion that men are naturally and understandably sexual while women are “responsible for curtailing and rebuffing male desire.”
“This double standard is harmful to people of all genders and sex therapists will attest to the fact that men too suffer when women are expected to dictate the terms of sexual relationships.”
And with women often feeling pressure to go on the pill or saying no to condom use, O’Reilly said it’s about figuring out why you want to use a specific type of contraceptive.
“What makes you feel most relaxed so that you can engage in a pleasurable, intimate experiment? Does taking an oral contraceptive put you at ease because it’s reliable or does it lower your libido because of the painful side effects? Do you prefer condoms because they don’t make you feel nauseous or do they detract from pleasure because you tend to worry that they’ll break?” she said. “I think all of these questions apply regardless of gender and I hope that people of all genders have considered them.”
Adding men to the conversation
O’Reilly said in a heterosexual context, men can take responsibility by purchasing, carrying and using contraception. “It’s that simple,” she continued. “They don’t need to help; they need to share the responsibility. Even if your partner opts to take the pill or use a ring, can you assist by picking it up or would they appreciate a reminder of daily or weekly tasks related to using this form of contraception?”
Blair also used the phrase “irresponsible ejaculations” a few times in her thread, adding that men cause unwanted pregnancies and abortions. But O’Reilly doesn’t fully see it this way.
“I can’t say I love the word ‘irresponsible,’ but I appreciate the hyperbole that illustrates the fact that men are not held to the same standard as women when it comes to preventing pregnancy,” she said.
“This phrase highlights the absurdity of the double standard that exists. Women dealing with unplanned pregnancies are often framed as irresponsible. You’ve heard people say, ‘If you don’t want to have a kid, don’t have sex.’ But it takes two to tango and two to get pregnant.”