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'Speak Up and Be Allies': Men Asked to Join Women in Sharing Stories of Abortion

"Women should not have to face this fight alone. Men, it's on us to listen, to speak out, and to take action."

Men stood alongside women this week at a demonstration at the Alabama state capitol to protest the state's new extreme anti-choice law. (Photo: @ACLUAlabama/Twitter)

As women on social media this week responded to the latest extreme anti-choice laws passed in Alabama and Missouri by sharing their own experiences with abortion, some rights advocates called on men to join in the campaign so that reproductive justice work doesn't fall solely on women.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also called on men to speak out forcefully in opposition to Alabama's near-total ban on abortion, the eight-week ban which passed Friday in Missouri, and six-week bans which lawmakers in Georgia and Ohio recently approved.

"Women should not have to face this fight alone," wrote Booker in an open letter published in GQ Friday. "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."

Actress Busy Phillips won praise from reproductive rights groups earlier this month when she announced on her talk show that she had obtained abortion care as a teenager. Her story sparked an online campaign in which women around the country shared their own experiences using the hashtags #ShoutYourAbortion and #YouKnowMe.

"I know there are a lot of men out there who have partners who've had abortions," tweeted TV host Padma Lakshmi shortly after Alabama's law was passed Wednesday. "It's time for you to speak up and be allies. Women don't get pregnant alone."

"Really waiting on those 'I'm so glad the woman I impregnated was able to get an abortion' tweets/essays/think pieces from men!" tweeted journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner on Friday. "I see all these women putting themselves out there."

As the calls mounted, a number of men spoke out about how abortion rights had affected their lives.

Groups leading the resistance to the extremist Republican agenda since President Donald Trump took office have noted that women and people of color have largely led the way in fighting against harmful, regressive policies.

Daily Action, a progressive group formed after Trump's election which connects voters with their representatives via phone and encourages them to engage with elected officials, found that 86 percent of its users are women. MTV also conducted a survey in 2018 that found young women were more likely to have donated to a campaign, signed an online petition, volunteered for a political cause, and attended a rally since Trump took office, than men. 

Women's rights advocates this week argued that men must stand alongside women to fight against policies that in the past they may have felt didn't affect their lives.

"For men, abortion is not something many feel the need or desire to talk about—it's too uncomfortable," wrote Booker. "But that's a trap—and one we need to get out of immediately. Men need to acknowledge that they benefit from abortion rights and reproductive health care, too."

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