The sickening entitlement of Dr Erik Strandness (and other “pro-life” men)

I got half way through this revolting spectacle of male arrogance and privilege before I had to stop reading in order to go and calm down. It was the bit where he claims that the vast majority of abortions are the result of consensual sex that finally finished me off, a startling claim to make and one which shows a complete lack of understanding of and empathy for women’s lived experiences. I am however so livid with this article I feel the need to rebut the utter selfish and patriarchal bullshit I have just had the misfortune of reading in the first half. I’ll get to the “consensual sex” bit later

He starts his diatribe with a farming metaphor, talking about fertility as a good thing and asking how we get to promoting “crop infertility” instead of “reproductive fitness”. You read that right ladies, in this weeks episode of “what inanimate object are we comparing women to today” we are simply fields to be ploughed! But you know, let’s run with that disgusting metaphor for a few moments. Do we keep producing crops in a field over and over and over again? We know what happens when we do; over production, fields need to rest and lie fallow. What do we do with livestock that we over-breed, with the cow that has pumped out calf after calf to the point she is now knackered? We send them to the knackers yard! Perhaps Dr Strandness believes that women should be made to pump out baby after baby until they’re only fit for the knackers yard? What would he do with us when we are no longer useful baby factories I wonder? Dr Strandness argues that we are “hedonistically sending humanity into extinction” … perhaps he’s failed to notice that one of the reasons the NHS is struggling is because the U.K. population has grown by 7.8 million since 1980, we are hardly heading for extinction, if anything causes humanities destruction it will be climate change, not abortion.

He then goes on to argue that we have “finalised the divorce between pleasure and pregnancy” but what he really ought to have said is “we have finalised the divorce between male pleasure and female pregnancy” He makes an argument that the consequence of pregnancy should not be divorced from the pleasure of sex. Given it’s men who get most of the pleasure from sex and women who experience 100% of the consequences, the argument he is making is the age old patriarchal argument that women should be compelled to deal with the consequences of men’s enjoyment (and sin). Studies have found that heterosexual women are the demographic having the fewest amount of orgasms during sex and that men are the group most likely to always have an orgasm during sex. This isn’t a biological issue, as Dr Strandness ought to know, the female body has far more pleasure centres than the male body and is capable of a wider variety of orgasmic experiences. Studies show that lesbian women experience more orgasms than straight women and that 39% of women say they always orgasm when they masturbate compared to only 6% who orgasm when they have sex. Ultimately women are not experiencing as much pleasure as men during sex because men are selfish.

It’s bad enough that 24% of Christian men believe they should be able to have sex on demand It’s bad enough that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse which invariably involves coercive sex, it’s bad enough that 1 in 5 women will be raped or sexually assaulted during her lifetime, but it’s downright insulting that a doctor would demand that women be forced to accept the consequences of men having such “fun” at women’s expense.

Finally, after some bizarre paragraph about how modern medicine does more harm than good (an odd stance for a doctor to take) Erik Strandness makes the claim that only 0.5% of abortions happen because of rape and incest. To back this up he links a US report about American women’s reported reasons for abortion. Newsflash Dr Big Brain! Women don’t report that they’ve been raped! Why? Because 99% of rapists get away with it and reporting rape is traumatic, why would women put themselves through secondary trauma for a 1% chance at justice?

Not only this, but many women who have been raped don’t even realise they have been, the majority of the British public is highly confused about what rape is, as this article shows

According to the BMJ 25% of women who present at sexual health clinics have experienced reproductive coercion and when we narrow those down to women of childbearing age, this report suggests that figure is nearer to 50%

If between a quarter and a half of us are experiencing a loss of our reproductive choices then it is beyond ludicrous to believe that only half a percent of abortions happen because of rape. If half of women are having their reproductive choices removed, it is not only dishonest of Dr Strandness to write “Pregnancy is the result of a choice and unless we are experiencing a pandemic of virginal conceptions, we need to put aside the silliness that pregnancies are forced” It is downright insulting and victim blaming and he really ought to be ashamed of himself. How very dare he call the lived experience of half of the female population “silly”

I can’t go on with this article any more. The level of male entitlement on display within it is absolutely sickening! But I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Until men stop raping us and abusing us they have no right whatsoever to any say on abortion.

It is far easier for Christian men to sit in judgement of women who have abortions than it is for them to address the fact that a quarter of the women in our churches are being abused by (mostly) Christian men. As I pointed out in this blog post there is no shortage of Christian men campaigning against abortion but I can count on one hand the number of Christian men campaigning against violence against women.

Ending violence against women would go a long way to ending abortion, but Christian men aren’t interested in doing that, which suggests to me that this whole self righteous bullshit about “murdering babies” has far less to do with a desire to save the unborn and far more to do with a desire to control women.

Again, Christian men, if you really don’t want us to have abortions, STOP. FUCKING. RAPING. US!