Friday Ephemera

Just Thwarted Sperm

Readers will recall Amanda Marcotte, a popular leftwing feminist whose wisdom has entertained us more than once. Not least with her famous publishing blunder and subsequent, rather competitive, displays of  racial consciousness. Nor should we forget Amanda’s belief that the inclination to reproduce is a dastardly social construct “preserved” by unnamed villains solely to ensure that women without children aren’t recognised as “complete individuals.” Some may treasure memories of Amanda’s evidence-free claim that critics of academic feminism, among them Daphne Patai and Christina Hoff Sommers, are “trying to oppress women.”

Ms Marcotte’s recent ruminations involve sympathy cards for men and women affected by abortion. Of particular interest to Amanda is the sympathy card for men whose partners have chosen to abort their child-to-be:  


The card is question is produced by the Fatherhood Forever Foundation, a religious organisation opposed to current abortion law. Now one might disagree with the motives of the organisation and one might find the cards grimly cheesy and a dubious commercial prospect, but that isn’t what caught my eye. What’s interesting are the reactions of Ms Marcotte and her readers in a post titled Thwarted Sperm Finally Have An Advocate. It goes without saying the Sisterhood isn’t thrilled:

Anti-choicers [are] pretending that they just discovered they oppose abortion because it violates men’s rights over their uterine property (established by the “poke it/own it” law laid down in beer commercials).

Apparently abortion must be – can only be – an issue of “uterine property” and patriarchal control. After all, what other considerations could possibly be in play?

If he cares about the embryo so much then he should get to work on inventing a way to transfer the pregnancy into his own body. Oh, you don’t want this thing to leech off your body for several months? Well, I don’t either.”

Won’t someone think of the Man-Child?

Your sperm is in our thoughts and prayers.


The special sort of douchebag who would get all butthurt because his sperm was rejected is probably likely to have behaved like a complete and utter cock before the decision to abort.

Because if a woman chooses abortion and her male partner isn’t entirely happy at this outcome, even if he agreed with it and would defend it in principal, he must be a douchebag, a deadbeat or a dick. Such things are simply known by the ladies at Team Pandagon, where righteousness prevails, prejudice is unheard of and telepathy is commonplace.

As Darleen Click notes over at Protein Wisdom,

Mandy’s obvious compassion for the emotions of those involved in abortion extends from A to A: women must be happy about it, men shouldn’t experience anything at all.

Being as they are mere “sperm distributors.” 

Amanda then devises several cards of her own, though they’re just a tad presumptuous and a little short on sympathy:


Amanda’s umbrage is shared by readers at Feministing, where the idea that some men might be upset about abortion meets with similar disdain. According to one Feministing regular, acknowledging a man’s sadness can only be an attempt to “stoke the flames of male entitlement,” while depicting the woman as “a big ol’ babymurdering bitch.” Note that, once again, the object of scorn isn’t just the card or its producers but the sentiment itself – the expression of compassion and the feeling of loss – both of which can be felt irrespective of a person’s religious subscription or views on abortion law.

One commenter dares to diverge from this consensus, albeit tentatively:   

If a woman had an abortion and felt depressed afterward, would you chide her over crying about some uterine tissue? [...] Men should not have veto power over a women’s right to choose. And no, abortion does not affect men the same way it affects women. But is it really fair to say that abortion doesn’t affect men at all?

...and is promptly chastised for airing blasphemous views: 

Of course [abortion] only affects the woman.

There’s no authenticity or legitimacy to his feelings. He is controlling and shouldn’t be having sex if he doesn’t know that he doesn’t own a woman’s body.

Because it’s only about ownership and the evils of patriarchy, and not about, say, life.

These perspectives rest on male entitlement, religious reconstructionist patriarchy and control of the woman. Not all feelings are justified and not all deserve a response to try and make it feel legitimate and real.

Readers may wish to ponder the belief that male feeling on the subject is inherently controlling and therefore nefarious, and the simultaneous belief that defining men’s feelings as malign by default isn’t controlling at all. And note the conspicuous absence of any reference to love – of partner or child-to-be. Coupling and reproduction are reduced to an ideological board game in which rivals vie for power and men only feel hurt when losing their dominion over someone else’s organs. Hardly a comprehensive picture, or an encouraging one. But apparently the subject of male emotion is not up for discussion, even in measured terms, and men who feel bereaved should “take therapy and learn to not be controlling.” The suggestion that a man’s sense of loss might actually be genuine and have nothing to do with craving power over women is dismissed as comparable with a belief in a flat Earth: “There is no legitimacy to him feeling like that... You don’t legitimise unhealthy entitlement.” Others insist the phrase “losing a child” is impermissible. To identify with the foetus as a nascent human being is “appalling,” a “fantasy,” and not to be “pandered” to:

A foetus is no more a person than the omelette I cook up is a chicken. Potentiality does not precede reality. When people are excited about “the baby,” it is the potential of the baby, not the reality.

Well, here’s a typical foetus at 12 weeks, at which point it could legally be aborted. The foetus measures about 6 centimetres in length and weighs about 20 grams. It can move its arms and legs. It has fingers and a face, though its eyes remain closed. As you can see, this little un-person is just “uterine tissue” - “thwarted sperm” - and, clearly, of no more significance than an omelette or a spleen. Here’s one at 10 weeks.

Some readers may wish to avoid this image, which shows a foetus of between 8 and 12 weeks after it’s “potential” has been brought to an end. And here’s more “thwarted sperm” after its 24 weeks in the womb were rudely interrupted. This is the current limit of British abortion law. 

Male readers should note that - according to Amanda, her admirers and the ladies at Feministing - you have, and can have, no legitimate feelings on this matter, even if the images above were of something – or someone – you helped create. Except, that is, for the nasty, misogynist, controlling feelings that Amanda and her peers will assign to you, based solely on your gender.