Men for Reproductive Freedom

Men. Who needs them, right? After all, who created all these laws and strictures against sexual and reproductive rights? Men. The men in churches and the men on thrones and the men in the legislatures and courts. Saint Augustine. Saint Thomas Aquinas. Martin Luther. Anthony Comstock. All of them were men. (Let’s skip over Queen Victoria and Indira Gandhi for a moment, so that I can have my Manichean Moment.)

But wait. Who undid these medieval laws? Men in churches and on thrones and in the legislatures and courts. George H. W. Bush, as a Congressman, introduced the National Family Planning Act, and in 1970, Richard Nixon signed it into law. Nine men on the US Supreme Court overturned the Connecticut Comstock Law in the Griswold decision, and they followed it up with Roe v. Wade.

Now, before we men get too haughty, let us remember that we also have the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney in our ranks, pledging to rid the country of Planned Parenthood. [1] But we can’t forget their female fellow travelers either, like Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, who are trying to do the same. [2] It would be so much simpler if the gals were good and the guys were bad – but it’s not that simple and never has been.

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