"My name is..." the men begin, introducing themselves one by one as soft music plays before each stating, "...and I've had an abortion." Thus starts one of the most infuriating videos I've yet to watch, entitled "The Apology" in which Christian men apologize for letting women have abortions. Believe it or not, it gets even worse.
The video was created by Heroic Media, an anti-abortion group that tries to use various advertising media to "[connect] women with life-affirming pregnancy resource centers." (Which I'm assuming is a synonym for the manipulative, coercive phenomenon that are crisis pregnancy centers.) "The Apology" features three men who describe themselves as having "had an abortion" — and are thus characterized in the video's description box — all apologizing for "their" abortion, both to the aborted fetuses in question and to women everywhere who have gone through abortions.
"I should have manned up, and I should have fought for you," one of these bro-ish Christian paragons says, addressing the child he presumably would have had. Because what the abortion debate really needs is more dudes "manning up" and trying to force women to make the life choices they themselves deem correct.
The most infuriating part however, is when the men begin addressing any women who might have had an abortion. "I'm so sorry that women were subjected to such a terrible thing and no one tried to rescue you," one offers.
"I'm sorry for men not taking a greater stand in this area," another says.
And in the most chilling comment of the whole video, the third man in the group says simply, "I'm sorry that this is available."
Dude, maybe you could apologize for absolutely terrifying me with that statement. And with this video in general.
Like I said. Terrifying.
There are so many things wrong with this video it's hard to name them all. I mean, I understand and respect these men's pain at feeling they have lost a child. That is what they believe, and I'm sure that the sense of loss and the endless what ifs are difficult to deal with. But that is where my sympathy ends. Because expressing regret is one thing — trying to deny full bodily autonomy to half the human species is quite another.
And yet these men apparently feel entitled to make that decision not only on behalf of individual women, but all women — all the while ironically propping up the blindly anti-abortion culture that results in the very sense of shame and silence for which they also apologize.
The underlying assumption propagated by the video is that women don't have the capability (or perhaps the moral fiber) to make decisions about their pregnancies for ourselves — starting with the ridiculous assertion that these men "had" abortions.
For the record, these men did not have abortions. Assuming they are all cisgender, it is biologically impossible for any of them to ever have an abortion. And yet they all feel perfectly comfortable apologizing for letting another adult make a decision. Clearly they no longer approve of that decision, if they ever did, but that is irrelevant. It was never their choice to make, and they don't have to apologize for it. They have every right to feel sad about it, or even to feel guilty — we can't control our emotions after all — but they have no right to attempt to control whether or not any woman has an abortion.
And to act as though it was always their right and their duty is patronizing and insulting beyond belief.