The Supreme Court’s move to overturn the watershed Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 — ending the constitutional right to abortion — has prompted a huge, understandable outpouring of anger toward men. It’s not that they were solely responsible for this reversal, but their casual indifference to (and open ignorance of) the realities of pregnancy have coursed through the right-wing movement to reduce bodily autonomy and access to reproductive health care.
Those same political forces have loudly celebrated the end of Roe, and yet, the reactions in the Manosphere, a more diffuse community broadly focused on men’s ambitions, needs and roles in society, have been more varied, almost surprisingly so.
A thread on the MGTOW forum “Going Your Own Way,” where total disengagement with the female populace is encouraged, kicks off with a gleeful headline expressing merriment at the news and the comment: “Time to WOMAN UP and take some personal responsibility.” The first reply begins, “My hope in humanity remains stunted but maybe, just maybe, there’s a future after all,” and subsequent commenters hail the court for attacking “feminism.” Later on, however, a user writes, “mhh I don’t know how i feel about this,” followed by one who argues, “No right to abortion means that lots more babies will be born, which means lots more men will be forced into paying child support.” Yet another MGTOW agrees, referring to a father’s financial obligation to his children as “enslavement.”
Elsewhere, a man with the handle TigPlaze draws a harsh equivalence, saying they “despise the right-wing politicians and feminists equally,” and fairly posits that Republicans don’t really care for the “unborn,” and “there is no such huge massacre of babies that the right-wing dirtbag politicians would have you believe.”
In a related thread, AllUpInTheCut makes the case for abortion as his advantage and a social necessity: “As a MGTOW, don’t I benefit from abortions, practically speaking? Who is getting abortions? What is the alternative? I have no desire to increase the number of single women raising the next generation of strippers and thugs.”
It’s not the most altruistic or enlightened take, though it shows cracks in a would-be consensus.
Even on the incel boards, where raging misogyny would seem to dictate approval of severe abortion bans, some have their doubts. “I’m starting to think that maybe Abortion should be legal,” writes Ika-Sama. “If single mothers don’t reproduce, then it would be better overall.” Many took pleasure in the despair of women and the “big hit to sluts,” as one incel put it — “MAYBE USE CONDOMS YOU DUMB FUCKING FOIDS” was a typical response — and still a kind of ambivalence shines through. It’s not like you can expect to track a lot of empathy here; the incels will never find it in them to denounce attacks on women. They will, however, reason that abortion is morally fine, not to mention a check on the growth of non-white demographics.
The friction is especially remarkable on r/MensRights, the subreddit where dudes have long tried to prove that they are legally and culturally oppressed. There are the boilerplate endorsements of striking down Roe, couched in terms of the usual complaints: “the women who would hold out sex with men because of the Roe versus Wade dismissal are PROBABLY the same women who would lie in family Court to try and control you and prevent you from seeing your kids,” speculates one MRA.
One guy is upset that, according to his own calculations, the vast majority of “feminist memes” related to the news are attacking men. However, there is a solid opposing camp that’s trying to appeal to the gender equality that MRAs supposedly want. On an anti-abortion thread, a critic calls the decision a “huge mistake,” foreseeing a boom market for illegal abortions and wealthy people leaving the country to terminate pregnancies.
“Roe vs Wade has been Overturned; If we truly believe in Human Rights, we must support a Women’s Right to Choose,” reads a post that occasioned more than 2,000 rancorous comments, not a few of which call for “men’s reproductive rights,” alongside remarks such as: “For the record, both genders are getting legally Fucked over. It needs to stop being us against them, it needs to be us against the government.”
The Roe upheaval, and this forum’s thoughts on it, looks to have brought one committed MRA to the edge of a philosophical awakening. “We should be fighting for rights and supporting each other not cheering when half the population has their rights to a life-saving procedure is taken away from them,” he argues. “For 10 years I have been fighting for men’s rights, and today is the first day I have ever questioned it.”
It would be too generous to call these reflections a silver lining as we face down a grim future engineered by a malicious minority of Americans. All the same, this could be the kind of ideological division that weakens the current wave of extremism. If the feminism-hating Manosphere is here and there questioning the assault on abortion rights, well, that’s a sign of just how dangerously radical and unpopular the crackdown is. Have conservatives overplayed their hand, alienating part of a natural base? I won’t get my hopes up, but I will wait and watch to see how this intra-right debate may develop — and give it whatever fuel I can.