Pennsylvania State Rep. Babette Joesephs says that female legislators who support pre-abortion ultrasound laws must be “men with breasts,” and not actually women. She said it twice during a rally organized to protest the bill: “I don’t understand it … I don’t believe they’re really women. … I believe they’re men with breasts.”
Pro-life news outlets are rightly responding with disgust, calling her remarks misogynistic; and so they are. The representative’s crass phrase, “men with breasts,” shows a level of contempt for women which is hard to countenance. In her view, woman are made of two things: breasts, and the freedom to kill.
But the thing that strikes me about her remarks is how anti-man they are—not just anti-pro-life-man, but anti-men-in-general. Calling your opponent “men with breasts” implies that all men are, by definition, the enemy. It’s like saying “the devil in disguise” or “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” It assumes that the worst thing you can say about a woman is that she’s like a man.
Every once in a while, I do come across an anti-abortion man who is a true oppressor—who thinks that women are silly, uppity creatures who must be controlled, shamed, reminded daily of her own constitutional weakness and treachery. It happens so infrequently, though, that my first response is always to laugh. Who are these guys? What the heck do they see when they look into the mirror? Very often, their personalities and beliefs are so repellent that they’re single anyway, so their theories on how to control women remain in the theoretical real.
And how often have I met pro-life men who respect women, who care about their health, safety, and happiness, and listen to them, and are willing to be corrected if they’re mistaken when it comes to matters like pregnancy, childbirth, and female sexuality? Oh, eleven billion times. This number includes priests, married men, old men, traditionalists, up-and-comers, zealots, lukewarm nice guys, and so on. Pro-life is pro-woman.