.- A men’s advice column advising men how to encourage their pregnant girlfriends to abort provides an unsettling glimpse into the realities of abortion. One pro-life leader characterized the column, which highlights some men’s personal desires to avoid the burdens of parenthood, as “a primer for coerced abortion.”
The advice column was authored by Isabella Snow, who is described as a Sex Education Correspondent. It was published on AskMen.com, a risqué site which claims seven million monthly visitors.
The column is bluntly utilitarian in style, focusing on pregnancy’s and abortion’s effects upon the relationship of a man and a woman. It ends each paragraph of advice with a summarizing tip labeled “prenatal prep.” The avoidance of children and fatherhood is a repeated theme.
Snow begins by noting that while male readers may hope a woman will “stick to the original plan and terminate the pregnancy,” some women may suddenly want to become mothers “despite previous agreements.” She advises the male reader to try to make his girlfriend consider his wants and desires by approaching her “correctly” and taking care with his “presentation.”
Snow advises discussing a possible abortion on a sofa at home to provide intimacy and “reduced eye contact,” purportedly to make it easier for the woman to speak “openly.”
“You’ll also want to take care with your word choice; pregnant women tend to feel like they’re carrying someone, as opposed to something, even if she is just a month or so pregnant,” Snow adds. “You can’t just talk about having an abortion the same way you’d talk about having a cavity filled.”
“If you don’t want to be a father, you have every right to come out and say so. You don’t have the right to berate her in the process and you should be kind, but you don’t need to understate anything,” the column continues, telling male readers they should use phrases like “I need” instead of “I want.”
The columnist advises readers to emphasize the “significant life changes” involved in having a baby, such as the cost of food, diapers and medical care. The column links to another article detailing the costs of raising a child to 18, an estimated $307,000.
“Who’s going to care for the baby while you’re working? Will you have to move to a new home? Will you have to sell your Harley and get a station wagon?” are questions suggested in Snow’s column, which also advises men not to come across as “whiny.”
While counseling against threats to end the relationship and advising emotional support for the woman, Snow describes these tactics as a matter of self-interest.
An unsupported woman could despair, in which state women “rarely make rational decisions.” Further, the column says, withdrawing from a woman would encourage her to ignore “any needs of yours that she may have been considering.”
Snow tells her readers “[if] your woman decides to have the baby anyway, this does not mean you’re required to get married or move in together.”
“You’ll probably want to provide for your child regardless, but if you’ve been clear about your intentions from the start, you are not obligated to contribute beyond what your conscience and the law expects of you. This was her decision, not yours, and the bulk of the responsibility is now hers.”
“Take a moment to spell this out for her when she gives you the final decision; it may just sway her over to your side,” Snow advises.
CNA sought comment about the column from Serrin Foster, President of Feminists for Life, who initially characterized the column as “a primer for coerced abortion masking itself as choice.”
She said the content of the column “isn’t anything new,” but it does document the pressure a pregnant woman can face from “fearful fathers, embarrassed parents, well-meaning friends, people in medical settings in high schools and colleges who don't see a way for her to have a baby and continue her education or career.”
"It's very reminiscent about what we hear from women who have been to clinics to have an abortion," she remarked, adding that former abortion clinic workers have told similar stories.
In Foster’s view Snow’s column was “absolutely vile” but speaks to “the need of the pro-life movement and the pro-woman and pro-man movement to speak about the importance benefits of having children in their lives.
“As feminists we understand that people all the time have been able to overcome challenges in their lives. People make decisions and she will be forever connected to this child no matter what the outcome.”
Explaining how to speak to a pregnant woman in distress, Foster told CNA “we need to say, 'we can do that'. And your life will be enriched by the experience of being a mother or by knowing that your son or daughter is okay through adoption."
"Your life will take a detour, but it doesn't have to be a dead-end."
She charged that Snow is “robbing” women of the experience of being a mother and is doing a “disservice” to men who will be “robbed” of the experience of being a father.
However, Foster also advised sympathy be shown for the columnist.
“We don't know what has happened to Isabella in her private life to take out whatever she has on other women. We need to reach out to Isabella. Isabella is a person too.
"In a weird way she is alerting women and girls by documenting what has happened all the time to women and little girls especially from older men or people from clinics."
"The best part about this is that Isabella has documented it and now we can warn women and girls that this is a routine - no matter where you hear it from."
CNA also contacted Concerned Women for America but did not receive a reply before publication.
Update: When CNA attempted on Wednesday to access the article again on Askmen.com, we were redirected to the site's main page.