A tweet from Tesla founder, Elon Musk, provoked a huge response on X in the past week when he posited a theory as to why some women - and men - support legalised abortion.
Musk was commenting on news from Ohio where, much as happened in Ireland in 2018, campaigners were cheering and celebrating a abortion victory which saw unborn children denied human rights including the right to life.
Women in the West have been taught that an accidental pregnancy is the worst thing that could possibly happen to them. Thus, they strongly oppose abortion bans as being an existential threat.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November" class="redactor-linkify-object">https://twitter.com/elonmusk/s... 8, 2023
Many men also fear that they will be unable to have "fun" if abortion is outlawed.
The investor and businessman said that he believed that: "Women in the West have been taught that an accidental pregnancy is the worst thing that could possibly happen to them. Thus, they strongly oppose abortion bans as being an existential threat."
"Many men also fear that they will be unable to have "fun" if abortion is outlawed," he added.
Many of those responding to Musk's comment had powerful personal stories to share, such as one woman who spoke of how her "accidental pregnancy" is now a prize beyond treasure.
"I was “accidentally” pregnant, didn’t want to be, looked for an abortion, couldn’t find one, had the child and wouldn’t trade him for Elon’s fortune today," she said. When one person chided her in relation to the Roe v Wade decision and access to legal abortion, she said: "Had there been a Roe v Wade, I would have aborted and missed out on years of joy and creating a wonderful asset for the world".
Another woman wrote: "I was almost aborted. Truly. My birthmom made an appt and then backed out… Instead, I was adopted before I was born to some wonderful parents who desperately wanted a child And I still have a great relationship with my birthmom. Adoption can be a beautiful choice for families!".
Some comments highlighted the difficulties women face, with one remarking that "many women have abortions because they'd have no support from the Father".
Another woman wrote: "No, the issue is that women are not excited by the prospect of spending the next 18+ years raising a child alone or with no external support or resources, and at the expense of our careers and bodies. It’s hypocritical for men to take issue with this when women were traditionally forced into marriage and domesticity with no access to education or financial independence for ages. Women want the right to determine how we completely reshape our lives around a child’s needs at their own pace. We have been robbed of that for centuries."
But Kristan Hawkins, a mother and director of Students for Life of America said: "Thank you, Elon. Last night [loss in Ohio] was hard but we're not giving up on life because life is worth fighting for. Our nation needs it, our world needs it, and nothing is more fundamental than the right to life."
And one mum spoke about creating a positive culture for unexpected pregnancies, saying: "We have taught our daughter not to shame girls who have early pregnancies. We know of two recent high school graduates who got pregnant and kept the child because there was a concerted effort by those around them to not demonize pregnancy."
Other comments raised issues around accountability and responsibility for men, calling out those who don't "step up" when a woman is pregnant. "I kind of think that a dude concerned with "fun" isn't going to step up regardless of the law," said one commenter. "Accountability isn't the driver in our society at the moment. Self gratification rules. I mean, look at our political class!"
On that topic, Ethicist Dr Calum Millar wrote that the men's attitude referred to by Musk was "why legal abortion caused the feminisation of poverty. If parenthood is optional for women, it becomes optional for men. And guess who the losers of that arrangement are!".
He also said that "the empirical data prove women are more resilient than they are warned - 5 years after being denied an abortion, 96% of those who kept the baby say they’re glad they didn’t have an abortion" - linking to the Turnaway Study which showed that women's emotions after "abortion denial" became "significantly less negative and more positive over their pregnancy and after childbirth"
Many reactions were around presenting the positivity of raising children, with one response noting: "The tragedy is that kids will fulfill most people more than anything else they do in life" - to which Musk replied "absolutely".
Máirín de Barra
This article was first published on gript and is printed here with permission