Do men have ‘moral standing’ in the abortion debate?

I expect the right-wing blogosphere will be all over this op-ed by feminist Leslie Cannold.

The problem – at least for me – isn’t the fact that she supports a bill currently before the Victorian Parliament to formally decriminalise abortions that occur in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Rather, the problem is that Cannold argues that

Men lack moral standing in the abortion debate — indeed are guilty of moral arrogance — when they push for control over a procedure they’ll never have to have because they can’t get pregnant.

Except that she’s serious, Cannold’s op-ed reads like a parody of self-centred feminism, with its characteristic refusal to accept that any of women’s interests can be put up for negotiation (if they complete the pregnancy, the rest of us must pay for their maternity leave, childcare, cover for their absences at work, and then pay and promote them as if nothing had happened).

Nowhere in her article does Cannold even contemplate the idea that killing an unborn child is morally problematic, even if (and here I agree with her) a convincing case can be made that, all things considered, this can be the better overall option in the earlier part of pregnancy. You don’t need to be a potential murder victim to stand up for the people others are proposing to kill.

The evidence of women in the abortion debate will usually be stronger than that of men, because as Cannold says they have a range of experiences that men don’t. But the moral standing of women to participate in the debate is the same as men’s.