Given the strong connection between education and income level, it’s plausible that male abortion beneficiaries experience increased income benefits over their lifetime as well, though there isn’t yet data to support this. So far, no such large quantitative study has been conducted on the benefits of abortion for adult men above the age of 20.
One of the few social scientists who has conducted research on adult men involved in abortions is Jennifer Reich, a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado, Denver. “Everybody benefits when individuals can control their own reproduction, but the benefit can be invisible for cis men since they don’t absorb the risks of pregnancy and it’s not written on their bodies,” said Dr. Reich.
In interviews she conducted for a 2008 study, men said abortion made it possible for them to continue their education or employment goals and to “evaluate whether this was the relationship they most wanted to have a lifelong connection to.” Dr. Reich also found that the 20 men in her sample had been involved in 30 abortions, which could suggest that a smaller number of men are involved in a larger proportion of abortions, further supporting the need to understand men’s role.
Dr. Brian T. Nguyen, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California, has established the EMERGE lab to begin to fill the gaps in what’s known about men’s role in reproductive health care. His team has estimated that approximately one in five men has been involved in an abortion, which is likely an underestimate, as some men might misreport because of stigma or because they are unaware of the abortion. “Men can and should be involved in sexual and reproductive health care, and we’ll do this work until it becomes very clear that this is everyone’s issue,” he said.
In a forthcoming paper that draws on a survey data from over 200 men who have been involved in an abortion, Dr. Nguyen and his colleagues found that approximately half of the men surveyed said they desired the abortion so they could focus on the children they already had, which mirrors motivations reported by women who choose abortion that I’ve found in my research as well.
Still, such studies represent a tiny fraction of the existing research on abortion. The lack of focus on men’s role in abortion and how it affects them reflects a broader issue in the way society considers reproductive health.
“We spend so little time thinking about how men’s reproductive health matters and what men’s experiences of reproduction are,” said Rene Almeling, a professor of sociology at Yale.