When It Comes To Abortion, Austin American-Statesman Columnist Is Tired Of Women Talking About It

Whaaaaat up laaaayyyydeeeeez? Ken in the house.

In an editorial today in the Austin American-Statesman, manly male man-opinioner Ken Herman expresses his frustration with the way in which women wrongly dominate the conversation when it comes to abortion, which to his mind, is not being talked about on the right terms. No doubt, as you watched rich old white man Rick Perry sign rich old white man Dan Patrick and rich old white man Sid Miller’s bill forcing women to undergo trans-vaginal ultrasounds at least 24-hours before any abortion procedure, you had the same thought: when will men get to have their say about abortion?

Don’t worry, men. Ken is standing up for you with “When it comes to abortion, there is no final word.” And he’s going to do it by writing a column about how he’s not trying to change your mind about the fact that abortion is murder, but abortion is murder, and if you don’t think so, you’re wrong, you ignorant slut.

Let’s roll up our delicate lady sleeves and tip-toe into this discussion quietly so we don’t offend Ken, who can just barely be heard over the shrill screams of women who do nothing but drown out male voices on abortion all the doo-dah day.

“Three things I’m sure about on abortion: We will never reach consensus on it. There’s nothing anybody can say to change anybody else’s mind on it. And there is but one question you must answer to determine your position on whether it should be legal.

Okay, Ken. Seems reasonable. Is your question going to be, “Do you believe the government does not have the right to force all women to give birth whenever they are pregnant, full stop?”

“It is this: When does life begin? Everything else is politics. And nothing else matters. Some of it, I’ll argue herein, borders on nonsense.”

Oh, no. It’s not that question. It’s a religio-philosophical question that no one is ever going to agree on because nobody can actually talk to God(dess) Or Whoever if he/she actually exists, even if right-wing Christian nutbags think they can, they actually cannot. So when Ken says “nothing else matters,” he really is saying, “engaging with the debate outside of a religio-philosophical framework and understanding how making abortion illegal in the real world would affect the real lives of women would force me to acknowledge that making abortion illegal is the fucking stupidest possible thing anyone could ever do.” That is, if people care about the health and well-being of women, which Ken clearly does not, because if he did, he’d have asked the first question we posed and not the second question. Let’s read on.

“I thought about this Tuesday as I watched Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially sign into law the measure requiring women to have sonograms prior to undergoing an abortion. Women will be allowed to decide not to view the sonogram. With few exceptions, they will have to listen to a description of the fetus.”

Oh, good. Ken thought about this Tuesday. I bet it made his Tuesday really, really sad. Of course, Texas women think about what might happen to their lives and bodies and families if they had an unplanned pregnancy just about all the fucking time because they know their representatives are hell-bent on doing whatever they can to force them to give birth every time they’re pregnant. So you know, sad Tuesday for Ken. Sad every fucking day for women.

“Some folks think this bill is a good idea. Some folks don’t. I will not waste ink/pixels trying to influence you on this (see point two above). There is nothing wrong with deeply held beliefs. I think they’re my favorite kind.”

This can be read as: “I’m now going to waste ink/pixels trying to influence you on this because I’m now going to write several hundred words on why abortion is murder and if women would listen to men every once in a while instead of harping on about their vaginas, they’d know that.”

“For some, the question of when life begins is a difficult one. Perry is not in that group. “I’m very proud to say that Texas is a state that respects and defends life,” he said Tuesday.”


“Senate sponsor Dan Patrick, R-Houston, drew amens in the Governor’s Public Reception Room with this: “Standing for life is not a partisan issue. It’s a God issue.”


“Your decision on when life begins is informed by all the things that make you you. Again, it’s the only decision that matters on abortion. The other things in the abortion discussion pale in comparison.”

Ken’s decision on when life begins is informed by all the things that make him him, which includes him being a man, which is a very important part of Ken, which we will learn about shortly. Other things in the abortion debate, like how if abortion was illegal it’s likely that women would die trying to obtain illegal abortions or that women would be relegated to lifetimes of poverty or that doctors and mothers would be imprisoned, leaving their families destitute, are suuuuuuuuuuuuuuper irrelevant. When pregnancy is always and forever going to be an intellectual exercise for you because you can’t and won’t ever be pregnant, talking about it in practical terms is such a brain cell killer!

“I’m uncomfortable when I hear abortion discussed — generally by women who support the right to choose an abortion — as a woman’s issue. Granted, women are more invested in a pregnancy then are men. But if I correctly remember Biology 101, every pregnancy involves a male.”

Ken is uncomfortable discussing abortion, which is why he’s decided to write several hundred words in a major daily paper on the subject. He’s willing to admit that women get pregnant, but let’s be real here, men have to put their dick inside a vagina for a minute for that to happen. So, experiencing a dangerous medical condition you didn’t necessarily ask for over the course of nine months is basically the same as a dude having an orgasm, and if you need any more proof that Ken got an A in Biology 101, you are the person with the problem.

“True, in some cases it might be a long-gone lout who has forfeited any right to input in the abortion decision. But shouldn’t we somehow acknowledge men who have emotional, financial and all kinds of other buy-in in a pregnancy? Doesn’t a man at least have a right to be notified if a woman is going to end a pregnancy he helped create? I’m sure that happens in solid relationships.”

Ken, we do acknowledge that men have emotional and financial rights as fathers. It’s called the law. Does a man have a right to be notified that a woman does not wish to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term? It’s something that should be shared, yes, in an ideal world. Does every man ever have a right to know when a woman they’ve fucked is pregnant, and is the legal system qualified and equipped to do that? No. Where’s the line between “lout” and “ex-boyfriend”? Is it only husbands who should be notified when their wives are pregnant? What about live-in boyfriends versus live-out boyfriends? What about people having affairs? Does a man’s wife have a right to know her husband impregnated another woman just because she has an emotional and financial interest in her husband fathering another child? These are just a few questions I have for you, Ken. If it’s your feeling that women in “solid” relationships tell the men they’re with that they’re having an abortion, and that’s all you care about, what are you writing this column for? Problem fucking solved.

Could it be instead that you’re a nosy, sexist conservative who gets off on punishing women for having sex? Let’s find out.

“Another oft-heard argument is that the law should not tell a woman what to do with her body. Two things here, and the first relates to something above: Depending on when you believe life begins, an abortion can involve the life of somebody other than the pregnant woman.”

Depending on when Ken believes life begins (will we ever find out?), an abortion can affect the lives of people Ken has never met and will never meet and probably will never even hear of. Therefore, Ken is the authority here, and the authority says: Ken has the right to know what you sluts are up to.

“And, fact is, nobody (save maybe for the most hard-core libertarian) really believes the law should not restrict what a woman can do with her body. We have, and should have, all kinds of laws telling women (and men) what they can do with their bodies.”

You’re right, Ken. The law says people can’t murder other people with their bodies. They can’t rape them with their bodies. That doesn’t mean the government, again, has the right to force women to give birth every time they are pregnant, because the law does not require all people to sacrifice their lives and well-being just because someone else needs help. For fun, let’s say a fetus is a person. For fun. Because a fetus is not a person, but hey, that’s just my belief. Are there other laws that require folks to donate organs to anyone who needs them? No, there aren’t, because with the exception of women being forced to carry pregnancies to term, nobody thinks anyone should be legally forced to sacrifice their body or life for someone else.

“We have laws telling you what drugs you can put in your body. We have laws restricting who can perform what procedure on your body. You are not free to allow your handy neighbor (the one with a garage full of power tools) to take his best shot at removing your gall bladder. Heck, state law dictates whom you can hire to dye your hair.”

Being forced to carry a child to term is like needing work done on your house, or dying your hair. Ken took Biology 101, remember?

“On abortion, perhaps the hottest of the hot-button issues, all that’s worth talking about is when life begins. Make your decision and defend it. I’m not interested in hearing anything more about anything else on this topic.”

Okay, Ken. Life doesn’t begin at conception because my God, we’ll call him Carl, says it begins at 40, according to our sacred text, My Uncle’s Hilarious T-Shirt. And if it did, I still don’t believe the government has the right to force women to give birth to every child. Are we done? No? What’s that? You still want to talk some more about this? This is my surprised face.

“Despite my wishes, the extraneous debate goes on. It broke out briefly on the Texas House floor Monday during discussion of an abortion-related amendment on a non-abortion-related bill. Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, offered the woman’s issue argument against male lawmakers making laws impacting women’s health. Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, countered with this: “About half the babies that might be aborted tend to be males.”

UNBELIEVABLE. The people of the world continue talking about abortion even though it displeases Ken! Remember, half the people in the world are men, like Ken, and that means we should make decisions based on what they want, because hey, they’re half the people in the world! Nothing about this logic seems suspect to Ken, who didn’t learn in Biology 101 that women make up half the people in the world.

“Said Dukes, “Except for nine months the man doesn’t carry that child.”

She is correct. I fully acknowledge women’s unique role in childbirth. (God bless them. If men had the babies, I think our species would have ended eons ago, just around the time Perry became governor.)”

So, even though men are too stupid and weak-willed to carry pregnancies to term, they should definitely be the ones to make the decisions about whether women (god bless ’em!) do so.

“But let’s acknowledge “the man” in Dukes’ comment could be involved with that child for a lot longer than nine months, perhaps a lifetime. And while we’re at it, let’s acknowledge Dukes’ use of the word “that child.” It’s a child we are talking about terminating?”

Yes, let’s acknowledge that fatherhood exists, and that children exist. What is this Biology 101 class that Ken took? It is really thorough! To answer your question, Ken, yes, abortion is the termination of pregnancy, which means a woman will not give birth to a child. How is it that it’s mostly men making “informed consent” laws who are unclear on this subject? It’s just that many pro-choice people believe that when making the decision about who has rights–living women who are already in the world, or clumps of cells that may or may not turn out to be viable–we pick living women who are already in the world.

“Which brings me to my final point, offered in the name of intellectual consistency. If you favor a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, which, I assume, means you believe that whatever it is that is growing inside her is not life, please be consistent and don’t say that a friend who has suffered a miscarriage has “lost the baby.””

Ken is about nothing if he is not about intellectual consistency, which he learned in Intellectual Consistency 101. The weird thing about that is that since pro-choice people believe it is a woman’s, and only a woman’s, right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, we can very easily support our female friends who have lost babies to miscarriages and also support our female friends who have chosen to terminate, because in both cases, the individual most affected by the pregnancy was allowed to decide what it meant to her.

Which brings me to my final point: Ken Herman doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about, because you can actually read his whole column about when life begins and never once find out when Ken Herman thinks life begins. Read it again. He never says he thinks life begins at conception. He doesn’t say it begins when the fetus has a heartbeat. He doesn’t argue that it begins when the fetus has internal organs. He doesn’t argue that it begins when Ken Herman blows his beautiful conservative load.

Why doesn’t he argue any of these things? Because Ken Herman doesn’t have a single fucking clue when life begins, and by his own logic, Ken Herman doesn’t have a single stake in the argument.

About andrea grimes

Andrea is a journalist living in Austin, TX. She has a master's degree in anthropology and did her thesis work on gender and stand-up comedy. Seriously. Also, she has a bunch of cats. Three of them. Is three a bunch? Discuss.
This entry was posted in abortion, austin, duders, feminism, health care, legal issues, LGBTQ, media, news, politics, relationships, reproductive health, we can't even.. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to When It Comes To Abortion, Austin American-Statesman Columnist Is Tired Of Women Talking About It

  1. Emily says:

    Next time rape results in pregnancy the victim better find the rapist. Not to prosecute him, but to make sure that he didn’t want to pay for the kid’s college or coach little league and be dad or other dumb as shit stuff like that.

  2. Rose says:

    This will be long-ish, but so be it.

    Dear Ken,

    “Where life begins” can’t possibly comprise the entire debate as long as half of humanity has to walk the walk, and the other half only talks the talk.
    It’s a broader issue for women for the simple reason that there are inescapable practical consquences to their theoretical beliefs. No matter where I go, I can’t leave my uterus behind, or anything that may be inside it. By contrast, the moment you pull out, you gain the ability to walk away.
    Precisely because there can be no consensus on when life begins, but the consequences for a woman’s body and the rest of her life are the same no matter when that is, I say the only place this debate belongs, at least from a policy standpoint, is in the realm of the practical, “women’s issues” considerations.
    The existence of a father doesn’t negate that. For the “father” and his stake in the child to be a policy argument, you have to assume an awful lot about other people – that no wife is in a dangerous marriage, that all couples who have sex are together nine months later, that all men are willing to be financially and emotionally involved in a child’s life once it’s born and that while men decide if they’re ready, a woman’s health and readiness are secondary.
    Anti-abortion law is universal, ignoring the wide variation in people’s view and lives. Being pro-choice is a recognition of that variation. As long as the biological consequences in this debate are universal, but beliefs are not, it seems obvious to me that the law should be written in a way that allows the most people to live by their beliefs.

    Love and Kisses!
    A Woman with “Issues”

  3. Luna Libre says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for writing such a great rebuttal. NO ONE, least of all Ken Herman, should have any say in what a woman does with her own body.

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