What If We Are Wrong... Again?


I was a Femi-Nazi back in the 1980s, especially while at UCLA. We saw male chauvinism everywhere in those days. A man opened the door for me: clearly he sees all women as helpless! A man gets a promotion I was hoping for -- glass ceiling! My boyfriend called me "Baby" -- how dare he think of me as a child!


Mercifully, as I matured, I realized there could be more than one reason for things happening as they do. And maybe (gasp!) I was wrong. A man opens the door for me could be a sign of genuine deference and respect. I had to admit, my male colleague probably got the promotion because he was better qualified and (frankly) easier to get along with then me. My sweetheart called me "baby" because it was a term that signified the most precious thing he could think of.


Notwithstanding, achieving "equal pay for equal work," there were a lot of things we were wrong about back then. For instance, you might not know that "living together" wasn't really a thing until the 1970s. Before the Sexual Revolution, it was called "shacking up" and "living in sin." Moving in together wasn't something people proudly announced like an engagement today.


Here's the thing, we thought living together was like "trial marriage" and would decrease divorce rates. But it turns out the opposite is true -- people who live together before they get married have HIGHER divorce rates, and instead of being the step before getting engaged, most people who live together break up before they ever get married (the longer you live together the worse your odds are.) Yes, we had good intentions -- we wanted lower divorce rates -- but we were wrong about how to achieve it.


Something similar happened with abortion -- we wanted to eliminate poverty. Back in the day, abortions were expensive – few poor, non-whites could afford them – it was considered a “privilege” only for rich white women. Proponents thought once it was legal, impoverished Blacks and Hispanics wouldn’t have as many children, and they would put all the money they saved into education and savings accounts.


So advocates marketed abortion to minorities as another “civil right,” and claimed abortion was “safer than childbirth” -- to ease the concerns about having a surgical procedure. No one dreamed that saying abortion was “safer than childbirth” would encourage women to use it as birth control. But they did -- the number of abortions skyrocketed. After all, the Pill was linked to all sorts of reproductive cancer, condoms were unreliable and IUDs were dangerous! And if the government would pay for the abortion, women reasoned, why should I put myself at risk for all those other problems?