My Turn: Old white men should legislate male reproductive rights

They’re at it again, old white men living in the past, arrogant, completely out of touch with women, and trying to control half of the supposedly equal citizenry, according to their antiquated thinking. The U.S. has lots of faults and instances of ignorance despite its promises of equality and democracy. But this is among the worst of the faults and the instances of ignorance.

If men were to have a woman’s perspective, this is what would be seen in the US: persistent income gap between women and men; women clustering in lower-paid occupations, barriers to advancement, discrimination experienced by women and particularly women of color and women of ethnic and religious minorities; unwanted sexual treatment, physical and emotional violence, higher rates of poverty, under representation in legislative offices (they had to fight for around 150 years for the right to vote!); and huge differences in time and effort in child care and family-friendly work policies.

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Forced child bearing by women only (as the old white men are legislatively proposing) makes all these problems worse.

It could be said that it’s all getting better, (my baby-boomer generation has contributed much to progress), that it’s not so bad in Hawaii, and that things are much worse in others parts of the world, (but better in some parts, too). But that’s no excuse for retreating into the past and making things much worse for half the population with archaic, hurtful policies that try to reverse progress; and be a bad and un-American example to the rest of the world.

Now, old white men, who were raised with a conscious and/or unconscious prejudice against women, and these men’s politics of reproduction in some mainland state legislatures, want to retreat to an ancient patriarchy that has men controlling the fertility and the process of reproduction of women only, but not of men.

I may have my own male attitudes about sex and women, with which some women may disagree, and these old white men have their attitudes, too. But this should be kept private, not the subject of old white men pressing their attitudes with legislation against half the population and against their will, imposing more discrimination.

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As men, then can legislate their own sex organs if they want, and want to be fair and equal. But I and they have no right to discriminate and legislate exclusively against women without their consent, regardless of our private attitudes. Aren’t women their equals today (and in some cases their betters)? Can you imagine legislation against only African-Americans or Latino-Americans or Middle Eastern Americans? Women are a bigger percentage of the electorate, and they vote. There is no sympathy for these ignorant old white men, be they state legislators, governors, or judges. They are taking America backward.

Mark Van Pernis is a resident of Kailua-Kona.