As the midterm elections approach, rallies across the country continue to address the fight to protect women’s reproductive rights. After the Supreme Court struck down Roe. vs. Wade in June, five states are leaving the decision of abortion access up to voters in November.
Gabrielle Blair, a mother of six and creator of the popular blog Design Mom, says that the best way to address unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortion is actually quite simple.
“Men are causing the pregnancies. Men are doing this through irresponsible ejaculations, and they could easily change that,” Blair tells Yahoo Life. “I wanna shift it away from women's bodies, women's decision making, controlling women, and shift it toward what men could be doing to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Because they have a lot of control. Way more than we've ever specified or given them credit for.”
Blair suggests that men cause unwanted pregnancies in her new book, Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think About Abortion, which makes 28 arguments designed to show how focusing on women’s bodies ignores the bigger problem — that if a man is fertile, he is fertile every day, and there are no restrictions on where he can ejaculate.
“You could reduce abortions. You could eliminate abortions without making an abortion law if you were legislating responsible ejaculations, if there was any accountability required of men to be careful with their sperm. We require no accountability. If we required any, it would make a huge, huge impact," says Blair.
“All he has to do is avoid putting the sperm in a woman's vagina. That's it. He can put it in a condom, he can put it anywhere else.”
Blair’s journey to Ejaculate Responsibly started in 2018 with the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings. She remembers feeling frustrated by watching a group of men discuss abortion and women's bodies. Blair took her frustrations to Twitter, and created a now viral thread detailing why men need to take more responsibility in the abortion conversation, and making the argument that a man can produce 365 babies in a year if he ejaculates every day. For a woman, pregnancy can only occur during a five to seven-day ovulation window every month. On social media, her arguments received support and criticism from men, but by focusing on prevention, she knew she had struck a chord.
“It's not a huge ask, but we haven't asked men to do it. We've never pointed out that your bodies are causing the pregnancies. You are 50 times more fertile than women. For every fertile day a woman has, a man has 50 fertile days because men are fertile 24 hours a day their entire life from puberty on,” says Blair. “Women [ovulate] 12 to 24 hours a month from puberty to menopause. That's it … Every time a man has sex, he could potentially impregnate someone. He is fertile every time he has sex.”
Data on exact number of abortions that occur in the United States every year varies. Three states, (California, Maryland and New Hampshire) did not provide data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019 when the CDC reported 629,898 abortions nationally. The Guttmacher Institute, which includes data from all 50 states, put the number closer 930,160 abortions nationwide in 2020. Today, if an unwanted pregnancy occurs, access to a safe abortion has been eliminated in 13 states and has been restricted in a dozen others.
I’m a mother of six, and a Mormon. I have a good understanding of arguments surrounding abortion, religious and otherwise. I've been listening to men grandstand about women's reproductive rights, and I'm convinced men actually have zero interest in stopping abortion. Here's why…
— Gabrielle Blair (@designmom) September 13, 2018
The abortion battle in the judicial system and at the ballot box will rage on, but in the meantime, Blair thinks that sharing the responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancies could have a bigger impact on abortion than any legislation.
“When we talk about pregnancy prevention, we talk to women about it. We talk to young girls about it. They need to get on the pill. They need to be so careful,” says Blair. “The work of pregnancy prevention sits entirely on women's shoulders. They're like, well the woman just needs to ask the man to wear a condom. Insist he wears a condom. Why? How is that 50-50?"
“So she's responsible for her own body and you're asking her to be responsible for the man's body. And if she doesn't ask, does it happen? No," she adds.
Blair says that she has used birth control over the years to plan her pregnancies with her husband. She knows the risks involved in carrying a child, and the toll it can take on a woman's body. She says asking women to bear the physical, mental and sometimes life-threatening burden of childbirth is not something we should take lightly.
“It's the most dangerous thing that people willingly do to their bodies,” explains Blair. “We ask 84% of women to have babies. I don't say we ask them, we just assume they will. And we don't ask men to do anything that dangerous in those percentages. There's just nothing.”
It's safe to assume that talking about pregnancy prevention doesn’t sound sexy, but Blair promises she isn't trying to ruin the sex lives of anyone. She's just applying a common sense approach to a conversation that usually leaves people exhausted and further entrenched in their ideals.
“We've been debating this for decades and we've never come to an agreement. It's not something we're ever gonna agree on," says Blair. "If we shift the conversation and take the emotion out of it and take the baby out of it, then we avoid all of that, and all of a sudden we can talk to each other rationally about what can we really do."
—Video produced by Jacquie Cosgrove