Arthur B. Shostak, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Drexel University (Phil. PA); Ross Koppel, Adjunct Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania and Principal Investigator, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Jennifer Perkins, Kenyon College
Sen. Hillary Rodman Clinton startled friends and foes alike when on Jan.24, 2005, at an event marking the 32nd anniversary of the High Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade, she urged opponents to find "common ground" to help prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce abortions (a "sad, even tragic choice to many, many women"). (1) Ever since media attention to this possibility has been unusually high, though one revealing omission persists: While one would not know this from media and social science neglect, about 600,000 men (male partners in ill-timed and unwanted pregnancies) accompanied a client to her abortion appointment last year (about half of all abortion-seeking women generally have a man sitting by in the clinic or doctor's waiting room).
In this paper we will explain why the presence of the waiting room males offers a remarkable opportunity to make rapid gains - common ground gains - in reducing the frequency and toll of abortions. We will explore several intriguing sociological dimensions of the subject, and end by recommending policy changes we think worth support from both pro-Choice and even anti-Abortion activists.
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