COLUMN: What took them so long?

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“Manning up” has meant different things to different generations. To the Greatest Generation, the term didn’t exist but men knew what it meant: Fighting for your country, supporting and protecting your family, and of course, not whining.

To the boomers, manning up meant manning down. We opposed war and everything else our parents tried to preserve -- mostly, the Establishment, which meant government, big companies, grown-ups and God. We subscribed to mottos of revenge liberation: “Let it all hang out,” “Make love, not war,” and “If it feels good, do it.”

Id was us. Gender blurring began with fashion. Boyfriends grew ponytails and girls traded Villagers and Pappagallos for work shirts and boots. Then, Roe v. Wade came along and made a hash of paternity along with the patriarchy.

Today’s mishmash of genders and sexes requires new pronouns to support evolving identities. Male and female, not long ago the only two sexes imaginable, are today considered more interchangeable and subject to accommodation, surgical and otherwise. Into our modern mix of whatever-ism and wokeness, manning up now means -- drum roll, please -- getting a vasectomy. That’s right -- manliness goes straight for the gonads, in a way that angry women, since the dawn of time, could only have imagined.

Apparently, some heterosexual men have realized that baby-making, absent a petri dish, takes a male and a female. And almost nobody seems to want to make babies, anymore. At least not until would-be parents are “ready,” as though any parents are ever ready for what for what raising a child entails.

We’ve come full circle since Roe. The generation that made it possible for women (and their male consorts) to destroy their “product of conception” -- so read the label on a jar I once spotted in a hospital -- is now likely to see the abortion industry destroyed in many states. If the Supreme Court reverses Roe sometime next year, as anticipated, at least 20 states are poised to ban abortion more or less altogether.

Some outraged men are protesting this awful assault on their sexual freedom by lining up for vasectomies. Well, dadgum. If we’d known the guys would sign up for that, we’d have overturned Roe v. Wade decades ago. This new movement, reportedly spawned by a Texas law that prohibits abortion after a matter of weeks and incentivizes citizens to report abusers, suggests that the men having the procedure are doing it for the love of women.

Why, I feel like dusting off my pompoms and leading a cheer. After all, what’s a painless little snip for a man compared to a violent, life-altering abortion? A vasectomy, for the Google-averse, is a minimally invasive, needle- and scalpel-free procedure that “seals” one side of each vasa deferentia to block sperm from entering the urethra. The process takes about 10 minutes and sexual activity usually can be resumed within a week.

No wonder the men interviewed in a recent rah-rah story seemed giddy about their decision to snip those sperm in the bud, so to speak. They reported feeling liberated from worry, as well as a tad virtuous. Of course, these men were already fathers who, in consultation with their wives, had decided to get a vasectomy to relieve some of their spouses’ burden.

We might well celebrate men’s recognition that birth control shouldn’t be only a woman’s concern, but one can’t help wondering where all this nobility has been hibernating the past 50 years. Where was men’s outrage while women were poisoning themselves with pills and scarring their reproductive organs with IUDs and abortions?

Answer: They were bystanders. Most men, other than dedicated pro-lifers, weren’t about to protest. If women were willing to terminate their pregnancies, male culture was, like, Okay, honey, whatever you want. It’s your decision.

So, forgive me if the sudden rush on vasectomy clinics fails to bestir my gratitude. Too much water under my bridge, I guess, but I wonder: Are men really acting out of concern for women who might suffer without Roe v. Wade?

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Kathleen Parker’s email address is kathleenparker@washpost.com.

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