While reading this article about a dominican Nun working at an abortion clinic, (ht) I thought nothing of one of the protesters of the clinic pointing to the men who were dropping off their girlfriends for abortions yell ‘Look at these men, telling these women what to do with their bodies!’ The comment was unremarkable. It made perfect sense to me. In concrete terms, that’s often if not usually how it works. Forcible coercion is probably not required in most circumstances: hints, looking disappointed, pretending to be sensitive and caring for a few days while telling her it is the right thing to do, making it clear that you would not be interested in her if she had a child, pretending you would love her less with a child, etc. is probably all that is necessary. Woman can take a hint, and they’re pretty good at knowing what you’re telling them to do with their bodies.
I misread the quotation (I was tired when I read it, and daydreamed the guys in their cars dropping off their girlfriends). It was, of course, yelled at the protesters as a standard piece of abortion cant. I thought it was an illuminating misread, however. You can be for abortion or not, and it can be either legal or not, but either way men are going to tell women what to do with their bodies; and you’d have to be pretty naive to think that an abortion clinic, on balance, doesn’t provide just another forum in which they do so.