No, I am NOT a “Rock.”

On Abortion and Waiting Room Men.

By Arthur B. Shostak, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Department of Culture and Communication, Drexel University, Phila., PA, 19104

[Article taken from


Were I asked to name the single pop tune that had the most to teach us, I would name “I am a Rock,” even though it requires a keen grasp of irony.  On the face of it the Simon and Garfunkle tune offers a pernicious stereotype, a caricature of sealed off, bottled up males. Allowing for how this fits far too many Conon-like dunderheads, I contend it does not fit most American men- and the more we can do to move “many” to “most,” the better.

If you want in-your-face evidence that a good many guys are not “rocks,” spend a little time with over 500,000 males annually found in the waiting rooms of the nation’s nearly 400 abortion clinics (about half of all abortion-seeking women generally have a man sitting by in the clinic or doctor’s waiting room).  And if you want to help move “many” out and into the ranks of most (feeling) men, please join me in an on-going effort to reinvent the clinic experience of the waiting room men.

I have been there, both as one of them, and soon thereafter, as a sociologist trying to find out more about them (and thereby, about me).  To get deliberately ahead of the story below, what I found was moving and poignant, as might be expected.  But it was also exasperating and even infuriating, two outcomes that took me by surprise, and have me ever since eager to gain the support of feminist women in an urgent reform campaign.

Back in the 1970s, when “Nancy,” a former lover, nervously called a month or so after we had broken up, I was shocked to learn she was pregnant, and we were going to have an abortion…Continue reading



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Rachael Uris, MA, LPC is the owner of Atacama Counseling, LLC, offering sex therapy as well as individual and couple's counseling for issues surrounding sexuality, love, and pregnancy. All services are located in downtown Boulder, Colorado, and are provided in English and Spanish.
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