(A seven-minute read)
Did the title of this piece get your attention?
We don’t talk about this enough: abortion is a men’s issue as much as a women’s issue, and in some respects more.
Don’t Misunderstand Me
I generally don’t write to help people feel safe, so I encourage you to hang in there. You may read something important. In the end you may have something important to share back to me. If you bail on me now, pre-judging this as just more mansplaining, all you do is stay in your own intellectual silo. And that’s too bad.
Two Important Points
First, if you or someone you love had an abortion, I don’t condemn you. That’s not the topic here. Abortion, whether actively or reluctantly sought, is painful and challenging. It’s emotionally hard and morally fraught. I have no business in your personal business. But then, you have no business in mine either. But I’ll share it anyway.
Second, women bear a great burden (no pun intended) in pregnancy. To do it alone makes it greater. The frequent abandonment of women by men is a main reason why men have a say about abortion. An obscenely large number of children are born to single mothers. As they grow, they are borne by single mothers. It’s unconscionable, and it’s wicked on the part of the men who bailed.
My Personal Business
So, to my personal business, where I confess to possibly being an accessory to manslaughter. It was a grave crime. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time. But with my help, a baby died.
It was the spring of 1972. Two of my best friends at school engaged in a private display of affection, resulting in an unwanted pregnancy. It was, as we said back in the day, ‘Big Trouble’. Oh, an abortion was the only solution, we thought. It was completely justified, we believed. There was good reason for it. (Isn’t there always?)
Having a baby out of wedlock in 1972 changed lives forever and carried a huge stigma for a pair of teenagers, and especially for the baby. You are a bastard! This was a day and age when that term still meant something and was a shameful millstone.
Looking back, I can only see it as a murderous business. I prevailed upon my parents to work through our family physician to arrange an abortion for my friends. All very illegal in our state, legal elsewhere. All very hush-hush. It was all resolved quietly and no one spoke of it again.
There was no talk of ‘family planning’ or ‘women’s reproductive rights’ or ‘health care options’ in those days. It wasn’t a political issue either. It was just a pair of scared kids deciding to end an innocent life to make theirs easier to bear.
So why do I air this dirty laundry? Why do it a half-century after the fact?
First, as a Bible-believing follower of Christ, I know that all life is precious, so abortion is wrong, no matter what situation it alleviates. I don’t get to choose; God’s word prevails in this matter. 1
Second, because of the first bit, I want to repent for my part in what I now acknowledge was a sin and a crime.
Finally, I also must acknowledge my own youthful premarital indiscretions which, thank God, never led to an unplanned pregnancy. Neither I nor my partners ever availed ourselves of UnPlanned Parenthood. Why do I call it that? Well, if you are planning parenthood, you don’t look for an abortion, do you?
Okay, Take a Deep Breath
Why the roundabout introduction? To show you that I’ve had some skin in the game. As a man, I have to take responsibility for my actions. All of them.
I’d like to think that if one of my youthful escapades had resulted in a pregnancy, I’d have ‘done the right thing’. In my day and age, that meant marriage, no question. Nowadays, with more than half of American and UK babies born out of wedlock, that would at least mean being an active and responsible father.
But that’s the problem, isn’t it? It takes two to tango, but when that third party joins the dance, many of the men leave the floor.
It’s wrong, it’s ugly, and has led to two ugly outcomes.
The first is the wholesale slaughter of millions of babies under the euphemistic fiction of ‘family planning’ or ‘reproductive health.’ How many abortions are ordered up because the father is either absent, going to be absent, or refuses to take responsibility for a lack of self-control? How many would be prevented if men did their part?
After that, for babies allowed to be born, many of them grow up fatherless. The long-term implications of this are frightening. Fifty years of statistics prove this. We see it lived out every day. Fatherless boys become fatherless men. They are emotional orphans. They are more likely to turn to crime, use drugs, join a gang or engage in other anti-social behavior. The vast majority of men in prison grew up without a strong, loving dad. The truth of this is inarguable.
Boys without fathers search for fathers. And they will take whatever they believe gives them a strong identity, even if it is evil. This is not a new concept. There is research on this going back to the 1820s.
Boys disguised as men are also more like to unthinkingly father children for whom they will take no responsibility. They do what they’ve learned. This leaves two victims: a betrayed and wounded woman, and a dead or fatherless child.
What Do We Do?
I don’t know much beyond supporting organizations that build strong two-parent families, or which build strong, protective, loving men. In personal relationships, we can encourage the men we know to be more selfless.
Selfless men are godly men. They take responsibility for what they do, and they live honorable lives. They are willing to protect women: all women. These are men who know what a zipper is for. These are men who are willing to be accountable to others, especially other men. If they make a mess, they clean it up and make amends. If they need help, they ask for it.
Protecting Women Beyond Abortion Rights
The abortion debate (mostly passionate and violent shouting) has been all about women on one hand, and about babies on the other. Women, because they incubate, carry and bear children. Babies, because they are silent, innocent victims of abortion and – if born – too often have no father.
But the discussion should welcome and include men as well. Too many men play their part, unthinkingly, unconsciously and unconscionably and then walk away. ‘It’s your problem, Babe – you sort it out. I’ll even pay for it,’ they might say.
Or they may just disappear. Or they may turn up later demanding their ‘rights.’ They may become violent.
By their negligence and selfishness, these men essentially force women into the pain of abortions after giving them the pain of betrayal. Or force them into the pain of single parenthood. Either way, they ruin lives.
A Call to Men
I saw this quote3 recently: ‘Strong men live according to their morals. Weak men live according to their urges.’ But morals alone aren’t enough because morals have to be lived not just held. And they have to be lived in community. In the right kind of community. A community built by fathers who want to raise children, not kill them.
Finally, I have a legacy to dispense with. Family history tells me that my grandmother, a nurse, worked directly with Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. Because I believe unequivocally that abortion is murder, I publicly renounce my family’s historical connection to this organization.
I know Planned Parenthood has provided much-needed pre-natal care to many women, but by all accounts, its primary purpose in recent years has been to kill innocent children.
The wrangling about Margaret Sanger’s history, and whether she was a racist or a eugenicist is for others. For myself, I’m only sorry my family was involved, and I publicly apologize to anyone who has been misled or hurt by Planned Parenthood in any way.
1. We can argue about this later
2. Ephesians 5:25-33
3. I apologize that I cannot attribute this quote. I jotted it down at the time without noting the author.
Image by Rodnae Productions via Pexels