The Indispensable Role of Men in the Right to Life Movement

By Joleigh Little, Teens for Life Director,

Wisconsin Right to Life

After years of hearing the (absolutely false to the point of absurdity) claim that the right-to-life movement is dominated by men, I’m going to do something that might be considered a little odd.  I’m going to focus on men.

Before I do that, let me tell you that in my 27 years of involvement with this cause I have been surrounded by, mentored by, befriended by, and absolutely blessed to work with and for the most amazing women I have ever known.  I have been given many shining examples of what it means to be a strong woman — one who understands that we can work, lead and advocate while still believing that our children are a blessing and never a burden.

When I look at our pro-life summer camps, female campers outnumber their male peers by at least five to one.  This is a pretty normal ratio. Check out the staff rosters of our national office and state affiliates, as well as our local chapters. Visit a pregnancy resource center.  You’re going to see a lot more lip gloss than you will stubble!

That said, each time I am at it reminds me of something very important.  Men are not second class citizens in the fight for life.  In fact, they are an indispensable part of what we do.  The other side may disparage them for speaking out on a “women’s issue,” but let’s get a few facts straight:

1.  Half of the children killed by abortion are boys.  We need a generation of young men and boys to speak on their behalf.  Thankfully, we have that generation and we are training them to share the truth in love.  On our camp team we have four teen and college aged boys who have, this week alone, spoken intelligently and compassionately on the issues of stem cells, eugenics, and disability rights.  Our camp and our world are better places because their voices have joined those of our articulate young women in defending their generation.

2.  We aren’t just fighting to protect unborn children.  NRLC and her 50 state affiliates also advocate for the lives of the elderly, the disabled and the medically vulnerable.  That’s clearly not a “women’s issue.”

Often at camp we hear from one of my favorite advocates in the cause of life, Brother Paul O’Donnell. I have never met a stronger advocate for the medically vulnerable and, in fact, should I ever need an advocate in such a situation, I would want him fighting for my life.  He is a strong, gentle and compassionate soul.

3.  And the final fact, shared with our campers last year by one of my favorite pro-life men, district attorney Scott Southworth, “Guys… I’m telling you, abortion is sexist.  It’s the rationale for allowing men to do whatever we want, whenever we want, without consequences.  This doesn’t empower women.  It exploits them.”  In response to the claim that men will never know what it feels like to bear children and should therefore not have a voice in the abortion debate, he countered “I don’t know what it feels like to be a Beluga whale, either, but I do know that it’s wrong to hunt them to extinction!”

To say that men don’t play–or SHOULDN’T play– a vital role in debating, legislating and educating on the most vital social issue of our time is ridiculous.  It’s like saying anyone who isn’t African American should keep their mouths shut when it comes to issues of racial inequality. It’s akin to saying that if do not have Down syndrome (or are a family member of someone who does), when 90% of all babies prenatally found to have Down’s are aborted, you should just sit down and shut up and let the conflict play itself out.

So from this woman who has spent more than half of her life actively advocating for women and children against the evil that is abortion, thank you, men, for not leaving us to fight this battle alone.  Thank you for recognizing that being able to bear children doesn’t make us lesser or weaker than you.  Thank you for speaking up to protect our dignity and the lives of our children.

Sure, we probably could do it without you… but please don’t ever make us try!

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