By Paul Stark
Abortion isn’t only a women’s issue. Here are three ways that fatherhood and abortion intersect.
(1) The importance of supportive fathers. According to the Guttmacher Institute, half of women having abortions say (as a reason) that they do not want to be a single parent or they are having trouble with their partner. A 2009 study published in the International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction found that pregnant women who felt they lacked support from the child’s father were more likely to choose abortion. A 2004 study in Medical Science Monitor found that 64 percent of American women having abortions said they felt pressured by others to abort. A wealth of other evidence confirms that fathers often play a central role in determining pregnancy outcomes.
Men who help conceive a baby must support (emotionally, economically, or in whatever other ways) both mother and child. When they don’t, abortion is more likely—and women and children pay a price, whether abortion is chosen or not.
(2) The effect of abortion on fathers. Abortion can detrimentally affect men just as it can women. Fathers may experience grief, guilt, anger, depression and other psychological consequences following abortion. Books like “Men and Abortion: A Path to Healing”; “Redeeming a Father’s Heart: Fatherhood Aborted”; and “Men and Abortion: Losses, Lessons and Love” have explored this issue. A number of ministries and websites (including www.fatherhoodforever.org, www.menandabortion.net and www.menandabortion.info) seek to provide healing for men who have lost children to abortion.
(3) Defending the unborn. Pro-choice advocates sometimes say that only women may speak about abortion, and many men are silent or have their opinions disregarded. But the case against abortion is sound irrespective of the gender (or any other characteristic) of an individual making it. Many, many women, after all, make the very same pro-life case. Men have an obligation to graciously speak the truth and to defend the lives of those who cannot defend themselves—the little girls and boys who have not yet been born.
Dads play an essential role in the lives of their children. They are also essential to restoring a culture of life in which all human beings, especially the youngest and most vulnerable, are respected and protected.
Editor’s note. Paul Stark is Communications Associate for Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, NRLC’s State Affiliate.