Men and abortion: demolishing the stereotypes that exclude men from having voice in what happens to their children

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. Father’s Day is June 19. Over the next two weeks I’ll be running some new stories, some older stories about one of the most neglected subject areas in the entire abortion debate: a father’s role and responsibility.

MenandabortionWe’ve collectively been so inundated with the “fact” that abortion is a “woman’s decision” that it’s difficult to remember that this is an absurd proposition on a gazillion different levels.

No one is neglecting the truth that carrying a baby to term is not easy under the best of circumstances, or that care of that child most often falls disproportionately on the mother. But it doesn’t follow from that the father ought not to have a voice in the fate of a child that is his as well as hers.

Tomorrow NRL News Today will re-post a story we first ran in 2008—“Second Reclaiming Fatherhood Conference Draws Much Media Attention.” Here are a few thoughts in anticipation.

Vicki Thorn reminds us that the simple-minded, one-dimensional stereotype of the boyfriend/husband who can’t wait to abort an unplanned pregnancy, while obviously true in some instances, doesn’t account for many men, let alone all the other possibilities. (Note to pro-abortionist feminists, life is rarely simple.)

Thorn does not Photoshop out the villains, for example, the men who coerced the women in their lives—including their daughters—into having abortions. Her point, my point, however, is that this does not exhaust the range of possible behaviors, nor does the failure of some to act as they should exclude all men from any voice in any and all abortions.

Consider…

  • There are men who oppose the abortion from the beginning but have no ability to save their child. Read their stories of their powerlessness and you will have a tough time sleeping.
  • There are men—a lot of men—who’ve been condescendingly instructed not to engage their hearts or their minds. Their “job” is exclusively to support the woman’s decision to abort. To do otherwise, it’s implied when not stated flatly, is to try to impose their will. If in his heart a man knows that he has a responsibility to the child and the mother of their child, he is, at best conflicted, at worst an emotional basket case. (This overlaps with what Thorn is describing when she talks about the men who “seem” not to care.)

Thorn talks about the men who really didn’t care, or who were happy to see this “inconvenience” swept away. “But years later, when they are ready to be fathers, the reality of what happened hits them hard,” Thorn writes. I’ve personally known more than a few men who’ve looked back at their younger selves with great bitterness.

What almost never gets talked about is how a sister’s abortion affects a brother. We tend to overlook how deep the bonds can be between siblings and how much one sibling can hurt when another is terribly distraught.

Likewise, as Thorn reminds us, “There are men whose wives had abortions before they met, who get caught up in the vortex of her pain.” Talk to any counselor, as I have, and you hear how this unresolved pain and grief about an abortion she likely has not told her husband about, is almost too much to bear. And if they are unable to have children, the impact is multiplied.

There are lots of arguments one can make that easily dismantle (or at least show the inconsistencies of) the argument that men are, at best, irrelevant to the abortion issue, at worst power-hungry intruders.

But my desire here is simply to show that abortion does not forever change the destinies of women and unborn children alone, but also husbands, boyfriends, brothers, grandfathers, even uncles and cousins.

If you think the latter is a stretch, I can tell you from personal experience what a difference my father’s care and compassion for my unwed, pregnant cousin made in her decision to carry her baby to term and to find a loving home for that child—and how that generosity of spirit shaped my attitude forever more.

Women and men are in this together, never more so than in the case of an unplanned or crisis pregnancy.