By Paul Stark Communications Director, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life
Editor’s note. With Father’s Day just around the corner, Paul’s story is particularly apt, as I think you will agree.
Isn’t abortion a “women’s issue”? That’s what people say. Many men feel powerless. They are often told that they aren’t even allowed to speak about it.
The truth is that men are absolutely essential. Abortion can’t be stopped without them.
Here’s how men can make a difference.
(1) Support women and children.
Too often, fathers don’t support women and value their unborn children. Too often, they think that because they have no legal say, they should stay out of it. Too often, women are left feeling alone. And abortion is much more likely as a result.
Indeed, research shows that the attitude of the father is frequently a major factor in a woman’s decision about whether or not to have an abortion. A study in BMC Women’s Health, for example, found that 31 percent of women seeking abortion cited factors related to their partner as a reason for abortion.
And according to a major Guttmacher Institute study, “More than half of the women [having abortions] … cited concerns about their relationship or single motherhood as a reason to end the pregnancy. … Many of these women were disappointed because their partner had reacted to the pregnancy by denying paternity, breaking off communication with them or saying that they did not want a child.”
There’s simply no denying the huge role that fathers often play—and the unique opportunity they have to make a difference. When fathers step up, and when women receive the support they need, lives are saved. Men can make that happen.
(2) Tell stories.
With more than 63 million abortions in the United States alone. abortion has personally impacted tens of millions of men in various ways. “Whether married or single, in casual or committed relationships, some men have a very difficult time after abortion,” writes Dr. Catherine Coyle in a review of abortion’s impact on men.
Some fathers have encouraged, coerced, or just gone along with abortion—and are now filled with regret. Some saw their unborn children aborted against their wishes. Some helped the mother of their child reject abortion, even in difficult circumstances.
All of these men have stories to tell. These stories illustrate the harm that abortion often causes—not just to unborn children, but to women and men—and can inspire others to protect and defend life.
(3) Get involved in the pro-life movement.
Men, no less than women, should advocate respect and protection for unborn children and support for their mothers. That might mean having conversations and seeking to inform, persuade, or motivate others. It might mean volunteering at a pregnancy care center. It might mean getting involved with pro-life organizations that educate the public. It might mean supporting pro-life legislative or political work.
Some people say that men have no right to speak out like this. And it’s true that pregnancy and abortion affect women in a unique way. Women have a special relationship with the children they alone can gestate—the children who grow inside their own bodies. Men don’t and can’t have those experiences and challenges.
But it’s also true that someone’s experience (or lack of experience) doesn’t change the fact that unborn children are human beings, or that all human beings matter, or that intentionally attacking and destroying them is unjust.
Millions of women believe all of those things, and for good reason. Men must join them. Abortion is a human catastrophe, and it calls all of us to do something about it.