What role do men have in the pro-life movement?
This is a reasonable enough question to ask, given the role that men (for the most part) play in the conception of a child.
One of the slogans of the pro-abortion lobby is, “It’s a woman’s right to choose”. The implication is that a woman should be able to make the choice when it comes to determining whether the life of an unborn child should be ended or not.
The woman carries the child, after all.
Who else could possibly have the right to decide?
While the slogan may be powerful, the facts often tell another story. Very often, the choice about having an abortion does not seem to rest with the woman at all.
Those who stand vigil outside abortion clinics can attest to the fact that pressure can often come from boyfriends for their partners to have an abortion. “If I do not have the abortion, he says that he will leave me”, is a not-infrequent lament from those contemplating a termination of pregnancy.
One can only wonder at how many babies might be saved were more men to show greater solicitude in caring for the well-being of their partners in a crisis pregnancy.
If men have a role in many women’s decision to have an abortion, they also need a voice in the pro-life camp. There seem to be three main reasons.
The first reason is obvious: a man is (usually) involved in getting a woman pregnant. If the child is wanted, men rightly experience joy at the news of a pregnancy, and for good reason: a child is the fruit of union between a man and a woman.
The destruction of that fruit is therefore not only a woman’s issue, involving right-thinking pro-life women who stand up against the wrong choices of pro-abortion women.
If it were that simple, no man would drive past pro-lifers keeping vigil making obscene gestures.
And yet the sad reality is that men do act in such a way. It points to the undeniable fact that abortion is an issue involving women and men.
The pro-life campaign is like no other: concerned as it is with life, it affects us all. Men therefore do not simply have a right to stand up against abortion, they have a duty to do so.
The task is not to apportion blame, but to show that freedom means choosing what is truly good.
Secondly, men should be involved in the pro-life cause because men themselves can be traumatised by abortion.
While it is true that the pressure can come from men for somebody to have an abortion, it is also the case that men can be deeply wounded and confused by his partner’s choice to seek an end to a pregnancy. For men in this situation, there is a useful website offering support and advice.
Men who make a decision to stand up for the unborn could be a simple encouragement for men affected by abortion to speak about their situation and get help.
Thirdly, men should stand up for the pro-life cause precisely because they are men.
Men are different from women. Different, but complementary.
The man has a natural role as generator and protector of life. This reminds us that living beings tend towards their own preservation and growth. A man’s role in that dynamic is self-evident.
A man is thus a powerful witness in promoting the rights of a child, often the forgotten player in the drama of abortion. The life of a baby is always involved in an abortion. As protector of that life a man is ipso facto essential to what would promote that life.
Recent years have witnessed a greater number of men involved in pro-life marches, taking part in campaigns and basically getting involved. This is a good thing. Abortion is a problem for the whole of society. It is too easy to say that because women get pregnant, only women, whether pro-life or pro-abortion, have a legitimate voice.
The presence of men reminds us that everyone is involved.