Regan King comments on how abortion is used to discriminate against fathers.
Our four-part ‘Abortion Discriminates’ series was originally published in 2017 to address the often overlooked reality that abortion, at its core, is a discriminatory action. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been reposting these articles as part of our ‘More than a Number’ campaign, showing how abortion intentionally discriminates on the basis of race, sex and disability. You can follow more of our campaign on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.
Men have no choice
‘If you think men should help decide if a woman gets an abortion, just shut up. Her body, her choice. Period.’
Guardian columnist, Jessica Valenti’s view, quoted above, is one quite frequently expressed by pro-abortion activists. They claim that abortion is a woman’s issue and has nothing to do with the man whatsoever.
Feminism Online attempts to justify this saying:
“Men have never been in the position of having a foreign object growing in their bodies and being told it would be immoral to want that object removed. Men cannot relate to the feeling of personal invasion brought about by an unwanted pregnancy or the fears of being a single mother…”
“…even in relationships that are not abusive, giving men anything more than an opinion on abortion is dangerous and diminishes women’s personhood and autonomy.”
This attitude has been increasingly reflected in popular media. In her critically acclaimed and sexually explicit HBO series Girls Lena Dunham, an outspoken supporter of Planned Parenthood (the USA’s primary abortion provider) has one character, casually mention to her unsuspecting partner that she has aborted his child. The episode was lauded by feminist pro-abortion activists for its portrayal of the way in which the understandably frustrated and upset man was put in his place, not being given a say in the abortion.
It takes two to make a baby, but the rights and concerns of fathers regarding abortion are almost never discussed. The mother can abort the child without the spouse or partner’s consent. If a man expresses an opinion on abortion, he invites anger and hate-fuelled rhetoric from feminist pro-abortion advocates and their male counterparts, the so-called ‘Bro-choicers‘. If a woman desires to have an abortion and the father of the child desires that the baby be kept, the woman will be applauded for her cold and callous strength in taking her currently legal right to abort. The man can do no more than weep and express frustration at the loss of his child. He is the victim of a system that fundamentally discriminates against men.
Neil Lyndon, a commentator on gender issues for over 40 years, acknowledges the difficulty of men opposing abortions:
“Up until now, men’s views and feelings on this issue have been absolutely inadmissible; and where any man has tried to raise his voice he will have been denounced – as I have been – as an enemy of ‘a woman’s inalienable right to choose’.”
These realities show the essential philosophy behind abortion as fundamentally discriminatory against men.
The man’s fault?
Feminist pro-abortionists regularly portray men as irresponsible, lazy, self-centred, and lacking any active interest in family life, much less the life of a child. Consider Feminism Online’s assertions that:
“…since the dawn of time women have carried the majority of the burden of child rearing while the man pursues his own interests in life. Meanwhile, the wife is tied to the home to raise the children that both of them created. Men cannot relate to the stifling feeling that comes from being subjected to living a life as the primary care giver… Even the most well-intentioned father engages in but a small amount of the parenting responsibilities. The women, with no other choice but to raise the children since the father is out pursuing his career, or whatever it is that men do when they are not at home with their families, are forced into a situation that may not even be what that woman needs to thrive in life…In short, when men start choosing to be fathers, that’s when they will have the right to pipe in on whether women can choose to be mothers. Until then men, your opinion just doesn’t matter.”
Are some of these claims accurate of some men? Of course. Though a gross generalisation, such men do exist – and yes, these men need to be challenged and should change. And yet, it is these same vices – selfishness, irresponsibility, and sexism – that women display when they ride roughshod over their partner’s desire to keep a child and proceed with an abortion.
In this discussion, it seems to have been forgotten that two parties, both a man and a woman, consented to potentially procreative sexual activity. Both parties have a share in the responsibility of making the child, though this is not reflected in the treatment of men who desire to keep a child that the mother plans to abort. Both parties are independently and collectively responsible for their own actions before, during, and after the conception process.
In cases, where a child was conceived out of wedlock, there is already latent irresponsibility and wrong. The father may add to that wrong by not providing sufficient help to the woman. The woman should not be encouraged to add to the litany of wrongs by aborting the child. Churches and Christians should be faithful to provide the care and support to women in such a situation where they have been abandoned. Giving the child up for adoption should be presented as a potential alternative to abortion.
In June, we reported on the mental struggle men have who support their partner through an abortion. We mustn’t overlook the extreme trauma caused by desiring a child only to discover it has been aborted. Tony Perry, a man whose child was aborted by a girlfriend, knows the pain and heartache of being sidelined without any say in the life of his child. He says that this approach:
“…disregards the role of men as co-creators of life and the life-changing trauma that losing a child in such a deliberate way can have on men.”
Neil Lyndon observes:
“On top of the highly contentious question whether the foetus in the womb has philosophical, moral and legal rights which place a duty of care on the wider society, the inseminating man must clearly, undeniably have an active interest which ought to be established and recognised with legal rights.”
Local churches and individual Christians need to be honest about the discriminatory nature of abortion. In teaching by word and example it must be clear that men and women are equal in their personhood and complementary in their family roles. Both men and women should be encouraged to keep their child. Men should be taught to act like men and take responsibility in family life. If and when they fail in that regard, Christians should show the care that the mother and child most need, whether before or after birth.
Christian politicians and lobbyists should consider ways of promoting life-affirming laws that remove the discrimination that is against the man in abortion legislation and practice. Ideally, we want to stop abortion being performed and promoted totally. A positive step that would see more lives saved, however, would be legislation that requires paternal consent to abortion. Furthermore, legislated insistence on paternal support – even if only financial – would help to stop irresponsible men leaving the women to bear the cost of raising the child alone.