Written by Rebecca Branle, Ephrata Township. This piece was first published on Oct 12, 2020 on Rebecca’s blog, basicallybeckyblogs. Reprinted here with permission from the author.
If we just got rid of men, we could eliminate abortion.
Sounds crazy, right? But it’s true. Men are a part of this equation, yet when so many pro-life men call out abortion, they point directly to “baby killing” women. They spit their sanctimony at women who have the nerve to want rights, but they never mention the men.
And guys, we wouldn’t be here without you.
In a year that’s full of examination, I think we need to reexamine the narrative surrounding abortion. I think we need to recognize that there’s a man at the heart of every one.
Sometimes, the man is a rapist. Sometimes he’s an abuser. Sometimes he was the love of her life, but when he found out, he walked out. Sometimes he demands the abortion. Sometimes, he’s a loving and supportive partner. Sometimes he’s a heartbroken husband, holding her hand, as they both mourn a child with health issues too devastating to be compatible with life.
Always, he’s there, whether in the shadows or in the room.
This truth hit home for me in a hard way, decades ago. As a young pro-lifer, I met a girl. She was a devout Catholic and she was endlessly kind and adorably quirky. She became a cherished friend, and she told me the story of her first love. She fell for him the way teen girls do, head over heels, heart over mind. She would have done anything for him and in her quest to please him, she become pregnant. Her Catholic faith and her love for him made her decision easy, keep the baby. But he, enrolled in private Catholic school, wanted to forego faith in favor of his already planned future.
They lived in the city and, one day, a week or so after discovering her pregnancy, she was walking home from high school and was jumped by a crew of boys. Their aggression was aimed at her belly. Her first love, the holder of her heart, had ordered them (kids themselves) to do this. He wanted the baby gone.
Decades later, my memory is fuzzy, but my impression is that the boys were too scared to do real damage. Still, the damage was done. She was pregnant, and scared. Soon after, she legally ended her pregnancy.
I think we can all listen to this story and understand that there wasn’t some grandstanding girl here, beating her chest and proclaiming her rights. There was a terrified teenager whose heart was broken, trying to survive, and there was a boy who was willing to break her, quite literally, to avoid consequences. It’s lot more complicated than “women are baby killers.”
I’m not trying to change your minds about abortion, but for heaven’s sake, please change your words. If you’re against abortion, understand that abortions occur because of men’s actions, just as much as because of women’s decisions.
We all want less abortions. We all want less trauma. Men are an important part of achieving that goal. We need to raise our boys to appreciate their role in unplanned pregnancies. The only way to protect from STDs and pregnancies is for the man, or the boy, to wear a condom. And yet we don’t hold men and boys accountable. We shrug our shoulders and say, “but he says it doesn’t feel good.” We excuse them of their responsibility and make it the woman’s alone.
We need to raise our boys to to respect women, and all beings. We need to model kind behavior and call out the inexcusable. We need to hold them accountable.
If there were no men, there’d be no more abortions. It’s true, but as a woman who is married to a strong, supportive, secure, sensitive, silly at the right times (and often at the wrong times) man, and as a woman who is raising her boys to be the same for their future partners (minus the silly at the wrong times part), I wanna keep the guys. I just want to tell them the truth about their role in our lives.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the role affordable healthcare plays in preventing abortions, and it’s still such a valid point, but I missed this vital message – if you want to create a world with less abortions, men are going to have to “man up.” Because if men wore condoms, and if men didn’t commit rape or abuse…imagine the abortions we could prevent. Imagine the trauma we could eliminate.
So next time you hear someone talk about women killing their babies, remind them it takes two to tango. Call them out for wrapping this issue in misogyny.
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