In the summer, I went with my college pro-life group to the Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center, an abortion clinic in Dallas, Texas. We went there to do sidewalk counseling, hold up signs, and pray for the people inside the building. My colleagues and I would take turns praying and reading Bible passages near the windows of the operating rooms. I also would stand by the road and hold up signs decrying the evil of abortion. Although some passersby welcome our presence by giving us thumbs up or honking their car horns happily as they drove by, others are less pleased with our pro-life outreach. A few drivers made rude hand gestures (i.e. they gave us the finger) while others would roll down their windows and project an array of expletives at our ministerial outreach. Even more common was angry honks as drivers read our signs.
One day, in addition to the hand gestures, honks, and extracurriculars, I heard someone shout an argument at me from their car, and in fact, a few hours later, I heard the same idea from a different individual. They yelled out: “You don’t have a uterus, so you have no say in the issue.” And of course, there was some colorful language included in their version. Unfortunately, there was no time to respond, but that argument stuck with me, and it is a claim that needs to be considered. Should men have a say as it pertains to the abortion issue? And second, what is a man’s responsibility as it pertains to abortion?
First, let’s look at the argument. The claim at first may sound plausible; an argument appealing to experience or authority. Men have no physical “consequence” from pregnancy and abortion, as it does not seem to directly affect them biologically. Why should they have a say over this “women’s issue”? However, this is not the case. Abortion is not simply a question for a single gender, but rather a question of morality. Moral questions do not require being a member of a certain group in order to have a say. For example, the issue of slavery in the United States was a moral question. Do you have to be a slave to know that slavery is wrong? Of course not! And historically, were slaves the only ones who fought against that injustice? Once again, not at all! As a moral issue, the institution of slavery in the United States was largely defeated through the courageous work of abolitionists, Americans of all colors, stirring the conscience of a nation. Men and women both have a vital role in the dialogue surrounding abortion. Furthermore, neither gender has any moral authority over the other, as all human beings are morally bankrupt before the standard that God has set forth. It is God who has the final say, and in pursuit of his statutes, all are held to that same standard, not just one group. As beings created in the Imago Dei, men certainly have a role to play in the abortion debate and have an obligation to stand for righteousness and justice in their spheres of influence.
Now the harder question remains: what is man’s responsibility in the face of abortion? Biblically, men are called to lead, serve, and protect their families. Abortion is the murder of an innocent life. For a man in a situation where a partner is considering an abortion, he has the moral duty to stand up for the life of his child. It is not simply the mother’s responsibility; fathers must lead and protect their families. Abortion is never the solution. Now I understand this is a great simplification, and often situations are so much more complicated. Yet, it really is this simple. None of the external problems facing couples warrants taking the life of the unborn as the solution. For those who are not in this situation of choosing an abortion, they have the moral obligation to fight for justice. Yet the problem is so many choose to excuse themselves from the conversation, or just sit on the fence as it pertains to these issues. This can happen no longer.
Abortion is not simply a gendered issue. There is a moral question at play, and men need to step up to answer the unborn’s plea for justice. Similar situations with other evils have happened repeatedly throughout history, but it took men with fortitude and determination to end injustices of the past. It is time for the men of courage to stand up. Whether it is in relationships, families, the workplace, or communities, men need to step up to the challenge of fighting for justice as it pertains to abortion.