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Man to Man: On Abortion

alveda-king2“Abortion is an attack on the family and the humanity that unites us all.” – Alveda King, Civil Rights Activist, Niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, 1951 – Present

Most discussions around the sensitive topic of abortion focus on the arguments spun up by politicians, in particular a woman’s right to choose, which goes something like, ‘it’s her body so it’s her choice’ followed by a strong effort to silence men on the subject. It’s difficult for men to talk about abortion because of the political correctness and sensitivity, and harder still to express any opinion on the subject. However, last I checked, men are 50% — or more — a part of this issue, and we need to take it seriously and not abdicate our role and responsibility. To do this we need to get our heads on straight about what we are dealing with and talking about, and challenge those who need to be challenged.

My goal with this article is to help us as men think clearly about abortion, to put aside all of the political (and even religious) spins, understand our role in this problem, and hopefully convince a few people why it should never be an option.

Firstly, a definition of abortion as I see it. When I say abortion, I am talking about a mother with an unwanted pregnancy choosing to terminate that pregnancy when other options are available. If there is a situation where a choice has to be made between the life of a mother or the child, I don’t consider that ‘abortion’ though technically it may be the same procedure. I see that as a life or death situation that has no decidedly good outcome.

Two Perspectives on the Importance of Life

I am a Christian and have a Christian world-view. To me it is, as G.K. Chesterton put it, ‘the key that fits the lock’. It’s the missing page that completes the story. But, abortion doesn’t need a purely Christian view to see it as wrong, though I think the Christian view is the most complete view because it ties in the spiritual which is sourced from the Purest Truth.

Life from the Naturalistic or Atheistic World-view

Many Christian’s view Naturalist or Atheist through a fairly narrow window. Rather than understanding the naturalist point of view they simply see a world without God being one without meaning, purpose, or wonderment. In other words, they skip directly to Nihilism. However, the naturalist world-view can have an enchanting and beautiful story in which life is precious because the chances of it are so rare.

Through unknown cosmic events, matter and energy explode into an ever-expanding universe. Random events spin out galaxies and solar systems, and here on earth, a speck of life. The only odds greater than its certain death are the odds that it would ever exist in the first place. But, it does survive. In the muck and waste of a forming world, it lives. Over millennia it adapts, it molds itself, it overcomes, it wants to live, it fights to live, and finally, it crawls out of the muck. The creature changes form, spawns new, diverse creatures, some of whom become its greatest enemy, once again adapts, and repeats this process through the turmoil of billions of years until it has become a predator of predators.

Time and again the world and her creatures try to kill him, but he escapes death, masters the world, and lives.

Now, on to you. In order for you to be here an extraordinary order of events had to take place. The countless near-fatal accidents, the sicknesses thwarted, the unintended pregnancies, the arranged marriages, the incest (yes incest), the mothers who died in childbirth, the parents who worked their lives away so that their children might have a future, the children given up because the parents were too poor, and so on. If we could trace back the details of our ancestry we would be shocked at what we would find, but at each step of the way, always motioning towards life.

And, here you stand. What are the odds of your existence? Life, as random as it may be, and precisely because it is random, is precious, and if you add in the fortune of it being a human life, well, you have something that is about as spectacular as we can imagine.

With all of that in mind, what does it say for someone to end a life? To rob a ‘you or I’ from their inestimable chance at this world? All that has happened to make that singular chance possible, all of the energy and lives moved into this direction, the thread of time which has unraveled only to be snipped off by a decision and a moment. It goes against the very nature of life itself. It certainly goes against our natural desires for survival and continuance of the species.

Life from the Christian World-view

From the Judeo-Christian point of view, life is precious because it comes from the hand and Spirit of God. Rather than some cosmic catastrophe, our creation and the continued existence of the universe is purposeful and personal; He spoke the universe into being. God breathed life into Adam, literally breathing the first human soul into existence. And like God, our souls are eternal and our actions affect not only the physical world, which is always churning over, but the spiritual as well, which continues after our physical death.

Arguments from the Christian point of view tend to move towards the question of when ‘life’ actually begins. In the womb? At a certain stage of development? At conception? These generally miss the point, as the Bible isn’t a science book in the strictest sense. God wants us to understand that children, even the unplanned and unexpected ones, are a gift. That life itself is a gift. Amazingly he calls us to be instrumental in His grand story, which means we can play along living selfish, short-sighted, naïve lives, or we can take the rocky, high road and do some good in this world.

How you and I got here is still pretty amazing, but not in the same sense as a random conglobation of cells and historical events as with a naturalistic view. We exist both at the direction of God and the freewill and intervening of man (our ancestors). Like a pianist sitting at a grand piano, we are free to play whatever melody we like. None of our notes, however, would surprise the piano maker. There is no hidden key we’ll find to play. How this whole thing works, our humanity playing out with God’s sovereignty, continues to be a source of debate amongst Christians. The point is, we have a role and we are held accountable for that role. In many cases, how two people get into a situation where abortion is being considered, shows a lack of wisdom and self-restraint. In most cases, the choice to end a life shows a lack of faith in God.

A Man Should Never Want a Woman to Have an Abortion

One of the most disturbing and frustrating aspects of this sensitive issue is how trite men are about the process of abortion. I have known some dads who have said they wouldn’t think twice about taking their daughter down to the abortion clinic if she got pregnant unintentionally. Boyfriends, if they are even in the picture, seem to think that woman just walks in and then, magically, no more baby-problems. It doesn’t work that way, fellas.

Abortion is Physically Intrusive

While having a baby is not a pretty site, the abortion process is barbaric in comparison. I’m not going to inundate you with graphic images on my site, but men need to be aware of what happens when girlfriends or daughters go into that place. Check it out for yourself on Google.

She Can Never Have Not Been Pregnant

Still speaking as a man here, but I think speaking rightly, there is something life-changing about finding out you are pregnant. Men, we can’t experience this like they do, but every guy that has been through this knows how it affects her. There’s no going back. It can’t be undone.

We have to understand that once this boundary has been crossed there is no emotional return to the previous state. Things might appear to function as they were, but it changes her. It changes us. Thinking that abortion will clean the slate is simply not true.

Abortion is a Man’s Responsibility

Responsibility for a child is not, and should never be, solely a woman’s job. By sticking so closely to the argument, “ it’s a woman’s body so she has the right to do with it as she pleases” excludes men from the conversation, but also from the responsibility. And, in case you haven’t noticed, we have had generations of men who abdicate responsibility. We don’t need more excuses, we need reasons to stay. Here are a few.

Abortion shames us

This verse from 1 Corinthians 1:27 really hit me recently:

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” – 1 Corinthians 1:27

To the world it is foolish to have a child when it’s inconvenient. A man’s moment of weakness will come back to shame him in the prime of his strength. This is God’s way of correcting us and establishing his way over our way.

Friend: If you’ve been carrying around shame over this issue, you can take it before God and know he forgives you. Hey, if you’re his son through Christ, it’s already been forgiven! But, there is something about talking to your heavenly Father and getting it off your chest that makes the conversation worthwhile. 

Abortion is less likely when a man is committed

There are going to be cases when a woman has an abortion that is outside of the father’s control, but the lack of a man’s commitment to be a father should not be one of them. If you aren’t ready to be a father, don’t have sex. 

Know what you are expecting of her

When you sleep with a woman consequences-be-damned, you are asking her to bear an immense burden or have an abortion. Raising kids without a father is sacrificial in ways that a lot of men don’t think about. Her career, her future relationships, her days, nights, weekends, and life are going to be wrapped up in this ‘kid for two’. She would be taking on a task outside the right order of things, an order defined by God and confirmed by nature and society.

Can we really be surprised when they don’t want to take that on?

Consequences of our casual view on sex

Today, women have a casual view on sex, as well as men. This seems odd to me since women are the ones bearing the weight here (literally). There was a time when women recognized that getting pregnant, when it wasn’t the right timing (married, settled down), would really suck. They would fight the boys off and herd together. This was a brilliant strategy! How could we call this prudish? This is what female wolves do! Hey guys, you want a wild woman? Find one that makes you wait until the den is ready, and if you’re willing to wait for her, that’s your girl!

Consequences of our low standards for each other

I suppose our standards ought to be for ourselves first and for others later. Either way, our standards have been pretty low for a while now. I’ll prove my point:

  • What are the standards for being in a sexual relationship?
  • What are the standards for getting married?
  • What are the standards for dating?
  • What are the standards for fatherhood?
  • What are the standards for manhood?

See what I mean? We need standards here and we need to call each other out, and help each other up, when we fall short.

Consequences of seeking fulfillment in women rather than God

John Eldridge said something cool that I’ll paraphrase: “ Men are to offer their strength to women, not take their strength from them.” I think that’s right. He doesn’t mean that men don’t find strength in a woman which emboldens him, encourages him, and gives him something to fight for. He means we shouldn’t use the approval, affection, and attention of women as the source of our strength.

Final Thoughts

Fellas, I don’t want to come across as a moral purist or a guy that has kept his lust in check all his life and fulfilled every responsibility with perfect manliness. I haven’t. I think it is because I have an understanding of some of the consequences that can come from our wrong ways of thinking that I am passionate about this issue.

Many of us live in a world where no one holds us accountable. Churches, parents, schools, friends, and society have given us over to ourselves. This is what we have asked for. At some point we have to man-up and take responsibility. Abortion is serious business and we need to be the protectors we are called to be.

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