Reproductive issues are not only a woman’s concern. No one considers the man but it takes two to have a child. Why should men care? It is their genetic makeup and their flesh and blood. It is their child forever.
There is no greater gift in life than to become a mom or a dad. It is the most precious gift of our lives. Most men express happiness when they find out that they are fathers. Together Mom and Dad share the joy. The bond between father and child is just as strong as between mother and child. The reproductive issue is everybody’s issue.
However, if the mother should choose abortion, the father has no rights over their unborn child and the results can be devastating. At this year’s Maine Right To Life Conference in Portland, attendees heard a rare perspective, the father’s point of view.
Theo Purrington, a young man with roots in Maine, spoke passionately about the child he never knew who was aborted against his will. He tried in vain to stop the abortion legally but learned that a father’s rights only begin at the birth of his child. Despite all efforts, his girlfriend made the decision to terminate the pregnancy.
He responded with depression, drug and alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts, and additional sexual encounters to replace the child he lost. He gained some closure when his church offered a memorial service for his unborn child, but still that was not enough.
Pro-life groups encouraged him to join them.
Finally, on the day his child would have been born, he became active in the pro-life movement as a counselor. His work took him to Florida, then New Mexico and then back to Florida. He worked in pregnancy centers where he found that when couples were together, the man would say, “It’s her decision,” but when counseled separately, the man would say “I want the baby to live” more than 50 percent of the time.
His journey took him into the prisons where he found that 30 percent to 40 percent of the men were postabortive.
Whether the man should have more of a say about his child in the womb is a controversial issue. When the father realizes that the baby is not just a blob of tissue, but rather his own flesh and blood, he is devastated beyond belief.
People often are unaware of the stages of fetal development before they are faced with this monumental decision. However, help is available and healing possible.
Young adults of childbearing age need to think about what love is. A baby needs to be conceived out of love and not out of passion. Love is a commitment and a decision to put another person’s needs before their own and to help them grow as people. They need to rethink the order of things and put love first, then marriage, then sex. Then they will not experience the devastation of abortion.
Significant controversy over abortion continues to exist since Roe v. Wade of 1973 on many levels and in national and state elections. It is not likely to go away anytime soon. It is important to remember that is does not affect women alone but men as well, who are equally responsible. They have the equal ability to share the joy of childbirth as well as the devastation brought about through abortion.
Some men don’t care, but it is important to remember that others care deeply.
Not only does abortion hurt women but it hurts men as well, and they are the forgotten ones with no rights to their unborn child. Women may say “it is my body, it is my choice” without considering the man’s point of view or the sanctity of life. For more information on this subject, go to www.menandabortion.info.
In this month of October, Respect Life month, it would be good for all of us to reflect upon the consequences of our actions, especially in regards to our choices about love, marriage and childbearing.
Jean Devos Barry and Mary Regan Brakey are members of Maine Right To Life and the Miriam Society, a faith-based women’s group.