Abortion leads to emotional damage for men,
by Kathryn Lopez
The Grand Island Independent
Grand Island, NE
March 25, 2006
You might have heard about a "Roe v. Wade for
men" by now. It's a despicable matter, but may also be an unintentional
On March 9, the National Center for Men filed a lawsuit in a
Michigan court on behalf of their headline-maker in a 25-year-old computer
programmer, Matthew Dubay, who doesn't want to pay child support to his
ex-girlfriend for the baby he says she chose to have. He didn't want a kid, and
he wasn't kidding. He wants the "right to choose," too.
The Center argues: "More than three decades ago Roe v. Wade
gave women control of their reproductive lives, but nothing in the law changed
for men. Women can now have sexual intimacy without sacrificing reproductive
choice. ... But men are routinely forced to give up control, forced to be
financially responsible for choices only women are permitted to make, forced to
relinquish reproductive choice as the price of intimacy."
A "Roe v. Wade for men," however, will only make a messed-up
world worse. Dubay and his ex-girlfriend, of course, made a reproductive choice
when they engaged in sexual activity.
I'm reminded of a controversial laugh line from comedian Chris
Rock: "Abortion, it's beautiful, it's beautiful abortion is legal. I love going
to an abortion rally to pick up women, cause you know they are f." The National
Center for Men wants that "beautiful" life, no strings attached. Do I really
have to offer up courses in Morality 101 and Remedial Maturity for you to know
where I'm going with this?
But save for the press guy at the National Center for Men --
and the group's acolytes who subscribed to this illogic -- there is absolutely
nothing beautiful about abortion. Aside from the tragedy of a poor child who
will someday read terrible headlines about a father who went to great lengths to
make clear he wanted nothing to do with her, talk of Roe and men highlights
something under the national radar: abortion and its effect on men.
"Roe v. Wade not only takes the life of the unborn child, but
it also tempts the natural father to kill off his instinct to protect and
provide for his children," says Kevin Burke, associate director of Rachel's
Vineyard, a post-abortion-healing ministry of Priests For Life. "Beneath the
legal arguments, we have to ask this man, 'regardless of the circumstances of
her conception, your daughter now lives, breathes and walks this Earth. How can
you still reject her, and withhold your love and support?"'
That's a personal matter, not a legal argument. But it's also
a state of mind the culture of Roe has given birth to. "Because of Roe," as
Burke puts it, "children are disposable, the gift of their lives is reduced to a
'legal issue' to be debated and decided."
And it's also a lie.
As Burke puts it: "beneath the detached exterior, men often
are suffering from their participation in abortion, and need to grieve the loss
of their children."
"Man's innate role as defender/protector/provider to his
children -- which I would argue is as biologically intrinsic as that of a
mother's need to nurture her child -- is gravely violated by participation in
abortion," Burke tells me. "Men do not always recognize the symptoms they
experience as having their roots in an abortion decision -- but scratch the
surface and you will see it. ... They may struggle to make commitments, to be
emotionally present to their current wives and children, to embrace their role
as spiritual and moral leader in the home ... deep down they know they
compromised that authority when they aborted their son or daughter in the past."
As Burke works with men, though, he's optimistic. "The good
news is that with healing men can grow to fully embrace their manhood/fatherhood
in a life-giving way that is a blessing to families and communities. When you
begin to peel away the layers of the effects of Roe v. Wade on women and men,
couples, families ... you see that this is really a community mental-health
None of Burke's talk is meant to hand anyone a victim card,
but rather than looking for new ways to put a cultural imprimatur on
irresponsibility, now's as good a time as any to step back and take a look at
what 33 years of legal abortion has done to the lives it's touched (never mind
In recent years, groups have popped out from under Roe to
address the pain women feel in the wake of abortions. One of them, Feminists for
Life, says that "women deserve better" than abortion. But -- and here's where
Dubay's nonsense narrowly comes in handy -- abortion is not just a women's
issue. It's a human issue -- touching women, men and, of course, children. We
all deserve better than abortion. And the last thing we need is more Roe-ing.
Kathryn Lopez is the editor of National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
She can be contacted at
© The Grand Island Independent