With the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade upon us, many people are taking time to look back and take stock of the pro-life movement. By some accounts, we have seen some progress. New surveys show people are becoming more pro-life in their attitudes, if not in their voting patterns. Yet while it appears that there are fewer abortions per year, those numbers don’t include the dramatic rise in the number of abortions by pill. We seem to be further than ever from overturning Roe v. Wade, even the apparently pro-life elected officials don’t seem all that interested in making any solid pro-life legislative moves, and we can’t even get infanticide—in the form of partial-birth abortion—banned. And even if Roe was overturned tomorrow, abortion would remain legal in the states until and unless a law was passed in each state banning it.
So that leaves us where? Perhaps the time has come for us to realize that real change won’t come at the ballpoint of a pen on new legislation or court rulings. Maybe we have to recognize that real change will only come with a change of heart. The fact is that the vast majority of Americans already recognize that unborn children are human beings. When a happily married woman tells her friends she’s pregnant, they don’t say they’re happy she has an undifferentiated clump of cells growing in her. They call it what it is: a baby. What the pro-life movement must try to do is reinforce that idea in people’s minds. With the advent of newer and better technology for realistic fetal ultrasounds and imaging, that may be easier than ever.
But there’s also another aspect to the abortion problem that’s often overlooked: the role of men. There is—rightly—a lot of focus on women, but I would daresay that behind almost every woman entering an abortion clinic there is a man encouraging it in one way or another. Whether it’s a father literally dragging his teenage daughter into a clinic, crying and screaming (I’ve actually seen that) or a boyfriend driving his girlfriend there or even the guy who tells the woman in no uncertain terms that he will have nothing to do with her unless she “gets rid of it,” men have a large role in the number of abortions in this country.
I think we need an educational and evangelistic campaign for men, telling them that, first, as a father to the unborn child, they have responsibilities to him and his mother; and second, that abortion is not just a “women’s” issue but a human issue for all people. Too many guys let themselves off the hook by telling themselves that it’s none of their business. Men have been intimidated by feminists who have been telling them that they should either support their “right” to abortion or keep their noses out of the issue altogether. It’s time to change that.