The most recent issue of First Things has a brief article entitled Her Choice, Her Problem: How Abortion Empowers Men by Richard Stith that I believe presented some thoughtful issues.
“Men these days can choose only sex, not fatherhood; mothers alone determine whether children shall be allowed to exist. Legalized abortion was supposed to grant enormous freedom to women, but it has had the perverse result of freeing men and trapping women.”
“Easy access to abortion has increased the expectation and frequency of secual intercourse among young people, making it more difficult for a woman to deny herself to a man without losing him, thus increasing pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.”
“When birth was the result of passion and bad luck, some people could sympathize with a young woman who was going to need help with her baby, though the stigma of bastardry was genuine…But once continuing a pregnancy to birth is the result neither of passion nor of luck but only of her deliberate choice, sympathy weakens. After all, the pregnant woman can avoid all her problems by choosing abortion…Birth itself may be followed by blame rather than support. Since only the mother has the right to decide whether to let the child be born, the father may easily conclude that she bears sole responsibility for caring for the child. The baby is her fault.”
“Liberal abortion laws have thus considerably increased the number of families headed by a single mother, resulting in what some economists call the ‘feminization of poverty.'”
“Elective abortion changes everything…It matters little what or who caused the conception or whether the male insisted on having unprotected intercourse. It is she alone who finally decides whether the child comes into the world. She is the responsible one. For the first time in history, the father and the doctor and the health-insurance actuary can point a finger at her as the person who allowed an inconvenient human being to come into the world.”
It still haunts me. The words I heard in high school from one male friend regarding the circumstances of a mutual friend facing an unplanned pregnancy. “$500 would take care of that.”
At seventeen, this startled me and admittedly, at twenty-eight, the mixture of fear, sorrow, and anger at this point of view lingers on.
Fear that we have lost sight of the beauty, awe, and delight of what follows from sex. Something in our souls has been disconnected when we compartmentalize sex as an act and the natural result of pregnancy.
Even among married Christians there can be an inclination to want to exercise significant control over if and when babies arrive. Certainly, this is not the same as fornication and/or abortion, but it does address a tendency in our hearts to think we should be able to separate sex from one of its chief intended purposes.
Sorrow that we are steeped in a culture that is losing a grip on the value of life. That young men and women are making these very serious decisions about their bodies without considering the path they are headed down. Without having regard for one another beyond ‘what i want right now.’ To miss that children are good. A blessing in their rightful context. To grieve that sex can become as selfish as possible when taken outside the protection and provision of a God honoring marriage.
Anger that we miss the mark. In the most subtle ways, even Christian youth and young men and women are snared by the lust and seduction offered to them through the media. True beauty is marred and replaced with suggestive dress and behavior. Respect and honor traded in for temporal gratification. Our appetite for sin grows as our longing for holiness fades away.
I’m thankful in the midst of these great trials that all is not lost.
There are youth, young men and women who care and who fight back. There are people who have made poor choices who later commit themselves to Christ and change. Churches are prayerful. There are conferences for men and women to exhort them to read and live Scriptural principles on these matters. While there is still time, we can make a significant impact on this world by the way we conduct our own families, our willingness to help men, women, and children in our communities to recognize that this so-called freedom isn’t free, and our commitment to care for single moms, their children, and men who don’t yet know the Lord.