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Masculine Life Advocacy

For decades, most men have been content to stay on the sidelines of the abortion debate … But this needs to change. (Alex Hettinga)

I’m not sure when I first knew what “pro-life” meant. Being active in such advocacy was an important part of my grandparents’ lives. Though it was obvious that the law allowed abortion and some people made that choice, there was never a question in our family about whether this could be a necessary or good choice. Not only did we oppose abortion, but it was likewise obvious that it was right and good to support those faced with a crisis pregnancy.

While this was an important principle, it was also personal. My own birth took place the same year that Canada’s, weak, abortion law was struck down. My parents were not married for most of the pregnancy. Confronted with that shame and the disruption to their plans, in spite of her own and her family’s deep convictions, Mom said she is disturbed that the idea of an ‘abortion fix’ occurred to her too. This helps illustrates, to paraphrase an old saying, why many work for the development of anti-abortion legislation: while the law may not change one’s heart, bad laws lead to poor actions – at the same time as they teach bad ideas.

Since then, amongst our family and friends there have been other young couples who created a child in circumstances other than ideal. But they made decisions to adjust their plans and shoulder the difficulties. And I believe one of the key factors in making such decisions is that it was they who made them. To make it clear, the crisis of the pregnancy was not experienced by the mother alone. The situation that they co-created, they also together took on. No one should doubt the life-altering nature of becoming a parent, especially if you take it seriously, if you want to do a good job. The idea of being primarily responsible alone for a child could certainly be distressing.

One should always be wary about the truth of what is shared online. Nonetheless, a Care Net post from last month stated that 1/3 of men are silent about abortion. Does this mean that one-third of fathers mentally abandon their own children? That one-third of male voters feel disenfranchised from being involved in the issue? There were no nuances to explain details so we have to imagine. I do believe that at least one-third of men have heard the misinformation that if they cannot get pregnant, their opinion does not matter. It is clear that there is much less public civility on contested topics than there has been in decades past, and this degeneration has accelerated in recent years. More people, not just men, are hesitant and even fearful to express their convictions.

This polarization does not invite participation. And about abortion it has clearly served to silence many. Those of us who see in abortion an evil both in what it does to the unborn and to women can be reminded that the philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas wrote: “He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.” We cannot be excused from being involved where we see injustice, especially habitually and with such tremendous harm done. I see in this first a call to non-compliance with the idea that certain ideas are in themselves unworthy of being shared; let them thrive or wither on their own merits. But second, and more to the point of this article, I see a particular message for men.

I submit my credentials as the father of daughters. Their example in my life gives ample evidence of particular strengths that the feminine spirit seems to nurture. But there are those within men as well. And Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said that it is at the heart of men to show responsibility. In the area of abortion I am convicted that this starts first with any pregnancy to which one is attached, as father, grandfather, brother, friend – showing support both emotional and practical for the mother and her child. It extends out yet further to what John Paul the Great called building a culture of life, a place where in the messiness of our lives together individuals find care and love. This is fundamentally to be seen in the authentic relationships we build and maintain which themselves encourage hearts and actions toward the true, good, and beautiful.


Since the early 1990s, Wayne has been a successful classroom teacher (grades 6 to 12) and guidance counsellor (kindergarten to grade 9). He has also worked with a private agency as a small group counsellor with children exposed to domestic violence and as a facilitator for parenting courses. As a volunteer, he led a program for children dealing with significant loss (e.g., divorce, separation, death). He currently also receives referral work for women and men suffering after experience with a procured abortion.

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