The Colorado Campaign for Life has drawn heat from abortion rights advocates for a Facebook meme showing a man kissing a baby with the words: “Her ‘choice’ is actually my child.”
The campaign’s daring suggestion that men should have a say in the lives of their children before their births drew ire — with Karen Middleton, director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, telling the Colorado Times Recorder that the meme was “insulting and pointless.” She said, “Men don’t own women or their bodies, and the choice of whether or not to continue a pregnancy belongs to the woman. End of discussion.”
Middleton is right on one point: No person owns another. She begs the question, however, that women somehow “own” our children, offering no evidence — because no such evidence exists.
But her position assumes too much. Is she advocating for releasing men from all responsibilities related to pregnancy and parenting? Thinking about her logic and the rights of men led me to wonder: What if, instead of rolling back abortion rights for women, we extended termination rights to men?
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In the same way women’s advocates worked to give women equal power to walk away from parenting before birth, men’s advocates might join together and decide to throw off the restraint of being compelled to have their wages apportioned to the mothers of their children, arguing that men are the ones disproportionately burdened with the economic injustice of child support in noncustodial settings.
As things stand today, a woman can abort without the father’s permission, and if she gives birth without his consent, the government will compel him to pay.
As things stand today, a woman can abort her unborn child without the father’s permission, and if she gives birth without his consent, the government will compel him to pay.
What if men argued against that double bind? What if the government granted men unilateral power to end the lives of their children based on their unique obligation as providers?
Imagine along with me The Child Abuse Prevention Act (CAPA) of 2020. Such an act, if it were to exist, might read something like this:
Wherefore over 400,000 infants are born annually into conditions of economic poverty or the emotional poverty of being unwanted (I inflated the number of children born into poverty, just as the abortion lobby has fabricated stats for the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade hearings); and whereas children are regularly subjected to cruel abuse and/or neglect by their parents; and in light of the ongoing coerced economic obligation of men toward their offspring, this act provides for the following:
- A man heretofore is given the right of termination of his child’s life up to the age of 12 months, prior to development of differentiation on the part of the child as noted by the use of language. Termination shall be legal at any time until the typical time when a child’s first words signal an ability to express dissent. Because the child cannot know of its existence apart from the adults on whom it is dependent, it is deemed acceptable to allow said adults to compassionately terminate in order to mitigate the future potential suffering of that child.
- This will ease the burden on the system by ending the catch-and-release revolving door of enforcement, job loss, jail time and worse.
- CAPA terminations take place at the sole discretion of a man and his provider; the state has no compelling interest in interfering, especially since the state would likely be held responsible for the child’s expenses should the man default.
- As there is no mandatory government oversight of a woman’s right to choose abortion, a man’s privacy will also be upheld: There will be no government surveillance nor interference in a man’s right to choose termination.
This so-far fictional act could hence be a man’s economic justice measure, restoring rights to men, as infants aren’t children yet and can’t value their own lives nor benefit society in any way in the first 12 months of their lives. This measure would represent a groundbreaking answer to the age-old problem of child abuse. Because we will never eradicate that, we could at least be compassionate toward the potential victims.
The parallels aren’t perfect — but this scenario matches abortion logic in that it seeks to nullify the rights of one group to secure the rights of another. So make the leap with me and imagine being one of the men who chose to terminate.
Maybe he had zero experience with newborns and infants and simply bought into the law’s arbitrary marker of language development as the deciding factor of when life begins to have moral value. Maybe he was not just broke but flat-out poor — and his family had been poor for generations. Maybe he was just launching into his wage-earning years and had a fantastic plan that couldn’t withstand an 18-year detour, not to mention the child’s college years and beyond. Maybe he cared nothing for the woman who bore the child. Maybe he cared nothing for anyone other than himself. Maybe he cared a great deal — and it drove him to fear his own inadequacy and inability to cope. Maybe everyone around him told him it would be “for the best.”
I know what might happen next — because I myself chose abortion as a young woman of 23. It was legal, so I assumed it was moral, and I didn’t even reflect on that after I was told it wasn’t a baby but a blob of tissue. So here’s what I know would happen in the hearts of some of these men (and indeed is happening in the hearts of at least some men after abortion).
Afterwards, and maybe right away, somewhere in his heart, a man would know the culture is off. Suddenly his eyes would be opened and he would notice men stepping up to love and provide for newborns — and even for their pregnant wives. He would see children at 13 months and wonder why the arbitrary law led him to think there was nothing wrong with destroying his own flesh and blood just a month earlier in that baby’s young life. If he found strength to speak out to try to warn others, he might be shouted down by men who say they need this men’s rights act and that it is their right — that he is a hater of men who only wants to moralize and deny men their economic agency.
They would say it is none of his business how a man spends his money; it is his and his alone. And because he must bear the economic burden of fatherhood, he alone must be the one to decide whether a child lives or dies.
Where would such a man go to mend the heartache of knowing that something precious has been lost? How could he fight a rhetoric devoid of any ethic above the individual self, which also denies the rights of other individuals to exist as a separate, if dependent, self?
Would some of these men be driven mad by the grief that they would be forbidden to feel?
Would some of these men be driven mad by the grief that they would be forbidden to feel?
Would some of these men be compelled to look into what actually happens when the terminations take place? Would we dare look at the barbarism encoded in our law?
Would some of these men be mocked if they discovered and exposed shady operators not terminating but instead harvesting the organs of their children while still alive — in order to obtain the freshest specimens?
Would you and I care about such men? Would we join our voices to theirs — or throw up our hands and say it’s just politics and his choice and none of our business?
And do we dare own the reality that we have done to women exactly what a law like this would do for men by allowing women to terminate for the sake of their futures at the expense of the life of an innocent human being?
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We can do better. We must do better! And we are.
I thank God for redemption and for the love modeled for me in large measure due to the hearts of those in the pregnancy help community. This community is making abortion obsolete. No one ever needs to choose abortion. And no one ever needs to suffer as I did, with the dissonance that made me ruler of a realm where no power existed to absolve the wrong I’d done. I found my answers in faith, as I wrote in my book, “Cradle My Heart,” a biblical resource to help others.
Women and men, let’s wake up. We can never gain legitimate power by behaving as brutes toward the vulnerable. Abortion is morally abhorrent because it takes an innocent life. And choosing it creates a bankrupt kingdom of self-reliance — where the only validation available is from the very self by whom we now, or someday, will stand condemned.
Kim Ketola is the host and executive producer of Cradle My Heart Radio, a companion to her award-winning book of the same title. Kim’s radio work earned her induction into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2013. Cradle My Heart, Inc., based in Atlanta, is a safe space for listeners to connect with others who are finding God’s love — especially during unintended pregnancy and after abortion.