Don’t Put Support for Life on Life Support
“To the men of America: This cause is your fight, too. It’s not a women’s issue. It is a human issue.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal was talking about abortion. He was not speaking against it — he’s about as far as you can get from pro-life. He’s the lead sponsor of the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, which seeks to ensure that legal abortion remains an option nationwide.
And yet, his language about men could have been at home at just about any of the pro-life events marking what would have been the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision — which made legal abortion the law of the land until it was overturned last year — this January.
A Festival Celebrating Life
On the morning of the march, the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization for men, co-sponsored a festival for young people, along with the Sisters of Life. Men and women testified to what’s possible when people aren’t left to walk alone. Louisiana lawyer David Scotton celebrated his birth mother for choosing the tough road of adoption for him — even while on a table in an abortion clinic.
Decide Against the Culture of Death
The day after the march, I talked at a conference of Ivy League students, the David Network, about life after Roe. Most of the audience for my panel consisted of young women — not all of them sure where they stand on abortion. We need young women and men to decide to stand against the violence in our culture that begins in the womb. We’re never going to see an end to the mass shootings, gang violence, brutality on the streets or in the home if we do not insist on an end to pitting mother against child. I implored the young women in the room to take the lead, because without a motherly approach to life, we have no hope of protecting, nourishing and flourishing. And we need men to support them — to, among other things, step up to the plate of fatherhood.
Chuck Donovan from the Charlotte Lozier Institute sat next to me on the panel. He’s spent his life in the pro-life movement. But his most important work is that of a father. Commenting on recent proposals to make childbirth free in America, he worried that would only mean more men not taking responsibility for life and families. It’s a policy debate to be had, but his point is a critical one: Something’s got to change. We need to be raising men who want to be fathers, not boys who see women as something to be used.
Into the Breach
The Knights of Columbus have started a program called Into the Breach to address this issue. The program offers videos talking about how men can show women they are prepared to be fathers and providers and leaders. A revolution of virtue among men might just free women from feeling they need abortion or are expected to end the lives of their unborn children rather than go it alone.
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It doesn’t have to be a mere daydream that the likes of Blumenthal could support the Knights in their efforts to promote male responsibility and make it easier for people to raise families, regardless of their economic status. There are few to no incentives in politics — on either side of the abortion debate — to finding common ground. But human lives and the life of our culture depend on us doing so.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review magazine and author of the new book A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living. She is also chair of Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life commission in New York, and is on the board of the University of Mary She can be contacted at [email protected]