Video: ‘Why Wasn’t She Enough?’ Grieving Father Declares the Personhood of Aborted Daughter

By Aliya Kuykendall Published on May 13, 2024

On April 16, Tommy Kearns drove three hours to attend a Students for Life meeting at Florida International University. In a raw six-minute confession, he took the microphone and shared that his daughter had been aborted on March 12 and 13, and asked Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins, “Why do you think that people will dehumanize my Clementine?” 

Referencing the abortionist, Kearns said, “I don’t know who did this to my daughter. I wish I could ask him, ‘Was my daughter beautiful?’ That’s all I want to know. ‘What did her face look like?’

Several audience members cried as Kearns asked why society doesn’t respect preborn children. He said his mother was born prematurely at five months — the same gestational age as Clementine when she was aborted.

“Why wasn’t she human enough for people to help me mourn?” he asked. “Why wasn’t she human enough for people to talk about? … My daughter doesn’t get a funeral. My daughter doesn’t get respect.”

He Wasn’t Allowed to Protect His Child

Kearns didn’t know about the abortion until after it happened. He said he begged his ex-girlfriend not to go to the abortion facility, and she told him she canceled her appointment. “I didn’t get to say goodbye to my daughter,” he lamented.

A 2021 survey of post-abortive fathers found that 57% say the abortion was not their decision and 45% say they had no choice in it. The study had a margin of error of plus or minus 10%.

“My daughter was a person,” Kearns said. “I want my daughter’s story to be talked about. I want her to be remembered. She wasn’t just a fetus.”

Kearns’s friends and family haven’t validated his grief. “I’m told by my friends I’m crying over somebody I never met before. I’m told by people, ‘Well, she wasn’t even a person,’ ‘she was just a fetus,’ ‘she wasn’t even a baby,’ ‘she wasn’t fully developed.'” But Kearns is undeterred. “My daughter was still growing, and my relationship with my daughter was going to grow for the rest of our lives.”

He now has nightmares after looking up the gruesome abortion procedure that ended Clementine’s life: “My daughter was going to be beautiful,” he said, “but now I don’t know where she is.

“I’m just so confused. I get it: I’m just a man. … We’re not supposed to have feelings. As a father β€” because I’m still a father β€” as a father, I’m just supposed to forget. I’m just supposed to move on, and I’m confused.”

Kearns has a question for society.

“Why doesn’t my daughter matter? Why wasn’t she enough? Why didn’t she get a chance to live? And ultimately, no, I’m not blaming my ex. She had doubt and she regrets it. Ultimately, this is our government’s fault. We’ve stopped evil laws in the past in America, in Germany, and you guys know what I’m talking about. We came together and we stopped evil laws. This is an evil law that killed my daughter.”

How Do Men Respond?

Of the 100 men who responded to Support After Abortion’s 2023 survey, 71 said they had experienced an adverse change in themselves since their child was aborted.

However, a negative event can spark a positive response. One man told The Stream his aborted daughter has inspired him to change the world.

Jason Jones is the founder and president of the Vulnerable People Project, an organization that evacuates and temporarily resettles some of the world’s most vulnerable people. When he was a 17-year-old high school student and learned his girlfriend was pregnant, he made plans to marry her and joined the Army to provide for his new family. But his girlfriend’s father forced her to abort their baby girl, Jessica, and break up with Jones.

When Jones found out what had happened, he asked his commanding officer to call the authorities. “I was just crying, saying, ‘Call the police. He killed my baby.'” He was shocked to learn the abortion was sanctioned by the state.

Now, his work is motivated by Jessica Jones.

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“Anything good or noble I have ever done in my life is me trying to be faithful to that child I couldn’t protect,” he told The Stream. “Every child I’ve evacuated from Ukraine or Afghanistan or Sudan or Gaza was because I was trying to be faithful to that little girl.

“I was a father who was put in an impossible situation where I was unable to protect my child. In the communities we serve around the world, the fathers are in impossible situations and can’t protect their children and their wives. And I want to stand with them to protect them. When we stand with widows and orphans, we’re standing in the place of a father.”

Jones spoke of Yazidi girls — who have survived the barbarisms of ISIS terrorists — who call him their brother because their own brothers and fathers were killed. They’ve been resettled in the U.S. and call Jones if they need help with tuition or rent. He helps them because, “I want to be faithful to their fathers.”

A Message to Kearns from Jones

Asked what he would say to Kearns, Jones said, “I would say that [Clementine is] still his daughter. He is a father. And he can honor her by speaking forcefully and thoughtfully on behalf of the child of the womb.

“I envy him because he is a young man now and I’m not. There’s a lot of work to be done. And we need strong, brave, thoughtful men to order their lives towards full legal protection for children in the womb from the violence of abortion. I know that this young man and his generation will finally bring our nation to a point where we will more perfectly live out our Declaration principle, that is the foundation of our republic, which is that we hold these truth to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, and endowed by God with inalienable rights.

“He has a beautiful life in front of him. He has a broken heart, but a beautiful life. And he can still be that man and that father he hoped to be. I have seven children and three grandchildren. And one day he’ll have children and grandchildren too, but he is [also] a father right now. And he’s honoring [Clementine] with his courage and his openness.

“It’s much harder for him than it was for me, because I didn’t grow up in an age of cancel culture, where you can be recorded and put on blast in front of the whole world because you’re sharing your heart. I commend him for his courage.”

 

Aliya Kuykendall is a staff writer and proofreader for The Stream. You can follow her on X @AliyaKuykendall and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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