Recently a friend and I were protesting against abortion outside Parliament House. I was holding a placard which read, “Abortion: The Silent Holocaust” along with an enlarged photograph of an 8 week old preborn baby. A woman in a car waiting at the traffic lights saw me and began shouting something. As the car went past she screamed, “How dare you! How dare you have an opinion!”
It would appear that she believes that men should remain silent abortion. Well, at least those men who oppose abortion.
Of all the comments made in opposition to our protesting against abortion – and several of us, mostly men, go out regularly – the most common criticism refers to the fact that men are speaking out against abortion. “What would you know, you’re a man!” “Have you ever had a baby?” etc.
Are the critics correct? Should men be silent about abortion?
Clearly, by virtue of the fact that I still go out protesting against abortion, I do not agree with the critics. A number of reasons are involved:
- As already indicated above, it is usually only if men are opposed to abortion that any objection is made to their being involved in the abortion debate. If men say that abortion should be allowed, then few if any “pro-choice” women will tell them to be silent just because they are men.If it really should be the case that abortion is such an issue that men must not comment on it, then it would be necessary that all men be silent, not just the critics of abortion. (In passing it is worth noting that the vast majority of abortionists are men – “pro-choice” women don’t seem to have much problem with them being involved!)
- Secondly, men are just as essential for the commencement of new life as are women. It still remains the case that without the provision of sperm, a new human life cannot begin. Perhaps some sad day in the future should cloning of human beings be achieved, male involvement in pregnancy may not be necessary, but that is not possible at present.If men are required for new life to begin, why should they have no say as to whether or not that new life is destroyed?Not many women have any problems accepting that men should be required to provide child support for the children they father, even if the man leaves the family home. Yet some women say that men should be precluded from even having any say about whether a child makes it to birth.
- Approximately half of all children conceived are male. Approximately half, although somewhat less in some cultures, of all preborn babies that are aborted are male. It is not just the female babies that the “prochoice” women want to be able to abort, so why should men not be allowed to comment on the killing of male preborn babies, at the very least? How can it be just a women’s issue when male babies are being killed too?
- In some respects though, all the foregoing comments are just peripheral to the issue. The heart of the matter is that it is true that men should be silent about abortion . . . if and only if the act of deliberately aborting a baby is morally equivalent to having an appendix or tooth removed. No men go around picketing hospitals or dental clinics saying that women, or anyone else, should not be allowed to have their appendix or teeth removed. Even if they did, no one would take any notice of them.Clearly the difference is that in the instance of the appendix or teeth, what is being removed is universally acknowledged to have no inherent moral value, while in the other instance there are strongly differing views as to the moral status of the unborn child.
If any man believes that there are justified grounds for accepting that a preborn baby is morally equivalent to a born person, why should he, how can he, remain silent about the destruction of such a person? Would not the silence of such a man make him as culpable as those who remained silent when one section of humanity was brutally enslaved or another group was a victim of the holocaust?
While a man remains convinced that every abortion kills an innocent human being, how can he be silent?
The issue really comes down to, not whether men have any right to speak against abortion, but rather, does abortion involve the taking of a human life. If abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, then it is irrelevant as to who it is that says that such behaviour is wrong.
Everyone should say that killing innocent people is immoral. To exclude men from saying so just because they are men cannot be justified. Should only black people say that slavery is wrong? Should only Jews say that the holocaust was wrong?
It is of course obvious that women are much more directly effected by pregnancy than are men. Women carry the growing child and go through the birthing experience. Unless though it can be shown that these factors are such that they can outweigh the preborn child’s right to go on living, then men, and women, should speak up on behalf of the preborn who cannot speak for themselves.
Clearly some women do argue that their carrying of the child does give them the right to be able to choose to end the child’s life, but this is disputable just as the claim by the slavers that they had the right to enslave others was disputed.
Until it is absolutely established beyond doubt that it can ever be right to deliberately take the life of an innocent human being, men can, indeed should, speak up against abortion.