As Alabama and Ohio are passing legislation effectively banning abortions in their respective states this week, the online “conversation” (if you can even call it that) on the topic has reached a fever pitch. This is a cause that I care deeply about and have invested my own time, money, energy, and tears over, so I understand the passion that America is feeling right now. Wherever you are on the spectrum of opinion about abortion, I can almost guarantee that you have a personal story to support your position…and these stories are not easy ones. They are full of fear, regret, and pain. Some of the heartache is thrust upon us, some of it is our own making. All of it is the product of sin, the original wayward step towards our own autonomy.
Although this is a tense moment, there is an inconsistency of logic in this national discussion that I’m trying to put my finger on. The majority of women that are advocating for the government to “get out of my uterus” or railing on about “The Patriarchy” seem to be missing the key components of human biology and ethical responsibility. Whether our culture reflects it or not, in a mutually consensual sexual relationship, both parties are equally responsible for the outcome of their union. And in the evil case of rape, the perpetrator is responsible. In both cases where pregnancy could result, the man has a role of unique and inherent accountability. But that’s not exactly the world we live in, is it? The world we live in encourages promiscuity without repercussion. And obviously, for the man it is quite easy to do (and forget about.) For the woman, this is nearly impossible to avoid. Her body -and the growing body within- will not let her.
Populist Feminism wants to ignore the biological truth that women must carry the physical expression of a partnership while also telling men to exit the conversation (unless they don’t vote pro-choice, and then they want them silent AND hanged.) According to this logic, women want to be men, but also have a low value of manhood. Got it.
Second-wave feminists demanded legal support and consumer convenience to make their (THEIR- both the woman and the man’s) repercussion go away. Is the “choice” an easy one? Of course not. No one suggests that; no one is belittling the struggle that a woman has to go through to come to that final decision. But that’s exactly my point. She is forced to make that decision, to face the real-life consequences of a few minutes of duel-participatory sexual activity, alone. Where is the man?
But what about the terrible situations? The stories of rape should never have to be told, never have to be lived. And yet again, this “option” of abortion is used to dismiss the consequence of a man’s forced violence. Instead of allowing a new life to grow and provide hope to the innocent woman, or to a couple waiting to become parents, the child bears the punishment for the man’s crime.
To reiterate: Where the consensual couple conceives a child, it is the woman who endures the physical and emotional torture of abortion. Where rape is committed, again, it is the woman who lays down on the table covered in medical paper. In both cases, the innocence of the child isn’t even a consideration.
Can we even help our cultural stupidity? Mixed-messages are doled out like cheap goods from corporations, the mainstream media, and most of the entertainment industry. They collectively continue to peddle the same stories: Women need liberation! Men need to shut up! Children kill the party! But also, Toxic Masculinity and Lean In, Girlfriend and Gender Distinction is Lame. You know what happens when you tell men to be less masculine? To be less involved, to sit down and be quiet, to take a back seat? Or when you tell women they can be like men –should want to be like men? You end up with ghosting Tinder-hookups. Single moms. Missing dads. Abortion.
When you strip a man of his masculinity, you are stripping him of the role of provider, protector, and lover. We are witnessing the fallout from this, from the sexual revolution, and from Roe v. Wade. Situations where men should have filled the role that only he could. When a child is sexually abused- where is her father to provide protection? When a young woman is raped- is there a man of integrity at her church, school, or police dept ready to respond to her cry for help? When a young couple becomes pregnant- does the man have the courage to pursue marriage and a whole family? Each of these scenarios provides an opportunity for a good man to step up and walk out his healthy masculinity, at the service and aide to the women in his life. Each of these scenarios could also easily be disregarded by neglect and/or abortion.
It’s simple, really. Men want respect. Women want to be loved. Children want healthy families. The goal is respect for all humanity and protection for the place where our deeply felt needs can be met. But when the current of our culture is flowing against the very elements that will provide for these needs, what we do? There is a place for legislation and we saw some of that this week. But laws have a limited scope…laws will not change hearts. Laws will not teach our boys to be men who are responsible, caring, and kind. We need Fathers to do that.
So even though most of the hip actresses in Hollywood are shouting about the Patriarchy, we still need Godly men to live out true, self-sacrificing masculinity.
Even though the top bestsellers are pushing more have-it-all-hustle, we still need women to live out authentic femininity that displays her satisfaction in Christ.
Even though the Twitter wars over complementarianism vs. egalitarinism are swelling to new heights, we still need real Christians to live out real marriages of mutual love and respect.
And even though every other meme cracks a tired joke about how difficult parenthood is, we still need Moms and Dads to live out a family life that radiates joy.
Ultimately, we need to accept the God-given design for men, for women, and for family. And then we need to live it out.