There are many factors affecting a woman’s decision whether or not to have an abortion. One of the most underestimated and underused tools to save unborn babies is the child’s father.
During the Forty Days for Life’s Lenten campaign, a real-life situation unfolded at a Bloomington, Indiana abortion facility that serves as an excellent case in point.
A young woman scheduled for an abortion arrived with her mother. Mom made an impassioned plea attempting to dissuade her daughter from having the abortion, but to no avail. Offers of support from pro-life sidewalk counselors were also rejected as she entered the abortion center.
Just when all hope had been extinguished, the father of the baby phoned the young woman, crying and begging her not to abort their baby. His heartfelt plea worked. The young woman changed her mind and exited the killing center.
This is not an infrequent occurrence. Research shows that the babies’ fathers hold significant sway over this life-or-death decision.
A study published in the International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction analyzed data on low-income women who became pregnant within 18 months of delivering a child. The research clearly showed that women were reluctant to have another baby if the father failed to bear responsibility for the first child and contribute to childrearing efforts.i
Research in the UK, published last year, found that the fathers of unborn babies have considerable influence – good or bad – over the abortion decision. “Partners play a significant part…Whether negative or positive, the partner’s reaction to the pregnancy is significant across the young women’s accounts. Similar to other research studies, the baby’s father was the first person they tell of their pregnancy, and across the stories, the young women’s decision about whether to abort or carry on was influenced by their partner’s feelings and reactions.”ii
These findings confirm another study of 1,000 men from 2021 by LifeWay Research, sponsored by Care Net. Approximately 40% of the men indicated they were the main influence when it came to the decision to have an abortion. Further, they found 42% urged their partner to abort with only 8% “strongly urging” against abortion.iii
A 2015 Care Net survey of women who chose abortion “indicated men were the most influential factor in their decision.”iv
An evaluation of women who had abortions was published in the Medical Science Monitor. An unsettling 83% said they would have chosen life for their babies if more support had been present.v
The continual drumbeat that “abortion is a private decision” has made researchers hesitant to consider how relationships impact a woman’s abortion decision. As a result, this has inflicted untold harm on the emotional health of both women and men and has impeded the help they need while facing an unexpected pregnancy.
The challenge before the pro-life community is to engage with men and educate them on the beauty of their unborn babies in the womb. When their eyes are opened to the reality of what abortion does to their children, they are more inclined to identify with that vulnerable baby, and their instinct of protecting this tiny offspring is more likely to present itself.
An impassioned and engaged father is a powerful formula for life. If you doubt this, remember the unborn baby saved at the Indiana abortion center. He or she will have a lifetime to enjoy and will likely pass the precious gift of life to future generations.