Abortion Not About Women’s Rights: Men Often “Make” the Decision

Opinion   |   Fr. Frank Pavone   |   Mar 25, 2013   |   10:13AM   |   Washington, DC

One of the slogans used by extremists in the pro-abortion movement is, “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”

The slogan, besides being simply ignorant, is an insult to the Church and to the integrity of pro-life people. Less crude expressions of the same sentiment take shape in arguments like, “The prohibition of abortion discriminates against women,” and “Pro-life people are intent on depriving women of their rights.” In fact, pro-abortion forces took this argument all the way to the Supreme Court, but lost in their attempt to claim that women as a class were discriminated against by pro-life efforts.

The fact is that we oppose abortion both for women and for men. The fact that men do not get pregnant does not stop them from choosing abortion. Indeed, anyone who has worked directly to stop abortions has seen many instances in which the “choice” in question was being made by the man, not by the woman. In the thousands of case testimonies I have in my office, time after time I read these or similar words: “My boyfriend wanted me to have the abortion; I was unsure,” or “The baby’s father said that unless I aborted the child, he would leave.

Of course. Abortion is not about women’s rights. It is often about men wanting the right to be able to continue to have sexual relations without the “intrusive burden” of the child that can come about.

Morally speaking, the sin of abortion is committed when it is chosen, knowingly and willingly. Many factors mitigate the guilt, but the point here is that the choosing of abortion does not require that one be pregnant. Men choose abortion; men perform abortions. Men are therefore often guilty of the sin of abortion.

Being pro-life is in no way to single out women for blame. Being pro-life is about helping men and women alike to have the courage to do what is right, namely, to conceive children only within the bounds of valid marriage, and to protect all children who have been conceived under any circumstances.

Ministry to men is increasingly important, and Christians are responding more and more. We see movements like Promise Keepers, St. Joseph’s Covenant Keepers, and the Catholic Men’s Fellowship striving to meet the pastoral needs of men in our day. We also see the post-abortion movement increasingly extending its resources of counseling and healing to the men who have become entrapped in the lie that abortion is a solution to their problems.



It was the promoters of abortion who from the beginning framed abortion as simply a “woman’s issue.” No, abortion involves everyone. Once, at a Life Chain, I was asked by a passerby what right I had, as a man, to say anything about abortion. “I’m a human being,” I replied, “and when my fellow human beings are being killed, I have a right to stand up and say no.” “No,” that is, whether it is addressed to a woman or to a man.

LifeNews.com Note: Father Frank Pavone is the national director of Priests for Life.