5 Reasons Why Supporting Fathers is Pro-Life
There’s no doubt about it: parenting is hard. Raising new little human beings requires a lot of resources and even more support. An unplanned pregnancy is that much more difficult to cope with. Many programs are focused on alleviating the pressures on expectant mothers. However, a young man’s responsibilities increase when he learns that he is to become a father. Supporting a father is a pro-life decision. In many instances, support for a biological father can save a child’s life.
#1 Supporting the Father Supports the Mother
In a study conducted by Focus on the Family, men were asked if they believed their input about abortion mattered. Most expectant fathers were trying to do and say exactly what they believed was required of them. Few provided the input their partners desperately wanted.
“Often, the men would reply that their partner had asked for their opinion, but they knew they weren’t supposed to give it.” (1). Ambivalence leaves pregnant women to make a huge decision about their unwanted pregnancies. This makes an already impossible-seeming situation feel worse.
“The father of the baby was also the top selected answer for who had the greatest influence on the decision, far outweighing the influence of medical professionals and the woman’s mother.” (1).
When a future father feels overwhelmed and unsupported, it’s easy to see why he would relinquish his say in the abortion decision. Men need guidance, especially during an unwanted pregnancy. Without support, he’s left to go through the sudden transition alone. And without a support group, how can men be expected to support their women?
Pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) provide direct services like mentor programs, courses, and support groups for men. These local resources provide community, guiding men through the process of becoming good dads.
#2 Supporting the Father Supports the Baby
The importance of a father in a child’s life cannot be overstated.
“So far we know that kids who grow up with a present, engaged dad are less likely to drop out of school or wind up in jail, compared to children with absent fathers and no other male caretakers or role models.” (2).
Fatherhood is an understated necessity. Being an involved father requires more than simply providing financial support. Their relationships make a huge amount of difference in the lives of their children in an effect called “the father effect.” (2). The father effect leads children into a more secure lifestyle. This helps them avoid high-risk behaviors and leads them to create more stable relationships.
Young men can feel enormous amounts of pressure. They’re expected to provide for their family, be present for their children, support their partner, and lead the household all at the same time. That is too much pressure to put on one individual. Local PRCs can help men feel more balanced and capable. This builds confidence with their children and makes them more supportive of their families.
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#3 Supporting Fathers is a Pro-Life Position
It dispels the myth that the Pro-Life Movement only cares about birth. Certainly, pro-life positions focus on the lives of unborn children and changes in abortion access. In June 2022 the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v Wade. The Dobbs decision allows states to pass abortion restrictions that may decrease the frequency of abortions. At the same time, abortion programs are active in states like New York.
Supporting young people before, during, and after birth is vital, regardless of the Supreme Court decision. The families in our community need to be supported. This can only happen if the men feel supported as well.
In recent years, PRCs served nearly 2 million people, saving communities nearly $270 million, according to a Charlotte Lozier Institute study. (3).
Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said, “‘Thousands of centers around the country provide a multitude of free services for millions of women, as well as tens of thousands of men, saving communities millions in tax dollars annually.’”
More than 291,000 clients attended parenting and prenatal education programs. PRCs support new parents by providing education. This education opens doors, helping new parents feel capable of raising a child.
Supporting PRCs provides options to parents, especially those with unplanned pregnancies. Through resources available in PRCs, new parents find support when they need it most.
Why do men need support?
Becoming a parent is a huge transition. Women go through enormous changes. But so do men. These lifestyle changes are often accompanied by confusing emotions and feelings of helplessness. Feelings that are experienced by both the mother and the father.
“Despite calls by the American Board of Pediatrics to include fathers in all aspects of child health care …support for the changes and challenges new fathers face is largely absent from discussions of perinatal and postpartum health.” (4).
Local pregnancy centers address these paternal needs through mentors and support groups. Community resources help new fathers navigate their new roles as fathers. They also provide resources for men who need help with their mental health. The best way to strengthen the family unit is by supporting fathers along with mothers and babies.
#4 Supporting Fathers Rescues them from the Effects of Abortion
The effects of abortion are manifold, with consequences that can last a lifetime. Without education and support, how can people know the high cost of an abortion?
“For women and men, abortion can result in significant symptoms of grief, guilt, shame and trauma.” (5).
LeCrae used his story as a testimony to the horrible effects of abortion. He knew going through the abortion was wrong, but he used it as an escape from the huge responsibility of fatherhood.
“‘Had it not been for the conviction of the Spirit, who I was suppressing with drugs and alcohol, I don’t know if I would have felt anything,’” Lecrae says in an interview with John Piper. “‘But I was so callous and so hard-hearted that it was almost second nature to say: “Oh, well, you ought to get an abortion.”’”(6).
After the abortion, Lecrae did the only thing most men know to do. He pushed the heartache and pain deep down. After many years, his premarital counseling brought it all bubbling back up. He found better ways to process his trauma, and that was when his healing process began. (6).
Without education, people cannot begin to know the traumatic effects of an abortion. For many, there seems to be no other option but to end a human life. That is where the PRCs come in, providing individuals with the hope they need to navigate this new, huge part of their lives. Supporting fathers is pro-life, providing proactive assistance to what may feel like an impossible situation.
#5 Supporting Fathers Provides an Opening for the Gospel
As Christians, we are called to care. Jesus says many times that we are not to judge, that we are to take care of those who need help.
Because what a gift it is to provide a man with a community. What a blessing to hand him a pamphlet with answers to the economic pressures he is feeling. What a way to encourage him by providing him with knowledge about how important fatherhood truly is. Is there any better way to teach a man about his own Father in heaven?
Pregnancy Resource Centers provide courses that can help men navigate the early days of fatherhood. These centers also provide essentials for babies, helping remove some of the financial burden having a baby can provide. With mentors and support groups, men can reach out to others when they’re feeling overwhelmed.
If you want to truly testify to a person, help them in a time of need. PRCs do just that, in a non-judgmental, supportive, kind, and encouraging way. And as the hands and feet of Jesus, is there really any other way?
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- Hettinga, Alexander. (2021, August 13). Should Men Have a Say in Abortion? Focus on the Family. https://www.focusonthefamily.com/pro-life/abortion/should-men-have-a-say-in-abortion/
- Krisch, Joshua A. (2022, July 11). The Science of Dad and the ‘Father Effect’. Fatherly.
- Robertson, Prudence. (2020, October 21). Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers Served 2 Million People with Essential Medical, Education, and Support Services in 2019. Charlotte Lozier Institute. https://lozierinstitute.org/pro-life-pregnancy-centers-served-2-million-people-with-essential-medical-education-and-support-services-in-2019
- Schaeffer, Charles. (n.d.) It’s Time to Support Fathers’ Mental Health. Seleni.
- Rue, Vincent. (n.d.) “The Hollow Men”: Male Grief and Trauma Following Abortion. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
- Reinke, Tony. (2015, January 17). Lecrae Confesses Abortion, Invites Others Into the Light. Desiring God.