Actress Naya Rivera recently shared with the girls of “The Real” how her husband reacted when she told him she had aborted his baby following their break-up in 2010.
“It was the kindest and best thing that any man could have said in that situation,” she says of her now-husband Ryan Dorsey. The “Glee” actress said she decided to abort the baby so she could concentrate on her career.
When I made that decision, I made it by myself, as I feel is the case for a lot of women, and I did not share it with Ryan at the time.
By the time we sort of reconnected, I was like, gosh, there’s a reason why you keep coming back in my life and we keep coming back together. It was like, ‘I have to tell you something.’
When Rivera finally told her husband about the abortion, this was his response: “In the short time that we dated, I wish that I could have done something to make you feel like you could have trusted me with that information because I would have loved to have been there with you.” The hosts of “The Real” gushed, “What a man.”
Like Rivera at the time, many women who get abortions don’t tell the man involved, not because he is untrustworthy, but because the woman thinks it’s her personal decision, and the man has no say in it. Women dismiss men because he isn’t carrying the baby; she is.
Yet the father does have an interest. The baby is part of him as much as he or she is part of the mother. Ending the baby’s life should be a decision made by both. When Rivera decided to leave Dorsey out of the picture, she robbed him of the opportunity to know his child and ignored the father’s role in the life (and, in this instance, death) of their baby.
Abortion Breaks Men’s Hearts, Too
When I’ve written on this subject in the past, I’ve received letters from men across the globe heartbroken that they weren’t a part of the decision to either keep or abort their babies. They would have loved to have had the chance to tell the mother that he’s there to support her and the child, to step up and raise the child they created together. If nothing more, these men would have appreciated the opportunity to grieve the loss of their baby if the mother was determined to abort.
But women sometimes don’t want to hear what the man has to say. Women often assume abortion is just a women’s issue. It’s not. It’s a man’s issue too. But just like in many areas of parenting, including divorce and child custody, fathers are too often dismissed as irrelevant. But they’re not. They’re integral to creating a child and to that child’s development after he or she is born.
Many people respond just like Rivera and the ladies of “The Real” when they hear about a man passively supporting a woman’s decision to do whatever she wants with their offspring (the very definition of fetus). Yet Dorsey’s reaction is not that of a real man at all. A real man takes responsibility for his choices, steps up when there are results from those choices, and provides for those he loves—or at least he tries to.
Choosing to Have Sex Is Choosing Possible Babies
Of course, feminists will cry, “But it’s my choice to do what I want to with my body.” Yes it is, but it’s not your right to do what you want with another’s, no matter how dependent he or she is on you for development and survival. You didn’t create that offspring on your own; you needed a man, and it’s simply not right to ignore that he is as significant in the life of that child as you are.
When a man and woman decide to have sex, they have already made a choice, and with freedom of choice comes responsibility. By having sex, they have chosen to engage in behavior designed to create a child. When that is the result, choosing to abort is running from the consequences of choices both of them already made.
The real men in today’s culture are the good men who take responsibility for their choices and help women as they struggle with the difficulties of an unplanned pregnancy. They don’t run from the consequences of their choices, and if the woman actually has a shred of feeling and respect for the man, she will include him in any decision made about that child.
What Real Men Do about Their Kids
Some men—like Anthony Perry, who wrote a touching memoir about the loss of his child to abortion—don’t just go along with a woman’s decision to have an abortion as if he has no interest in what happens, as if it’s all about the woman. When Perry found out his girlfriend was pregnant, he tried to reassure her that her life wouldn’t spiral into meaninglessness if she kept the baby. Her life would change, but he’d be there by her side as they experienced the joy of bringing a new life into this world. He saw hope, not despair.
His girlfriend decided to abort the baby anyway. He comforted her, of course. He loved her. But his pain, his loss was real. When she told him the baby was gone, he said, “A part of me had also died though the tears were too heavy to fall. The weight of my sorrow fell into my chest instead, pressing against my lungs and leaving me fighting for air.”
Ultimately, he blamed himself for his girlfriend’s choice, but not in the same way Dorsey did with Rivera. He blamed himself for failing to convince his girlfriend to keep the child. “I had done all I could to persuade her that I would be a good father and a good partner in our child’s life. Our child would have had a passion for life, inspired by us both, and would have seen the world. I had done all I could to save this child, and I failed.”
This is a testimony of why abortion is not just a woman’s issue. Thankfully, not all stories of unwanted pregnancies have such a sad ending. Last year, when I spoke at a pregnancy center called Informed Choices in Chicago to share my own experience with an unplanned pregnancy, I heard the story of a young man named Alan. He was overwhelmed as he struggled to handle an unplanned pregnancy. But after years of making the wrong choices, he decided to get help so he could finally make the right one. Love and joy are his reward.
Here is his story. This is what a real man looks like.