Presidential contender Cory Booker (D–N.J.) says women need men to stand with them. I couldn’t agree more. His open letter to all men in GQ calls on all of us in the masculine sex “to listen, to speak out, and to take action.” Let’s do it.
Start by watching and listening to an ultrasound. You can find them all over YouTube. It will change your life.
When we were both 21, my young bride suspected God might have blessed our marriage with a new life. She made an appointment, and we went together to the physician. He confirmed what her womanly knowledge had told her: she was nine weeks pregnant. He also immediately prepared an ultrasound and we were able to see our first son, barely the size of a grape, with his vulnerable little heart firing off 153 beats per minute.
I do not have any experience in the baby-carrying portion of pregnancy. I do, however, have plenty of experience at listening to the rapid beat of a human heart that is smaller than the tip of my pinky.
I also have experience with the pain of silence. My wife has conceived six children. The second was never born alive. We sat together at her second ultrasound listening, desperately straining our ears to detect the slightest hint of a heartbeat. There was none, and we wept.
We did not mourn, and we do not continue to mourn, because our dreams were dashed. We mourned for the life that never reached its potential. A human being, a person, died in his mother’s womb. We carry the tragedy of it with us to this day, even after the successful births of four more babies.
I challenge you, men, to listen to and watch an ultrasound of an unborn child. Don’t just hit the play button on YouTube while you perform some menial task. Really focus in on the sight of that fetus grabbing her toes. Listen to the beat of the human heart as it pumps blood through a living person.
Do not talk about abortion until you have done this. But once you have, it is time to speak out. Once you have heard and seen the truth of an ultrasound, there is no keeping silent.
Abortion is often not a topic men like to talk about. I will never have an abortion; I don’t know what that is like. Our lack of experience can make us timid.
Abraham Lincoln and William Wilberforce had no idea what it was like to be a slave. That did not make them timid. Their freedom and the bondage of others made them bold to speak—to declare the evils of slavery openly in the public square.
So it should be with living men today. Open your mouths, not because you have no idea what it is like to be pregnant, but because you know what it is like to live. You know the joy of living, moving, and breathing the free air of this world. Let that make you bold to speak out on behalf of those who might have that knowledge stripped from them by the callousness of an abortion doctor, the timidity of an inexperienced father, or the fear of a young mother.
Then take action. Find a pregnancy clinic that cares for mothers and children, and donate or volunteer. Stand in the bitter cold or scorching heat outside the local abortion facility to let women considering this action know there is hope and there are people willing to help. Don’t just hold a sign, but be ready to give real aid to anyone in need.
Start mentoring the young men you know, especially those who have strained relationships with their fathers. They need a sturdy example to learn what it means to be a man. Show them the meaning of sacrifice, duty, and respect. Help them to see the unspeakable cowardice of abandoning a woman with whom one has conceived a child, or worse, encouraging her to get an abortion and kill the child you helped create.
Be ready to take action that supports pregnant women, especially those who have no network of family, church, or friends. Any father can tell you how difficult a pregnancy (not to mention the ongoing work of raising a child to adulthood) is when a woman has the full support of her husband and their extended families. A woman who finds herself pregnant and alone needs even more help.
Be that help. Recruit the women you know to help with the more sensitive parts of going to the prenatal appointments and dealing with the physical aspects of pregnancy. Volunteer to assemble furniture and toys for the newborn. Provide financially for the needs of mother and child.
Booker has hit the nail on the head. It is time for men to listen, speak, and take action. Do not simply aim for making abortion illegal; make it unthinkable and unnecessary. Work to fashion a world where ending the life of an unborn child is a fossil that, 10,000 years from now, archeologists will look back upon with shame and contempt that their ancestors could have been so brutal.