by William M. Johnson, Fatherhood Coordinator, Human Coalition – Atlanta
Abortion is the greatest holocaust in American history, having killed an estimated 60 million lives since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. The monumental decision to legalize abortion in all 50 states ushered in not only a culture of death, but also a culture of abandonment. Currently, 40.3% of all U.S. children are born to unmarried mothers. In the black community, 70.1% of all children are born in homes without fathers (compared to 35.7% of white children). Clearly, fatherlessness is an epidemic in our culture, and its link to legalized abortion on demand cannot be understated.Abortion is the greatest holocaust in American history, having killed an estimated 60 million. Click To Tweet
As Brian Fisher, Co-Founder and President of Human Coalition, outlines in his book, Abortion: The Ultimate Exploitation of Women, legalized abortion lets men off the hook. No longer do they feel the need to stick around and fulfill their commitment to women or their children. “Abortion is the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card for men with noncommittal sex lives. Another agenda is at work as well. Men use abortion to advance their racist, eugenic, and population control dreams and schemes,” Fisher writes. He goes on to explain in detail how men led the campaign to legalize abortion – harming and exploiting women in the process.Legalized abortion lets men off the hook: there is no longer a need to stick around. Click To Tweet
I see this abdication of responsibility every day as I serve as Fatherhood Coordinator at Human Coalition – Atlanta. My job consists of serving men who come to our clinic with their abortion-determined girlfriend or wife. As women visit with our trained Care Coordinators, I spend time with fathers trying to unpeel the series of events that brought them to this point. I sit with guys before they go into the ultrasound room. It’s amazing how many of them believe their opinion about what happens to their preborn child doesn’t matter. Is it any wonder? They’ve grown up in a culture that diminishes the vital importance of fatherhood.
I’ve made some interesting observations as I talk with the men who visit our clinic.27 million children in the U.S. are fatherless. Click To Tweet
Most of these men don’t have a support system. Oftentimes they were raised in a single-parent family, and in many cases they have no relationship with their own father. This reflects national statistics, which cite that 27 million children are fatherless. In other words, we are working with a generation of boys who have no idea what it means to be a father. As Fatherhood Coordinator, my heart is to mentor these men and teach them what it means to be a father.
However, the road to accountable fatherhood is wrought with obstacles.
For one, children who are raised without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty. They are twice as likely to drop out of high school compared to those in a two-parent home. They also have a higher risk of drug use, incarceration, and out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Too often the young men who enter our Human Coalition – Atlanta Women’s Care Clinic have experienced at least one of these consequences of fatherlessness.
As I serve them, I help them see there’s a better way. I begin by validating them and expressing my appreciation for how they accompanied the mother of their baby to our clinic. Just “showing up” is a huge step for men. From there, I encourage them to be positive role models by investing time in the life of their child(ren).
Often, these men don’t know what it means to be a strong role model. How could they? That’s why Human Coalition offers parenting classes or mentoring programs at its women’s care clinics. We equip men to be great fathers and connect them with a local church where they can receive the emotional and spiritual support they need.
It’s amazing to watch a father’s demeanor change when he is encouraged to “man up” and advocate for mother and child. So often when the dad feels empowered to speak up for the life of his child, the mother ends up choosing life.When the dad speaks up for the life of his child, the mother often choses life. Click To Tweet
But as I mentioned previously, we live in a culture that diminishes the role of fathers. Just look at how the media portrays them. Men are shown as noncommittal, weak, indecisive, wimpy, and stupid. Moreover, their worth is validated not in monogamous, committed relationships, but by the number of women they’ve been with. Just listen to almost any popular song or watch the latest box office hit. The message on repeat is that men can have all the sexual benefits of marriage without the responsibility.
Today, I’m challenging men to rise up and reclaim our God-given role as fathers. Until we push back the cultural influences that have made fathers irrelevant, we won’t stem the culture of abandonment and the abortion epidemic that plagues our country.
Allow me to share a story that illustrates how we can raise up men to embrace their role as fathers just by speaking truth and love into their situation. Recently, I met with a man who accompanied his abortion-determined girlfriend to our clinic. When asked why he supported abortion, the man told me he was too old to have a baby, and he was “leaving it up” to his girlfriend to decide. As I dug deeper, it became apparent this man had never felt the acceptance of a father, and he’d been looking for that acceptance in one meaningless relationship after another. It was the perfect opening to share the hope and love found in the Gospel of Jesus. I also told him a little of my own story. Before he left the clinic, this man told me he was getting answers to some of the questions that had plagued him his entire adult life. However, I still believed he and his girlfriend would abort their child.
Over the next week, our team prayed diligently for this couple and their preborn child. To our delight, a week later the man informed me that he and his girlfriend were going to keep the baby and parent together! When I asked what changed his mind, he said the conversation we’d had and all the support they received from our team.
Sometimes a man just needs to hear the words “You matter.” At Human Coalition, we value the role of fathers and try to involve them in the life-decision process, understanding that more women will choose life for her child when she knows there is a strong, willing man supporting her decision.
Father’s Day may be over, but you still have the opportunity to tell a father he matters. Let’s not be like our culture. Instead, let’s empower the dads around us to rise up and reclaim fatherhood.
Joyce A. Martin, M.P.H., et al, National Vital Statistics System, “Births: Final Data for 2015,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 66, No. 1, January 5, 2017, https://www.cdc.gov/nat-vital-stats.
National Fatherhood Initiative, “Father Absence + Involvement Statistics,” www.fatherhood.org/fatherhood-data-statistics.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), “ASPE Issue Brief: Information on Poverty and Income Statistics: A Summary of 2012 Current Population Survey Data,” September 12, 2012,