Is the right to life a woman’s issue only?

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“Cherish all the Children Equally” is a progressive, secular, republican pro-life group. We defend the ideals proclaimed by the men and women of 1916, and affirm that they are as relevant today as ever.

The notion that the removal of the constitutional protection for the right to life of unborn children is purely a “woman’s issue” makes no sense.

Abortion, by definition kills the unborn child, and robust studies now show that it can cause real and lasting harm to women also. But it also affects fathers, extended families and wider society.

If the child in the womb is just a part of the woman’s body, then what is a father? The very concept of fatherhood, with all that it entails, is reduced to mere sperm donation. We are each created by a 50:50 mix of DNA from both of our parents, and inherit physical and mental characteristics going back generations from both families. My mother was beautiful, but I unfortunately am a ringer for my father.

When their child’s life is ended by induced abortion, men are often left bereaved and traumatised by a decision they have no control over, and in my experience often suffer the same grieving process as they would following a natural miscarriage. I don’t know of any research in this field, but in seems likely that at least some of the excess mental health problems we see among males is related to this loss of role as fathers, and equal partners in parenthood. The narrative that the unborn child is not a new life created by both parents, but merely part of the woman’s body and subject to her autonomy alone is one which many men do not accept, and with good reason. For others, abortion absolves them from responsibility for the outcomes of sexual activity. I haven’t come across a pregnancy yet that didn’t have male input. Men surely have a responsibility not to put the women they claim to care for at risk of unplanned pregnancy. What about her bodily autonomy?

I hear there is a new group called “Lads for Choice”. Lads offer their women abortion, whereas real men cherish and care for them. Abortion offers men what James Joyce called “copulation without procreation” – the opportunity to use women as mere objects of gratification, without regards for the consequences. It is also a useful tool of criminals working in the sex industry, to hide abuse, exploitation, trafficking and other crimes against women and children.

For the vast majority of our people, fathers are their friends, mentors and role models, a central and irreplaceable part of their lives. Men need to consider carefully before accepting the “my body, my choice” narrative espoused by militant feminists. In the upcoming referendum, they should vote to defend the lives of their children and of u

Anne McCloskey

About the Author:

Dr Anne McCloskey is a GP based in Derry. "If we have an idea that we need to 'cherish all the children of the nation equally' then that is what it should actually mean."
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