Are you BRO-life?
Being a defender of life and a protector for the preborn has never been an easy task, and today's media and culture only serves to make things harder for us PRO-lifers, not to mention us BRO-lifers.
Simply based on our gender, we as men are told that we are not allowed to have a say on the issue of abortion and anything that we do say should be disregarded because abortion is solely a "women's issue".
That argument my friends, falls under the category of an ad hominem fallacy, and on a scale of pro-"choice" arguments, it literally has to be one of the worst. An ad hominem fallacy, as many of you may know, occurs when someone attacks the person rather than the argument they are making. Fallacies are grave errors in logical thinking that can often hold a certain emotional persuasive power and are therefore quite effective despite their illogical nature. There are many other, pro-"choice" arguments that aim to argue on philosophical grounds. Therefore there should be no place for such sexist, fallacious and discriminatory reasoning in the confines of rational discussion.
And yet this is exactly the sort of argument I was approached with during the first few minutes of my very first "Choice" Chain - a demonstration where we hold images of what abortion really looks like on the public sidewalk while engaging people in discussion on this extremely timely and taboo topic. Almost instantly, this elderly woman walked up to me while pointing her finger, and proceeded to shame me for being a man and speaking out against abortion. She wasn't looking for a discussion, she just wanted to get her anger out on me. She deflected any questions I drifted her way and quelled any opportunity for a discussion by swiftly walking away after speaking her piece. I hadn't felt this rejected since the last time a girl stood me up on a date in high school (I was going to take her to McDonalds too), at first I didn't know exactly how to react. I felt silenced. Although "Choice" Chain brought me much more rejection for the rest of that hour, it also brought me encounters and experiences that made all of the rejection and animosity infinitely worth it.
One such encounter was towards the end of the final hour when a young man walked up to my sign with a mild look of horror and surprise. Three simple words sprang forth from his lips: "That is disgusting." I responded to him in an admittedly honest way while inviting him into a dialogue about the horrific evil being depicted on my sign. Almost right after my initial response, this young man began to share with me his personal encounter and journey with the idea of abortion. He told me that over a year ago, his girlfriend delivered the unexpected news to him that she was pregnant. He admitted that abortion was an alluring option for them initially, and its promises captivated their minds and appeared to be the solution to all their problems. But after much discussion and reflection together, they both realized that this baby of theirs deserved a chance at life and that they would do everything in their power to love and provide for this new family of theirs. He promised to be faithful to this new family and immediately moved to Toronto to be with her to raise their child while finding work to support this new unexpected, and initially "unwanted", blessing of theirs. As he was speaking to me, shivers reverberated through my body as I was deeply touched by these heroic actions. That young man and I created as good of a bond as one can give in such a short time span. Before he walked away, he left me with one last thing. With a slight smile in the corner of his lips, he said, “You know what, it’s crazy, when everything seems to be falling apart in your life, sometimes it’s really somehow mysteriously all falling into place.”
There was only one thing I could say to him at the end of our conversation. "You are a real man. A hero, in fact". That is what I told him. If only such manly heroism were more common these days. Many men of today's culture give the aforementioned ad hominem argument its power by leaving countless women and children to fend for themselves rather than being the protectors and defenders they were called to be. In society, it is already assumed that the young, unexpecting father will not take responsibility for the child in his girlfriend's womb. Our society calls a man who does everything in his power to save his pre-born child's life a sexist patriarch, yet looks the other way and even approves when a man pressures or forces his girlfriend to get an abortion.
How twisted manhood has become. Intrinsic to manhood has always been the instinct to protect and defend - especially those who are most vulnerable. And who is more vulnerable and voiceless, than the unborn child in the womb? We, as men, have an integral role to play in this issue and not simply because we are involved in the creation of new life. We have a crucial role simply because of who we should be as men: loyal protectors and strong defenders of life, not to mention self-sacrificing fathers if and when the opportunity arises.
The baby in the womb is always a human being and that truth does not change regardless of whether it's a man or a woman sharing that message. Arguments don't have genders. To all my pro-life brothers out there, do not let anyone silence you on this urgent matter between life and death, and keep fighting to defend life with both gentle compassion and strong, unbreakable resolution.
Damian is a second year Kinesiology major at the University of Toronto.