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Fathers, I beg you — reconsider abortion

Unsplash/Lawrence Crayton
Unsplash/Lawrence Crayton

For as high a calling as fatherhood is to so many, the title is not celebrated nearly enough in today’s modern culture. And in the debate over abortion, fatherhood hardly receives any positive attention at all. 

Many fathers are repeatedly told by abortion activists and partisan media personalities that since they have no uterus, they should have no opinion on the issue of whether their child lives or dies.

But as someone who holds two different titles of fatherhood — adoptive father and stepfather —  and as an OB-GYN who has cared for women and their children for more than 20 years, I’ve grown to appreciate the unique and irreplaceable role men play in the lives of their families. This Father’s Day, we should remind all fathers and fathers-to-be of their inherent value and encourage them in their utmost duty to protect and support their loved ones.

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My journey to fatherhood followed an unconventional path. When I married my wife, Morgan, in 2017 I became a stepfather to her two children, Lexie and Davis. Loving them along with Morgan has been one of the greatest blessings of my life, and it has challenged me to be the very best role model I can be. Morgan and I always hoped to grow our family even more but soon struggled with infertility. During the immensely difficult period of seeking fertility treatments and solutions, we never lost hope of our desire for more children.

With time, our prayers for another child were answered in an unexpected and beautiful way. We learned that a woman in our community was considering adoption instead of abortion — a selfless, heroic choice — for her soon-to-be-born son. We were ecstatic when she chose us as the future parents to Asher, whose name means “happy and blessed.” Up until Asher’s birth 15 months ago, we attended every doctor’s appointment. I even had the indescribable joy of delivering him that day. As Morgan cut his umbilical cord, I marveled at the miracle of his birth from a medical perspective, with deep emotion, as I became his adoptive father.

As a father and doctor, I’m convinced that every child is a human person worthy of protection from the moment of conception. In fact, biologists from more than 1,000 academic institutions worldwide overwhelmingly agree that human life begins at fertilization. Philosophically, any definition of personhood other than this one taken to its logical conclusion condones discrimination, the killing of innocent human life, and is a grave violation of human rights. It’s the widespread abortive mindset against which every person must stand.

I find it tragic that many families faced with unexpected pregnancies fail to consider adoption as an option but are instead misled to believe the false notion that abortion is their only option. Whether due to pressure from their child's father or simply lack of support leading them to feel unprepared for motherhood, many women feel no choice but to terminate their pregnancy.

In my 21 years of practice, I’ve seen first-hand that these parents become wrought with grief and regret over their abortive decisions. One patient, a woman nearing age 50, visited my office in distress over the fact that she had previously undergone four abortions and was frightened she would never be able to give birth to a child. These experiences of regret are underreported and minimized by existing literature. In fact, symptoms of grief can last a lifetime, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide. The impact strong, present fathers have on the wellbeing of their partners cannot be overestimated.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of resources available to assure parents that adoption exists as a loving, life-giving alternative to abortion — one that benefits the birthmother, child, and adoptive family for years to come. Pregnancy Resource Centers in every U.S. state, including one in Texas where I volunteer, frequently connect women with adoptive families and provide them with physical care and financial assistance along the way. It’s equally as important that fathers be made aware of these resources to support their partners.

Our precious families deserve loving protection, including from the immense harms of induced abortion. Just as God is a loving father to each one of us, so we must strive each and every day to love the children He gives us. I encourage expecting fathers, new fathers, and all fathers to embrace their vocation each day by being present to their partner and generous with their children, who look up to him as an irreplaceable source of guidance at every stage.

By embracing the challenges, joy, and process of fatherhood, you’ll have shared experiences of growth with your children — especially in the areas of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And remember to savor every moment because they grow up in the blink of an eye! 

Sudheer Jayaprabhu, M.D., M.B.A., is a board-certified OB/GYN who practices in Texarkana, Texas.

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