Is the right to life a “women’s issue”?

Both Lives Matter | Blog | Is the right to life a “women’s issue”?

“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 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. Instead of acknowledging the biological reality that 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, we are fed the lie that the next generation are merely part of the woman’s body, “tissue”, waste, products of conception. As were we all.

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 or death of a child. I don’t know of any research in this field, but it seems likely that at least some of the excess mental health problems we see among males are 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 other men, 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 duty not to put the women they claim to care for at risk of unplanned pregnancy. What about “compassion” and “respect” at this earlier stage? Or acknowledging her bodily autonomy? “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. Recent high profile court cases on both sides of the Atlantic demonstrate how many “lads” hold deeply misogynistic ideas about women and their value in society. The cover of “choice” is also a useful tool to hide abuse, violence, 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. Similarly, for most, our partners are equal collaborators in life’s journey. They are the co-creators of our children, and share responsibility for their health and wellbeing.

Irish men need to consider carefully before allowing the distorted narrative of militant feminism to describe their lives. They should cherish and promote their role as fathers, and work to preserve the lives of their children and those of unborn generations of our people.

Dr Anne Mc Closkey MB
Cherish all the Children Equally.



With thanks from all of us at Both Lives Matter to our guest author, Dr Anne McCloskey.  Anne is a lifelong republican, a socialist, a feminist and an advocate for the rights of the marginalised.

The views and opinions expressed, are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Both Lives Matter.