GENDUSA COLUMN: It takes two

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, July 6, 2022

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Ok, here goes; I am dipping my pen in the inkwell of the abortion debate, but not the way you may think.  I don’t believe we will ever agree on that issue, so it seems useless to voice another opinion. 

Years (I do mean eons) ago, I returned to college.  I decided to change my career path from interior design to earn a Health and Physical Education degree.  I was a wee bit athletic, yet I wasn’t leaning toward teaching but instead educating others about health.  Especially women who lived in poverty and did not have access to or the means to obtain good healthcare. 

Some women at the time knew little regarding birth control, breast cancer, or warning signs that they were in unhealthy, unchartered territory.  Many were unaware of the value of good nutrition, exercise, mental health, and weight management for themselves or their children.  

My dreams were lofty, but I believed we could change the future of women’s healthcare through knowledge and prevention.  

I did not finish the degree and became that Interior Designer, providing for my own children’s health and well-being.  But I still believe my theory was a sound one.

With all the shouting matches between the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice movements today, there seems to be little dialogue regarding prevention or responsibility.  Few discuss what men should do to prevent women from facing life-changing decisions.  It takes two to create a child; if the pair do not want an unplanned pregnancy, they must avoid one.  Seems simple, right?

We all know about “surprise babies.”  I have a physician friend who found she was expecting her third child soon after her second was born.  “I just don’t know how that happened!” She exclaimed after she told me the news.  I sarcastically replied, “I guess you skipped the classes regarding reproduction in med school, right?”  Then we both laughed till we cried.  I, to this day, have no idea how my last child came into my world. 

Yet, she and I welcomed our baby boys with open arms.  We struggled, but now we can’t imagine our life without them.   

However, we don’t live in the dire situations some women do.  There are so many today who still do not understand the value of prevention economically or physically.  Plus, many men still walk away unscathed when they learn their partner is carrying their child.  The truth is both consenting adults must step up to the plate when difficulty is placed on the table.  They need to accept the commitment of parenthood or be responsible enough to avoid becoming a parent. 

As I was nearing graduation from high school, I learned a friend was pregnant.  When she told her boyfriend, he literally ran.  At the time, an out-of-wedlock baby still produced demeaning, judgmental reactions from folks.  Many would declare, “How could SHE do this to her parents?”    My mother said the opposite, “How dare HE simply run away!”   Mom continued, “Women have always been both victims and villains when it involves an unplanned pregnancy.  In many cases, they become their child’s sole support while their partner is somewhere in nowhere.”

This slanted behavior is not acceptable or fair and has been going on forever.  

Here are a few facts as of 2022:

  • 10 billion dollars in child support payments go uncollected.  More than 30% of support payments are never paid, and more than 43% do not receive the total amount due. 
  • 80% of single-parent families are headed by mothers, and the number is rising.
  • 12.7 million children are being raised without a father. 

 So, I ask you, where is the other part of the “two?”

Even though years have passed, there is very little change in attitudes.  Women must understand that if they do not protect themselves from an unplanned pregnancy, they will more than likely be responsible for their actions for the rest of their lives.

There are many good, righteous men in the world, and you are loved.  But for those men who feel they are not economically or physically responsible for the child they produce, they are the epitome of a coward.  These men are present throughout every segment of our society, and the courts can do little to ease the suffering their behavior creates. 

We must help each other educate our sisters with the knowledge and compassion to prevent heartache and destitution and provide them with hope and education. 

And good, decent men should foster responsibility, denounce “good ole’ boy behavior, and put fatherhood at the head of the table as it should be.