- There is no greater example of privilege in America today than a child who grows up with his married biological parents in a stable and loving home. Tweet This
- We need to reorient our society away from the contemporary model of family formation characterized by casual sex, conscious co-parenting, and commonplace abortion. Tweet This
- Pro-life politicians and social commentators need to make it clear that men are responsible for the children they create, not the state. Tweet This
It has been nearly two months since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson case. That decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade, sent the issue of abortion back to the states. While we did not see the “summer of rage” that pro-abortion activists promised, there has been a great deal of debate about what our society owes women and children in post-Roe America.
The responses from the political left have been predictable. There have been calls for Congress to codify access to abortion through the Women's Health Protection Act and Ensuring Access to Abortion Act. These bills, passed by House Democrats, would obligate healthcare providers to offer abortion services and prevent states from restricting women who travel across state lines to obtain an abortion.
The response from the political right has been more varied. Some states moved to immediately impose restrictions on abortion after the Dobbs decision, leading several abortion providers to close their doors. In Kansas, voters rejected an amendment that would have removed the right to an abortion from their state constitution.
One interesting development since the Dobbs decision has been the degree to which conservatives have argued for more support for pregnant mothers and their babies, both from the government and faith-based institutions. One essay in The New York Times from Patrick Brown, a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, presented a number of ideas regarding a Republican pro-family agenda after the fall of Roe.
Brown argued that conservatives should push for the permanent expansion of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage to mothers for up to one year postpartum. He also supports paid leave, home visiting programs for mothers, and expanding the Child Tax Credit.
These are all good ideas. But one thing that was not mentioned in Brown’s column was any specific reference to the role men play in supporting the children they create. He is not alone. One of the most consistent themes in abortion-related commentary since the Dobbs decision is the absence of the words “father,” “marriage,” or “husband” in even the conservative grand vision for family life in America.
Even conservative Christian organizations, like the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), and pro-life social commentators, like David French, have fallen into the trap of speaking about reproduction as if humans are asexual beings. Pro-choice activists often say that a hospital room is too small for a woman, her doctor, and the federal government. Judging by the words of some self-professed conservatives, there’s not enough room for the man who helped create the baby, either.
This is a mistake.
The most important thing conservatives should be doing to support motherhood is using every ounce of political and cultural capital to reconnect marriage and childrearing. There is no greater example of privilege in America today than a child who grows up with his or her married biological parents in a stable and loving home. Given the relationship between marital status and abortion (i.e., most women seeking abortions are unmarried), now is the time for conservatives to bring a distinctive pro-life message into the public square that is built on the foundation of marriage and responsible fatherhood.
Any discussion of family that fails to include marriage and the responsibilities of fathers will yield marginally better results than what we would expect from pro-choice devotees of the Sexual Revolution.
Pro-life politicians and social commentators need to make it clear that men are responsible for the children they create, not the state. They need to consistently promote the link between marriage and positive social and emotional outcomes for children. They need to reorient our society away from the contemporary model of family formation characterized by casual sex, conscious co-parenting, and commonplace abortion.
What conservatives should create instead is a comprehensive pro-life agenda built on the foundation of marriage that sees children as blessings to be enjoyed and celebrated, not burdens to be managed and overcome.
In the wake of the Dobbs decision, Michelle Obama published a message on social media that expressed her heartbreak for a “teenage girl, full of zest and promise, who won’t be able to finish school or live the life she wants because her state controls her reproductive decisions.” The former First Lady expressed the primary driver of the American abortion regime with crystal clarity. The main issue is not healthcare, day care, or paid leave. It’s not about rape, incest, miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancies.
The biggest contributor to abortion in America since Roe was decided is a low view of children, especially among women who have been told that their exclusive ability to bear and birth children is an oppressive drag on their career aspirations and life goals. This is why babies are so often referred to in abortion discourse as a “consequence” of sex instead of the natural result of reproduction.
A man and woman who stand before family and friends to commit to one another for the rest of their lives typically see their children as a gateway to future generations. This is a much different orientation toward children than what one would expect from two people who enjoy being “friends with benefits” but have no intention of making a lifelong commitment to one another.
Pro-choice advocates are very much in favor of government involvement in family life. They want federal funds to pay for abortions, federal property to be used for abortions in states with restrictive abortion laws, and government support for women who choose to keep their babies. What they don’t want is any limitation on the decisions women can make about the babies growing inside their bodies.
Conservatives who argue for more support from the state for pregnant women are motivated by compassion and a sense of responsibility to children. The problem is that any discussion of family that fails to include marriage and the responsibilities of fathers will yield marginally better results than what we would expect from pro-choice devotees of the Sexual Revolution.
Roe is no more, and none of us know exactly what will come next. That is why now is the perfect time for conservatives to extol the benefits of marriage and speak life into an area of our culture that has been marked by death for far too long.
Delano Squires is a contributor to Fearless with Jason Whitlock on Blaze Media. Follow him on Twitter @DelanoSquires.
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or views of the Institute for Family Studies.