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June 2017

Scarface. Big Al. Big Boy. Public Enemy No. 1. They’re all the same guy, a guy named Capone. Al Capone struck fear in the hearts of the hardest men. He controlled bootlegging, prostitution, and gambling in Chicago in the 1920s and ’30s. He rose to power through violence, and he controlled by violence. He had rivals, but they didn’t last long. Capone probably masterminded the bloody 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

But the wave of violence hitting Chicago in recent years makes Capone and his mobsters look like choirboys. Since the start of 2012, there have been 2,848 homicides in Chicago. The pace is unlikely to slow anytime soon. This past February seven people were shot, five killed, in two hours. A pregnant woman and her boyfriend were killed while sitting in their car. The baby died. A man walking the street was gunned down; so was a man standing in his garage. A two-year old boy and a man, perhaps his father, were killed in a drive-by shooting. A man driving away from a convenience store was killed in another drive-by. The many stories vary, but they all end up the same way — death.

Not long ago, as our group knelt in prayer in front of an abortion mill, a man stopped his car near us. He was white, in his late 20s-early 30s, with red hair and a red beard. He sat there for about two minutes. In that short span, he fired the F-word at us no less than 30 times. The words came firing out of his mouth like they were shot from an AK-47. If words could kill, we’d all be pushing up daisies. It was a drive-by of a different sort, but hostile all the same.

Men and abortion. We constantly hear the chatter that legal abortion is a woman’s issue, but the hands of men are all over it. In 1973, no women were on the Supreme Court that legalized abortion at all times and for any possible reason imaginable.   Since then, the votes to confirm pro-abortion judges, pass pro-abortion legislation, and continually fund Planned Parenthood, came predominantly from men. Without the involvement of men, legal abortion would be a thing of the past, a tragic episode in the life of a country that should know far better. The question is why?

It’s useful to understand the roles of men in the abortion tragedy. Of course, there are the politicians, men who find that support for legalized killing brings in campaign contributions and votes keeping them in power. The late senator Ted Kennedy was staunchly pro-life until politics turned him rabidly pro-abortion. And on his deathbed Kennedy penned a letter to Pope Benedict seeking to explain that he really was a good man. West Virginia senator Joe Manchin may be the classic. In the current debate over defending Planned Parenthood, he’s managed to position himself on both sides of the issue. Amazingly, he has been photographed with constituents holding signs, one to defund Planned Parenthood and another to fund it. Huh? Split personalities, or a shrewd guy trying to come out on top?

Then there are those men who use abortion to commit violent acts of their own. Recently, a California college professor recruited students to join him in defacing a pro-life display. A high school assistant principal in Pennsylvania berated a teen who set up a display comparing abortion to the Holocaust. He swore at the teen and told him to go to hell. When told that 60 million unborn have been killed, the man shouted, “I love a parade!”

These instances—and there are many more—pale in comparison to what happens to women themselves. A man arrested for throwing coffee at a pro-life couple had a record of sexually abusing 12-year old girls and taking them for abortions. Another man impregnated a 12-year old and then tried to do an abortion himself.   Another stabbed his girlfriend 20 times because she refused to have an abortion. They are the tip of the iceberg. When the violence of abortion becomes a “right,” men want it, too, and they’ll do whatever it takes to exercise it.

How are men’s hands mostly on the abortion issue? It’s by their willingness to say and do nothing. Both in and out of our Church, so many men have decided to stay away from the issue. Apathy drives many men; they just don’t want to get involved. Fear drives others. Having been told so often that legal abortion is a women’s issue, they believe it and shy away from involvement. Perhaps they don’t want to be seen or heard as having an opinion women might not like, an opinion that might affect their standing among some women.

But maybe the biggest reason is that men just don’t know how to address the issue. Is abortion just a woman’s issue? The answer is a resounding no. It’s a human rights issue. Half of all aborted babies are males, and they deserve legal protection. Was legal slavery a black person’s issue? Was the Holocaust a Jewish issue? When human rights are trampled, it’s everybody’s issue.

Between his F-bombs, our pro-abortion friend shouted that we don’t know what the women are suffering. Actually, we do; it’s a big reason why we witness. Women suffer mightily both before and after abortion. Because abortion is legal, it becomes an option for women and so creates an internal struggle over its morality. That struggle often does not end with the abortion. Post-abortive women have higher instances of anger, depression that sometimes leads to suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and other physical, mental, and emotional problems. Physically, women are injured, even killed, from abortion. And you know what? Men suffer in many of the same ways. Some share in the guilt that comes from killing their babies. Others wanted their children but were left out in the cold when the decisions were made to abort. Men have feelings and emotions, but all too often, they are forgotten.

Men, it is time to be who we are called to be: part of the solution, not the problem.


Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois and have six children.

© Paul V. Esposito 2017. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted. Visit us at and on Facebook.

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