Far away from the news, the political arena, and the social media posts, things are different.
The visible and loud demand attention: the protesting voices heard through megaphones, the “Her Body, Her Choice” mantras on social media, and the sound bites from politicians. But here, in Care Net Peninsula’s medical clinic, there is none of that – it’s just her (and hopefully, the father of her baby).
You know, in the quiet. When the cameras are off and when the crowd is gone. When she speaks for herself, without the public pressure to defend her womanhood by not needing a man.
The loud opinions may have mattered once; they may have even been her own. But right now, no one is as loud as he is – no slogan, no politician, no activist.
You may be scratching your head. You might be wondering – What gives me the right to counter decades of systematic messaging that indicates the opposite?
Here at Care Net Peninsula, we have been listening to women for decades. Our clients know what they should say – how they should think – how empowered they should feel.
My body, my choice. No man needed – or wanted. But now pregnant, that sentiment falls flat. She wants more from him – for him to step up to the table beside her. To listen and to speak. After all, she didn’t get pregnant alone.
The men – the fathers of our clients’ babies – are as varied as the women we serve. Intricately connected though – in that they almost always matter to the mothers of their babies. What they think matters. What they say matters. What they don’t say matters.
Some men are unsure – they don’t know what they want. Many of our women feel the same. Some men overtly want her to choose an abortion, and some explicitly want her to choose life. Some men are silent; years of “Her body, her choice” has created quiet men. They like to call themselves “silent but supportive,” though we know silence and support rarely exist together. Silent but supportive partners create lonely women, burdened to make a decision without his help.
So why even bring this up? What are you to do with this information? Well, a few things.
More than ever, be on your guard against smart-sounding sound bites that just aren’t true. Sure, there have been women who’ve wanted total autonomy. They didn’t want the input of their friends, boyfriends, husbands, or exes. But these women have been in the minority, they are not the majority – despite what the loud voices of our culture would have you believe.
For many of our clients, he is in her head – either vocally or silently. He’s still there and he carries a lot of weight either way.
Secondly, know that’s why it is so important that he is included in the services she receives in our clinic. He is always welcome to come with her to her medical appointment – as long as she wants him included.
- Do you mean he can come into the consult room to discuss pregnancy options, his feelings, and his concerns? To hear about the support our donors and our community partners provide? Yes, with her consent.
- Do you mean he can come into the ultrasound room, to observe with his own eyes the life that is growing inside her? You bet, with her consent.
- Do you mean he can hear medically accurate information about the different types of abortion procedures? Definitely, with her consent.
Here in the clinic, we have more than a “he can come” response. We encourage our clients – as they are trying to make decisions about their pregnancies – to bring the fathers of their babies with them when they come for their appointments. Even during COVID, when restrictions were tight for the sake of safety, our directors went against the norm by continuing to allow women – as they were making pregnancy decisions – to bring the babies’ fathers with them. He was too important to leave out; her wants and needs for his input were too important to disregard.
He’s that important to her and the entire decision-making process – so he’s important to us, too.
His thoughts matter to her and play into her final decision about what she will do with the pregnancy. And while women may make voting decisions based on collective persuasion, they make pregnancy decisions usually in pairs. That’s why our clinic is a safe space for her to process her pregnancy and understand her options while including him; a safe space for her to receive important medical services and accurate information, with him by her side.
And a safe space for both of them – to learn the truth, to hear and be heard, to leave knowing about the life she is carrying inside her – that living, valuable, life. When people know the truth, they aren’t so drawn to the false narrative of the day.
And listen, the world may not believe in God, as if dismissing Him dismisses His truths. But God’s truths are still true – they would be even if no one believed them. So, when God says He created male and female – with the ability to multiply – it was not accidental that two people were involved. When she says he matters, she is speaking from the heart God created inside her. Babies involve two parents. It’s the way God created it to be.