A Tale of Two Fathers

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

tim and caitlincaitlin and tim at beach

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times for two men. The first I never met, the second I know well. As we draw close to celebrating Father’s Day, their juxtaposed journeys deserve our attention.

Christopher Keelty is a writer who recently shouted his girlfriend’s abortion. His June 6 article entitled What My Partner’s Abortion Taught Me: Men Benefit From Choice, Too” ironically appeared on the website Fatherly and is riddled with misinformation about abortion laws and statistics. But far more disturbing is the casual, unapologetic tone he assumes in telling of an unplanned pregnancy.

No doubt Christopher was quite relieved by his girlfriend’s abortion.  “While the decision was entirely hers, Liz’s choice to terminate benefitted me. It meant I could continue pursuing the personal and professional life I wanted.”  Addressing his male readership, he reminds them that abortion is good for them too, allowing men to escape the hassle of parenthood. Grateful that he and Liz aren’t “overhauling our lives to accommodate the child we never wanted”, he celebrates abortion as a great guarantor of freedom.

Yet there is a hint of uncertainty. Liz asks if getting an abortion is OK. If she believes “the decision was entirely hers”, why bother to ask him? Christopher responds that a baby was the last thing he was ready for.

Was that the answer she was hoping to hear?  Is it possible she asked because she wanted this man to protect and provide for both her and their child, rather than choosing the self-indulgent lifestyle he desperately clung to instead?

While he portrays himself as so very pro-woman, isn’t he really just pro-Christopher?

And then there’s Tim, a 19 year-old accounting major who learns about his girlfriend’s pregnancy while scrubbing pots in the hospital kitchen where he worked. The word abortion never crossed his lips.  Instead, he got a second job and then a third.

Tim married that girl. Financing his own education, he took 19 credits a semester and graduated early, all while changing diapers and being schooled in infant insomnia.

When he graduated, Tim moved his family out of his in-laws’ house into a modest apartment. Money was so tight that there was often not much more than a few items in the fridge at any one time.  Life was a continuous struggle in many ways.

But he didn’t dwell on what was lacking or a lifestyle he was missing. He saw what he did have. A family. A beautiful little girl whose wild blond curls and striking brown eyes melted his heart when he returned from class or one of his jobs. She was both his inspiration for working hard and his great reward.

You may have guessed that Tim is my husband of 32 years, the father of our five children, pappy to three grandchildren, a well-respected tax attorney and CPA. And he couldn’t be more different than Christopher Keelty.

For every reader who falls under Keelty’s spell of selfishness and believes abortion is the answer, I want to offer the story of another man, one who wasn’t driven by self-interest but by self-sacrifice.

My humble husband would never write an article about his story. But I share it because there are many other men out there just like him and they all warrant recognition and respect. Men who step up.  Men who put themselves last.  Men who pledge to protect and provide for their family, even when it is untimely or inconvenient. Real men. Would Liz have liked for Christopher to be that kind of man?

The reality is that 64% of post-abortive women say they felt coerced into getting an abortion. Sometimes the coercion is as subtle as the father saying a baby is the last thing he was ready for.

Like women, men too can be led to believe that an unplanned pregnancy offers no future and will lead to the worst of times.  But that is a lie. Embracing fatherhood may not lead to an easy, comfortable life, but the love between a father and child leads to the very best of times.

Tragically, that is a tale that Christopher Keelty, and too many other men, will not be able to tell.

Unplanned: The Story of Abby Johnson

Image result for unplanned movie

By Katy Schriner, intern

This Friday, March 29th, Unplanned will be released in theaters all across the United States. This is the story about a former Planned Parenthood worker, Abby Johnson, who was in fact the youngest Planned Parenthood center director in the nation. She also was a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, where she fought, she thought, to help women and enact legislation. What made her decide to embrace the Pro-life movement was when she found out about what Planned Parenthood really did when it came to unborn children and the counseling they provided for women, which led to 22,000 abortions that Abby was involved with. She was also a witness to an abortion where she saw the unborn child fighting for his life. Ever since that incident, she quit Planned Parenthood and joined the 40 Days for Life Campaign and now is one of the most passionate pro-life speakers in America.

Like any other topic that is about Pro-life or abortions, there were some issues that came along with the movie. Weeks before the movie was to be released, Hollywood decided that the film should be rated R for the reason of “some disturbing, bloody images”. But the co-director Chuck Konzelman feels otherwise, that Hollywood restricted the film because of politics. This has prevented teenagers in the world from seeing the truth about Planned Parenthood and the full effects of abortion and what happens to the mother. Konzelman fears that the movie’s R-rating will scare families away, at exactly the wrong time. However, there was an open letter from different leaders, actors and Academy Award-winners asking parents to not be discouraged from allowing their teenagers to see this movie.

We as Americans have this “shield” from seeing the truth and wanting to “keep secrets” away from society. Well enough is enough and that is what Unplanned is trying to do: uncover the real truth behind Planned Parenthood and show the world about what we are doing to innocent lives and how we are affecting our society today, tomorrow, and our future by having abortion in existence. This is a way to keep the conversation going showing kids, teenagers, college students and adults what lies behind the curtains and revealing the truth about our one true enemy: disrespect for human life.

Embracing the Unexpected and Discovering the Joys of Life

A few weeks ago, I visited one of my oldest friends and her new baby boy. He was a beautiful, dark haired cuddly little thing. My friend looked beautiful, motherly and just a little tired as she held him and brushed his soft hair away from his eyes.

The visit seemed a little surreal somehow. As little girls, we often pretended we were grown up with husbands and children and houses of our own.

WomenrunningWhile I was visiting, my friend dug out a faded envelope from her closet. It was covered in pencil scrawling and tied with a rainbow shoelace. Inside were letters we had written as little girls to our adult selves. We predicted all our dreams and happiness fulfilled by age 20 – romance and marriage, motherhood and career success.

Both of us are now 28, and we laughed about our naïve childhood ideas of the perfect life. How different our dreams and expectations were compared to what our lives really are today.

We never imagined dirty dishes and piles of laundry. Student loans and mortgages. Husbands working late on advanced degrees. Sleepless nights and other new mom pains for one of us, and another year of longing for a child for the other. Neither of us the modern day L.M. Montgomery or Laura Ingalls Wilder who we once aspired to be. A husband losing his job. A father’s sudden illness. Discontentedness.

And yet, as I looked at my friend cradling her sleeping child softly in her arms, I felt glad that life isn’t always what we dreamed it would be.

The struggles of new motherhood are quickly forgotten when the baby smiles up at his mom. The pain of infertility also brings the time and the passion to help others. These are joys that we never could have predicted as children, joys made so much sweeter by the pains.

I wish I could share these reflections with women facing an unplanned pregnancy, women thinking about having an abortion.

Our dreams aren’t always what we imagine them to be. And often, life doesn’t turn out as we planned. But I’ve found that the joys are there anyway, and real life actually can turn out to be so much sweeter than our dreams – as long as we let it.