COLUMNIST NOTE: The following column is on a very controversial subject. Keep your smelling salts handy. You can't say that you haven't been warned! THE ASSUMPTION DILEMMA Brothers, we are going to head for the tall grass on a topic that many have ‘blown by’ for the sake of being politically correct. That topic is Abortion. Of course, I’ll ‘cliff’ the historical background of the issue in a few lines, but let’s get to the aftermath of the matter as it affects men, manhood, and fatherhood. Thanks to our American feminized culture, the assumption has been put forth that-- in the matter of an unplanned pregnancy--the man has no say in a ‘woman’s right to kill that unborn life’. As a matter of fact, this belief has become so ingrained in the social mainstream that many women have taken the ‘easy way out’ and ‘assumed’ that the father of the child doesn’t care, one way or the other, as to the mother of his child terminating a life that it took two people to create. The truly sad part is this assumption has made its way into the Black community, and into the Black church. Now the one thing I can say in support of the women who have been brave enough to allow that life to continue. Yes, it has been rough. Yes, it has been a major trial and test of your belief in biblical teaching to allow that life to continue. Yes, you could have ended that life--to the applause of feminists, your friends and family. But, you have remained true. And, for that, you get my respect and admiration. We can chew on single parents all we want. At the bottom line, though, they have made the decision to be true and keep their children. I’d like to also add that some of them have gotten married, and had their husband treat ALL the kids as his! Another group of women also get my respect and admiration. These are the single women who have given their children up for adoption. There are a LOT of married couples that cannot have children because of infertility. The gift of hope and life passed on by these sisters to families who can take care of the children is nothing short of heroic. Might I also add that this is something that has been a part of our Black culture and heritage. The passing on of life, instead of terminating it because life is ‘too hard’. Then, let’s not forget the extended family members. The grandmothers and grandfathers, the uncles and aunts, the foster parents and many others who have stepped in to help a young life along when everyone else seems to be stepping out of the picture. They also get my respect and admiration. However, there is something that many single women and single men remain blissfully ignorant of concerning abortion. This is what I am going to lay out in this month’s column. A CLIFFED HISTORY LESSON ON ABORTION: When Roe v. Wade came to the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court back in the 1970s, one of the assumptions was that abortion was needed to ‘solve’ the rising tide of pregnancies due to rape and incest. Well, thirty years have gone by, and a few interesting things have happened along the way: 1. One of the key participants in the case eventually became a Christian and admitted that she was ‘coerced’ by feminists (and others) to put her plight into the legal arena. 2. The statistical information has come back, showing in part that some 40 million abortions have taken place since that court decision became the law of the land, with nearly a third of those murders being those of Black babies. 3. More than EIGHTY percent of the abortions in this country have taken place because the mother of the child felt that the baby would ‘interfere’ with her life goals, while less than two percent of the abortions took place due to rape or incest. 4. More Black extended family members, including Black men, have stepped in to take care of the children forfeited by their mothers, rather than allow them to be killed in an abortion clinic. 5. More and more of those who took part in the abortion industry has stepped forward to testify about the horrors of the process, and how lying to potential patients is commonplace in such clinic settings. 6. Lastly, more and more doctors have put their foots down and said that they would no longer do the abortion procedure, as it was a solid breech of the Hippocratic oath. Now, I’m not trying to ‘heap’ guilt upon those sisters who have had abortions. What I am striving for in this month’s column is to bring out the reality of the matter from a man’s point of view. And, there are a LOT of men who have something to say about this mass-murder industry. That is, if women would take the time to ask…and listen. ASSUMPTION #1--BLACK MEN DON’T CARE ABOUT THE UNBORN: This assumption is largely false, but has been given life because of the feminized nature of our current society. Many assume that Black men don’t care about the unborn, simply because they haven’t ‘heard’ us say anything in a ‘dramatic’ fashion. Still others assume that when a Black man gets the news that the woman he has been with announces: “I’m pregnant”, they are going to head for the door. Well, to be perfectly honest and bold, many women ‘stack’ the news of an unplanned pregnancy and spin it in such a way that they secretly hope that the brothers DO run! Thus, they can continue the ‘mantra’ that ‘Black men are no good’, and head off to the nearest murder clinic to get the deed done. I’ve heard from many a brother who has said, upon receiving such news: “Well, let’s get MARRIED!” This news causes the sister to back up and run the other direction, leaving the brother who thought he was doing the right thing, scratching his head in confusion. Black men have ALWAYS been about sacrifice and provision. We can’t help it if some sisters can’t, or won’t, see this reality. I know brothers who HAVE popped the question, or suggested that they be allowed to serve in the role of father and husband after an unplanned pregnancy, only to have the woman in question listen to her ‘sistahfriends’ and drop kick the man--in order to maintain their ‘independence’. Oh, I know this may be ‘new’ information for some who read my column, but trust me on this. My mail speaks for itself. I get letters from brothers all the time--some of them with tearstains on my screen--who want to be a father to their children after a divorce, or after an unplanned pregnancy, and they are the first to say: “She’s got my baby, and my money--and doesn’t want me around.” ASSUMPTION #2--BLACK MEN DON’T CARE ABOUT CHILDREN: If this were the case, why are so many Black men working two or three jobs AND serving as mentors and Big Brothers in many communities? Why are many brothers whom I talk to not only concerned about the direction of Black youth, but go out of their way to contribute time, money, and effort in order to teach and reach the young--at the same time they are taking care of their own children? This is yet another ‘assumption’ that Black women--and others--make because they don’t take the time to COMMUNICATE with Black men. They ‘assume’ that Black men are not interested in the youth of our communities because they don’t ‘see’ Black men in front of cameras and microphones with press conferences and statistics to ‘prove’ that they are doing the job of fatherhood and serving as mentors to the next generation of young Black men and women. Let me clue some of you: A Black man does NOT need a press conference to show that he is taking care of business! Things would be a LOT worse in the streets if we weren’t on the job! Let me digress for just a few lines. During the last Super Bowl and World Series games, I saw Black and white men with their sons on the gridiron and the ball diamond being carried and hugged by these brothers in a time of celebration. Right in front of the cameras and reporters. Some of these sights made Page One of many a newspaper. But, I suppose that we have quickly forgotten these images. Or, at least some wished that these images weren’t real. ASSUMPTION #3--BLACK MEN CAN‘T RAISE CHILDREN: Well, this is another ‘false’ assumption cooked up by feminists, and their allies in the feminized mainstream press, and been swallowed whole by some Black women. Might I remind those who can read that the U.S. Census Bureau came out with facts and figures a few years ago, highlighting that more than two million single parent homes are headed by MEN--and many of the by BLACK MEN? Oh, I guess many sisters didn’t get the paper the day that report was released. When Mama decides to ‘bail’, and brothers are left holding the diaper bag, a lot of them have stepped up to the plate and did the job to the best of their abilities. Often sacrificing job promotions and trips out of town for better employment to stay where they are and raise their children. Like I said earlier: Black men are about sacrifice and taking care of business. Just because one brother may not be all that, it is not fair to paint ALL Black men with the same brush! Nor is it right for some sisters to shut the father of their child out of the decision to terminate a human life. Not only is that selfish, that shows the woman has no class, no matter how many poets she can quote, or how many social causes she may join. ASSUMPTION #4--HIS NAME IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR MY CHILD: Another assumption that has been floating around many a hospital ward is that the mother’s name is the name the child should carry. Sorry, but that won’t wash with me, and with many other Black men. By allowing society to dictate the name a child should carry, many Black men have been frozen out of the fatherhood and marriage process. A child carrying the name of his/her mother does not have the same heritage as a child carrying the name of their father. Sister, if he was good enough to lie with, he is good enough to marry. You need to carry his name…and so do your children. Why go on national TV and try to remember whom the father was? You KNOW who the father was when the pregnancy took place! WRAPPING THIS UP: The real deal about Abortion is that it is a crime of convenience. Even though it is legal, and even though law supports it, it does NOT make it right. Remember, the same courts that have said that a woman has a ‘right’ to end her unborn child’s life are the SAME courts that said that Black folk were only three-fifths of a person, and that slavery was legal, and segregation was honorable. Abortion has been proven to be the leading cause of breast cancer, sterility, and host of other physical problems among the women who have had this medical procedure done. Not to mention the emotional baggage that women often carry with them afterwards. I never have ‘bought’ the notion that it takes two to procreate, and one to terminate. I have ‘bought’ the notion that some women, for one reason or another, have made up their minds as to what they are going to do and get mad with a brother because he won’t ‘sign off’ on the murder warrant known as abortion. If Black men are good enough to lay down with, sisters, why aren’t they good enough to marry? Let me take this a little further for the sisters, if they didn’t hear me the first time around. If Black men are good enough to pay child support, and provide for the cost of raising a child, when a child is carried to full term, why are they NOT good enough to marry, sisters? Why are they NOT good enough to put their name on that child when he/she is born? Yes, the images in the Rap videos and movies portray one thing concerning male/female relationships. However, I am addressing reality. And the reality is Black men are MORE than willing to be husbands and fathers. Provided that when a Black man speaks, folk are willing to listen. I’ve read more than a few columns and articles from women who have had abortions. They are a combination of sorrow and anger. However, I have heard the pain from brothers who were told ‘after’ the fact that an abortion had taken place--without their consent. The mother in question based her assumption on the misguided notion that the man in question didn’t want to be a father and husband and she ‘did it for him’. We may never know how many brothers have secretly visited cemeteries, praying to God for release from that pain. The pain of not having a voice in a choice that was made by two, but decided by one. But then, many who believe in abortion never think that far in advance, do they? MIKE RAMEY is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE. A syndicated, monthly column written for men, from a biblical, business, and common sense perspective. Email welcome to [email protected]. © 2003 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International (14).