I Was a Bro-Choicer

shutterstock_49083022-2I shook my head in disgust as I read most of this article by Ben Sherman on why men should oppose the Texas pro-life bill. To wit:

For those of us guys who like girls — you know, like them like them — and want to have relationships with them that may last anywhere from a few minutes to many years, we need to think about how this bill…hurts us, too. We need to stand with women in their fight to control their own bodies.

Ben “gets it”: this bill would make it harder for women to abort their baby, which means it would make it more likely that guys having those “few minutes” long relationships with women would be more likely to be on the hook to provide for any babies the women they impregnated chose not to abort.

And he has been appropriately lambasted by both pro-lifers and pro-choicers for his barely veiled appeal to stop the bill so that young men will be able to have consequence-free sex with women.

But, back in my atheist days, I was even worse.

I was dating a young woman, raised Catholic to a mild degree, and being a good serially monogamistic atheist, we had been dating exclusively for years. One day we were discussing the hypothetical possibility of her getting pregnant–something that, for various reasons I won’t go into, was highly unlikely–when I said offhand: “Oh but you would just get an abortion.”

And she stopped and said: “Uh, no I wouldn’t.”

Ooops! So much for having good communication in our years-long relationship! I was shocked and asked her why not, and she said that she didn’t believe in aborting a baby. I knew it was that residual Catholic influence from her upbringing, and it gave me another reason to detest the Catholic Church.

I was alarmed. My girlfriend would refuse to get an abortion if she got pregnant. That means I would be stuck with a baby way too soon in life and with a person I didn’t know if I wanted to marry, which meant child support payments for almost twenty years and essentially my life being ruined. Me me me me.

Of course that is the way of it: it was all about me, just like Ben’s article is all about him being able to have sexual intercourse without fear of a child being conceived and born from it. Sure, it’s couched in suitably appropriate language about supporting women and their choices, but under the thin veneer it is about “us bros” having those “minutes long” relationships without consequences.

But back to my young atheist days for a moment. I was suddenly afraid of having a child. Thankfully, that never happened. But if my girlfriend had gotten pregnant, I wonder if I would have pressured my girlfriend to have an abortion, even against her beliefs? I would like to say never would I have done that, but I probably would have. I was a lustful, selfish young man, and a child would “mess up my life,” big time.

Did I think that the fetus wasn’t human? No, I didn’t think that. I knew it was human. I knew it was a baby, but like Peter Singer, I didn’t care. So what that it’s human? It’s less human than I am, smaller by far, even tiny. No one would have to know; know one would care; my life is more important than its life. I was a pragmatist, and that meant, doing practically whatever I could to improve my own life.

Unlike Ben Sherman over at the Burnt Orange Report, I wouldn’t have balked too much at this bill. After all, you can still abort the baby before 20 weeks, and so what if I have to drive my girlfriend to a Planned Parenthood mega-facility in Austin or Houston? A few hours drive, tops. A little bit of money to save a lot later. Easy sauce. A no-brainer. Why people like Ben would get up in arms over such small obstacles would have been beyond me. This is your life we’re talking about, bro, and your gonna let a few little nuisance laws stop you from “taking care of the problem” so your life isn’t messed up? No way. Man up and get your girlfriend in the car.

This is why I laugh now at people (mostly on Youtube) who claim that I was never an atheist. Oh they have no idea what an atheist I was! I out-consequentialismed Peter Singer, out-blustered Dawkins, out-Hitchened Hitchens. I was an atheist of atheists. Through appliance of science, I’d got that ring of confidence.

So I can’t get too affronted by the Ben Shermans of the world. As you see, I was much worse, and didn’t even pay lip service to being pro-choice for the sake of women. I was pro-choice for my own sake, and was not ashamed to admit it.

My life is different now. Through faith and reason, I know that life begins at conception and that “a person is a person, no matter how small.” Now I remember in my prayers my and Katie’s three children who died in utero. John Thomas, Raphael, and Jacinta. They were little when they died, but I believe I will see them again when I meet Christ face-to-face. And I pray that Ben Sherman and others like him will have conversions and come to recognize the sanctity of all human life.


Image credit: shutterstock.com


Devin is the author of If Protestantism Is True and he blogs at St. Joseph’s Vanguard.

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  • Clement_W

    We have become used to referring to unborn children by the term “Fetus” used initially by the medical profession as “It”, a leftover from the days before ultrasound was invented. Referring to anything as an “It”, subconsciously even, makes the loss or destruction acceptable. Was it not the “it’-ization of human beings of a different color, different culture, different language etc. which was the basis of Slavery?

    Let us, the pro-life people begin by referring to the unborn, no matter at what stage of pregnancy, by calling the the unborn babies She/He instead of ‘Fetus’ so that we ourselves can, by our example, acknowledge the reality of the existence of a new human being who so often has resemblance to at least one parent- and let us remember the words in the very first chapter of Genesis, repeated THREE times “In His Own Image, He Created THEM”!

  • Daniel P.

    Great honest piece by Mr. Rose. Thanks for sharing (painfully, I’m sure) your pre-conversion life and thoughts/actions with us.

    One issue, though, I believe worth mentioning stems from the quote of yours, “I was suddenly afraid of having a child. Thankfully, that never happened.” Problem — you don’t really know whether she got pregnant if she was using the pill. She could have chemically aborted and neither of you would have known.

    God bless you Mr. Rose for bringing this article to print. Thank you.

  • Daniel, thanks, and that is a good point. Though I don’t want to go into any sundry details on it, she never took the Pill or other abortifacient, so thankfully I have the relief of knowing I did not conceive children that were then aborted.

  • Clement, yes good point, and I always do that. Here, however, I was writing from the (erroneous) perspective I had as an atheist. So I chose to use that atheistic terminology. Notice at the end of the article when I discuss my children who died through miscarriage, that they are referred to as people and we even named them. God bless!

  • Clement_W

    The abortion lobby has always used science, particularly the research of Pavlov on conditioned reflexes to advance their agenda using euphemisms to push an increasingly busy society unaware of the subtle manipulation and conditioning. I did notice your discussion of your children. Being a ‘scientist’ myself. as a physician of nearly 25 years, I have come to the conclusion that calling a spade, a spade consistently is the only way to re-sensitize the de-sensitization we have undergone unnoticed for far too long. I have become a very strong believer in using Newton’s 3rd. Law of motion as applicable to human behaviour after my initial opposite response to Dawkins and Hitchens and having learned more about my faith as a Catholic Christian than the lukewarm mostly protesting catholic I had been.

    This has been my prayer for myself for quite some time now
    Psalm 19: 13-14
    But who knows his own errors?
    Save me from those I do not see.
    Save me, Your servant, from pride:
    let it have no hold over me.
    Then I will be spotless
    washed clean of the gravest sin.
    hoping that I can one day reach true humility if I repeat it often enough.

  • CharlesOConnell

    The Ben Shermanites should get a free bumpersticker as part of their package deal, “The One Who Dies With The Most Toys Wins”. That is their ultimate fate. They surely must know in the back of their minds that they will end up sick, unwanted and alone. They must foresee the consequences of putting off forever, the children they would have had, losing the opportunity to discover themselves through the sincere gift of self. St. Paul says that “woman will be saved by bearing children”. It’s as much true for men.

    I saw one of those toy-winners at the end of his life, a sick, alone, unwanted old man. He had three snazzy cars and a house full of stuff that he tried to show me. I was sorry, there was nothing I could do for him. I wasn’t interested, and had to excuse myself after about 5 seconds. His fate was likely that of Ebenezer Scrooge–“if the poor would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population”.

    The old toy-winner likely had to suffer seeing his possessions divided up while he was still alive, before he was taken off to a nursing home, the ultimate substance of his life vivisectioned, someone being eaten alive by wolves.

  • Online72

    My understanding was that the word “fetus” meant “offspring”.

  • Lee

    Life becomes different through faith. God’s Love begins to make sense to us and our reasoning becomes much clearer. We learn to have more critical minds and more compassionate hearts. God bless our brothers and sisters who have yet to know Him.

  • the Quartermaster

    The Antithesis of Manhood: http://wp.me/p3Hc3H-1Z

  • Obama_dogeater

    Wow, Ben Sherman certainly is a deep thinker.

  • Frank Donnino

    So you wanted to screw this girl, and if YOU got her pregnant and she did not kill the child, this is why
    you detest the Catholic religion. Yup…it’s all about you alright. Here is an idea…keep your pant zippered and stop using abortion as birth control. That’s the issue!

  • Liz

    Referring to an unborn child as a “fetus” really does make it easier to think of the child as merely an “it”. I have seen many a person use this term then turn around and use layman’s terms for just about everything else. Funny how language can really numb the conscience! You are so right to say we should refer to them as She/He . I’ll start by using the layman’s term “unborn child” as I am under no obligation to use medical terminology unless I’m at work, and even there I need to use common language much of the time.

  • maria

    God bless you Devine Rose. HE did already with your faith. How people live in this life with out that gift? It is a tragedy. Thank you for your honesty.

  • Frank yah that is how I thought then. Now I am Catholic, thanks be to God!

  • JimmyChonga

    “Let him who has no sin cast the first stone.” We should all be sobered by the reality of the ways we fall short. Thank God for God! In the meantime, can we please be get back to the Golden Rule – even if political rule has miserably failed us these last several years “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”!

  • Clement_W

    And that is why they chose ‘Pro-Choice’ to make it OK to kill a ‘fetus’, an “it”.

  • DavyJB

    Thanks for sharing Devin, stories like this I believe have a tremendous affect on public sentiment toward abortion. Just like a mother who has had an abortion but later had a change of heart, a man having a change of heart is a powerful witness to our present day society.

    I would love it if you were able to tell your story on an Oprah or other popular secular program to really maximize the impact!

  • Barrysullivan1

    I am now 55 and ran for Congress when I was 30 as an openly pro-life candidate. Many voters, including supporters, were very amazed when I was asked about abortion. Supporters told me I had to support abortion in the case of rape, incest, and health of the mother. I would calmly ask them if they had been conceived as a result of a rape would they want me to support abortion in that case? Then I would ask them at the their Final Judgment, when our Lord is surrounded by the millions of the aborted children’s souls, and He asks them “Where does it say, “Thou shalt not murder except in the case of rape, incest, or haelth of the mother?” These two questions caused many folks to change their minds because they saw the unborn children as someone they could have been and that there were consequences for their actions. I am convinced these are the two realities that the pro-abortion side are not confronted with and therefore can maintain their misguided beliefs. Here is the website for a talk I have given which gives many more examples of the miracles, including two adopted children, that God has worked in my life.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXixgkSzwek

  • tomjohnson317

    I have said for years that contraception and abortion are more for men, than women.

  • Larry Vogl

    There are three choices! Why is adoption not always part of the discussion/decision. If your girlfriend had become pregnant, she could have “gotten you off the hook” by offering your child up for adoption. Yes, probably more inconvenient for both of you in the short term. Long term, it is a Win, Win, Win.

  • John

    Amen to that. I pray that all will see our fathers face in the beatitude of heaven,

  • colcarpenter

    One of the problems with using the term baby to describe an embryo or fetus (at early gestation at least) is that those on the Pro-Choice side of the debate can easily dismiss you as a nut job.

    Everyone knows an embryo is not a baby. What is important is identifying the embryo or fetus as a human being. The humanity of what is growing in a woman’s womb cannot be easily denied. The Pro-Choicer is then forced to argue why some human beings don’t have a right to life. To be sure, the Pro-Choicer will still invent some convoluted argument devoid of reason to support their position, but at least they can’t so easily dismiss you as they can when you try and tell people that an embryo is a baby.

  • colcarpenter

    How refreshing it is to hear Ben Sherman’s honesty, no hiding behind the usual feigned compassion that typically accompanies Pro-Choice propaganda. Certainly anti-abortionists are right to criticize Sherman’s position, but those Pro-Choicers criticizing him don’t have leg to stand on, Sherman’s position is in complete alignment with the Pro-Choice position that the unborn have no standing and can be destroyed at will. If, as Pro-Choicers tell us, women have no obligation to protect the life of the unborn in her womb, then it logically follows that men too have no obligation to the life of the unborn within the womb. That’s an ugly mentality to have and promote, but then being Pro-Choice is ugly.

    Interestingly those Pro-Choicers critical of Sherman are somewhat behind the times. Dr Leslie Cannold, an Australian feminist, Pro-Choicer, supposed ethicist, and friend of Peter Singer, goes ever further. According to Dr Cannold men shouldn’t even be obliged to take responsibility for their children that are born. In a five minute interview on one of Australia’s most popular youth radio stations, Dr Cannold explains the “evils” of forcing men to support children they helped create but never wanted.

    Dr Cannold has recently separated from her partner. Maybe her and Sherman should be introduced to each other.

    Interview can be heard here: http://thegodbotherers.blogspot.com.au/2010/10/leslie-cannold-advocating-for-dead-beat.html

  • I agree, Larry, but what if she had chosen not to have the baby adopted? It would be her choice, and I would have been “stuck” with child support. Scary for an atheist!

  • Larry Vogl

    David, that’s true. My only point, that I make whenever I can, is that there are three options, not just two.

    In my family I have witnessed that adoption is a viable, positive option to pregnancy when both parties to that pregnancy are not in a position to be proper parents for the child.

  • Joe+

    Thank God for sane Texans! Perry signed the abortion-restricting bill into law. Wendy Davis, eat your heart out!

  • Clement_W

    You are right that “One of the problems with using the term baby to describe an embryo or fetus (at early gestation at least) is that those on the Pro-Choice side of the debate can easily dismiss you as a nut job.”

    When my wife first discovered she was pregnant with our first one, she and I did not call the baby in her womb, a fetus. Why? Because that Baby was there BY OUR CHOICE!

  • Richard III

    Awesome, Mr. Sullivan! Fantastic rebuttals; so clear, profound, honest, and filled with love. If I had been alive at the time (and old enough to vote), I would cast my vote your way. We need lots more people like you in power, and generations (and our brothers and sisters in this generation) yet unborn need it even more. God Bless You, Sir!

  • Richard III

    Exactly. Suffragette Susan B. Anthony was vehemently opposed to abortion; she rightly viewed as exploitation of women.

  • Richard III

    Mr. Quatermaster, this has little to do with the subject at hand, but I must say that I love your profile image. St. Thomas More is my all-time (all seasons? :-D) favorite saint, and as you no doubt know, he’s very important today in our fight against an overreaching state that is attempting to oppress Christianity/Catholicism, destroy the family, and dangerously redefine marriage. We need all the heavenly legal help we can get.

  • the Quartermaster

    Thanks, even though I recently changed the profile picture! He’s a saint for our age. Didn’t feel entirely worthy of using the image of the man who was the king’s good servant, but God’s first!

  • Richard III

    You’re welcome, and I like your new profile picture too. 🙂

  • Barrysullivan1

    Thank you for your kind words and it brings tremendous Joy to me that God has used my story to move you closer to Him. It always amazes me how many people change their opinion on abortion when you ask them to see themselves or Jesus as that unborn child. I firmly believe that if the priests and politicians were to present the issue that way we could really change things! God bless and keep up the fight!

  • Richard III

    You’re welcome and Thank YOU! 🙂

  • Mancipium Mariae

    Nice article Devin. I love your honesty and humble acknowledgment of your journey to the point of acknowledging God’s and His beauty in creation. Thanks for speaking up about the unborn and please continue to spread the word about the sanctity of all human life. God bless you brother.

  • Jeanne Ballou

    Devin, please accept my sympathy on the miscarriages; I have experienced this unspeakable grief as well. Mine was called a “pregnancy” and not an embryo or fetus because it basically never made it to any such definable stage. After my ultrasound I was told basically to brace for the worst. A few weeks later I bled out and had to be hospitalized. We had names and godparents already picked out. But aside from all that, I wish that the politicians would back up their prolife policies by ensuring that an unwanted birthed baby will have health care, food, clothing, love, shelter, and education. It seems they want the babies to be born but then turn their back and don’t want to hear anything about how the children will fare after the birth experience. This is an issue where the Catholic Church could be much more productive as opposed to pro-life/pro-choice debates. In other words, let’s put our money where our mouth is.