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A Male reflection on the abortion referendum.

"Why", my mother used to ask "should a woman be left holding the baby?" with the clear implication that for a man to let such a situation happen was un manly, as it was unfair on the woman. So when I came across arguments in favour of freedom of choice for abortion I accepted them, until one day at Glendalough a young lady told me of having an abortion and in hindsight feeling that it was murder. Although she didnít need to, she asked me if I could forgive her. What could I say but, "yes". Not long after, a second young lady confided similar thoughts to me. Today there is someone who gives joy to my wife and I, who would probably have been aborted if we had not encouraged her mother not to have and abortion. Instead we suggested she get to know the babyís father who subsequently became her husband.

How can we get it across to men that it is not kind or "macho" to be party to creating a child without being committed to providing support for the upbringing and education of the child. Surely there needs to be legislation that if a mother names the father of her child, the father has to provide appropriate support until education is complete (unless DNA tests prove he is not the Father). For every abortion and unsupported mother, there is a father- 40,000 to 70,000 fathers living in Ireland today? Unless men take responsibility and are clearly committed to providing for their offspring, who are we to condemn women who have abortions? No woman should be tempted to have an abortion because she feels lack of support from the father for the upbringing of the child she is carrying.

Is it right or fair to include in the constitution provisions that may criminalize the mother for an abortion, without criminalizing the father as well? Was he not equally responsible for the conception? Do we not rather need legislation so that potential fathers, knowing in advance that they will be liable for the upbringing of children they father, are discouraged from conceptions outside of commitment to support children conceived?

Charles B. Lamb
Co. Tipperary