Fathers, Don’t Abort Your Daughters

“I’m Having a Daughter”

So you learned the baby you helped to conceive is a girl and not a boy.  Already frightened by the idea of fatherhood, already concerned about all the hardships and sacrifices parenting entails, already disoriented by the potential radical change this requires in the way you envision your future, you feel now — even if only slightly — more inclined to want your partner to abort.

Perhaps it’s natural.  You know how to relate to a boy.  With a boy, all you have to do is wrestle on the floor, make some ripe fart sounds and squish a potato bug between your fingers — and you are a legend.  You could take a boy to the Boston Celtics, but cannot abide the thought of taking a girl to the Boston ballet.  You wanted to show your kid how to play Diablo III (or whatever version is out by then), not Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom.  You understood the hit you would be taking to your wallet and your social life, not to mention your sex life, but you balanced the ledger against baseball games and taking pictures of your little gangsta and busting out the old Transformers collection.  Now, you’re supposed to stick around and help take care of a girl, a girl who will probably show an absolutely irrational preference for the color pink, a girl who will be fascinated with faerie princesses and Hello Kitty and (God forbid) Barbie, a girl who will probably prefer your wife and conspire with her against you.

So now you’re fantasizing about an abortion again, how one visit to a clinic could give you back the future you wanted, how you could escape from the whole situation and all the pressures it brought with it.  You don’t feel ready for this.  Your heart does not feel big enough.  You’re still so selfish, so lazy, so irresponsible — and those are the things you like about yourself.

Don’t do it.  Do not do it.  Your daughter is waiting for you.  She will expand and soften your heart.  She will make you a better man.  A daughter too is a blessing beyond measure.  Give yourself to this, and she will make you into a protector and provider.

Sex-Selective Abortion

A Gallup poll taken last year found that 54% of young men prefer to have a boy, compared to 19% who prefer a girl.  Young women showed no statistically significant preference and older women slightly preferred a girl.

Another study, this one published by Arthur Shostak in 1984, surveyed 1000 men who accompanied their wives or girlfriends to abortion clinics; 45% confessed that they had pressured their partners to abort (and these were the men who were “supportive” enough to accompany their partners to the clinic).  If young men are likely to pressure their partners to abort, and young men also show a stark preference for boys, it would seem to follow that young men are more likely to press for an abortion when the baby is a girl.  Even the ultra-pro-choice Guttmacher Institute acknowledges that sex-selective abortion appears to take place among some American populations — and such “gendercide” has been in the news recently with Live Action‘s undercover films showing Planned Parenthood clinics facilitating the practice.  Yet the problem is especially severe overseas, where the imbalance between baby boys and baby girls is sometimes shocking.

This was not a problem envisioned by early advocates of legalized abortion.  It emerged as new technologies like ultrasound imaging made it common for expectant parents to know the sex of the baby in the womb.  Economic pressures are only one factor.  Sex-selective abortion is as big a problem in wealthy Korea as it is in rural China, and all but unknown in some of the poorest nations in the world in sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America.  Sex-selective abortion is most common where (1) ultrasound imaging is easily available and (2) the prevailing culture is patriarchal and places a greater value on men for their earning potential, their capacity to help with physical labor, their responsibility to care for parents in their old age, and their ability to acquire a dowry with a bride.  Many of the same cultures where infanticide was common, but now outlawed, have simply found in sex-selective abortion another form of exterminating unwanted females.  A Population Council study of 301 induced abortions in China found that fully one-third of the abortions were undertaken specifically because the unborn child was female.  The problem is also severe in India and other parts of South and East Asia, and in the former Soviet bloc nations, where few girls, especially when their parents already have a girl, survive the abortionist’s needle.

As many besides me have noted, it’s one of the most tragic ironies of the modern political world that this supposedly great “victory” for women’s rights has led to a cheap replacement for female infanticide.  And the social pathologies that arise when the male-female ratio is out of whack are also terrible for women, especially (since there are too few women for every man to have a wife) the dramatic increase in prostitution and sex-slavery and human trafficking.

Every Man Should Have a Daughter

I had told myself that I just wanted a healthy baby, boy or girl.  But when I first learned that the child growing within my wife’s womb was a girl, I felt a pang of disappointment.  I had always looked forward to the father-son relationship.  This will sound egotistical — and it is precisely that — but I had also wanted to see what a boy with my genetic inheritance, but with the opportunities and direction I could give him, could accomplish.

My firstborn

By the time I got back home, however, I had dissolved into an utter emotional wreck.  I had a daughter.  A daughter.  She was not even born yet, but she was already there enfolded in my wife’s body, and the love I felt like a Leviathan within me was surging out of the depths and it was mysterious and primal and uncontrollable and immense.  I have never recovered.  After years of scarcely feeling anything, suddenly I found myself broken by grace, shattered with gratitude into a thousand happy pieces.  I would dissolve with emotion at random times throughout the day; the mere thought of holding my daughter, protecting and providing for her, making sure she knew that she was loved through and through, left me undone.  And every time that gratefulness shatters my heart, it pieces back together into something bigger and better, stronger and yet more tender.  Even now I cannot write about this without a lump in my throat and the sting of salt in my eyes.

My firstborn is a total daddy’s girl, a free and brilliant spirit with boundless energy and courage and curiosity, a pseudo-tomboy who likes the Little Mermaid but loves to play in the mud on the riverbank.  Although she won’t (yet) squish bugs between her fingers, she loves to wrestle and she thinks fart noises are the height of comic genius.  I would have enjoyed watching my son beat the other boys in sports, but I’m really going to enjoy watching my daughter beat the boys at sports.  Even if they were not athletic or high-spirited, however, both my girls (like their beautiful mother) have me charmed me body and soul.

Every man should have a daughter, if only for his own sanctification.  If a daughter comes your way, know the truth that she will love you with all her heart if you let her.  Cherish her, and she will be a daddy’s girl.  Love her, and your heart will expand to encompass the immensity of her soul.  Sacrifice yourself for her, and soon you will discover that you will do just about anything to make her happy.  Even if it requires you to grow up a little.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • Larry

    I’ve two girls and two boys (well, more appropriately two daughters and two sons … they’re all adults now). Oddly enough, I had hoped to have a daughter first … we did (girl, boy, girl, boy). The matchless joy of parenthood is difficult to express other than to say, well, that it’s matchless.

    Abortion is a gruesome and barbarous act. Unthinkable really. But the trend which you’re highlighting here, and others have late brought into sharp focus carries this barbarity to a new low. Designer children, our personal accoutrements suggests of course a level of narcissism that even Narcissus might find appalling. Sadly, no, make that terrifying, the practice is apparently so widespread that its now a trend.

    I do hope fine pieces such as yours winds its way out of the Christian ghetto and into the public consciousness soon. How long can a society remain intact and healthy in the midst of such darkness.

  • http://iam2.org/blog Galen Dalrymple

    I have two sons (one the author of this article) and one daughter. The boys came first, and I loved them with all my heart. My wife wanted a girl, I thought two children was just right. Eventually, God led me to understand how important this was to my wife and we adopted a little girl. From the moment we first saw her picture (she was about a month old at the time), she was OUR DAUGHTER. In hindsight, I can see that my own life as well as my wife’s life, would have been missing something huge without a daughter. She stole my heart, and as with the two boys, I’ve never gotten it back, nor do I want it back. I gave it away to them and am richer for it! Daughters, and sons, equally rock!

    • Larry

      Bad news, apparently you’re heartless. Good news, Tim cannot now be credibly accused of being heartless … he has, at the very least, your stolen heart :-)

  • bonnie

    I really loved this :) I’m only 19 and when I found I was pregnant I was very scared, but I never thought or even enteritained the idea. To me, its a life, born or not. I mean it has a heartbeat! Plus I’ve already felt it move, and feeling that and seeing him on the ultrasound, gave me more joy and more happiness I could ever remember in one single point of my life. I couldn’t imagine seeing them and not loving them instantly… :( I had. A few friends of mine ask me, would I consider it, and I said no, def not, I would never. Because even if you don’t think you could provide for them, or give them enough love, someone will… I’m not in a situation to provide for my son finacially but I’m sure as hell going to do whatever it takes to make him happy

    • lukuj

      God bless you! I hope you have a beautiful healthy baby and find a way to provide for both of you. You are a fine young woman. I will pray for you and your baby.

    • Elaine

      Good luck and God Bless, Bonnie. You will never regret your decision to love him; to let him live.

    • http://jocon307.wordpress.com jocon307

      Good luck to you Bonnie, you have a good attitude. There’s a heck of a lot more to life than money, and it STILL can’t buy happiness. You will love your child and your child will love you.

      Having children is a natural part of life, I really despise the feminists for turning it into some combination of the Normandy invasion, the Olympics and the Academy Awards.

  • Led1950

    Since when has the choice of abortion been taken out of the hands of women and given to men? Selective Gender abortion decisions are in the hands of women and only women irregardless of what the man might desire.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Legally, at least in the United States, the pregnant woman alone has the final say. As a practical matter, of course men (husbands, boyfriends, fathers, friends, etc.) will often have an influence over the decision the pregnant woman makes. Sometimes women make the decision for abortion entirely on their own. Sometimes they are pressured (by parents, partners, friends). It seems to be particularly common overseas to have young women essentially coerced into abortions they do not really want.

      It should be clear that I’m speaking specifically to men who have some voice to speak into the decision-making process, and more specifically to men who may be more inclined to favor abortion because the child conceived is not a son.

  • http://PajamasMedia.com Suzanne

    I have a daughter and a son. When we found out the sex of our son in utero (we didn’t know in advance about our daughter), we were both surprised–my husband also has a daughter from his first marriage, so we kind of assumed the new baby would also be a girl. Of course, we had already picked a name of each type. Believe it or not, part of the process of getting ready to accept that baby boy joyfully and ecstatically involved, for me at least, grieving for the daughter who wasn’t going to be born. It was very brief, but I definitely remember it. Maybe it’s not the best thing for us to know what’s coming… I liked finding out who my daughter was ‘the old-fashioned way,’ which for us was when the doctor lifted her from my womb by C-section and my husband said, “It’s M—,” calling her by her name for the first time. Before her birth, as far as I can remember, I hadn’t settled on one sex or the other; both were (obviously!) open possibilities.
    Thanks for this wonderful article. Our children, if we let them (by giving ourselves to them and loving them), will change us into better people, grown-up people, who make sacrifices for their kids.

  • CJJScout

    I could have written this, because it so accurately expresses my feelings. I got 3 little girls and was finally blessed with a son. I love my son, but there is something uniquely special about each of my little girls.

  • Blake

    I am the proud father of 3 girls (Ages 7,6,3) and 1 boy (15 months). I could not imagine my life without my sweet daughters (or son for that matter). God knew exactly what he was doing when He gave them to my wife and me. My wife always wanted to be a mother to 4 boys…little did she know her plans would change. God’s timing for our life is perfect in His plan.

  • DearbornGuy

    My wife and I tried for 13 years to have any child, so when she became pregnant, I didn’t care if it was a boy or girl. To her surprise, and my delight, it was a boy (we found out at birth). And although I love my son completely, I know deep in my heart I would have loved a girl just as much. I wish I could have experienced both to understand that joy, but I thank God every day for the blessing that is our son.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Amen to that.

  • DrChang

    Powerful stuff.

  • Robert Jacobs

    Garbage. I have three boys and wish we had at least one girl. The only ones aborting girls are Asians and Muslims, not Europeans and Americans. Get wise and write instead about the problems with our society’s war on boys and insistence that girls act male and males act female. The damage to our society from depreciating the male and elevating the female has become obvious to any thinking adult.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Do we not have Asians and Muslims in the United States? And is this website somehow limited to the United States only? I share the concerns you reference in your third and fourth sentences, but that doesn’t mean that sex-selective abortion is not a problem worth addressing.

    • mel

      That isn’t true and that is why they would not pass a law to stop it. Ask any ultrasound technician of the horrible reactions they get from people that care more about getting the child of the sex they want rather than the health of the child. Human beings are horrible selfish and brutal when it comes to the way they envision the way their life is supposed to go. Many may not go so far as to abort the child that is the wrong sex but don’t think it isn’t still a heart matter.

  • ItsMe

    Please don’t teach children to squish bugs….except cockroaches. That’s just cruel. Bugs have mommies too who will miss them.

  • Ilpalazzo

    This is absolutely abhorrent to have an abortion simply based on the gender. Sheesh. You know, here’s a better alternative if you can’t deal with bringing in a non-custom-built life into the world – use your hand and a napkin.

  • Phil

    Just the article for me at this time!!! I always felt a daughter would be better for me. I don’t care about sports and cars and all that male bonding rubbish. I like art, old music, history, literature. My wife is Chinese — culturally wired to prefer a son — and I had a hard time explaining to her why a daughter would be my princess, while a son would be… well, just another boy.
    Several weeks ago I learned that our first child will be a daughter, so of course I was very happy… at first. But since then I am experiencing EXACTLY what Mr. Dalrymple wrote:
    “By the time I got back home (…) I had dissolved into an utter emotional wreck. I had a daughter. A DAUGHTER. She was not even born yet, but she was already there enfolded in my wife’s body, and the love I felt like a Leviathan within me was surging out of the depths and it was mysterious and primal and uncontrollable and immense. ”
    EXACTLY!!!! EXACTLY!!!
    Yesterday my wife had one of those 3D-ultrasonics and I saw my daughter’s face for the first time. The most beautiful creature imaginable… even smiling in the womb.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I’m happy for you, Phil. Good luck and godspeed.

  • Ilpalazzo

    On second thought, looking through the responses. What the heck, folks? What’s with the multiples of 3-4 kids going on here? Got a lot of farming going on? You’re in a civilized world, you don’t need to have that many kids – they aren’t going to perish as easily as the older times of man!

    • MOW

      And who made you the child police? Good grief. People may not “need” that many kids…but they *want* them – and therein lies the difference. I always wanted six. Full house. With the dividend of lots of grandbabies.

      Excellent article, Mr. Tim! Am emailing the link out.

    • Andrew H

      Thanks to Osamacare (we”ll be lucky if Obama’s health plan only murders 3000 americans) that might not be true anymore

    • myth buster

      We’re pro-life, Ilpalazzo. What did you expect? And who do you think is going to pay for all this government spending? The kids, of course.

    • Kristin C.

      Had to laugh, as I am currently cradling my seventh child in my arms. If we can love them and care for them, why should we stop at some “magic number” of 2 or 3 (or is 3 too many?). Each of my children is a precious, unique individual who can glorify God and enjoy Him forever. As it relates to this fine article, we had six amazing daughters before the arrival of our son. He is adored by all of them. More hearts, more love.

    • JoFro

      This is the Evangelical Channel mate, not the Progessive Christianity Channel

    • tos

      It takes over 2.0 children in order to sustain a culture (maybe 2.3, I can’t recall). So, if a family can afford it, I’m all for them having more! I just hope we’re able to retain our American, Judeo-Christian culture. Europeans are having less than 2.0 children, and one can see what’s happening there.

  • taosnow

    From an over the hill old fart; Just download “My Boy Bill” from the broadway musical Carosel..listen and cry a lit.ttle…makes you feel Alive

  • Dan

    Wow now they have to outlaw abortion. It discriminates based on gender!

  • jwing

    We had several miscarriages and finally had our first son after being married 12 years. We adopted a pair of Russian frateral twins (boy and girl) eight months younger than our first son two years later. I love them all and speaking as a father, I love having my daughter. Being one of four boys myself, I can finally appreciate and understand the beauty of girlhood. I agree with Robert Jacobs completely, our society is too feminized and boys are being harmed. Just look at the statistics for college and higher degree progems…the number of men is dropping off. The “take-your-daughter-to-work” mentality is no longer applicalbe and the “You go gril” attitude is reverse sexism. All children are sacred and no one has the pay grade to decide XX or XY. Abortion is evil and must end.

  • Alex

    The problem withi girls, if you are a white man, is that daughters are not loyal to one’s race and culture. I don’t want daughters because they are targeted by the leftist media as an “oppressed” group, and therefor considered to be part of the so-called “minority” community. As a result, they vote for leftist parties, and often will date non-white men.

    No way would i want any daughter of mine pro-creating another race and culture. More Barack Obamas; no thanks.

  • Beth

    Ilpalazzo, the US is one of the few Western nations that is not in a population death spiral, and it’s because we are still having children. Russia is in serious decline, and Japan may be past the point of recovery, as are several European countries, where only the immigrants are having children in sufficient numbers.

    Inverted populations (more grandparents than there are grandchildren) have serious economic repercussions. Who’s going to pay for Social Security and Medicare?

  • Ozzy

    Men don’t have abortions, and women don’t have to provide explanations for why they do.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      As a legal matter, the decision falls to the woman. As a practical matter, men often have a great influence over the woman’s decision. Husbands, boyfriends, fathers and friends, often do provide advice, and sometimes are more coercive than that.

  • gpclaw

    My wife gave birth to our first child, a girl, 4 weeks ago today. We had both originally wanted a boy. When we discovered we were having a little girl, I experienced the same feelings that the author, and others, have stated. Not going to get into how amazing my daughter is, because it’s a given. One thing I realized, that made the news of a daughter so exciting, is that the generation my daughter will grow up in, looks to be completely free of any gender biases. I know so many dads who do “guy stuff” with their little girls. Hunting, fishing, working on the car, you name it.

  • William

    I have three children. I had to wait until the third to have the son I and my family wanted. I am thankful for the profound contribution each of my children have made to my life. I have been to many ballet recitals, little league and now major league baseball games, horseback riding and trips to a local animal shelter. My children are all adults now. Fatherhood for daughters and a son has been the one of the best experiences I have had. Their diversity of interests have broadened my life experience in ways I never would have experienced without them. If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Mary B

    As the mother of 5 adult children, I cannot let the comment about not needing so many kids pass by! My husband and I usually told people who mentioned the number of children that we have that we felt a moral obligation to add law-abiding, productive children to the world. That usually ended the discussion! And with 12 grandchildren (so far!), we feel like we are very blessed. Our lives are filled with activites and love!

  • http://TheBlindCanSee.com Greg

    Thanks for the article. As the Dad of a daughter, I understand the sentiment of wanting that boy. My wife and I are probably not going to be able to have any more children at this point, and I am okay with that. My daughter is 5 (she’ll say 5 1/2) and it wasn’t until only recently that it finally dawned on me; I only have 12 (1/2) more years to help mold her in the circumstances we are in right now (her living at home with us). I don’t know if she will go to college locally one day, or if she will go overseas to do mission work. My time is short with her and I want to help mold her into being as Christ-like as I can and make memorable memories. After all, she is my baby girl.

  • Paul

    Unfortunately, we only have (and can only have) one child. Fortunately, it was a health baby girl. I felt like I hit the jackpot with this! But Timothy, I have to ask this question. Why do you keep commenting on the fact that fathers/men have ANY IMPACT on whether or not daughters are aborted? Men have absolutely zero control over that unless you believe (irrationally) then women (by their nature) are emotionally fragile beings who do not have enough self-esteem to do whatever they choose to do with the fetus that is growing inside their womb. Your comments are removing ALL ACCOUNTABILITY from the women who choose to have these abortions and blame men for something of which they ultimately have no control over. Please, do not do that. I don’t know who taught you to believe what you believe, but you must unlearn that which you have learned.


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