Standing Tall

No man stands taller than when he stoops to help a child. - Abraham Lincoln

When I was a kid, we had a springer spaniel who almost always curled at our feet when we watched TV. The exception: Notre Dame football games. As soon as my dad perched himself on the edge of the couch each Saturday, the dog promptly skittered to the opposite end of the house. 

My dad wasn’t tall, yet he seemed to have a size advantage, especially when he deeply believed in something. An Irish interception and 60-yard return for a touchdown made him appear seven feet tall as he’d jump up, clapping louder than most humans can. “Go, go, go!” He’d yell, his fist high in the air as the player’s feet crossed the goal line. “Woo-EEE!” To me, a snarky teenager, it was a tad excessive, as if he was cheering for one of the apostles running with Truth tucked close to his side, lives on the line.

When it came to defending the unborn, or showing empathy for women in need, my dad appeared to stand even taller. Even as his heart began to fail, his frame hunched over a cane, he looked back over his 86 years one day near the end and recalled the ups and downs of a 62-year marriage. “But we never killed any of our babies,” he shared. In that moment, he towered over everyone I knew. 

Notre Dame Stadium, October 2014

The day every man refuses to accept “my body, my choice” as culturally honorable and who instead stoops, counter culturally, to help mothers and their unborn children is the day we’ll all stand taller. Guys, we women are inviting you to act, if you aren’t already. Boys and men will need brave examples like you. Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson models such courage, and he has graciously agreed to headline our 50th Anniversary Gala this fall, at which he will outline his vision for a post-Roe world. Advance tickets are available online now; please note that prices increase after July 15. 

We mourn the 65 million American lives lost to legalized abortion since 1973. Often, we acknowledge the women who were tragically led to believe abortion was their best possible option. It’s become acceptable for those who regret their decision to speak out, so they might save others from the daily pain they experience. Yet, as a society, we don’t pay close enough attention to post-abortive men, those we pass on a sidewalk or those whose stories we know well – though not as well as we think. We certainly haven’t encouraged post-abortive men to speak freely about what it’s like to lose out on fatherhood, perhaps having begged to save their children, but without any rights to spare their lives. 

Our pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) support women and men experiencing a crisis pregnancy. Staff know how to find help for those who are post-abortive, too. Our PRCs help in so many ways that few know about. That’s why members of our new affiliate, the Pregnancy Care Alliance (PCAll), are holding open houses today. By welcoming legislators, the media and the public into these critical community partners, we hope to build awareness of how women and men receive free, safe and compassionate support inside their doors. In March, Governor Healey approved a supplemental budget, in which legislators included $1 million to damage the reputations of our PRCs. During today’s events, we believe that open doors will open hearts.

Here’s to standing tall as we honor all fathers this weekend and in the years to come.

Myrna Maloney Flynn, President

Massachusetts Citizens for Life

50th Anniversary Gala