The Humanist Dilemma: My Boyfriend Invited Me to an Abortion March—But Not the Kind I Expected!

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Marching to a Different Drummer: My boyfriend of several months recently asked if I’d like to come with him and his entire family (who I haven’t met yet) on an abortion march. I leaped at the idea and said yes. But then I realized, to my horror, that he was talking about an anti-abortion march. He went to Catholic school all the way through college (and even law school), he is the oldest of ten children, and he actually argued that if his mother had had an abortion, he wouldn’t have his wonderful youngest sibling. I tried to tell him how twisted that logic was, but everything I said just made things worse.

I’m actually surprised he didn’t break up with me on the spot. I really like him and don’t want to end the relationship over this one thing, but I’m also concerned that it won’t hold together if we can’t even discuss the issue.

What should I do?

Opposites Attract

Dear Opposites,

Did you try to explain to him that if his mom had sought abortion care, he—instead of or in addition to his youngest sibling—might not have been born? No matter who it might never have been, how would he have missed a missing person? But as you noted, logical arguments don’t make a dent.

The crucial question is: Are you two having sex? I know he’s a staunch Catholic and therefore he’s obviously saving himself for marriage, right? But just in case, are you using contraception (also an official no-no according to the Pope) or just the rhythm method? If you were accidentally to become pregnant, what would happen? Would he agree if you wanted an abortion, or sue to keep you from seeking one? Would he insist on marrying (and raising the child Catholic), whether or not you were agreeable to that? Would he refuse to marry you but demand that you have the baby, and either give him custody or put it up for adoption?

Rather than sparring about the issue of abortion philosophically and theoretically, the two of you should discuss these pressing, practical questions. If his answers don’t align with yours, you should definitely march—not for or against abortion, but out of this relationship, before you’re roped into reproducing his family tradition.