This upcoming Saturday, men will gather at 100 barbershops in Albany, Philadelphia, New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C. to gain knowledge on becoming better fathers. “Fatherhood Buzz” is an outreach program designed by the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse and President Obama’s Fatherhood and Mentoring initiative. “Fatherhood Buzz” seeks to meet dads where they feel comfortable in order to give them information they need. This initiative is going into the heart of major U.S cities, bringing the crucial message that fathers are important.
One out of every three children in America lives apart from his or her biological father. The U.S Census Bureau reports that number to be over 24 million kids. We know that good fathers positively influence a child’s life. Studies show that fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of high school, twice as likely to end up in jail, and four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declare that 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. Ninety percent of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes, and 63% of youth suicides are from homes where a father is not present. Fatherlessness affects even childhood obesity rates. These staggering statistics should cause us to be alarmed and lead us to action.
President Obama grew up without a father in his home. In his first published book, Dreams from my Father, he tells of the confusion he felt as a young man, looking to find his place in the world. Those childhood struggles are part of what influenced him to support this initiative.
I believe that fatherlessness is one of the major root causes of abortion. Eighty percent of African-American children grow up without a father in the home. We have a generation of young men who haven’t had good fathers, and therefore aren’t being prepared to become fathers themselves. Being a single mom in the black community is sadly common. The Radiance Foundation reports: “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 78% of all black households were led by two-parent married homes in the 1950s. In 1970, prior to Roe v. Wade, only 68% were. Today, only 28.7% of homes in the black community are led by married parents.” It’s all fruit of a perpetual cycle of brokenness.
We in the pro-life movement must find ways to address these issues. We have to help men become better fathers. Our pro-life leaders should be spiritual fathers and mentors to those who have none. If we fight for children to live, we should also fight for fathers to care for them once they’re alive.
I was privileged to join pro-life leaders in California last year for a press conference concerning a series of billboards that went up in Sacramento. The billboards had the picture of a black man on his knees, kissing his wife’s pregnant belly. Along with the picture were the words “Fatherhood begins in the Womb.” The billboards were meant to challenge men to take responsibility for their unborn children.
We must trumpet the message that fatherhood is a high calling. Men are needed, and they are valuable. Strong fathers lead to healthy families, and families are the backbone of a nation. I’m excited about the Fatherhood Buzz Initiative. I am glad our president is encouraging men to be more committed fathers. I continue to pray he’ll fight for children of all ages, starting with the ones in the womb.