Every Story Has a Beginning

August 6, 2015

Can a man have an opinion about abortion? I think so. As sure as a woman becomes a mother at the moment of conception a man becomes a father. If ever there was something worth fighting for, if ever there was a hill to die on, it is the battle to protect the helpless and innocent. Even men are a part of generation, a part of the human story.

Life is a series of developments, one no sooner completed than another looms ahead. Who are we to say which development must be completed before someone is a real human being?

The anxieties of modern life—the toll of too much noise and too much speed, too few trustworthy relationships, and too many uncontrollable events—will not be solved by killing the unborn. Women who have had abortions and the men in their lives have not escaped these burdens and insecurities. They do not know peace, and their freedom is always mixed with sadness.

I am only a man—what do I know? But when the mob is swayed to take human life into its own hands, even by killing it when it is so innocent and green, even men can rightfully take a stand, even if the killing is considered a woman’s right.

(A deep sexism lurks in pro-choice ideology. To construe abortion as a woman’s right is to prejudice the male role in procreation, to marginalize the male contribution in begetting, to deny the man his natural right as father.)

I am not an expert. I have never bothered to count the cells of an embryo, have never measured fetal spines with a millimeter ruler, or compared the human gestational period to that of camels or domesticated cats. The development from the second trimester to the third, brain activity, the size of the feet at any given week—it is a closed book to me. What I know about human life is from living it. I’ll never forget when we found out we were going to have a baby, or when I felt our son kick inside the womb, or when I held my wife as she writhed and screamed and pushed our son into the world. My interest in unborn human life has been one of fatherhood and respect.

That’s why I am convinced that life begins at conception. When you look back over the innumerable years and down the path all men and women have come you see clearly that no person stands alone and that every single person, no matter how small, no matter how young, is a part of humanity.

I know what people say, that a fetus is not actually human because it is just a mass of atoms and cells, and it is all very professional sounding, but today that explanation leaves me cold. I am a man, not an alien from outer space studying men.

Equals sign bumper stickers and rainbow profile pictures are a simple way to share an anthropology. These symbols communicate, vaguely but effectively: “I believe a human person is thus and such.” Why isn’t there a sticker or profile picture that can quickly and vibrantly communicate a different anthropology? Especially when it comes to the pro-life message, where is the icon that can share the news that life begins at conception?

UntitledOne day I was trying to write something positive and fresh and pro-life when suddenly the @ sign seemed to leap off the keyboard. It’s the letter a with a swirl around it, an a curled into the fetal position, just waiting to be born. And the letter a stands for the beginning.

“This is a symbol for a new generation,” I told my friend Sam Guzman of The Catholic Gentleman. “It’s simple, almost beautiful.”

“I like it,” Guzman said. “Life begins at conception.”

Everyone has a story, and every story has a beginning. Life begins @ conception.

That’s why I’ve changed my profile picture to be the @ sign, an @ sign shrouded in a shade of Marian blue. That’s why it’s time for the At Conception initiative. It’s just part of a fresh, positive way to share a perennial message.

A mother’s womb should be the safest place on earth. The father of the unborn child should make sure the mother is loved and safe. A father should love and protect his baby. Without love for unborn children human dignity lacks coherent meaning and purpose, for only in a deep and inherent respect for life in the womb can there be respect for human life at all.

In a frenzied, disordered world we can turn to life in the womb to find a fresh start, wholeness, love, forgiveness, even hope. Unborn life is the most innocent on earth. We can afford to cherish and protect it.

Editor’s Note: Getting the @ sign to overlap your profile picture couldn’t be easier!


  1. Download the @ profile picture: https://www.facebook.com/aforbeginning
  2. Download your Facebook profile picture
  3. Go to Picmonkey.com, a free photo editing site

  4. Click “Edit” and find your Facebook profile picture on your computer
  5. Click on the butterfly (these are “overlays”)
  6. Click on “Your Own.” This will take you to your computer files
  7. Find the @ picture that you downloaded to your computer
  8. Use the circles on the corners of the @ picture and edit how you see fit
  9. Fade it with the “Transparent” slider in the pop-up box, 30% to 50%

  10. Save, and upload as new profile picture!

Tyler Blanski is praying for a holy renaissance. He is the author of When Donkeys Talk: Rediscovering the Mystery and Wonder of Christianity (Zondervan, 2012) and Mud & Poetry: Love, Sex, and the Sacred (Upper Room Books, 2010). www.TylerBlanski.com.

Tyler Blanski


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Reader Interactions


  1. Steve says

    The question I have is, who is the gentlemen in the photo with the infant on his lap? Who and When? It’s a great photo and it screams for more background information….

  2. DN says

    Thanks for writing this. Its frustrating that many pro-choicers flaunt the mantra “no uterus, no opinion,” and the like, as if abortion only affects a woman or as if women somehow have a monopoly on the moral statement on what is human and what is not. Of course you wouldn’t hear these same sexists keeping their opinions on slavery to themselves “not a slave owner, no opinion” or about gay marriage either “not gay, no opinion” or on taxing the wealthy “not a taxpayer, no opinion”.

    The whole notion that only a woman can make a moral judgment on murdering her children and that everyone else should just shut the hell up only shows that they (the pro-aborts) have no moral argument to stand on because not having a uterus is not really an argument at all.

    So anyway, thanks again for writing this.

    (Sidenote: I find it abhorrent that if a woman chooses renege on her duty as a mother and has her child slaughtered the father has no say at all, and has no power to stop his child from being butchered, but that if that same woman chooses to allow her child to live, the woman has complete legal power to make sure the father is not able to renege on his duty as a father to support the child and mother financially. Sexist much. Talk about all that male privilege.)


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