As Father’s Day approaches, pro-lifers should be aware that there are men out there who are suffering because their partners or former partners had abortions.
Men are often cast in the role as villains in the abortion debate – and sometimes this is justified. There are men who manipulate and pressure their partners into having abortions, and men who withdraw their support and leave their partners to fend for themselves, often leading the desperate women to abort.
Yet there are also men who feel deep regret and suffer from their own form of postabortion syndrome, whether or not they originally supported the abortion decision.
Here is the testimony of one man, whose story is told in a publication of the Human Life Alliance :
I was a participant in two abortions with my ex-wife… It has been six years since the last abortion, nine since the decision for the first one. Every time I see children of the approximate age of the two lost ones, I cry, no matter where… church, the mall, the park, the library. I want to call their names, Michelle, Danielle, Stephen, William. Their legacy is gone. Their beauty unfinished, nullified by a decision to which I agreed… I have gone from pro-choice to pro-child.
Another postabortion man, identified only as Brian, said the following:
I’m a former co-conspirator to murder. I was so fearful and self-centered that I put my own flesh and blood to the knife on an abortionist’s table in New York City…. There are consequences when we abandon our God designed role as provider and protector of our families. When you drove your wife/fiancé/girlfriend to the “clinic” as I did years ago – or were an agreeable, non-present partner – something inside you died when your child died.
As for me, my manhood and self-respect died. The natural, God-given drive, leadership, and protection instilled in a man for his family died. I lost a son who would have been 28 this year. He would have been an older brother for my son and 2 daughters who are alive today. It did not stop there. Miscarriage, a common side effect of abortion, banged down my door and took my youngest daughter shortly after.
I lost the trust, respect, and deep companionship of my wife – we behaved more like roommates than spouses. For years, she loathed the sight of me because I didn’t have the courage to say, “Let’s get married, have this child, and have a life.” Instead, I was derelict of all my family duties and chose what I thought was the easy way out.
I remember my shame. I was unwilling to tackle the responsibility of raising a child and supporting a family. I wanted to continue “shacking up” and not pay any penalties. It was easy for me to buy into the lie “the unborn is not a child” – even though I knew in my heart it was wrong.
“How can a wife trust the husband who will end his own son’s life? What would people think of me if they knew?” Questions like these weighed heavily on my mind. Like most men, I “got on” with life. I buried myself in causes, ministries, vocations, newspapers, and recreation. All the while, self-hatred anchored me to my albatross – mediocrity. This further pounded nails into my wife’s heart – and my own.
A man whose wife aborted two babies against his will says the following:
The views of both husband and wife become perverted, and their perspectives are tossed upside down. Deep down in their hearts, men sense the death of their baby, and they may suffer from the symptoms of Postabortion Stress – just as much as women do.
Another man, identified only as “Jim” describes his postabortion pain:
Since that day, the choice I made – the one I forced her to make because I was scared and confused – has haunted me without end. There is not one day that goes by when I do not recall the black Wednesday that changed our lives – the day I took her to the abortion clinic. I hate Wednesdays!
She tried to be so brave and understanding with regard to the burden this child would bring upon us in light of the fact that my new career as a musician was starting to hit. You see, I was getting bookings for clubs up and down the state. How could my career take off with a brand-new baby and wife? I barely had enough money to pay my traveling expenses to the different gigs. I just couldn’t afford the extra cost of having a family. Little did I know how much our decision was going to cost me in the future. I would lose my sweetheart, my soul, and finally my peace of mind… I know that Jesus has forgiven me, but it still is very hard for me to forgive myself. I made a choice, a decision that literally destroyed my hopes and dreams as a young man. The zeal I once had for life was replaced with an ache in my heart that just won’t go away.
Do I deserve love? Do I deserve a family? Do I deserve happiness? I’m still searching and I’m still trying to put the pieces together and work things out in my head. Relationships have become hard for me. I just can’t seem to relate to any woman. It’s as if I have this big hole in my heart and no one can fill the void. I’ve dated some very nice ladies, but nothing ever came of those attempts to build a relationship. The fault was theirs; it was mine. So here I am, sitting all alone day after day, month after month, year after year.
One researcher interviewed men in prison whose partners had had abortions. Their responses show grief and sorrow.
From four men whose partners had abortions:
I’m hurting just as bad as she.
It’s not the child’s fault. It was wrong.
I resent her for doing that. It drew a piece from me.
My wife’s abortion about killed me. It was rough. There’s always room for one more.
Several inmates said the following of their male friends whose partners had abortions:
He quit school and then lost his job because of major depression.
He turned to alcohol. He’s always talking about the baby. He is miserable about the whole thing…
My friend went through a lot of pain… Through the years it caused problems. He talked about it several times. Women don’t take the men into consideration.
These are just a small handful of testimonies from men who regret their partners’ abortions. You can read many more firsthand accounts at the Silent No More website.
Studies on men and abortion
Have there been any studies men’s reaction to abortion? Only a few. According to one researcher:
Men are confused when their partners are okay with having had an abortion, but they themselves are depressed, guilty, grieving or shame filled.
Abortion is such a controversial issue that many institutions refuse to fund studies that might cast doubt on the belief that abortion is good for society.
Dr. Arthur Shostak of Drexel University in Philadelphia found that 72% of the men he interviewed in a four-year study disagreed with the statement that “males generally have an easy time of [abortion] and have few, if any, lingering disturbing doubts.”
He requested funding for further research from the National Institutes of Health:
They told me off the record that this type of work could be construed as antiabortion. It could indicate that the absence of counseling is leaving behind a destructive residual in many men. It would be seized upon by antiabortionists.
They denied his request for funding.
Researcher Arthur Shostak surveyed 1000 men waiting at abortion clinics while their girlfriends or wives were being aborted. He discovered that:
42% of the boyfriends had offered to marry the woman
25% of those who did not offer to marry the woman offered child support
39% of the men believed that life began at conception or when the nervous system began to function
26% believe that the abortion was the “killing of a child.”
The study found a range of emotions among the men. They feared for the woman’s health, felt guilty about the abortion or the pregnancy, felt self-doubt, and also anguish and pain of the loss of their children and over the entire abortion experience.
This study, of course, does not address the fact that many times feelings of depression, guilt, and remorse only show up after the abortion procedure, sometimes months or years later.
Pro-Choicers, for the most part, have maintained that abortion is none of the man’s business.
Late-term abortionist Dr. William Rashbaum (now deceased) described what he said to men who tried to stop him from aborting their babies. Raushbaum says he tells them:
F-ck you, Charlie, we can abort her.
The author says:
He won’t talk to them directly because, he explains, “I don’t treat men.
In an article in Time Magazine, Lousise Taylor, Vice president of Medical Affairs at Planned Parenthood, sums up the views of the organization on men and abortion:
But it doesn’t matter how much men scream and holler that they are being left out [of the abortion decision] There are some things that they are never going to be able to experience fully. I say, tough luck.
Sometimes a pro-choice activist does admit that excluding men from the abortion is problematic. Pro-choice feminist Kathleen McDonnell says:
We have to acknowledge…that there is a great inconsistency between our eagerness to involve men in all other aspects of reproduction and our unwillingness to allow them a similar role in abortion. This means we must acknowledge and validate man’s role in the act of procreation. It really does take two…This stance [to deny men a choice in their partners’ abortions] poses, of course, a veritable minefield of problems…
Abortion can be a hard thing for men to go through. The exact statistics on how many men regret their partners’ abortions are elusive. However, there is no doubt that some men grieve the loss of their aborted children. Please remember them in your thoughts on Father’s Day.