Sunday, September 28, 2008

Abortion and Men

Do you remember the old pro-life slogan, "When they say abortion is between a woman and a doctor, they're forgetting someone?" It was often written on posters that showed an unborn baby in utero, and was a simple reminder that it's not the woman's body that's going to be ripped apart, destroyed, killed in an abortion.

One thing I've been thinking about lately, though, is that the posters might have mentioned two someones being forgotten when a woman has an abortion: the baby, of course, but also the baby's father.

Googling things about abortion and men will bring up sites like this one which mentions some ways that abortion hurts men, or this one which contains the text of an article about the emotional toll that abortion can have on a man. There are websites wading into the issue of post-abortive men and the sort of help they might need. So far, there don't appear to be many resources for men who have suffered the pain of the abortion of their child, though.

And there is pain.

Think of it: it is perfectly legal for any woman, married or not, to kill a child without even consulting the child's father. The father has no rights to stop an abortion from happening, even though the law insists that he must pay child support if the woman chooses not to kill the child. Despite the fact that the child is as much his as it is hers, she may kill the baby, and he can't do anything about it.

Sometimes, though, men are caught up in the abortion mentality as much as women are. They consider the pregnancy a "problem" and an abortion the "solution." Only years later does the buried trauma of having participated in the decision to kill their own child resurface, and sometimes when it does marriages fail, relationships shatter, and men who seemed to have it all together fall completely apart.

I think that pro-life organizations need to target men, perhaps to a greater degree than has been done so far. So many times when I read the heartbreaking stories of women in crisis pregnancies who aborted, only to regret it and suffer terribly later, this motif recurs: I wanted our baby. I thought he would want our baby, too. But he wanted me to have an abortion, and threatened to leave me if I didn't have one.

The men who make such threats are sometimes truly dysfunctional and even abusive people. But often they are just as terrified and confused and unsure as the women. They are afraid of commitment, afraid of the future, afraid of what people will think. Abortion seems easy; fatherhood seems mind-bogglingly difficult. And if they're caught up in the irresponsible lifestyle of sex without consequences, the hardest thing, I think, for many men to face in this situation would be the notion that all of that would be about to change forever.

So pro-life men need to give strong witness, about duty and obligation and sacrifice, about love and responsibility, about the rich blessings and joys of commitment and fatherhood, and how the shallow easy life of irresponsible sex and meaningless physical contact is an illusion created in Hell and marketed on Madison Avenue. They need to remind their younger brothers that being a man means taking responsibility for one's actions; only a weak and immature boy runs from his problems, hides, and chants "Make it go away!" until something amusing and distracting comes on TV or pops up on YouTube. If they haven't been living according to the dictates of chastity, and if they have participated in the creation of a new human life, then it's up to them to welcome that life and do whatever it takes to make sure that child will not suffer for his or her father's bad choices.

By making abortion a "women's issue," we're playing right into the notion that fatherhood is irrelevant and that men should be free to have sex without consequences for as long as they want to--if pregnancy occurs, the woman can "deal with it." Abortion is not just a woman's issue, though, and every one of those nearly fifty million dead American babies has left behind a father. And considering the pain a post-abortive man may suffer, many of those fathers have learned in grief and sorrow that there were consequences, after all.


Hamster said...

Hi Erin
What would pro life folks think about creating and financing a program that would encourage women not to opt for abortions.
Many women say they can't afford to care for their unborn and prohibiting abortions would force them to have children they cannot care for. This would be especially true of young teenage mothers to be still in school.
The program would provide money for health checkups, diapers, baby formula, childcare, clothing etc. to help care for the new born
for the first few years of life or until the mother was able to provide for the child herself.

Journey of Truth said...

Well said!

Irenaeus said...

Re: Hamster: Uhh...aren't we doing a lot of that already, or did I misunderstand you?

Red Cardigan said...

Irenaeus is right, Hamster. That's exactly what a lot of pro-life agencies do. Take a look at this one in North Carolina, for instance:

Red Cardigan said...

Here's a quote from the above link's website:

"Room At The Inn’s Post-Natal Residential Program provides food, clothing, and housing for mothers and their newborns for up to 24 months following birth. Admission to this program is based on successful participation in the Pre-Natal Counseling Program. The residential program provides professional counseling coupled with life-skills classes in parenting, budgeting, nutrition, and employment basics. Mothers who have completed their highschool education are given priority for admittance to this program and once admitted, are required to enroll in a post-highschool educational program. In addition, mothers with a completed post-highschool educational or job training program are required to seek and obtain employment. Mothers, 18 yrs. of age and older, and their newborns and one other child (up to the age of 4) qualify for admittance to the residential program. "

So this one home, like many others, will help women for the first full two years of the baby's life!

Anonymous said...

Staying on the topic of the post, my husband's first wife had an
abortion. It was their third child. The marriage was so bad that she felt she simply could not bring another child into the family. He begged her to reconsider and refused to pay for it. She went to her father for the money.
When my husband was eventually reconciled to the Catholic Church, that's when she left him. She refused to believe that he could be forgiven so easily for his many sins. (The abortion was never mentioned.)
Since then her hatred for him has only intensified. He and I eventually married and had three children of our own. She has steadily and systemically turned his daughters against him, both of whom have had unhealthy relationships with men over the years.
It has only been in the past week that I've realized the extent of healing required for those who are involved in an abortion. I have also only recently come to realize that this woman's hatred for my husband is directly connected to that abortion and that it's very possible she never really wanted it, but blames him for it. Perhaps if he had been a better husband she wouldn't have felt the need to resort to something like that. We may never know.
Are fathers affected by abortion? In many, many ways.

Hamster said...

Yes. Something along the lines of "Room at the Inn" only not just for young pregnant girls but for anyone who feels they need to have an abortion because they can't afford to have a child.
And not for just two years but as long as is necessary.
Maybe it could be a blend of public money and private volunteer work since donations are often times an unreliable source of funding.