Impact of Abortion on Men
How abortion impacts a man!
The other victim of abortion's aftermath!
When people think about the role of men in abortion, it seems that they usually think about the stereotype of the man who forces the abortion or the male who abandons.
However, there are many roles the man may have played in the experience.
One man may have been involved in several abortions, each with a different scenario.
The impact on fathers is mitigated by the role they play in the abortion. They fall into separate categories.
If you are a caregiver, you need to know that sometimes the man makes contact with a caregiver under the guise of seeking help for his partner or trying to understand what his partner is experiencing.
If he is looking for materials about the aftermath of abortion, ask if this is for himself or for a partner. If it is for a partner, you can ask “are you the father?”
This is hard for him to discuss, but it is critical to acknowledge that men can struggle after an abortion loss. You can ask “how can I be of help to you?”
You may also be able to ask at some point if this is his first abortion experience. Listening to him can be an enormous gift.
One single abortion, with promises of a better future, was supposed to solve all youthful problems. Ultimately it destroys two generations of each family and caused endless heartache.
Abortion is a horrible evil. We often say we want better for our daughters, but we should also demand better for our sons too.
Men need to know the lifelong effect abortion can have on their psyches and soul. When men are tested by life and found wanting, it ruins, damaged and deminisihes their self worth and can potentially damage all their future relationships.
Men describe their experience of aftermath as follows:
Rage or anger: (Rage may raise an impulse to strike out physically or emotionally at someone involved in the abortion loss. Anger may be internalized or targeted toward someone who was part of the experience.)
Impotence: Sexual—An abortion loss can interfere with sexual functioning of the partners involved.
Masculine: There is a sense that one could not protect the sexual partner or offspring. This can be incapacitating, causing the male partner to dwell on this and to feel helpless.
Grave concern for their partner and her well being: The male may seek information on the aftermath of abortion on women out of his concern for her.
Sometimes he may try to force her to seek help before she is ready or feels the need.
Inability to communicate with their partner about her experience and theirs Communication patterns can break down because of differential patterns of coping and grieving.
One partner might be struggling and the other partner coping. Communication patterns such as “why don’t you just get over it?” may emerge but are not helpful.
Chemical use and abuse (excessive alcohol or drug use): This seems to be a common coping mechanism shared by many men.
Some will seek assistance through AA or some other treatment program. If someone is working with a man in the 5th step, the question of abortion should be broached because without confronting it, recovery will be impaired.
Risk taking behaviors: Such as driving fast cars or motorcycles, breaking horses, jumping out of airplanes, or other death defying activities. (Fathers who opposed the abortion may verge on being suicidal themselves.)
Suicide or attempted Suicide: It seems to be in some cases, that the young man involved in an abortion at high school or college age may attempt or successfully commit suicide following an abortion experience.
It is almost always the peer group who knows about the abortion and not the family.
Grieving and sadness: This reaction can catch a man unaware. Men in our culture may have difficulty articulating the sense of sadness.
This emotional reaction may catch the man by surprise. He did not anticipate this reaction. The grief may be experienced as a body sensation.
Obsessive thoughts of the lost child: Some men describe the intrusion of thoughts of the lost child.
Nightmares of someone/something vulnerable being threatened and being unable to protect it:
These nightmares are often about some large threatening animal, like a shark or a lion, that is menacing a smaller and vulnerable animal and there is nothing the man can do in the dream to protect the more vulnerable being.
He often awakes in a cold sweat with a sense of doom looming over him.
Desire for another child and subsequent behavior to try to achieve that goal:
This can sometimes become almost obsessive in wanting to re-impregnate the woman who had the abortion. This may also generalize to another partner.
The outcome may be that some men have experienced more than one abortion. If infertility is a problem, the man may feel he is being punished for his past abortion experience.
Suicidal ideation: We do now know how common this is, but it does occur especially in the fathers who wanted the child.
Inability to sort out the feelings they are experiencing:
If he is involved in more than one abortion, he may work at resolving one abortion, but deny the need to process the rest.
In helping a man work through this, you may need to help him sort out each of the abortions, what role he played in each on and what feelings he carries.
Emotional abuse and/or spousal battering:
This may be man to woman or woman to man.
There appears to be a predisposition for individuals with abortion histories to find partners with the same history.
The dynamic that develops is as follows. She reminds him of the woman who aborted his child against his will, and he reminds her of the guy who insisted that she have an abortion.
On a subconscious level, this is the scenario of anger and striking out. If the partners have stayed together after an abortion and treated the abortion as a non-event, they too may strike out at each other physically and/or emotionally.
Some relationships may deteriorate completely and result in a divorce.
For more on the impact on men see the full story at these links:
NEXT: How abortion violates a man’s core responsibilities