Men and Abortion?
It’s my body, my choice, not men and abortion. Abortion is a women’s issue, and you don’t have a voice if you don’t have a uterus. At least, that is what the rhetoric says.
Pro-choice advocates have done their level best to silence men’s voices in the abortion debate, stating that the only person who matters in this discussion is the one who is pregnant. Only women are allowed to voice their opinions. After all, it only affects her. It’s her body, so ultimately, she gets to make the decision. But is she really the only one affected?
And where does this leave men? It leaves them minimized, overlooked, and excluded from the discussion. As a society, the conversation about abortion primarily surrounds women; on the surface, this makes sense. We are the ones who will carry the pregnancy, we are the ones who will endure the abortion, and we are the ones who will deal with the aftermath. All of that is true, but it is disingenuous to say the abortion decision doesn’t affect men. When the child is conceived, the woman becomes a mother, and the man becomes a father.
The Recovery Process
As the Director of Abortion Recovery and Care for Care Net, I’ve had the privilege of working with both women and men walking through the abortion recovery process. Recently, I had the opportunity to collaborate with four post-abortive men on a men’s recovery study. In hearing their stories and getting to know them, I found my heart breaking in a different way. As a woman who’s chosen abortion, I know the wide-ranging impact the decision had on my own life.
I know the lies I believed and the coping mechanisms I employed to get through the day. What I didn’t understand was that men carry the same pain, the same grief, but in a different way. The guys will tell you that the abortion decision changed the way they operate in the world.
We like to use a car wreck analogy in our women’s recovery study: Choosing abortion is like being in a car wreck. The windshield is shattered, but it’s safety glass, so it doesn’t fall. You can still see through it, sort of. Looking through the shattered glass, our perception of the world is fractured, and we operate from this broken perspective. I asked the men if this example resonated with them. Each one definitively said yes, it does! But one gentleman took it a step further. He said, “Not only are we driving the car with the broken windshield, but when we get home, we view ourselves in a shattered mirror. Our entire self-perception is broken. We are broken.” That stopped me in my tracks. It was a proverbial ‘mic drop’ moment.
Repairing Broken Glass
This launched a robust discussion about how their perception of the world changed. We talked about the stages of grief and how society doesn’t allow women the space to acknowledge and grieve the loss of their aborted children. Abortion is supposed to be our first, best option. We are supposed to celebrate how empowered we are because of it. If we, as women, aren’t supposed to view abortion as the death of our children, how are the men supposed to view it?
After all, we’ve told them to sit down and shut up, that this doesn’t affect them. But that’s part of the lie. I’ve seen the profound effect abortion has had on the lives of these men.
Each one of them walked me through how abortion changed the way they make decisions. Fear, inadequacy, anxiety, and frustration became the lenses through which they viewed the world. Anger became their default position because they were operating from a flawed perspective and had internalized these negative aspects. It’s easier to be angry than it is to be hurt.
As we talked about the anger, the men were able to share how breakthroughs were made in their lives. It started with another man walking alongside them. When asked what helped them the most, they all had the same answer: when another man shared his abortion experience. They saw were not alone in their struggle and that there was HOPE! That hope was found in the Gospel and because another man was willing to walk with him.
One said, “Guys like us (with a past abortion) have learned to be alone over many years of isolation and pain. We are outwardly good at being alone but secretly despise the fact that we have no real friends. Anger and pride keep us isolated when what we really need are other men who will walk with us. We are stronger together.”
Healing For Men
Most men don’t know where to go for help, and quite honestly, much hasn’t been available to them. I’m glad to say that’s changing, and there are several men’s abortion recovery studies out there, with Care Net’s Reclaiming Fatherhood being the newest. This biblically-based study is anchored in the work of Fatherhood Aborted and was heavily influenced by these men. Their lived experiences – the devastation the abortions brought into their lives, the anger and shame that were their constant companions, were all overcome by the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
The body of Christ must help those who are hurting. We do not have to look far to find men suffering in silence because of an abortion decision. Care Net’s 2021 study revealed that almost 50% of the 1,000 men we surveyed were in church at least once a month at the time of their partner’s first abortion. The walking wounded are in our churches, stunted in their walk with Christ and unable to fully lead and serve.
I am absolutely convinced that when the men are healed and whole and lead the way God intended, the tide will entirely turn, and abortion will no longer be embraced as an option.