The unique idea that men are also harmed and suffering after abortion grabbed my heart when I realised the extent of the research and scientific evidence out there as proof of the damage. I entreated the board of Alliance for Life Ontario to be courageous and devote an entire conference to this new area of necessary pro-life ministry.
Our speakers represent the international cream of the crop as far as knowing the science, research, counseling and grief response necessary to have men's suffering after abortion recognised within counselling circles and society at large. In Canada we have permitted over 3.5 million abortions since 1969 and every child killed had a father, who may have been supportive of the abortion, indeed may have insisted on the abortion or as many I am hearing from, had no say at all even when they pleaded for their child. Many fathers only knew after the abortion occurred and more suffer precisely because they did not try to save their child or the woman from becoming victims of abortion.
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This eats at men at a depth that is hard to fathom and is displayed by violence, anger, abusive behaviour, despair and addictions. Many men have no idea that this deep seated warfare going on within themselves has anything to do with an abortion which may have happened years before. It is time for the Canadian pro-life movement to focus on yet another victim and learn what we need to do to help these men find some kind of peace in order to begin their healing journey – from the destructive damage that continues to eat away at them deep in their soul. Dr. Catherine Coyle, one of our speakers, puts it like this:
There is a paucity of research regarding men and elective abortion. However, there are some common findings concerning the impact that abortion may have on fathers. After abortion, men may experience ambivalence, anger, anxiety, helplessness, grief, guilt, and relationship problems. Induced abortion poses a direct threat to masculinity and men may feel that they have failed as partners and as fathers.
Given the legal and cultural marginalization of men, they may be confused about their reactions to abortion and unsure where to seek help in navigating abortion’s aftermath. However, there are resources available for men including books, pamphlets, and referrals for counseling.
Again Dr. Coyle notes:
Grief and regret may be profound among men as abortion often involves multiple losses including loss of the child, of the relationship, and of hopes for the future. Abortion is a death experience and, once chosen, cannot be undone.
Pervasive feelings of helplessness and guilt can be debilitating. Men may suffer from anxiety, persistent thoughts about the lost child, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, and other somatic complaints such as headaches or palpitations. The trauma of abortion may be severe enough to cause symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Anger may be especially apparent among men who opposed the abortion decision. However, some men will appear to be angry when, in fact, other underlying emotions such as grief and helplessness are the real source of their suffering. For those men, anger becomes, in a sense, a defense mechanism used to protect themselves from these other painful emotions. Substance abuse may also be used to numb emotional pain.
Men who have experienced abortion are a cohort that we have unwittingly ignored but now is the time to stand in solidarity with these fathers. Our conference is a humble beginning which we hope will draw all those who wish to start a new thread within our movement of loving service to these forgotten fathers. If men were ever led to believe they had no place in the abortion debate well now you know the truth. Abortion is totally destructive, fatal to our children and poison to both men and women. Please visit our website for further details on our conference and plan to join us in Niagara. I will let Terry from Sacramento share his grief through his poem “Empty Arms“. There are more Terrys out there and we want to be ready to find them and support them.
“Oh, what a father goes through, When he loses baby blue.
Days when I couldn't get out of bed, Days full of nothing but dread.
A broken heart seemingly beyond repair, Looking out the window with a hollow stare.
Why did everything turn out so wrong, Oh, to start over how I long.
How can it be, I've lost a part of me.
Can I ever turn the page, Move beyond this painful stage?
My heart broken in two, A deep shade of dark blue.
God, I pray if you are real, It is the time for You to reveal.
The emptiness seems beyond repair, Days like this, I just don't care.
Is there grace enough these days, Is it time to be the one who prays?
Help me place my trust in You, By default, nothing else I can do.
Is that a smile I see on Your face, Your love for me beyond time and space?
I trust in eternity, Where I eventually long to be.
You are the God of heaven and the second chance, Where my child and I will forever dance.
A singer once sang in country lore, These empty arms, I'll have no more.”