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Men Hurt Too

(Fathers suffer from the abortion of their children...While the prochoice movement ignores the rights of fathers in this area, the pro-life movement acknowledges their pain and offers healing forgiveness, and a strong affirmation of the value of fatherhood.)

If you're facing an abortion decision, or if there's one in your past, there's something you should know.

Evidence is mounting that the fathers of aborted children can be dramatically affected by an abortion decision.

Why are you affected?

In many ways men respond very differently to the loss of a child from abortion. To understand your reaction, it is important to first understand what motivates the human male.

Instinct drives men to achieve success in five key areas of their lives: the ability to procreate, provide, protect, perform and [enjoy] pleasure.

An important element motivating men is their desire to procreate. Men provide an essential role in the continuation of the human race. Almost every man, whether he verbalizes it or not, values the idea of having offspring of his own flesh and blood - carrying on the family name or bloodline.

Men are also highly programmed to protect their family. This need to protect their offspring should not be underestimated.

Society often judges you based on your ability to be successful at procreation, provision, protection, performance and pleasure. If you experience an abortion, these key elements of life may be seriously damaged, or often totally obliterated. (1)

The symptoms

The most consistent and evident symptom in men due to loss of a child from abortion is anger. He will almost certainly experience a higher level of anger after the abortion than before. In addition, it is highly likely that he will act on that anger in some way that is harmful to him or someone else.

His anger and frustration at not being able to protect and provide for his unborn baby, because of abortion, may manifest itself in other ways.

He may turn to alcohol and drugs to dull the pain of knowing he participated in or was too "weak" to prevent the death of his unborn baby.

He may become a workaholic to avoid contact with other people, or in a desperate need to succeed in a crucial aspect of his life - countering the abortion experience.

He may be unable to hold a job due to an inability to handle decision making.

Or he may be an excessive risk-taker in work and social environments, setting himself up for failure. This may come from the feeling that he deserves what he gets for being a "loser" and failing when it counted most - protecting his unborn baby.

Once the abortion takes place, the odds are overwhelmingly against a successful relationship with the mother of his unborn child. (2)


In addition, future relationships with women are often difficult or impossible. A woman has total control over the decision to abort his baby, leaving him no legal recourse. This lack of control regarding a critical, life-impacting decision often generates considerable resentment and mistrust toward the woman. As a result of a past abortion, he may not want to be put into a situation where another pregnancy may occur and he has no control of the outcome.

Men may suffer from a form of sexual dysfunction such as impotency. Some become addicted to pornography and masturbation - allowing them to experience sexual gratification while maintaining control. Some men experiment with homosexuality because it allows them to have a "successful" sexual relationship with no commitment and no worry of pregnancy.

Other symptoms include sleeplessness, panic attacks, poor coping skills, flashbacks, nightmares, self-imposed isolation or suicidal tendencies.

Dealing with the symptoms


The loss from abortion may have affected a man dramatically. However, he may not be aware that it could be the root-cause of his problems.

Society makes it doubly tough for men to deal with the aftermath of an abortion decision. First, many psychologists don't acknowledge that women suffer psychological after-effects of abortion. As a result, they're even less likely to acknowledge his. Secondly, men are often taught as children that it is less than manly to show weakness or cry.

It's OK to grieve for the baby you will never see or hold in your arms. It's OK to cry for your profound loss. Cry as much and as often as you need. You need to grieve to help heal the loss and shame.

Find somebody to talk to. The worst thing you can do is hold it inside. (3) Share your grief and shame with someone you can confide in. It helps to talk it out. A trusted friend or counselor may help you see things more clearly.


Almost every woman who has begun the road to recovery after her abortion has given credit to the fact that she returned to, or discovered, her religious faith. That has proven to be also true with men. If possible, consult with a member of the clergy. Experience the joy of knowing you have complete, divine forgiveness. This will enable you to move on to the next crucial stage of obtaining that God-given peace within yourself.

Always remember...

If you're suffering from the loss of a child from abortion, there's help for you. You're not alone. The feelings you are experiencing are also felt by millions of other men. Compassionate men and women, many of whom have also experienced abortion, are willing to assist you in dealing with this loss. Contact: Life Issues Institute, 1821 W. Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45239, (513) 729-3600, e-mail: Info@LifeIssues.org.  We will be able to put you in touch with someone who can help. Make the call today.

Bradley Mattes
Life Issues Institute

1 A-Shostak, Abortion &Men: Lessons, Losses & Love, NY: Praeger, 1984.
2 Gail B. Williams, PhD, Dissertation Abstracts Int'l, Vol. 53, No. 3, Sept. 1992.
3 J Lasker, LJ Toedter, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 61(4):5 10, Oct. 199 1.

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