Father No More
Are you an “Aborted Father”—one whose child was aborted with or without your consent? There are many ways to get help if you are a woman. For a man, there are very few places you can turn. Here is a start.
So, how are you feeling?
When your child was aborted, you probably felt relieved. But shortly after that you may have felt uncomfortable emotions coming to the surface. Emotions that you would rather not deal with. These feelings are common among fathers like you. What you experience depends on what your role was in the abortion. You may have been involved in one of 5 ways:
- You encouraged or supported the woman to choose abortion
- You pressured her to abort
- You abandoned her to make the decision alone
- You unsuccessfully opposed the abortion
- You learned after it happened
Whatever your role was, one thing is certain. Your natural role as a father was cut short. As put by Dr. Vincent Rue, a leading psychologist dealing with post-abortion issues among men:
Abortion rewrites the rules of masculinity. Whether or not the male was involved in the abortion decision, his inability to function in a socially prescribed manner leaves him wounded and confused.
As a man, you naturally begin to take on the responsibility of protecting the child. It’s how you are wired. But, because of the abortion, you are no longer able to fulfill this role. You may develop anger, resentment and guilt. You may not even realize where these feelings are coming from. They often come out in destructive behaviors - excessive drinking, drug use, depression, suicidal feelings, risk taking or maybe running from relationship to relationship unable to make commitments.
Men have no legal rights concerning abortion. Under the law, your opinion doesn’t count. If you were against the abortion, you may feel powerless, helpless to control events around you. If you pushed hard for the abortion, you may feel selfish or like you abandoned your partner when she really needed you. Or you may just feel like running to a place where no one will ever recognize you.
Maybe you didn’t even know about the pregnancy and abortion until after the fact. If you disagreed with the decision, you may feel rage, even hatred toward your partner. Your own child was aborted and you weren’t even asked for your viewpoint.
One thing almost all fathers feel after abortion is a sense of emptiness. You may be plagued with thoughts of your lost child. Thoughts about what things you might have done together. Things like playing baseball, learning to fish, or maybe building a doll house for that special doll...
There is hope! There are a few things that you have to do to start things happening. You need to want to change before you can heal. Sometimes looking at yourself and your situation can be painful. Without a real desire to heal, it’s tough to make changes.
Here is a simple road map. It’s not perfect, but it will get you started on a path to becoming whole again.
—Forgive the mom
If you are feeling anger or even rage toward your partner, you can’t heal yourself. You have to be willing to forgive her. Whatever her part, whatever she said or did, you still have to forgive her. It was ultimately her choice to end the life of your child.
“Before grieving can begin, you must handle your personal guilt before God and others and your anger toward the persons who made the decision...”, says Dr. Wayne Brauning, founder of MARC (Men’s Abortion ReCovery).
Yes, if you were involved in the abortion decision, you have made a terrible mistake. Yet, God will forgive any sin, whether minor or life-shattering.
OK, this will probably be awkward for you. But it’s absolutely necessary. Here’s what Dr. Vincent Rue, says about it:
Men do grieve following abortion, but they are more likely to deny their grief ... rather than openly express (it) ... When men do express their grief, they try to do so in culturally prescribed "masculine" ways, i.e. anger, aggressiveness, control. Men typically grieve in a private way following an abortion ... A guilt-ridden, tormented male does not easily love or accept love... his denial of himself and his relentless feelings of post-abortion emptiness can nullify even the best of intentions.
Simply put, grieving is hard for a man to do. Somehow in our society, it has become taboo for a man to show his feelings. Somehow, normal human emotions like sadness, or even crying, have become only "feminine" traits.
You need to admit to yourself exactly what you and your partner have done. Denying what has happened is a cover-up and keeps you from healing at all. You need to grieve for the little one that is no longer living. Grieve for the horrible decisions that were made. Grieve for those around you that are greatly affected by the abortion - for the grandparents that will never bounce their grand kids on their knee or read them a bedtime story. Your sorrow will probably be profound and moving. It is real sorrow for a real act that has been committed.
—Consider the relationship
It is not uncommon for the relationship to fail after an abortion. And the failure often comes from your side. It goes like this: You wanted relief from the responsibility, and got it. But now, your partner reminds you of a very bad time in your life. One that you would rather forget. You reason that the best thing would be to break up. And perhaps that could be true. But, if this is a person you really love and want to spend your time with, you have some "fixing" to do.
As the person who made the final decision, your partner is hurting. She may be subject to something sometimes called "Post Abortion Syndrome". We have been talking about the same thing, only from a man’s point of view. As you gather strength from forgiving her, forgiving yourself, and grieving for your loss, be there for her. Let her use your strength to heal.
Be ready for all kinds of emotions. If she feels you pushed her into abortion, you are in for some difficult discussions - admitting wrong, asking for forgiveness, trying to make up for something that can never really be made up for. It’s a long road, don’t try to face it alone.
Trying to carry this burden yourself is an impossible task. There is little chance that you will be able to understand the power of self-forgiveness until you experience the forgiveness of God. If you don’t really know God, perhaps that is where to start this whole process.
The healing of your soul and the healing from the effects of abortion can go hand-in-hand. Many of the people at the help centers listed at the end of this piece do what they do because of their belief in the forgiving and saving power of Jesus. And many of these centers are now reaching out and offering resources for aborted fathers.
Why not begin your healing today? Get some help, and get a new start on the rest of your life.
- Williams, Warren, Restoring Fatherhood Lost, Post Abortion Review, 4(4), Fall 1996
- Brauning, Wayne, Men and Abortion, Grief and Healing, Post Abortion Review, 4(4), Fall 1996
- Rue, Vincent, The Effects of Abortion on Men, Ethics and Medics 21(4):3, 1996
Hidden Tears—Lindy Pierce
When a woman has an abortion she will experience the profound effects of this act for the rest of her life
But did you know that fathers of aborted babies suffer the same kind of emotional stress? It is the father who often cries...HIDDEN TEARS.
- Fathers tell their stories
“She told me that people were coming up to her and asking her ‘What happened to Burt? He's changed.’ Everybody knew something profound had happened to me and that I wasn't talking about it ”
—Burt Mueller, Age 28 —Musician
“My life changed dramatically from this experience...I have had nightmares, dreams that I could see the doctor coming up to her and ripping the fetus out of her. I used to wake up at night sweating...I just cried and mourned. The nightmares always come—they still come”
—Bill Thomas, Age 26 —Fireman
“...Not only is there a loss, but you are also a failure. Your primary function in life is to provide for and protect your family. And those aborted children are my family, and I failed. They're dead and I'm not... ”
—Bill Hitchings, Age 36 —Cabinet Maker
A Brief History Of Law And Father's Rights
In the years since abortion was leagalized in 1973, a number of court cases have occured affecting the rights of the father. These decisions don't necessarily represent what the majority of Americans believe: The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court provided women the “right to abortion on demand” but specifically declined to consider interests of the fathers at that time.
Since Roe v. Wade, fathers have tried unsuccessfully to have their rights realized in light of the Ninth and Fourteenth Ammendments to the Constitution that provide for the rights to privacy, due process and equal protection un der the law. “Today, however, the courts are beginning to acknoledge that fathers' contentions may be valid. Fathers are asking for a ‘balancing’ of their constitutional rights against those of the mother. They argue that the Supreme Court, in striking down absolute veto power in Danforth, left open the possibility of determining case–by–case whether a father's rights outweigh the mother's and that a hearing should be granted to balance the rights involved.”
In a New York case in March, 1988, David Ostreicher charged that his wife “used her pregnancy as a bargaining chip, threatening to abort the feyus if he didn't destroy (a prenuptial) contract.” He told a reporter, “The issue is whether she has the right to hold a fetus hostage. Can a woman say, ‘Unless you buy me a Mercedes, I'm going to have an abortion?’ Are her rights that supreme?”
There are documented cases in which a father's desire to preserve the life of his child should have outweighted the mother's interest in having an abortion. For example, a trial judge in the case of In re Unborn Baby H discovered that the only reason for an abortion was the mother's desire to look good in a bathing suit.
In 1989, the Webster case turned over much of the decision making process to the states, where legal battles are going on in the realm of spousal notifications rights (the idea that a woman must inform her husband of her intent to obtain an abortion) 
Father's rights took a blow in 1992 when U.S. Supreme Court struck down the spousal notifications law of Pennsylvania in Planned Parenthood v. Case. Justice Harry Blackmun concurring in part and dissenting in part, stated, “...it will operate as a substantial obstacle to a woman's choice to undergo an abortion” 
Contrast these court decisions with Gallup poles in 1992, 1996 and 2003 that demonstrated that over 70% of the public supports a law requiring that a husband of a married woman be notified if she wants an abortion. This overwhelming support cut across both gender and politcal party. 
Behind the Hidden Tears
“Psychiatrist Dr Kyle D. Pruiet of Yale University says that many men have no idea how much they are hurting until afterward: ‘Then, whammo, they feel very guilty.’ Counselors recognize ‘post–abortion syndrome’ that is felt by men as well as women: loss, sorrow, depression and anger, often lasting many years after the event” 
In fact, studies have shown that men are more likely than women to blame themselves for a pregnancy and more likely to feel guilty. Not only do men more often experience guilt, but they suffer a deeper guilt reaction than women. On top of that, it has been a cultural “taboo” for men to vent these thoughts and the myriad of emotions that go along with an abortion experience. 
According to psychiatrist Richard Epstein “a man may feel deeply rejected by the destruction of the most important thing he can give to the woman he loves and, if so, he may undergo a profound depression” 
Other symptoms include: anxiety, grief, shame, guilt, nervousness, anger, nightmares, feelings of helplessness and betrayal, rejection, confusion, regret, hatred, humiliation, self–hatred, failure, alienation and loss of trust in others. In addition, physical illness of a psychosomatic nature found in these men include high blood pressure, ulcers, migraine headaches, impotence, panic attacks, violent behavior , insomnia, substance abuse and relational instability. These repercussions often arise as a delayed reaction occuring about five years after the abortion. 
What now for “Silent Suffers”
There is hope! Here are some simple steps to start you on the path toward healing:
- Forgive the mom. You cannot heal while nursing anger inside. No matter what her part in the abortion, you have to forgive her.
- Forgive yourself. “Before grieving can begin, you must handle your pesonal guilt before God and others and your anger toward the persons who made the decision...”, says Dr Wayne Brauning of MARC (Men's Abortion ReCovery).
- Grieve. Men don't do this part well. But you need to admit to yourself exactly what you and your partner have done.
- What about your relationship? Most relationships end after an abortion. Be ready for all kinds of emotions —both yours and hers. She may feel you pushed her into getting an abortion. You may feel she deprived you of your child by having an abortion.
To help you heal, there are many sources to explore. Why not get started on your journey today?
Where To Get Help
- Fathers and Brothers Ministries, 350 Braodway, Suite 40, Boulder, CO 80303 Support and counseling for men. 303.494.3282
- CareNet, 109 Carpenter Drive, Suite 100, Sterling, VA 20164 Refers for post abortion peer counseling services throughout the country. 800.395.HELP
- NOPAHR National Organization of Post Abortion Healing And Reconciliation P.O. Box 070477 Milwaukee, WI 53207-0477 414.483.4141
Project Rachel is the post-abortion healing ministry of the Catholic Church. It was founded in 1984 in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Vicki Thorn and is open to all.
- Healing Hearts Ministry One–On–One Support and Group Counseling 888.217.8679 or 630.990.0909
- Rachel's Vineyard Ministries Rachel's Vineyard is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. 877.467.3463
- Heartbeat International Materials and Training 800.395.HELP
- After Abortion
- Priests For Life
- Life Issues Institute
- Fatherhood Aborted Paperback — May 11, 2001 by Guy Condon
- Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)
- Note, “Who Decides? The Next Abortion Issue: A Discussion of Father's Rights, 91 W. Val L. Rev 165, 190 (1988)
- Weiss, “Equal Rights: Not For Women Only”, Glamour, March 1989, p. 320
- In re Unborn Baby H., No. 84C01 8804JP185, Slip Op pgs. 1-2. (Virgo Co., Ind. Circuit Ct. April 8, 1988)
- Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 109 Supreme Court, p. 3040
- Planned Parenthood v. Casey, U.S. 112 S. Ct., 2(1992)
- The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Poll Watch, Public Opinion Supports Alito on Spousal Notification Even as it Favors Roe v. Wade, p 122
- Jacoby, “Doesn't A Man Have Any Say"” Newsweek, May 23 1988, p. 74
- Strahan, Thomas W., “Portraits of Post–Abortive Father Devasted by the Abortion Experience”, Association for Interdisciplinary Research Newsletter, Vol. 7, No. 3, Nov/Dec 1994, p.2
- ibid, p. 1
- ibid, p. 1-7
- Brauning, Wayne, Men and Abortion, Grief and Healing Feb-17-2010
Men and Abortion
Abortion has many victims, and one of them is the father of the child
The laws of the United States do not acknowledge the right a father to stop the abortion of his own child, but rather place that act solely within the decision of the mother.
This raises a multitude of problems...
On the one hand, the father who wants to defend the life of his child is often accused of meddling in something that is not his business. On the other hand, the father who wants to leave the (mistaken) decision of abortion in the hands of the mother alone is often accused of being uncaring and distant. This, in turn, can create feelings of isolation in the mother, which in turn makes it easier for her to resort to abortion.
Irresponsibility in young men
The law is a powerful teacher, it says the father has no rights in the abortion decision. But the other side of the coin of “rights” is “responsibilities.” The current state of the law regarding fathers and abortion can easily foster a sense of irresponsibility in young men.
Post–abortion distress present in men
Post–abortion counseling services are seeing an increasing number of men come forward, grieving their aborted children. Many of the same dynamics of post–abortion distress that we see in women are are also present in men. We offer here some testimonies of fathers whose children have been killed by abortion, along with our prayers for such fathers, and our readiness to help them.
My fiance was made to have an abortion by her parents and this is what I wrote that horrible day I was awaiting her to come out of the abortion clinic and I hope that it touches you and you realize that the whole world is not only there— it's a struggle and you have to work hard at moving on, but it will happen. This I call the awakening is just that it is an awakening for all to see and realize that life is tough.
- A time comes in your life when you finally get it...
When in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes, you begin to look at the world through new eyes. This is your awakening. You realize that it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that I am not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tail endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you.
You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate of approve of who or what you are… and that’s OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process, a sense of new found confidence is born of self—approval. You stop blaming other people for the things they did to you(or didn’t do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it’s not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self—reliance. You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process, a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.
You realise that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your thick head. And you begin to sift through all the crap you’ve been fed about how you should behave, how you should look and how much you should weigh, what you should wear and were you should shop and what you should drive, how and where you should live and what you should do for a living, who you should marry and what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children or what you owe your parents. You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought in to begin with and in the process you learn to go with your instincts. You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix. You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life. You learn that you don’t know everything: it’s not your job to save the world and that you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say No. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake. Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to project you needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more loveable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be.
You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that just as people grow and change so it is with love...And you learn that you don’t have the right to demand love on your terms...Just to make you happy. And, you learn that alone does not mean lonely...And you look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you “stack up”. You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK...And that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things that you want. And that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won’t settle for less. And, you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to glorify you with his touch… and in the process, you internalize the meaning of self—respect.
And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So, you take more time to laugh and to play. You learn that for the most part, in life you get what you believe you deserve… and that much of life truly is a self—fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different from working towards making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it’s OK to risk asking for help. You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time, FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. And you learn to fight for you life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.
You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes, bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasion you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn’t punishing you or failing to answer you prayers. It’s just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy, and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about; a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never settle for less than your heart’s desire. And you hang a wind chime outside you window so you can listen to the wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful possibility. Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side, you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can.
To say that a man should not love, grieve, or possess rights to his own flesh and blood is utterly and completely stupid. Men should have the same legal rights in abortion issues as women have, as they do at birth, adoption, and custody hearings.
The 1973 Roe Vs Wade failed to condsider the interests of fathers. Since Roe Vs Wade fathers have tried to have their rights realized by light of the 9th and 14th amendment.
In a New York case in March 1988 Mr Streicher charged that his wife used her pregnancy to threaten abortion if he didn't destroy a prenuptiual contract There are many documented cases in which the fathers' desire to have his baby should have outwieghed the mother's desire for an abortion. In an April 1988 case it was discovered that the only reason she wanted an abortion is so she could look good in a bathing suit!
In 1989 the Webster Case gave the states most of the descison making. This is where the battle for Spousal Notification is raging, stating that a woman must inform her husband of her intent to get an abortion. A national poll conducted by the Boston Globe in March 1989 found that 72% believe an abortion should be illegal if the father wants the baby. In a nationwide survey of 18-55 year old girls, 90% said that a husband has the right to know and 56% said he has the right to forbid it.
280 college students were asked about “acceptable” reasons for an abortion and only 25% said that a woman has the right to an abortion if her husband disapproved. In an interview of 400 men in an abortion waiting room said that 70% of the relationships failed within 1 month after the abortion.
Counselors now recognize that post abortion stress is felt by fathers as well as mothers. Loss, sorrow, depression, and anger last for many years. For the man the experiance yields the demise of unmarried relationships are great. Alcoholism, suicide, depression, mental illness, physical illnesses,rage, increased domestic violence, and premature death. Physical illnesses of a psychomatic nature found in men are high blood pressure, ulcers, migraines, and impotence. These usually occur as a delayed reaction, about 5 years after the abortion.
Psychologist Vincent Rue urges men to stop being Silent Suffers. Stop pretending that the abortion doesn't affect them:
- Acknowlegde your feelings
- Allow yourself to grieve over the death of your child
- Forgive others and yourself
To assist fathers of aborted children through PAS, the support group “Dads For Life” was created. This organization also aims to educate the public concerning father's rights. Dads For Life is interested in collecting personal stories of men who have suffered from abortion grief. They are also working to promote legislation that protects both father's and unborn baby's rights. To receive their newsletter or to ask about telephone counseling write to:
Dads For Life
908 Thorn St
Princeton, WV 24740