Lately, and rightly so, public attention has been focused on women and their unborn babies as the House of Representatives debated and passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. But today I want to remind you of the hidden victims of abortion—the fathers of aborted babies.
Slowly but surely awareness is spreading that men who’ve lost children to abortion also need our help and compassion. The pro-life movement is to be lauded for its grassroots network support of women after abortion. But we have considerable ground to cover in order to catch up to where we should be with offering hope and healing to grieving fathers.
This is not to say that all men grieve the loss of their children after abortion. Many guys use abortion as a means to debase and enslave women after physically exploiting them to satisfy their sexual appetites before tossing them aside. Staffs of pro-life women resource centers hear countless stories from pregnant women about these types of men. While acknowledging this reality, it’s vitally important that society doesn’t punish all men for the callousness of some.
Research conducted by Arthur B. Shostak and his colleagues (all supporting legal abortion) revealed some disturbing findings, which are documented in their book Men and Abortion, Lessons, Losses and Love. They found that about eight percent of fathers of aborted babies suffer very serious emotional symptoms. This means in the wake of over 56-million abortions, America is nearing five million men who are the “walking wounded” struggling to deal with their loss. Tens of millions more suffer to lesser extents.
In the mid to late nineties, individual islands of hope and healing began to appear across America’s landscape. They were pro-life individuals who understood men’s profound grief, shame and hopelessness caused by abortion’s aftermath. It was then that the Men and Abortion Network (MAN) was established with a mission to generate awareness of the emotional pain many fathers experience, as well as resources to help them. A grassroots network of peer-to-peer counseling, as well as credentialed licensed therapists, began to emerge.
This has been a significant development, but progress has been painfully slow. I’m again reminded of this every time we reach out to a community looking for a qualified individual to lead a father through the healing process and come up empty-handed, even in large metropolitan areas.
My advice to pro-life organizations or individuals feeling a tug on their hearts to help these fathers: “Move forward and do it!” We now have a plethora of resources to help and guide you. They can be found at the MAN website MenAndAbortion.net. In addition, a number of MAN members are available to assist and advise you.
About the time you are reading this, a major conference on Men and Abortion in Niagara Falls, Canada, is taking place. I’m honored to be included with individuals who are part of a who’s who of experts in the field of men and abortion. The good news is that if you weren’t able to attend, the proceedings were professionally recorded and will be available. For more information email Drew Martin or call (780) 710-5017.
The effort to assist men after abortion has expanded well beyond North America. My personal experience in advocating for grieving fathers has taken me to Russia (including Siberia), The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Chile and several other countries. In mid-July I will be traveling to Bogotá, Colombia, to speak at an international conference focusing on emotional care after abortion for mothers and fathers.
Other members of MAN have extensive international resumes, while some provide expert testimony at trials and before legislative bodies working to pass pro-life legislation. We have collectively produced articles, research, books, healing guides and videos—all to help you reach out to hurting fathers in your community.
As you read this, millions of men are struggling to pound through another day, knowing that they participated in the death of their babies. Let’s help them.