Men and Abortion

From Catholic Lane
By Mark Pickup

In 1971, my girlfriend became pregnant with our baby. I pressured her to have an abortion; eventually she succumbed to the pressure and had an abortion. For decades I regretted my role in that abortion.

Throughout the years, feminists have emphatically maintained that abortion is a “women’s issue” that does not affect men. They must be wrong! If they were right then why did my heart ache so? If abortion does not affect men then why did my conscience condemn me for so many years? Of course the view that abortion does not affect men was/is the product of twisted feminism and the misandrists who have populated their ranks.

Was I the only man haunted by the dreams, the irrational sense of a foreshortened future, the sadness at lost fatherhood, the nagging desire to make things right and atone for my role in the abortion?1 Every time I would meet someone who was born in 1972, I would think of my son or daughter. I suspected that I was not alone in my regrets.

Social custom expects men affected by post-abortion grief to be silent. Men affected by abortion have been marginalized and separated from discussions that recognized their post-abortion grief. Disclosure or help-seeking was unlikely.

For too long our grief has been discounted by mainstream scholarly discourse, media and establishment elites. But my grief was real, regardless of conventional wisdom maintaining otherwise.

Yes, I suspected that I was not alone.

Then in 2007 I read an article in the Knights of Columbus magazine Columbia about a conference sponsored by the Knights in San Francisco for men of abortion. The conference was called “RECLAIMING FATHERHOOD: A multifaceted Examination of Men Dealing with Abortion.” I thought, “At last! There is a awareness surfacing of post-abortion syndrome in men. Our sorrow at lost fatherhood has been recognized thanks to the Knights of Columbus!”

Dr. Vincent M. Rue is a physiotherapist with more than thirty years experience treating post-abortion trauma. He is an expert in this field and was one of the speakers at the conference. Although Dr. Rue states that post-abortion grief transcends genders, in a later interview with Columbia he said that there are factors specific to helping men resolve emotional pain of abortion.

He recognizes that men are at a disadvantage because, as he said, “men must overcome cultural and psychological hang-ups about communicating feelings. … Men need safe places to talk about their issues.” (See his interview at http://www.kofc.org/un/en/columbia/detail/547671.html)

Apparently, another conference was held in 2009 in Chicago for psychologists, counselors, clergy, academics and ordinary men and women who have experienced abortion. According to another Knights of Columbus article, they “spoke out about what they say is an “invisible problem” — men, as well as women, can have profound grief and suffering as a result of abortion.” (See http://www.kofc.org/un/en/prolife/reclaim.html)

It is time for men who have suffered from post-abortion syndrome to be allowed to address their grief and move toward healing in this area of their lives. At a personal level, I found healing through a long and difficult spiritual journey that culminated in being forgiven by God, through His Son Jesus Christ. I laid my lost fatherhood of forty years ago at the foot of the Cross. It was only then that I was able to truly forgive myself.

I know many brutish men have no remorse for their children killed by abortion. I am not talking about them. I am talking about men who suffer post-abortion trauma and grieve lost fatherhood. It is time their grief be recognized, not dismissed, and avenues made available for them to settle that grief within the context of community. I encourage more conferences like what happened in San Fransisco and Chicago.

___________________________________________
(1) In the early years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I occasionally wondered if it was punishment for the abortion.

Mark Pickup is chronically ill and disabled with degenerative multiple sclerosis. He is an advocate for life issues and disability inclusion across North America. He and his wife, LaRee, have been married for 38 years. They live in Alberta Canada with their two adult children and five grandchildren. Mark is available to address issues of euthanasia, assisted suicide, and issues revolving around suffering that often fuel calls for euthanasia. He writes regularly at http://markpickup.org and http://humanlifematters.org. For bookings, contact him by e-mail at MPickup@shaw.ca or telephone (780) 929-9230. Mark Pickup’s bi-weekly column can be read in the Western Catholic Reporter (Canada) at http://www.wcr.ab.ca/.

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32 Responses to Men and Abortion

  1. toadspittle says:

    .

    “Of course the view that abortion does not affect men was/is the product of twisted feminism and the misandrists who have populated their ranks.”

    Imbecile.
    He takes an absurd statement, “Abortion does not affect men,” and then tells us that it is absurd. Then he blames it on someone else. Surely we can do better than this on CP&NVB?*

    *Catholicism, Pure & Not Very Bright

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  2. toadspittle says:

    .
    Sorry for the intemperate outburst above, (lack of coffee, and baldy-behave cat) although the objection I made is valid, I believe.

    But, while dogwalking, I’ve been pondering.
    And will ask my all friends on here this: What would each of you do about abortion, if you were given the chance and the opportunity?

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  3. toadspittle says:

    (That should read, badly-behaved cat. He’s certainly not bald. There’s hair all over all the chair cushions.)

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  4. toadspittle says:

    .
    “(1) In the early years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I occasionally wondered if it was punishment for the abortion.” muses Mark

    Very likely.
    In the past, in the time of “Mary’s Dowry,” God frequently visited physical afflictions on people who’d been sinful. Then cured them with miracles when they repented.
    Works for Toad!

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  5. Elisabeth says:

    Toad, what are you angry about anyway? I agree the statement can’t be blamed on feminists alone. The early feminists, at least in the United States, condemned abortion as being completely beneath women’s innate compassion, and they blamed abortion totally on men’s selfishness and dominance of women.

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  6. toadspittle says:

    .
    Well, I’m no longer angry Elizabeth. The coffee and the dogwalk this morning worked.
    And blaming abortion on either exclusively men, or women, is too silly to worry about, as you say.

    However, if I don’t get any answers to the question below, I might get a little snippy..

    “What would each of you do about abortion, if you were given the chance and the opportunity?”

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  7. Elisabeth says:

    I would treat it like our culture does suicide: a terrible, irreversible decision that people sometimes make, which should be averted at all costs, the causes of it remedied and eradicated, or, when failing that, the victims (the survivors) should be comforted and helped to heal, forgive themselves, and go on with their lives.

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  8. Mimi says:

    Toad asked: “What would each of you do about abortion, if you were given the chance and the opportunity?”

    I would make it illegal, always and everywhere, to deliberately terminate the life of any unborn child *as an end in itself*. I am not referring to those cases where the death of the child is a tragic by-product of some other medical procedure required by the mother, only to those cases where the death of the child is the desired result.

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  9. Elisabeth says:

    If you made it illegal, Mimi, what would you do to those who broke the law?

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  10. Mimi says:

    Prosecute them, of course, like any other murderer. Simples!

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  11. Elisabeth says:

    Then you would make abortion a felony, and make a woman who procures an abortion punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty (in the US)?

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  12. Mimi says:

    Yes. And not only the woman, but those who carried out the abortion too.

    “Murder is murder is murder”, as Mrs Thatcher was wont to say.

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  13. Elisabeth says:

    Not so. For an abortion does not fit the legal definition of “murder”. In a great percentage of abortions there is no malicious intent, only desperation and fear.

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  14. toadspittle says:

    .

    “Murder is murder is murder”, as Mrs Thatcher was wont to say.”

    Mimi would, it appears, put a frightened 15-year old who’s had an abortion in the same category as Andres Brevik.

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  15. kathleen says:

    What would each of you do about abortion, if you were given the chance and the opportunity?”

    This is actually a very good question asked by our grumpy Toad this morning. Abortion is such a terrible tragedy.
    One’s first reaction would certainly be to make it illegal and call it ‘murder’. Yet it is only probably the crime of murder for those who perform the abortion, knowing exactly what they are doing, and enriching themselves in the process. As Elizabeth perceptively points out, many of those who seek an abortion are certainly often motivated by desperation, and don’t even stop to think they are in reality getting rid of a human person at its very earliest stages of development.
    However, most people nowadays, when there is so much information about the formation of the fetus in the womb, are fully aware they are killing their child! Then it can only be called ‘murder’, or at least manslaughter.

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  16. Elisabeth says:

    Maybe, maybe not, Toad, but the fact that abortion is not sanctioned in any way at all very easily sets that frightened teenager up to choose it as the simplest and quickest way out of her difficulty.

    If there was as much medical assistance and societal pressure on teenagers to commit suicide as there is to procure an abortion, I probably would not be here today.

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  17. Mimi says:

    Elisabeth says:
    ‘Not so. For an abortion does not fit the legal definition of “murder”.’

    In my hypothetical situation, where I am in charge and have made abortion illegal, abortion will indeed fit the legal definition of murder; it will be explicitly defined as such. No one will have the excuse of not being aware that they are committing a grave crime.

    Toad says:
    ‘Mimi would, it appears, put a frightened 15-year old who’s had an abortion in the same category as Andres Brevik.’

    As a minor, a 15-year-old would be treated differently under the law in any case.
    Neither do I believe that all murderers belong in the same category. A man who stabs another in a drunken brawl, a woman who kills an abusive husband, a husband who shoots his wife’s lover, etc., etc., ad nauseam — none of these are in the same category as Anders Brevik, or Stalin, or the common or garden suicide bomber, for example. One’s degree of guilt and responsibility is usually determined during legal proceedings involving prosecutors, defenders, judge and jury. That’s what courts are for, surely?

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  18. Elisabeth says:

    Yes, but I don’t see how you could make abortion legally identical with murder. At least in the US, if an assailant can be shown to have been in danger or even believed him or herself to have been in danger, they can invoke self-defense. And if someone invades your ‘personal space’ against your will, and you believe that to be a threat to your life or well-being, again you can invoke self-defense. Case in point: the current Martin case. What would you say if one of the courts in your hypothetical kingdom invoked self-defense?

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  19. Mimi says:

    I’m sorry, I have no idea what the Martin case is. 😉

    Nor have I any idea how the courts would regard the ‘self-defence’ plea; I’m not a lawyer.
    I do, however, find it difficult to cast an innocent, defenceless child in the role of a threatening assailant.

    In any case, the ‘self-defence’ plea would at least be unavailable to the abortionists.

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  20. Mimi says:

    Ah, wait — Trayvon Martin! Sorry — a senior moment! 🙂

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  21. toadspittle says:

    .

    “I do, however, find it difficult to cast an innocent, defenceless child in the role of a threatening assailant.” You may find it “difficult” Mimi, but you’ve managed to do it, anyway, “Murder is murder is murder,” etc.. (Maybe I should have made it a frightened 18-year-old.)

    And yes, Kathleen, I believe it is a good question. Which you have signally neglected to answer.
    What, apart from calling it nasty names, would you actually do about it?

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  22. Elisabeth says:

    What would you do about it, Toadspittle? Since you think it is all absurd anyway, why does it matter to you? That is what I cannot understand.

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  23. toadspittle says:

    .
    I was wondering when someone would ask.
    Fair enough.
    I’d leave things much as they are, and make it illegal to whine about it. (Not really – that’d be undemocratic!)
    I’m not an aficionado of legal abortion. Still less of illegal abortion.

    While I’m on, re the dreaded absurd: If God exists, given the state of the world, with its “natural events ” – disasters if you like, such as earthquakes and malaria, to say nothing of the inbuilt insanity of His favourite species, Homo Sapiens, it is absurd to me.
    If God doesn’t exist, it is still absurd, but in another, less incomprehensible, way.
    Or so I think.
    (I shall regret this.)

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  24. Mimi says:

    Toad said:
    ‘“I do, however, find it difficult to cast an innocent, defenceless child in the role of a threatening assailant.” You may find it “difficult” Mimi, but you’ve managed to do it, anyway, “Murder is murder is murder,” etc.. (Maybe I should have made it a frightened 18-year-old.)’

    Most amusing, Toad, but I think you know very well that I was referring to the innocent unborn child. 😉

    What is your hypothetical teenager so frightened of, anyway? There’s very little social stigma attached to single motherhood these days, and (at least in countries where abortion is legal) there seems to be very little danger of dying in childbirth. If she’s frightened of the responsibility of motherhood, she can give the child up for adoption. So where is all this imaginary fear coming from?

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  25. toadspittle says:

    .
    My frightened teenager is frightened at the prospect of having a serious surgical operation that might prove, even under optimum conditions, fatal. At least I know I would be, in her situation.
    And I seriously doubt she is “hypothetical.”

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  26. toadspittle says:

    .
    …Or maybe she’s frightened by people called “Mimi.”

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  27. kathleen says:

    So after answering his own question Toad says: “I’d leave things much as they are” (i.e. allowing the abortion industry to continue its wicked mass murder of innocents!!)
    I’m not an aficionado of legal abortion. Still less of illegal abortion.”

    Well that’s good to know Toad. You are not an “aficionado” of the mass killing of babies….. great! Yet abortion is OK for you all the same; is that it? What a dreadful thing to admit to!

    I know you’re going to fly into me now, or mock and ridicule me – as you always do with anyone who you disagree with – but I don’t care. Abortion is a crime that ‘calls to Heaven for justice’ and whether it is outright ‘murder’ or ‘manslaughter’ (depending on the case, or the person involved) it is always the deliberate ending of a human life.

    And why on earth did you say I “neglected to answer your question” above?…… I certainly did. (I said I would make it illegal.) Only, you didn’t like my response. Too bad!

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  28. Mimi says:

    Toad said:
    ‘My frightened teenager is frightened at the prospect of having a serious surgical operation that might prove, even under optimum conditions, fatal.’

    Luckily, there’s a cure for that: DON’T HAVE AN ABORTION, DEAR.

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  29. Elisabeth says:

    Toad, I think I’ve figured out your basic stance towards life is this whole absurdity thing you talked about. That just makes you about average, as far as I can see. I didn’t ask for one more reiteration of the same.

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  30. toadspittle says:

    .
    Cripes!

    Angry Catholics!

    ¡¡¡This time you’ve gone too far, Toad!!!

    (But where else is there to go?)

    “Luckily, there’s a cure for that: DON’T HAVE AN ABORTION, DEAR.”

    Love the “Dear.” Better still, DON’T GET PREGNANT “DEAR”!

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  31. Mimi says:

    Toad said:
    ‘Better still, DON’T GET PREGNANT “DEAR”!’

    Quite right, Toad, but I thought that “Keep your knickers on, dear” might be vulgar. 🙂

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  32. toadspittle says:

    .“Quite right, Toad, but I thought that “Keep your knickers on, dear” might be vulgar.” …suggests MImI.
    And who is going to argue with her over that? Yes, it is vulgar – and why not? Vulgarity is not a sin – at least not as far as Toad knows.
    Nevertheless – It would possibly be a much nicer, and less crowded, planet if a few of of us (not Mimi, of course!) had “kept their (or her) knickers on, ” a bit longer than their demons were urging them to..

    But, there we are. A question of hit and miss, possiobly.

    We will have to deal with the aftermath, the unwanted babies.
    Bring back the noose!.

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