It was 1991, I was 19 and in college and my girlfriend was pregnant. It was not a place I intended to be in. I was not ready to be a father or a husband. So what did we do? I’ll get back to that.
Years later, a musician friend of mine told me about a horrible smell that invaded his church during a rehearsal. The stench was so bad that it caused them to leave early. As they left, they noticed that a manhole cover had been removed from the sewer in the street causing the entire neighborhood to be filled with the horrid stench. As my friend observed this situation, he sensed the Lord tell him that just as the stench on this street was overwhelming due to a misplaced manhole cover, so is the decay and corruption of society. Men being out of place had caused a man hole – often times left for women to cover. Can you smell the stench?
One area where the stench of the man hole lingers today is in the fight against the horrible evil of
abortion. Since the Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade (January 22, 1973) legalized abortion, over
57 million babies have been slaughtered in the womb of their mothers.1 Millions of women and men are
negatively affected by their decision to abort their child, whether they know it or not. After all, it is impossible for anyone to commit such a grievous sin against God and not expect consequences (Galatians 6:7-8).
As devastating as abortion has been in our lives, marriages, families and nation, it is sad that Christian men for the most part have been silent and uninvolved. We have left it up to our women to speak up for the unborn, to counsel those in crisis and to minister to those who are hurting from an abortion in their past. Yes, the cover is off of the man hole and the stench is overwhelming. It is time for God’s men to rise up, engage and take the lead in the fight for life.
Abortion – Whose Issue is it Anyway?
Our society has framed abortion as a political issue and a women’s issue. Because of this, most men do
not feel that they have a place in the battle. Nothing could be further from the truth. One thing we must realize is that at the core, abortion is not merely a political issue or a women’s issue, it’s a biblical issue.
The Bible speaks about the sacredness of human life. All human life is created by God and in His image
(Genesis 1:27). We can see from the Scripture God’s concern for and the personhood of the unborn
baby (Psalm 139:13-16; Genesis 25:22; Luke 1:39-44). We can also see from Scripture that God hates the
shedding of innocent human blood (Exodus 20:13; Proverb 6:17). In addition to these, we see God’s
heart for justice as He calls His people to defend the weak and rescue the innocent (Psalm 82:3-4;
Proverbs 24:10-12, 31:8-9). Therefore, as His holy people, we (both men and women) are called to live in accordance with His word and to trumpet His truth.
Men Have Great Influence
As Christian men we are called to be warriors on the frontlines of cherishing and defending innocent
human life. Why are we allowing our women, who are considered the ‘weaker vessel’, to stand in the
place where God has called us to? Doesn’t it only seem right that defending and rescuing innocent
children is our responsibility? As imitators of God we should love righteousness (innocent human life
being born into the world) and hate wickedness (the slaughter of innocent babies in their mother’s
According to the law, the choice as to whether a woman gives birth or aborts the child is solely hers to make. This law has caused many to totally disregard the innocent human life that is destroyed by
abortion and the man to be totally overlooked. The man has been given the message that he has no
right to say whether his partner chooses to give birth or abort their child. Some studies show that men
tend to repress their emotions and defer the abortion decision to their partners in an effort to be
supportive.3 However, many women have frequently stated that the reason for terminating a pregnancy is related to the man.4
Let me return to my girlfriend’s pregnancy at 19. From our perspective, we both felt like having a baby
at that time would interfere with our future plans and decided that abortion was the best thing to do.
Despite our decision, I distinctly remember my girlfriend repeatedly asking me, “David do you really
think this is the right thing to do?” I assured her that it was and she had the abortion. The procedure
was traumatizing for her and within a few months our relationship was over. I truly believe my girlfriend was looking for me to lead. Yet I failed. Some would call it ‘supportive.’ I call it a man hole – influence gone awry.
Women Hurt and Men Should Care
Studies have shown that abortion can result in many physical and psychological complications in women. Some of these complications include hemorrhaging, infection, punctured organs, death, increased chances of breast cancer, guilt, grief, anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, and difficulty bonding with partner or children.5 By age forty-five, 3 in 10 American women will have had at least one abortion.6 These are not just nameless, faceless women. These are women we’ve had and currently have relationships with. They are in our families, churches, colleges and workplaces. Many of these women are suffering silently and the love of Christ ought to move us to pray for them and see them healed (Psalm 34:18; Isaiah 61:1).
If we are honest, some of us need to repent of our sin of convincing a woman to have an abortion which has brought pain to her and death to our unborn child. We all need to let women who are silently suffering from the effects of an abortion know that we care and are praying for them to experience the forgiveness, grace and healing of Jesus Christ. We need to repent of our sexual sins, personally, in the church and in this nation. We also need to repent for our silence of allowing the world instead of the Church to teach the future generations of God’s design for marriage and sexual intimacy. In doing this, we can proactively help more women never to have a need for an abortion. If you know a woman who has been affected by an abortion in her past please refer her to a local pregnancy resource center for
healing and hope.
“Men Hurt Too”
Because abortion is primarily thought of as a woman’s issue most people never think that a man is
affected by an abortion decision. In his article titled ‘Men and Abortion an Overview’, Brad Mattes, CEO and cofounder of Life Issues Institute, talks about the five key areas of men’s lives that God has placed an instinct in them to achieve success (procreate, provide, protect, perform and to enjoy pleasure). The man has a vital role in the procreation process of life being conceived in the womb (sperm to fertilize the egg). When an abortion takes place something shatters deep within a man because he feels like he failed to provide and protect his child and partner.
Therefore abortion is not just something that kills innocent babies and hurts women, it hurts men too!
Brad Mattes has done considerable anecdotal research on the effects of abortion on men.7 Some of the effects of the loss of fatherhood due to an abortion include anger, depression, turning to substances, loss of and failed future relationships, the inability to trust women, promiscuity, the inability to forgive, sexual dysfunction, poor bonding with children, nightmares and the inability to make decisions.8
Personally I know that abortion hurts men for I have experienced deep hurt in my life. Almost
immediately after my girlfriend’s abortion, there was the loss of our relationship along with the guilt of the abortion. In an attempt to medicate my pain, from the abortion and other hurts in my life, I became very promiscuous, partied, and drank more heavily than ever before while pursuing my college degree.
Shortly after completing my undergraduate degree in 1993, my path led me to another unintended
pregnancy at the age of 22. This young women and I had only known each other for a few months. She
made it clear that she did not want to raise a child alone. My guilt from my past experience and fear that she’d abort led me to my decision to marry her. I did not love her, nor was I suddenly pro-life, but in some sense I was trying to atone for my past mistake. After we married, I was filled with rage and it was often directed towards my wife. I had a son and it was hard for me to be overly excited at his birth and to really bond with him. I was not committed to my new family and continued to medicate my pain through partying, adulterous relationships and pursuing success through my continued education and career. Five short hard years later, at the age of 27, we divorced.
Healing After Abortion
As my life was falling apart, I came to know the forgiveness, grace and truth of Jesus Christ. The grace of God began to radically transform my life setting me free from sexual sins, drunkenness and unhealthy relationships. In about a year and a half after coming to know God, I had left my promising career in government and was in full-time ministry sharing my testimony and the gospel of Jesus Christ to young people.
In 2001, I was privileged to marry my wonderful, beautiful wife Terea*. God’s amazing and abundant
grace not only blessed me with a wife but with four precious children as a result of our union. As a
Christian man I was committed to growing in my relationship with God and with my family. Yet there
were still times when I found myself struggling with outbursts of anger, depression, low self-esteem, an inability to lead and make decisions and callousness. When my mother died suddenly and unexpectedly
in the summer of 2011, I found it hard to grieve her passing and questioned God as to how my heart
could be so hard.
In the spring of 2013, I was asked to share my story as the keynote speaker at the annual banquet of a
local pregnancy resource center in Cincinnati, Ohio. That evening I met Brad Mattes. A few days later,
we had a phone conversation and he asked me what I had done to invite the Lord to heal me from the
effects of my past abortion experience. My initial thoughts were that it wasn’t affecting me today – after all, that was 22 years ago! He sent me a book to read called Fatherhood Aborted by Guy Condon. As I read this book, I began to see that some of the symptoms that I had dealt with in the past and was still dealing with were effects of the abortion. Had I not talked with Brad or read the book, I never would have made that connection. After completing the book, I got together with a male peer counselor and went through an 8 week study on Healing the Effects of Abortion Related Trauma (H.E.A.R.T). As a
result, God has brought new levels of healing and forgiveness to me as I really began to grieve the loss of the daughter that I never got to father because of the abortion.
As I have spoken with men in personal conversations about my own abortion experience, I have come to
realize that there are many men, even in the body of Christ, who are suffering silently. Some of them
feel like they have no right to hurt due to their convincing a partner to have an abortion and they live under a cloud of guilt, shame and condemnation. Others live with hearts full of unforgivenness and
bitterness because their child was aborted against their wishes or without them knowing.
What Can We Do?
Though some of our stories cannot be changed, we can be used of God to intersect the stories of other
men. We as Christian men can be reach out to men who are in crisis due to an unintended pregnancy to
minister life to them and their children. We can help these men come to know the love of the heavenly
Father as He uses us to teach them about fatherhood and God’s design for marriage between one man
and one woman for life.
We should bear the burdens of our brothers who are hurting from the loss of fatherhood due to an
abortion. Pastors, you need to trumpet the truth from your pulpits that abortion is a grievous sin against God and minister grace to those who have participated in this heinous act. We can help these men get the healing that they need and be a part of the healing process.
So let me ask, would you pray about ministering the grace and truth of Christ to men in crisis and to
those effected by abortion in their past? If God moves you to do this, please contact your local
pregnancy resource center to see how you can be involved in ministering to men. You can learn more about the effects of abortion on men as well as find resources to minister to men at MenandAbortion.net.
Perhaps you are a man who has suffered in silence from the effects of an abortion in your past. God longs for you to experience His forgiveness and healing. Confess your sin to God (I John 1:9), forgive others as God in Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32), admit your pain to God and invite Him into it. Get involved with another man or in a group to process your pain and receive God’s healing. Contact your local pregnancy resource center to see if they have a ministry for men hurting from the loss of fatherhood due to an abortion or get connected to someone for help. (If you are not sure or would like to know what it means to have a personal relationship with God go to EveryPerson.com.
As men receive the healing of Christ, they are no longer silenced against this evil due to the sin of their
past. I long to see God’s grace and love overwhelm men so that they stand up unashamed as champions
for the unborn, ministers of compassion to those in the midst of crisis due to an unintended pregnancy
and instruments of healing and grace to those who are hurting from a past abortion. And if you think
that is crazy, here in the grace of Christ I write to you today. When this happens the church is
strengthened and truly is the salt of the earth that Jesus said (Matthew 5:13) keeping the decay and
corruption of our world from getting out of control. Men let’s rise up and engage in the fight for life so
that the stench of society won’t overwhelm us like a sewer with a manhole cover out of place.
2 Some of the material from first half of the message came from a book titled ‘Answering the Call: Saving Innocent Lives One Woman at a Time’ by John Ensor
3 A Critical Response to Exploring Men’s Roles in Women’s Decisions to End Pregnancies: A Literature Review with Suggestions for Action (Ipas Working Paper, 2009) (in section or article ‘Inadequate Review of Relevant Research’)
4 The Male Partner Involved in Legal Abortion (last sentence of first paragraph of introduction)
5 Care Net: Before You Decide Brochure (pp. 18-19, 21-22)
6 Induced Abortion in the United States, Guttmacher Institute,
8 Men and Abortion Brochure (PDF)