Recently, an interesting blog post concerning elective abortion was published by Canadian Mark David Pickup. In the post, Mr. Pickup disclosed that, during his adolescence, he and his girlfriend experienced an unplanned pregnancy and he pressured her to abort. He summarized the situation in these words:
“I did not want a baby, I wanted to party and have sex without consequences. She didn’t want to have an abortion but I pressured her. Eventually she gave in to my pressure.”
Mr. Pickup’s honesty is commendable. Obviously he has faced reality head on and taken responsibility for his part in creating that reality. In spite of the challenges that he and his young girlfriend faced at the time, they married and remain so today nearly 40 years after the abortion occurred. Nonetheless, the abortion took its toll and Mark writes about the long-term influence of his experience including his acute awareness that his first child is missing, his feeling of failure, and his enduring and private sorrow.
As I read this post, I recalled a similar story that I heard nearly twenty years ago while being interviewed about the topic of men and abortion by a host of our local NPR radio station. During the interview, a man called in to share his story. He told us that he and his wife married very young and his wife became pregnant immediately and unexpectedly. They were embarrassed and felt they weren’t financially ready for a child. So they chose to have an illegal abortion and tell no one. Their marriage survived and produced four more children all of whom were eventually told about their aborted sibling. In fact, the man said that the family still speaks about the ‘missing’ child on occasion and that he and his wife still grieve for that child.
Each of these men found healing by confronting his past with honesty and humility. Yet, each expressed an abiding sense of loss related to an abortion that occurred decades earlier. The burden they still carry is indicative of the degree of pain caused by abortion.
While society may ignore men’s reactions to both crisis pregnancies and their resolution, it is becoming increasingly clear that some men suffer greatly after elective abortion. Hopefully, the stories shared here will affirm men and encourage those who need help to seek healing.
(Help for men who are struggling with a past abortion is available and referrals for counseling may be obtained at this website. Readers are encouraged to view the Find a Counselor section of the website.)