LA Times writer, Stephanie Simon, has an interesting article today about how some men experience negative reactions to a wife or girlfriend’s abortion. The article begins:
SAN FRANCISCO — Jason Baier talks often to the little boy he calls Jamie. He imagines this boy — his son — with blond hair and green eyes, chubby cheeks, a sweet smile.
But he’ll never know for sure.
His fiancee’s sister told him about the abortion after it was over. Baier remembers that he cried. The next weeks and months go black. He knows he drank far too much. He and his fiancee fought until they broke up. “I hated the world,” he said.
Baier, 36, still longs for the child who might have been, with an intensity that bewilders him: “How can I miss something I never even held?”
These days, he channels the grief into activism in a burgeoning movement of “post-abortive men.” Abortion is usually portrayed as a woman’s issue: her body, her choice, her relief or her regret. This new movement — both political and deeply personal in nature — contends that the pronoun is all wrong.
“We had abortions,” said Mark B. Morrow, a Christian counselor. “I’ve had abortions.”
Morrow spoke to more than 150 antiabortion activists gathered recently in San Francisco for what was billed as the first national conference on men and abortion. Participants — mostly counselors and clergy — heard two days of lectures on topics such as “Medicating the Pain of Lost Fatherhood” and “Forgiveness Therapy With Post-Abortion Men.”
Simon then interviews some in the mental health community who are skeptical but the article mostly allows the men at the conference to describe their experiences. It is impossible to judge how prevalent such reactions are; however, I can say that I experienced grief over my wife’s miscarriage some years ago. I have worked with a few men who describe this grief over abortion. As with other issues we have dealth with here, I hope counselors do not impose their views of how an event should or should not impact a person, but at the same time, counselors should not discount those who want to explore their reactions to an abortion.