January 10, 2008
A new voice is emerging in the abortion debate, and this voice is a powerful witness to the tragedy of killing the unborn. This voice is the voice of the fathers of abortion.
"We had abortions … I've had abortions," says Mark B. Morrow, a Christian counselor and participant in arranging four abortions. Morrow was speaking to a gathering of men who have become antiabortion activists through reflection on their own experiences and their own lost children.
Stephanie Simon of The Los Angeles Times provides a report on this new movement in "Changing Abortion's Pronoun," published in the January 7, 2008 edition of the paper. Here is her introduction to the story:
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?"
That question haunts many men, as Simon's report makes clear. These men are raising their voices against abortion and the Culture of Death, and they call themselves "post-abortive men." As Simon explains, "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."
The concept of "post-abortion syndrome" has gained currency in recent years as women who have experienced abortions speak of their trauma and pain. As the paper's story acknowledges, these reports of post-abortion pain and deep distress were cited in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision allowing the government to ban partial-birth abortions.
The focus on the voices of men is new, but it reveals again that abortion takes a toll on all concerned, including those who are the fathers of aborted babies. The stories vary with the individuals involved. Some of these "post-abortive men" demanded and facilitated the abortion, others never knew of the pregnancy until it was too late.
And as Simon’s article vividly describes, the deep regret by men over an abortion may come later in life:
Morrow, the counselor, described his regret as sneaking up on him in midlife -- more than a decade after he impregnated three girlfriends (one of them twice) in quick succession in the late 1980s. All four pregnancies ended in abortion. Years later, when his wife told him she was pregnant, "I suddenly realized that I had four dead children," said Morrow, 47, who lives near Erie, Pa. "I hadn't given it a thought. Now it all came crashing down on me -- look what you've done." A few months ago, Morrow reached out to the ex-girlfriend who aborted twice. They met and prayed together, seeking peace. After they parted, she spilled her anger in a letter: "That long day we sat in that God-forsaken clinic, I hoped every moment that you would stand up and say, 'We can't do this'... but you didn't."
"Look what you've done." Those words come with a haunting sense of reality, guilt and grief.
These voices are also causing concern among abortion rights advocates. As Simon reports:
Abortion rights supporters watch this latest mobilization warily: If anecdotes from grieving women can move the Supreme Court, what will testimony about men's pain accomplish? "They can potentially shift the entire debate," said Marjorie Signer of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an interfaith group that supports abortion rights.
We can only respond with the hope that she is right. While the primary focus of the pro-life movement should be on the unborn baby who deserves to be born, a focus on the effects of abortion on both the women and the men involved holds the potential of reaching more minds and hearts.
A new voice is being heard in the abortion debate—and it's about time.
In addition to being one of Salem’s nationally syndicated radio talk show hosts, R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and recognized as one of America’s leading theologians and cultural commentators. For an extensive library of ministry resources from Dr. Mohler, including his daily blog, visit www.albertmohler.com.