By Erik Whittington
When talking about post-abortion experiences, one hears a lot about women hurting from abortion. At pro-life events, women usually make up the majority of those holding “I Regret My Abortion” signs. Occasionally, a middle-aged man testifies as to how abortion affected him and holds an “I Regret Lost Fatherhood” sign.
Rarely, however, do you hear from young men about how abortion has affected them. Statistically, 56 percent of women having abortions are in their twenties and 17 percent are teenagers, so it follows that roughly the same percentage (73 percent) of men involved in abortion are under 30 years old. Why don’t we hear their stories?
This year, at Ichthus Festival, (a huge Christian music event held June 10-13 in Wilmar, Kentucky), when two young men told me their stories, I got a very close look at this mostly unrecognized pain.
The first young man told me that his now-ex-girlfriend informed him that she was pregnant and getting an abortion. He pleaded with her to not kill their child. He told her he would take care of the child. He called lawyers, judges, politicians—anyone who would listen and might be able to help. All of them told him the same thing: You are a man and thus have no say in this matter. She went through with the abortion, and he was devastated! He told me, through tears, that he still has nightmares about his child being aborted.
The next day, another young man told me a similar story. His girlfriend had already made up her mind to abort when she first told him she was pregnant. He, too, had no say. He also cried as he told me about his nightmares and the year of depression, alcohol and drug abuse he endured after the abortion. I was given the opportunity to record this young man’s testimony in audio form, which we featured in a recent Rock for Life Netcast. Young men are generally less prone to showing their emotions, especially to a complete stranger. Nonetheless, these two couldn’t hold back their sorrow over their lost fatherhood. I was able to listen to both men and pray for their continued recovery.
The trauma both young men have experienced has fired them up about joining the pro-life movement. One of them asked about starting a Rock for Life chapter in his community. The other told me that as a college freshman, he started a campus pro-life club and would now like to associate it with Rock for Life. You can see God working in their lives as they work through their abortion experience and give of themselves at the same time.
Keeping in mind that we recently celebrated Father's Day, if you wonder why so many men seem disinterested in caring for their children … consider this: Maybe it’s because they have absolutely no voice in a life-or-death decision when those same kids are in the womb.
Don’t let the abortion advocates fool you! Abortion is not just "a women’s issue." Abortion deeply wounds men too—young and old. For more information on post-abortion healing for men, check out American Life League's Celebrate Life article "Men and abortion: Reclaiming lost fatherhood" (January–February 2009).
Erik Whittington is director of Rock for Life, American Life League’s youth outreach, which educates, actives and equips young people to put an end to the culture of death. For more information, visit www.RockforLife.org.