Abortion can have consequences for men as well as women. The impact of abortion on men is often overlooked because, legally, a man does not have the right to interfere in his partner’s decision and his opinion is seldom requested.
Charlie Conner, who belongs to an organisation that helps people – men and women – come to terms with post-abortion trauma, explains that, “every aborted child has a father – and you don’t need to be a mathematician to work out the enormity of the problem behind that”. Margaret Cuthill, who also belongs to an organisation helping people after an abortion, confirmed that 10% of calls come from men. Approximately 5% of men suffer trauma after their partner has an abortion, and 40% regret not speaking to a therapist. According to Charlie Conner, “it’s natural for people to feel guilt and shame – a mourning process is triggered. But because there is no funeral, the extent of the wound only comes to light several years later”.
This is precisely what happened to 50 year-old Carl Miller. Several years after his partner had an abortion, the fifty year-old explained that “over time, I’ve realised the importance of what happened and what I lost”. 39 year-old Tony Perry, in turn, expressed his resentment fifteen years after his partner at that time had an abortion. “It has left me with deep wounds. There’s always a shadow hanging over me”. “It’s like carrying a rucksack – some days you simply know that it’s there, but on other days, it’s like an additional weight that pulls you down”.
Arthur Shostak, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, United States, has interviewed a lot of men whose partners had an abortion. For 90% of those interviewed, he believes that this was the most painful experience in their lives, and about 9% never recover.
Note from Gènéthique: