Father’s Day Often a Painful Reminder to Post-Abortive Dads

One of the most moving new trends in the pro-life movement is the testimony of men who regret their abortion.

A pro-life activist carries a sign at a Planned Parenthood facility in New York.
A pro-life activist carries a sign at a Planned Parenthood facility in New York. (photo: Patty Knap)

In my years working at a crisis pregnancy centers, I’ve met a number of men who have had a child aborted in their past.

For some, it’s deeply buried and rarely brought to the surface.

But for many, Father’s Day is a particularly difficult reminder.

While there has been much discussion on the effects abortion has on mothers, lesser known are the consequences that these fathers suffer.

Right after an abortion, it’s not uncommon for one or both parents to feel an immediate sense of relief that they now don’t have this child to care for. However, that feeling rarely lasts, and men tend to be less open about what they’re experiencing than women.

Relationship problems, alcohol and drug use, anger, depression and even suicide are all statistically higher in post-abortive men. Yet there isn’t as much public awareness about it, and many of these men themselves don’t associate the difficulties with their abortion. In some cases, men struggle with anxiety, lack of concentration and anger that affects daily life and work. Men have shared being let go from a job or being asked to leave the military. Most relationships in which there is an abortion end shortly after. Often family members, friends or roommates, have no idea why this person is showing changes in his personality.

Some of the men who’ve shared their stories were opposed to the abortion and felt powerless to prevent it. That’s one kind of agony. Other men insisted on the abortion, perhaps threatened to end the relationship if the mother kept the baby, offered to pay for it, brought a wife or girlfriend to the abortion center and waited outside. Their agony includes deep regret, feelings of responsibility and even self-hatred.

With all the cultural rage and violence occurring, some have raised the important issue of fatherlessness — young men growing up without a father — which has been shown to be a factor in depression and anger. As a society we need to consider the fathers involved in abortion as well.

One of the most moving new trends in the pro-life movement is the testimony of men who regret their abortion. Men carrying signs that say just that have had a presence at the March for Life for the past few years. Some have spoken at parish pro-life meetings. Others have written books or posted video interviews. Still others help out at crisis pregnancy centers in a variety of ways — painting and making repairs, picking up or dropping off donated cribs and car seats or counseling young men who are considering abortion.

Some men pray and witness in front of Planned Parenthoods around the country. These men reach out to the young men heading inside or dropping off their girlfriends, and tell them what it’s really like to miss a child that whose death you’re responsible for. They urge these couples to go to the nearest pro-life pregnancy center to see their baby’s ultrasound — something they were not shown before their abortion. These men give their time to try to prevent the same life-altering pain in other young men. Their prayers and witness are heroic.

In my area on Long Island, a few of these post-abortive men pray at regular times on Tuesdays and Saturday mornings. Their attention-drawing signs say, “I Regret My Abortion,” “See Your Ultrasound First,” “Thousands of Couples Wait to Adopt,” and my favorite, “Tiny Lives Matter.” Their simple chats with young guys at the abortion center have resulted in at least eight baby saves I know of, not to mention the fathers and mothers who were spared the agony of abortion.

If a man you know is suffering from a past abortion, refer them to: