For every child lost to abortion, there is a mother and a father. Men are often the hidden partners in each and every abortion decision.
Sadly, estimates are that up to 70% of all relationships end after an abortion experience. It has been said that men are not as likely to openly express their grief as women. They do grieve the loss of children to abortion, but in a private way.
Fathers of aborted children may experience rage, anger, addictions, risk-taking behaviors, grief, sadness, impotence and an inability to communicate with their partners.
The way in which he is affected can be influenced by the role he took in the decision itself. Some of the ways a man may be involved include:
- The father who was against the abortion and tried to prevent it
- The father who appeared to be ambivalent about the abortion, who left the woman alone to face the pregnancy on her own or did not go to great lengths to prevent it
- The father who forced the abortion decision or threatened to withdraw support if abortion was not chosen
- The father who did not know about the abortion until after it occurred or was never certain that it happened
- The man who married a woman who was post-abortive prior to their marriage
A man does not have to be the father of the aborted child to be affected by the abortion decision. He may have:
- Driven the woman to the clinic
- Provided money for the abortion
- Encouraged her to have the abortion
- Offered no help and done nothing to stop the abortion
Grandparents may struggle with the knowledge of an abortion and the loss of a grandchild. Their reactions are also linked to their involvement in the abortion decision. Parents of the mother undergoing the abortion may have forced the abortion, may have been unaware of the abortion until it was over, or may have been supportive of their daughter’s decision.
Grandparents may exhibit some of these symptoms:
- Grief or sadness over having lost a grandchild
- Anger at their child for becoming pregnant or having an abortion
- Anger at the son’s or daughter’s partner or partner’s parents
- Concern for their child, wanting to resolve their child’s emotional/behavioral issues
- Guilt, particularly if they forced the decision or if they believe that they missed the cues that signaled a pregnancy
Individuals who have lost a sibling to abortion may struggle with profound questions throughout their lives. Siblings can suffer in these ways:
- The surviving children of earlier or later pregnancies in a family may exhibit a survivor syndrome similar to that seen in children who lose a sibling to cancer or accidental death
- They may struggle with being “replacement children” or “chosen children”
- These children often have high expectations placed upon them by their parents
- Sometimes they can experience a lack of proper bonding with their mothers
- Some children may sense that someone is missing in the family system through intuition
Others Wanting to Help:
Extended family members and friends may have questions about how to facilitate the mother’s healing. Although you can never force a person to seek healing, you can casually share information about post-abortion healing and point them in the direction for help.
*Information taken from the USCCB Project Rachel Ministry Manual (2009 Edition)