Men are often excluded from information about abortion and even the abortion decisions of their partners. Some are directly told that they have no right to even express a view about abortion as they are not the ones who have to carry the baby. This is primarily because of the premise that it is a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body and that she is the one who bears the most significant changes in her life and in her body.
Men can often feel that there is no ‘right’ way for them to behave when they and their partners find out they are expecting a baby they hadn’t intended. It can be confusing for men to have such strong feelings about the pregnancy and the future, whilst struggling with the idea that they actually have no legal rights to a say.
Some men feel that they very much want to support their partner, but do not know the right words to say. They do not want to be perceived as pressuring their partner, so many end up saying very little.
It is worth noting that many women who seek abortion say that if they had experienced more support from their partner, they would have felt more able to continue their pregnancy. It is so important that you feel supported as a man to speak about your own thoughts and feelings about the pregnancy and becoming a parent. It is vital that you ensure you also understand that whatever decision is made, continuing the pregnancy or abortion, it is a decision you will both live with for life. There is no ‘quick fix’ for this situation.
Whilst much of the research about abortion has focussed on the needs of women and the adverse effects of abortion on women, there is no doubt that abortion impacts men in very significant ways. You may need support to tell your partner how you feel. You may need strategies for dealing with the decision your partner makes.
This website provides some information about the ways in which men are affected by abortion.
From the same website comes this introduction.
‘If you are the father of an aborted baby, I am sorry for your loss. I realize that the society as a whole has told you that you have no right to grieve or struggle with the abortion decision. However, I know from hearing the stories of many fathers,that some men hurt a great deal after the abortion. They pinpoint that event as a turning point that marked the beginning of the end of the relationship with their partner. Other men are confused by their feelings and they may not come to the surface until many years later. Some of those men, however, identify that risk-taking or chemical/alcohol use or abuse may have coincided with the abortion experience. Whatever your story, we care about you.
There is a myth in society that says men don’t care. People seem to believe that men are only involved in abortion decisions as forcers or abandoners. The belief is that men are untouched by the experience and that men are simply sperm donors who then walk away. While in some cases, that might be true, my experience of having listened to men’s stories over the years is that the scenarios are much more complicated. The law and the societal expectation that abortion should only be a woman’s issue and decision, has perhaps kept some men from speaking what is in their heart.’