||“Life after deciding to abort will never be totally free
from the difficulties and the pain that having an abortion will provide.
Dealing with it is hard, and it can have a negative effect on all your
future relationships with women and babies.”
– RON STOLTENBERG
|“Don’t do it. The man has responsibility towards his actions
and their consequences. He should be supportive and try to save the
life of the baby and work towards this – whatever it takes, including financial
support of the child and assistance to the mother.”
– NELS SAMUELSON
|Steve Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Treatment Centers, a Christ-centered program for emotional problems based in Laguna Beach, California, with locations across the U.S. He has authored numerous magazine articles and pamphlets, plus 14 books.|
BY STEVE ARTERBURN
In front of 2,200 Baylor University students, I confessed a sin: “Twenty years ago I came to this school to get a Christian education, but what I got was a girl pregnant my first year here.”
Being invited to speak at my alma mater was a great honor. As I thought about how I could challenge these students, it would have been more fun to play up my accomplishments. But I had to admit who I really was and what I had done.
Twenty years ago, I helped pay for my girlfriend’s abortion. My immediate reaction to her news was it was an inconvenience that must be eliminated. I never stopped to think about what I was doing. I never considered that a real life was inside her that I had helped create. I simply thought the doctor was removing some unwanted tissue.
Years later I faced the truth. I had selfishly destroyed a human life because I didn’t want to be inconvenienced. My rude awakening was “male post-abortion syndrome” – a flood of guilt, confusion and denial that often follows an abortion. Post-abortion syndrome is typically associated with mothers of aborted children, but I’m one of the thousands of abortion fathers who have also gone through this ordeal. In my case, it resulted in 80 ulcers eating at my stomach, intestines and colon. The pain was excruciating and was made worse by the knowledge that it was a result of my secret sin.
Accepting God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ was the miracle I needed. Over time, the internal physical scars disappeared; subsequent tests revealed no trace of the trauma. The guilt of my secret sin had destroyed my health. However, God restored it.
Shortly after I spoke at Baylor, the woman I had gotten pregnant more than two decades earlier called me. She had heard about my talk. It was wonderful to hear that she, too, had experienced God’s healing from that horrible act. She had only one suggestion: “The next time you tell the story, be more honest about what really happened. You didn’t just help pay for the abortion; you pressured me to get it.”
It was true. She never wanted to do it. She wanted to keep the baby. It was my forcefulness that finally led her to do what she didn’t want to do. I came face-to-face with who I really was – a coward who preyed upon someone else to make my own life easier.
Studies show that the most significant factor in
a woman’s decision to get an abortion is lack of support from the man to
keep the child. As painful as it was hearing it, I was glad this friend
from years ago had the courage to confront me.
Men everywhere report that having a child aborted is a horrendous and heartbreaking experience, whether they opposed or supported the abortion. Afterwards, many men feel angry, guilty and powerless. Sometimes they become depressed and suicidal.
Many men think they’re going to solve a problem by aborting their child. Later they realize it was a big mistake that they can’t forget.
One man confessed that he had been an alcoholic and had committed various crimes for which he served prison time, but he said the worst thing he had ever done was to encourage his girlfriend to have an abortion.
God gave each of us a conscience to help us know right from wrong. And when we do wrong, our conscience tugs at us until we repent and make amends. Our God is a loving Father who wants to forgive us for all our sins – no matter how unforgivable they seem to be. He’ll even forgive the sin of abortion, if you repent, ask Him for forgiveness and commit never to do it again.
Help is available right now. Excellent counselors are just a phone call
away. They understand the pain, sadness and guilt after
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