How Men Feel After Abortion
||“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.