Should people impose their views on others?
When we want to get rid of a child that will impact on our lifestyle we say the people who say we don’t have the right to kill someone are in the wrong.
Religion did not discover when life begins – biologists did. Religion did not establish that at the moment of conception a unique and separate individual exists – geneticists did. Abortion is not a religious issue any more than drink-driving is a religious issue.
History shows that pro-life legislation was initiated by the medical establishment in an attempt to protect the unborn. The Hippocratic Oath which dates back to 450 BC states in part “Will not assist in procuring an abortion..”
We expect to live under a set of views imposed on us – and we expect that they will be just and fair. There must be a governing system capable of making rules to secure the protection and stability of society.
We are not a bunch of free radicals floating around able to do what we want to do, whenever we want to do it, to whomever we want to do it. In Australia we expect and trust that those governing us will make rules that will safeguard our lives and lifestyles. We and our passengers are told we have to wear seatbelts, we have to stick to within the speed limit, we can’t drive while we are drunk, and we have to drive on the right side of the road – it’s generally not accepted that we do whatever we want to do and kill someone else in the process.
We rebel when those views don’t suit us. When we want to do something that’s not allowed under the constraints of stable society, that’s when we flex our muscles.
In this instance, when we want to get rid of a coming child that will impact on our lifestyle, we shout that no-one else should tell us that it’s wrong.
We shout that we should be allowed to do what we want to do, no matter if it hurts – in fact – kills someone else in the process. And we say that is OK.
Does abortion hurt men? And what does it do to fathers?
Most men form a mental picture of the woman they perceive to be the ideal partner with whom they wish to share their life. For most men, the following qualities would at least be considered for inclusion in that list: good looks, good figure, good personality and compatible intelligence. However, upon reflection, most would find they have chosen their partners due to the realisation that they just ‘felt at ease’ with each other.
At that time, some of the previously desired qualities no longer really mattered as they began to appreciate other more enduring qualities such as kindness, honesty, thoughtfulness, softness, gentleness. These precious qualities, added to the physical beauty they saw, formed a basis for the love and respect that developed for their partners.
When a man is the father of a baby to be killed by abortion it will have some psychological effect on him as well as the mother. Broadly speaking the mother will probably fit into one of these two groups:
Women who have had their hearts hardened through bad experiences in life. They have missed out on genuine love and respect at some crucial stage in their life. These women find it difficult to show love to an unseen baby when they themselves feel deprived of the love and respect they, like all of us, need in life.
Women who have been fed false and misleading information that leads them to believe that abortion is right in some circumstances. These women are most likely inwardly doubting the correctness of their decision to abort and only need some love, support and encouragement to find a reason not to kill their baby.
If the mother fits into the second group then the man is lucky to be sharing his life with a woman not hardened by life’s experiences. However, she is the type most likely to be greatly affected by the death of her baby. Is the experience of killing her own baby going to be the ‘hardener’ that changes her life and his too?
The psychological suffering following induced abortion is known as ‘post abortion syndrome’ and the symptoms include
feelings of guilt and loss of self esteem
inability to communicate
impaired efficiency in all walks of life
recourse to alcohol and drugs
loss of normal sexual vitality and desire
Strong emotions of grief, sadness, inappropriate emotional responsiveness, shame, anger and alienation are all common
This suffering will distort the very qualities which formed the basis of a man’s love for his partner. Keeping a relationship together is hard at the best of time, however it can become impossible with the added complications of personality changes.
What abortion does to fathers
There is extensive documentation on how abortion affects the mother of the child, focusing solely on the problems of the woman. The father is all but ignored medically, legally and psychologically.
Men are expected to be aggressive, dominant, successful and responsible. The abortion experience creates much confusion in these traditional male characteristics. Quite often the abortion undermines each of the man’s roles, generating anxiety, stress and emotional turmoil. In a society where the active role of the father is not only accepted but increasingly expected, it is ironic that men are left powerless to determine their offspring’s fate.
According to Dr Rue of the Sir Thomas More Marriage & Family Clinics of Southern California, the most devastating effect of the abortion can be seen in the father’s role as protector of his family. The Supreme Court has declared that a father has limited rights and that a husband has no rights in the abortion area, other than those the state may have and which the state deigns to delegate.
So our aggressive, dominant, autonomous male is converted to a passive, helpless, dependent person. His self-concept is all but destroyed. Said one parent “I will never overcome the pain I feel, I was unable to save my child.” A psychologist at the University of Maryland Counselling Centre stated “Abortion is one of the major death experiences that men go through. It resurrects very important, very primitive issues, memories and feelings.” One man from his survey revealed that “abortion is a wound that you cannot see or feel but it exists.”
From the first moment when a man finds out that his wife or girlfriend is pregnant, he is a changed person (whether he realises it or not). He has assumed the role of a father. A study conducted by Shostak and MacLouth reveals that the image of ‘fatherhood’ never leaves the man, and that thoughts of the foetus and what might have been also persist.
Whether the father agrees or disagrees with the abortion, whether he believes that the foetus is a human being or a mass of tissue, he is aware that abortion will prevent the development of life. It terminates a process which, if left uninterrupted, would result in his child.
The psychological effects produced by the abortion are closely related to, and often determined by, the diminished traditional male roles spoken of earlier. Men are not only supposed to protect their loved ones but support them emotionally as well. Many times men sacrifice and suppress their own opinions and emotions in order to support the women they love in their hour of need.
It is quite common for the abortion decision to remain a secret not to be discussed with any outsiders, often not even between the couple. This inability for the man to express his true feelings with the mother of his child, his family, or close friends, can bring about profound psychological effects. Many men report feelings of depression, frustration, emptiness and guilt.
All of this stress takes its toll on the relationship. Some men interpret the woman’s decision to abort as a rejection of him, and the undeniable physical manifestation of their relationship, their unborn child.
These feelings of rejection result in any of a number of sexual problems ranging from impotence to promiscuity. Many times the guilt, anxiety and remorse are too painful, and the only solution seems to be the termination of the relationship.
In one case where an unmarried couple found that they were expecting a child, the woman convinced the man that the most convenient solution would be an abortion. He was very reluctant, but after much persuasion he accepted. This couple later married and had two children. The woman maintained that her husband had not been the same since the abortion. He was indifferent to sexual relations, verbally abusive to her, and physically abusive with their children. He refused to enter into therapy. They are considering divorce.
It is obvious that along with the foetus, men are the silent victims of abortion. Once the abortion has taken place, therapeutic intervention is vital. It is recommended that men honestly and openly discuss their negative emotions, feelings and anxieties.
Recognition of guilt and anger is a necessary step in the painful process that will result ultimately in self-forgiveness.