Men and women handle the emotional aftermath of the abortion of their child in different ways. For a woman, there is a deep sense of loss associated with a broken spiritual and physical connection after an abortion. A woman’s instinct to nurture and love her child is ceded when abortion is chosen. For a man, while the sense of loss can be just as profound, it is different from the mother’s in that it is associated with his deeply rooted instinct to protect and defend those entrusted to him. When abortion is chosen, the powerful instinct he has to stand between his child and harm’s way is smothered and disregarded – sometimes by the father himself, but always by the law.
Although men are legally bound to support any child they father once he or she is born, men are barred by law from any decision regarding their child’s life and death when abortion hangs in the balance. In other words, a father has no legal right to interfere with a decision by the mother to abort his child.
It is a well-known fact that many fathers play a key role in a woman’s decision to abort. Many have heard the familiar story of women who were pressured by their boyfriends to abort. If fatherhood is not in his plans for the immediate future, and he willingly foots the abortion tab and chauffeurs his child’s mother to the abortion mill to dispose of the life within her, they can both move on with their lives “unencumbered” by a baby.
Less known, however, is the fact that many fathers have fought fiercely for the lives of their children only to have their fatherly instincts overpowered by the abortion-mindedness of the mother and her doctor. Why? Because the law is on her side, not his. Although pregnancy involves three parties – mother, father, and infant—abortion laws involve only the rights of the mother, leaving dead children and broken-hearted fathers strewn in the inglorious wake of “reproductive rights.”
Is there hope for fathers’ rights? It is hard to imagine dignity being afforded to our nation’s fathers before it is granted to our most innocent, the unborn. However, there is healing for post-abortive fathers through programs like Beauty for Ashes Ministries International (www.beautyforashesministryinternational.com). Once healing occurs in the hearts of post-abortive men, they can join the ranks of the Pro-Life movement in fighting the good fight to bring justice to our nation’s belittled fathers and unacknowledged children.
Men like Theo Purington, whose girlfriend aborted despite his tearful pleas that she keep their child, have healed from their abortions, stood up for their forgotten fatherhood, shared testimonies, and counseled abortion-minded dads to stand up for their children’s lives. As a sidewalk counselor at an abortion mill, a man can do something that no woman counselor can do as effectively: he can reach the hearts of abortion-minded men by appealing to their masculinity and sense of fatherhood. Men can reach out to that boyfriend who is footing the tab because his girlfriend asked him to, or that father who thinks his college football career will crumble if a baby enters the picture.
Fathers may not have the right to protect their children from abortion at this point in American history, but they certainly have the right to seek healing and turn their pain into outreach so that other men will not have to experience the same tragedy.