Tracie Newhouse, executive director of New Hope Pregnancy Center, said in a recent interview that some men grieve every year on the date their child was aborted.
“The thing is, it doesn’t matter if they drove their girlfriend or wife to the clinic and insisted on the procedure or if it was out of their control. Either way, they can still feel guilt and regret,” Shellhouse said in a recent interview. “What we hope to do as a ministry is to reach out to help those men who do experience depression find healing. One of the wonderful things that comes about from healing is they get to a point they can actually talk about their experiences.”
Former executive director Yaunna Higgins said more and more married couples have decided on abortion during the recent recession because the husband is still out of work and the family can barely take care of the children they have. When asked if they would consider placing the baby for adoption, “Most of the time they shoot that right down.”
“It’s very tragic,” Shellhouse said. “We have had some married couples in the position they felt they could not financially and materially provide for a child and they chose to carry and place [the newborn up for adoption]. It’s hard and I have a lot of admiration for them because they loved their child and want to give them life.”
Placing a child for adoption is more difficult in the beginning than abortion because it is a quick and relatively simple procedure. In the midst of crises, both women and men show tendencies not to think about long-term consequences and abortion seems to be a quick and easy out. But, she said adoption is easier to live with in future years.
“One of the wonderful things about when they do choose to place rather than terminate — it is hard throughout the pregnancy and especially the year following the birth — but in the end, they are able to look back and know they chose life,” she said. “The post-abortive parent is unable to say they loved their child that much.”
In surveys of men ranging up to 100 surveyed, as soon as three years after the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion in the United States, she said 75 percent of post-abortive males disagreed with the statement that abortion was easy on men.
“If it is a women’s issue, then why is it such a problem for men?” she asked. “Seventy-five percent of them said it was a problem and the fact of the matter is, 100 percent of those surveyed are fathers.
“They have fathered a child. Whether it was born or not, the child was conceived.”
Sixty-one percent believed they should have had a right to say what was going to become of the child and 44 percent reported having dreams of what might have been.
“What they are suffering from in that sense is lost fatherhood,” Shellhouse said. “In all different kinds of life situations, we question what if I had done this or what if I had done that. But when it comes to parenting or being a dad, that is something very integral to the sense of who a man is.”
Instinctively, men are hunter-gatherers, protectors and providers. It is natural to procreate.
“They want to be good at what they do in whatever career they choose,” Shellhouse said. “Even to the point of performing on the football field, there is an instinctive desire to perform.
“Also, there is an instinctive desire to feel pleasure. It can be the pleasure of having a hobby you really enjoy or whatever. Whenever you see someone doing something, it generally relates to providing for their family or wanting to be the best.”
She said most men would say having offspring to carry on the family name is important to them. Some people beli ve there are no victims of abortion, others might concede fetuses and or mothers are victims. Shellhouse is of the opinion the unborn children, and post-abortive mothers and fathers, are all victims. Not every man wants children, but most of them do.
“Abortion is very counterintuitive to the nature of men,” she said. “For every child and mother out there, there is a father. It takes two to make a child. One of the problems I see, and I believe many people in the prolife movement recognize as a problem, is fathers of preborn children have no rights in the United States. Up until that child is born, he has no say. It’s a woman’s right to choose and that causes serious problems.”
Some of the problems include a sense of helplessness, she continued. Most men likely to father children nowadays were born after the 1973 court ruling and have heard all their lives the mantra: It’s a woman’s right to choose, she said.
“Even if they really want to encourage their partner to have that child, many feel they can’t because they would be doing something wrong and think, ‘Who am I to tell her?’ Because they have no legal right and they try to defend the life of the child, they are accused of meddling with something that is none of their business.” On the other hand, fathers are accused of being uncaring, distant and uninvolved if they encourage or agree it is the woman’s right to choose. “It’s very hard for a lot of men to figure out their roles.
“Men’s hands are tied. They are put in a really bad spot. I think there are a lot of dads out there who would [want] their children to be born, but don’t say anything because it’s a women’s issue,” Shellhouse said.
If men have no rights in the decision, then they have no responsibility, which she believes causes many young men not to fulfill their responsibilities as fathers or place blame on the mother for not choosing abortion and distance themselves from the situation.
“No,” she flatly stated when asked if relationships typically survive abortions. “Statistically, the majority of relationships that experience abortions, whether married or unmarried, are going to fail. They are not going to make it.”