Each week AFL posts an Anglicans in Action video, which gives practical suggestions, resources, and ideas for life-ministry. This week’s focus is on abortion healing resources. You can see all the Anglicans in Action videos on our YouTube Channel.
This week’s action idea is centered around the impact that abortion has on fathers; while men are often told to stay out of the abortion debate, it’s ironic that after women and babies, they are most affected by abortion loss. To date, there have been over 60 million abortions in the US alone which has generated nearly five million “walking-wounded” fathers who struggle day-to-day with abortion’s lingering impact, especially during holidays like Father’s Day, feelings of shame, guilt, and grief can be triggered, even for those who have received and accepted forgiveness.
Men struggling with the grief of lost fatherhood need healing and help. They will benefit from acknowledging their feelings and recognizing the pain is rooted in loss. While feelings should not control our lives, they can help us understand why we feel the way that we do and what feelings we need to take the time to work through with God.
I believe that if men who are struggling after abortion knew healing was available to them, more of them would begin the healing process and meet God’s mercy, forgiveness, and grace at a deep level.
The connection between men and abortion has been studied extensively. We see that sometimes men did not support abortion and felt powerless to stop it, other times they advocated or coerced their partner to get an abortion and now feel tremendous guilt. Men are not immune to the emotional and spiritual impact that abortion has on them; they too, experience ambivalent feelings concerning abortion including relief, anxiety, grief, depression, guilt, powerlessness, and anger.
Abortion attacks the fundamental nature of the gift men bring to the family; the protection, love and provision for the children entrusted to their care. Violating this fundamental law of God can later weaken men in their vocation as husbands, fathers and spiritual leaders in the home and in the church. While they may have a different range of symptoms than women do, the damage is just as severe as that of the women.
If you know a man that has been impacted by an abortion, there are several resources that you could point him toward. First, visit the Shockwaves website to read testimonies of men who have found healing or to find healing programs available in your area. The Shockwaves of Abortion was created not only to bring awareness, but also to let men know that they aren’t alone in what they are feeling.
Other educational resources can be found at The Alliance for Post-Abortive Research and Training. That organization has the goal of conducting objective, scientific research concerning the relationship between mental health and elective abortion.
We must begin talking about healing after-abortion as a journey, and both of these sites do a great job of outlining how to begin that journey. Most importantly, the Church must always be ready to talk about the best example of a father—our Heavenly Father, who shows unconditional love and forgiveness for His children when we come to him for redemption and restoration.