by Bonnie Chernin
June 25th 2019
This is a personal story.
Many years ago, I had a friend who never thought much about abortion, and as he described it to me later was neutral on the issue. Then something happened and his feelings changed.
He was happily married for seven years, but had no children. His wife had children from a previous marriage. My friend loved and adopted her kids, but he hoped to start his own family with her. His wife was having continuous problems conceiving. She told my friend that the doctor did some tests indicating she would not be able to get pregnant again or carry a child to term. Over the last year of their marriage, there were difficulties. My friend related to me that she was becoming increasingly distant. He suggested counseling, and she refused.
A short time later, his wife announced that she was leaving him for her partner, a woman whom she had been seeing for several months. She wasn’t sure at first if her feelings were real, which is why she stayed with my friend. She never shared anything with him about this woman. He was flabbergasted and understandably emotionally distraught, not realizing what was going on.
Next came the zinger. Right before she left, she said to my friend: “I just thought you should know that I was pregnant with you and had an abortion. I thought it was the right thing to do, and I don’t regret it.”
The wound was deep and my friend was devastated. Although I never met his wife, I was acquainted with others who knew her. They said he was a good husband and provider, faithful, adopted and loved her children, and was willing to go for counseling. He never understood what she did or why she did it.
My friend never engaged in pro-life activism on a regular basis. But he did attend a pro-life rally once, signed petitions and wrote a few letters to newspapers expressing how losing his child changed him. He confided to me, rather bitterly, that it is wrong that fathers have no rights when it comes to the abortion issue.
My friend is no longer with us. But the remorse and terribly unfair experience he went through remains.
In the 1976 Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth decision, the High Court ruled that spousal consent for an abortion is unconstitutional. In the 1992 Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA v. Casey decision, the spousal notification provision in the Pennsylvania statute was challenged and reversed. The Justices held that spousal notification constituted an undue burden on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.
So with these two Supreme Court decisions men have been stripped of all rights when it comes to the lives of their unborn children.
Consider for a moment what removing spousal consent and notification on abortion does. There is implied trust in a marriage. Eliminating laws that require spousal notification encourages deception and drives a wedge between husbands and wives. If a woman has an abortion and the husband finds out later, the shock can be overwhelming, will likely destroy their marriage, divide families and drive them apart. In my friend’s case, he was notified by his wife but after the fact when knowledge did the most damage.
For men who have been traumatized by an abortion experience, there are a number of organizations that offer hope, help and healing. The Elliot Institute offers post-abortive resources for men including educational resources, advocacy and outreach, a list of links to web sites and organizations that offer information, personal abortion stories, counseling and other healing resources. I would urge anyone, man or woman, not to suffer in silence.
What happened to my friend may not be typical for married couples. But the fact that it happened to him means it happens to others. Good men often become victims of abortion laws that exclude them from the decision, and that is wrong.
For 46 years, the mainstream media, the Courts, the abortion lobby and “progressive” politicians have joined forces, promoting their harmful “pro-choice” propaganda campaign, while pro-life women and men have struggled to get their message out and have been disparaged and criticized. In the legal and political world, abortion has always been a one-sided issue. In the real world, 1.5 billion abortions have been committed since 1980, and 61 million babies have been murdered in the United States since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Countless women and men are left permanently scarred by their abortion experiences. Fortunately, things are turning around largely due to information available online and through young people who have joined the pro-life movement.
Decent, pro-life men who care about their wives and partners and would welcome a child into the world are often forgotten or ignored. Perhaps it is time their parental rights be remembered and their voices heard.