by Steven Ertelt
November 27, 2007
San Francisco, CA (LifeNews.com) — The emotional pain women feel from abortions is well-documented, with more than 40 percent experiencing severe depression and drug and alcohol abuse occurring at higher rates compared with women who give birth. The pain men experience as a result of abortion will finally be highlighted at a national conference Wednesday.
The Knights of Columbus and the Archdiocese of San Francisco are co-sponsoring the first national conference to focus on the effects of abortion on men whose partners had abortions.
Featuring an international panel of speakers, the "Reclaiming Fatherhood" conference will be held Nov. 28-29 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco.
The Milwaukee-based Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation, headed by Vicki Thorn, is organizing the conference.
Thorn is highly-regarded as one of the first and most experienced post-abortion counselors in the nation and she tells LifeNews.com the conference hopes to bring to light the "invisible" pain of men and abortion.
She says society at large and even in the churches and pro-life community, the profound effect that abortion has on fathers whose children are aborted is not often acknowledged or understood.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told LifeNews.com the conference will be important to highlighting these issues.
"There are three victims of every abortion, the child and both of his or her parents, and it is our hope that this conference will be the beginning of a ministry within the Church to these fathers, who grieve the death of their unborn child in isolation and silence," he said.
Experts from a variety of backgrounds and countries — including several therapists — will cover topics including men’s healing process after abortion; abortion’s effects on men’s spirituality; fatherhood and abortion; and why men who have been involved in abortion come for help.
Anderson and Thorn believe the "Reclaiming Fatherhood" conference could help men deal with the psychological trauma of post-abortion reality the way Project Rachel has helped women.
The conference is sorely needed, according to Kevin Burke, the associate director of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries.
He said in August that men suffer from a myriad of problems following a partner’s abortion — especially one in which they lent their support or persuaded their partner to have.
"The reality is that men are involved in 95% of all abortion decisions, and they are profoundly impacted by their participation in the abortion of their child," Burke explained.
In April 2008, the Knights of Columbus are also sponsoring an international conference on the effects of abortion on parents, and the effects of divorce on children.
That conference will be held in Rome — co-sponsored by the Knights and the Rome session of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.