Abortion often has tremendous physiological damage on the fathers, as well as the mothers. Speakers recently discussed the important but often forgotten need for counseling post-abortive fathers during a Project Rachel orientation day at the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, Catholic Philly reports.
Guest speaker Victoria Thorn, founder of the National Office for Post Abortion Reconciliation and Healing and Project Rachel, explained how abortion affects many individuals in addition to the mother. Other family members and even friends experience the impact of a woman’s abortion decision. Research has found that abortion often affects the aborted babies’ siblings, too.
“Few people ever address the psychological impact. People are hurting from this because they have all kinds of emotions around this. Some men are walking around being so angry because a woman had an abortion and didn’t tell them,” Thorn said.
She explained that some fathers don’t fully realize the effect the abortion has had on them.
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“Since men are not as expressive they do not know where to channel that anger. Sometimes they take that anger out on every woman who comes into their life. Everyone is wondering why he is so angry, and it is from a pain that he just stuffed inside.”
The event’s moderator was Steve Bozza, director of the archdiocesan Office for Life and Family, according to the news outlet. He addressed the common misconceptions surrounding abortion: “Many do not realize that many lives can be ruined or shattered by an abortion. Whenever a child is lost there is a need for social services and resources. Unlike a miscarriage or stillbirth where there is no choice, this is something that is a choice. Many only come to grips with that after the fact.”
“Sometimes the men are angry and you touched on every topic, and the rage is still there,” Bozza said. “Now, this is one of the things I will bring up when listing things that could have happened. I found it helpful to discuss something even we as counselors really do not discuss. I am sure as counselors we have had clients who are ashamed to bring it up.”
The program had several other key speakers, including Kathryn Dobbs, Mary McGinley and Kevin Burke, according to the Catholic Philly. Burke is a director of Rachel’s Vineyard, which reaches out to people adversely affected by an abortion and provides hope and healing.
In a 2007 interview, Burke said men are involved in 95 percent of all abortion decisions and often are “profoundly impacted” by the abortion of their child. He said the program has seen a steady increase in the number of men seeking healing after an experience with abortion.
“Similar to women, when men experience deep healing of post abortion pain, they are freed from the shame and guilt that feeds silence and isolation,” he said. “There is a willingness to share their experience with others because they finally recognize that their feelings are normal, they are not alone.”
In midst of the important conversation regarding abortion and the mothers, the negative effect it has on fathers is often forgotten. Abortion isn’t just something between a woman and her doctor. It impacts countless individuals. It is excellent that these issues are being discussed in places such as the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, so that Church leaders can more effectively counsel people experiencing post-traumatic repercussions.