Forgotten Father's Day: Abortion Has Negative Impact for Men, Relationships

Forgotten Father’s Day: Abortion Has Negative Impact for Men, Relationships

by David C. Reardon, Ph.D.
June 7, 2010 Note: David Reardon is the director of the Elliot Institute, a group that has spent decades conducting research post-abortion issues for men and women.

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In the early 1970s, Arthur Shostak accompanied his partner to a well-groomed suburban abortion clinic. They had both agreed abortion was best. But sitting in the waiting room proved to be a “bruising experience.” By the time he left the clinic, he was shocked by about how deeply disturbed he had become.

A professor of sociology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Shostak spent the subsequent ten years studying the abortion experience of men. His study included a survey of 1,000 men who accompanied their wives or girlfriends to abortion clinics.

Shostak’s study was published in Men and Abortion: Lessons, Losses and Love, in 1984. The value of this study is limited to reporting mostly the short term reactions of men to the pregnancy and the decision to abort. In addition, because of the selection process, this study did not reflect the attitudes or experiences of men who did not accompany their partners to the abortion clinic–which could be because they were unaware of the pregnancy and abortion, because they were casual or unsupportive partners, or because they were opposed to the abortion. Despite these significant limitations, Shostak’s study, using the largest group of men ever surveyed about their abortions, is still the benchmark study in this understudied field.

Shostak reported that the majority of the men surveyed in clinic waiting rooms felt isolated, angry at their partners or themselves, and were concerned about the physical and emotional damage abortion might cause their partner. Only about one-fourth of the men stated that they had offered to pay the costs of raising the child if the woman didn’t abort. Half of the single men said they offered to marry their female partner if continued the pregnancy.

Shostak’s study found that abortion is far more stressful for men than the public would generally suppose. More than one in four equated abortion to murder. Slightly over 80 percent said they had already begun to think about the child that might have been born (with 29 percent saying they had been fantasizing about the child “frequently”), 68 percent believed men involved in abortions “did not have an easy time of it,” and 47 percent worried about having disturbing thoughts afterwards. Shostak reported that many men began to cry during the interview

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