Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 9, 2005
Abortion takes its toll on the man's life too
Guilt, shame, remorse come back to haunt
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Men also experience post-abortion trauma. There is guilt, shame and remorse associated with their abortion experience, the Rev. Scott Miller, a Pentecostal pastor from Winnipeg, told about 90 people at the Alberta Pro-Life conference at The King's College April 30.
Miller knows about post-abortion trauma because he experienced it after a girlfriend of his had an abortion some 26 years ago. He has also seen countless men suffer silently, deeply and alone. Surveys he conducted revealed 80 per cent of men continue to be affected by the experience years after the abortion took place.
That's what led Miller to start a ministry for men some five years ago. "I know how deeply this can hurt a man," he said.
Miller works with Winnipeg's inner city people through the ministries of the Lighthouse Mission and Assiniboine Pentecostal Church where he is director and pastor respectively. As a result of seeing many young men struggling from the effects of abortion in their lives, he established House of Esau, a ministry whose focus is to bring a man to fuller restoration in the various areas that abortion has impacted him.
Miller, a married father of a five-year-old daughter, is also director of Rachel's Vineyard Winnipeg, a healing ministry for post-abortive persons.
For men who pressure or encourage the women in their lives to have an abortion, the test of true feelings emerges later on, he said. Typically, having encouraged the abortion for selfish reasons or out of fear, these men can pay a great emotional price once the reality of abortion sinks in.
Anger, shame, grief, guilt and remorse are just some of the issues men go through after they lose a child.
A man who pressures his girlfriend to have an abortion today will have to deal with that decision later on, he said.
Others deal with it instantly, especially those who have no control over the abortion. A soldier preparing to go to Iraq, for example, hanged himself after his girlfriend had an abortion. "If I can't defend the life of my own child my life isn't worth living," the soldier's note read.
Alcohol and drug abuse are also common among post-abortive men. Miller said there are few ministries for post-abortive men and more are needed. "This is an issue that needs to be addressed."
Abortion rewrites the rules of masculinity, making men feel emasculated and powerless, he said. While men are expected to be strong, abortion makes them feel weak.
The most devastating effect of the abortion can be seen in the father's role as protector of his family.
It is recommended that men dealing with abortion honestly and openly discuss their negative emotions, feelings and anxieties. Recognition of guilt and anger is a necessary step in the painful process that will result ultimately in self-forgiveness.
Miller has ministered to many guilt-ridden, tormented men over the years by partly using the Rachel's Vineyard model.
Those who come to him must first accept God's parameters, which include admitting their responsibility in their baby's death, repenting and apologizing to the woman and the child. They also get to name their child and to grieve for him or her over a memorial stone.
Miller said most men report a reduction in guilt, shame and anger after going through the process.
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