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Friday, November 22, 2013

Dear Jeannie: Effect of Abortion on Men

Dear Jeannie, 

Wesley wasn't romantically involved with Crystal when she became pregnant, but she was very special to him. Unbeknownst to him, he had developed a lot of protective affection towards her. Against his advice, wishes, and prayers, she had an abortion and fled the state. Is it realistic for him to carry life-altering guilt about her choice for years? He was the only person she knew who argued against the decision (partly for moral reasons, but mainly because of the physical dangers and consequences she would face). He doesn't connect to people easily, so would he still want to track her down afterwards, or would he mentally throw her in a garbage bin? I know some women go through healing and therapy in the wake of this kind of decision, but what about men?

Mourning in Myrtle Beach

Dear Mourning,

I love this question because it's thinking outside the box. YES!! Men can mourn the loss of an unborn life, and I believe this had largely been undressed in the media (for sure) or in fiction (I read one book where the man carried this burden....there are probably others). What is unique about your situation is that the baby was not his child (if I'm reading it right). So it's a bit more far-fetched that he'd carry this "life-altering guilt" about a child he wasn't biologically connected to...but I suppose he could feel guilt in general about her choice. But the further you remove him from the outcome (i.e., if it were his child, or if they had plans to raise it together, even if it wasn't his) the less likely his guilt reaction would be. Whether he'd want to track her down or not would depend on his feelings for her prior to the abortion. And he wouldn't do it for some time, probably, as he'd harbor anger (at least initially) against her for what he would perceive as her reckless, impulsive, selfish action. But kudos for thinking about an issue in such a different light. Thanks for writing in.

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