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The Inexpressive Man

Man"Man's innate role as defender/protector/provider to his children -- which I would argue is as biologically intrinsic as that of a mother's need to nurture her child -- is gravely violated by participation in abortion," Kevin Burke

Boys, from infancy, are generally socialized to avoid becoming or exhibiting roles or behaviors associated with femininity. Therefore, society makes it tough for men to deal with the aftermath of abortion since they have no societal incentive to realistically deal with their abortion decision.

Many men have bought into the rhetoric of “my body, my choice.” “Some of these guys want to be so supportive of the woman’s choice that they neglect their own experience. They don’t feel they have a right to their own emotions.” As a result, many expectant fathers don’t even bother to speak up for the life of their pre-born child when it hangs in the balance.

“So often the man’s reactions are delayed. He may think he is supposed to be supportive of the woman and may not offer his own opinions. So his feelings—whether they are relief, grief, anger, resentment, or shame—don’t get processed, and that can come out later.”

Following abortion, many men remain silent in an attempt to ward off their sense of vulnerability in the face of loss. They are taught to "take it like a man" and be in control and detached enough to assess and respond to others' emotions.

John states: “Looking back on it now, I recognize I had been little prepared for the complex reality of an abortion. Deeply embarrassed by our contraceptive failure, and privately angry at my partner and myself. I had confided in no one and had kept my own inadequate counsel. Because I was very upset by my partner's fright and bewilderment, I had rushed to assure her of my total support. But, in the process, I had rushed right past the task of gaining any insight into my own confused feelings and ideas.”

Information obtained from research by Catherine Coyle, R.N., Ph.D., David C. Reardon, Ph.D., Bradley Mattes and  Kevin Burke, LCSW.