Abortion Recovery Small Group Sign-Up
MAPS will have free abortion recovery small groups starting the first week in March. If you or someone you know would like to attend, fill out the form below!
Click on the tabs below to read more information about abortion:
Possible Risks Include:
- Pelvic Infection
- Incomplete abortion risks
- Blood clots in the uterus
- Heavy bleeding
- Cut or torn cervix
- Puncture/Tear of the wall of the uterus
- Anesthesia-related complications
- Rh Immune Globulin Therapy
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall
From the moment a woman takes the abortion pill, she has about 72 hours to change her mind and save her baby. The Abortion Pill Rescue Network is available 24/7 at 1-800-712-HELP to answer questions and to connect you with a medical professional.
There is an emotional aftermath side to abortion no one told you about. There is nowhere to grieve the loss. Who can understand the regret and the pain of this decision? You may struggle with some difficult questions, feelings or destructive behaviors but we understand at MAPS. Our abortion recovery facilitators have walked your path of pain and isolation. Through sharing with others in a safe, supportive and confidential group we found healing and freedom. We can help you find this freedom too.
We offer small support groups each one, using a study, designed to help women like you process the emotional aftermath of an abortion. Whether it was recent or many years ago, you can be healed and set free from the regret, shame and guilt you may be carrying. This may be the best choice you ever made!
A Personal Abortion Story
"When I was in college my second semester sophomore year, I studied abroad and while oversees I got into a relationship with a lady that turned serious. I was a Christian but my walk with God was not strong and I was very much living in the world and looking like it! This lady and I became real serious and after some time we found out that a child was on the way. I was in my early 20’s at the time and she was in her late 20’s. I offered to go back to her country and live there, get married and raise the child with her but she said that wasn’t an option. She was not a Christian and I still at times pray for her when the Lord puts her on my heart… So we went to an abortion clinic and they used the vacuum process and I remember afterwards looking at her, she looked so drained like her life was reduced! It really didn’t hit me until after I started walking closely with the Lord about 5 years prior to what had happened. I felt deep regret and felt responsible for a life that was taken and it hurt deeply. I remember ardently seeking the Lord and asking Him to forgive me and heal me and He did yet it took time! Make no mistake taking an unborn child’s life through abortion is murder and I was part of that, yet the Lord has forgiven me and healed me from this sin. There are times I have dreams and see the child, smiling and I know he or she is with Christ in Heaven, and one day I will get to fellowship with he or she and I am looking forward to that day only because of the forgiveness I have experienced in Christ and the extreme mercy and grace that God has showered on me can I truly say that." - Graham
Impact on Men
Symptoms of Post-Abortion Distress in Men
Feels like and fears failure
Feels he deserves punishment
Grieves lost fatherhood
Feels need for restitution
Lack of resolve
Frequent job changes
Lack of trust
Alcohol and drug abuse
Displaced male aggression
Overly nurturing father
Lifestyle of covering-up
Problems with commitment
Serial sexual relationships
Changed view of God
Involved in pro-life cause
"What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet. In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him." - Hebrews 2:6-8 NIV
"Instinct drives men to achieve success in five key areas of their lives. Men are often defined by their ability to [ enjoy] pleasure, procreate, provide, protect and perform ... When a man experiences abortion, these key elements of life are seriously damaged, or often totally obliterated." - Brad Mattes, Life Issues Institute
Women are_ not alone in being hurt by abortion. In fact, it might be said that one dies and two - mother and father - sustain crippling wounds. "While the first book on men and abortion was not written until 1984, the stories of those who have undergone the pain of an abortion began much, much earlier than that." In 1989, Eric Goodman wrote an article entitled "Men and Abortion." The insightful tag line for it was "Men don't cramp or bleed- but the experience can change their lives."
"Our culture has successfully separated the realities of sexual involvement from the responsibilities of parenthood by abortion. But does the abortion stop fatherhood? No. It radically changes the dimension of fathering, but the man is still a father. .. Parenthood is forever." observes Warren Williams, author, speaker and expert in male post abortion reactions.
Frederica Mathewes-Green, noted pro-life author and speaker says, "The official 'line' on abortion says that a man has no right to an opinion on whether the mother of his child chooses abortion. He's supposed to keep silent and let her decide for herself, even if his heart is breaking. Tragically, this silence sometimes increases the chance of abortion; it may be that all the woman is waiting for is an assurance that the man loves her and their child, and will bind himself to them in love. When she hears only 'It's up to you,' she feels abandoned, and makes the abortion appointment."
Addressing one man, she continues, "But even in cases like yours, where the man urgently wants to save the child, he is pushed aside. There is no impulse stronger in a father than the drive to protect the life of his child. Our laws take that right away from you, and then our culture expects you to shut up about it. The expectation is that men want to play around and don't want responsibility for children, and that abortion suits their plans. Men like you, who feel such profound grief, are not only disempowered, but invisible."
The stereotype for a man's involvement in an abortion is that he forces the woman to abort what is to him an inconvenient pregnancy, but men can actually fill various roles in the experience, including:
- Some men willingly participate by agreeing, transporting and/or paying for it.
- Others coerce by pressuring, by being verbally abusive or even by violence.
- Men can avoid the decision by literally abandoning the woman.
- He may passively leave the choice to her without offering support of any kind.
- Some men strongly yet unsuccessfully try to stop the abortion, their opposition ignored.
- Other men are unaware until afterward about the pregnancy and/or abortion.
- No doubt, some never know about either one.
- Male friends, brothers, uncles, and grandfathers may have some degree of involvement.
- "Some will be a surprised spouse, a man who has married a woman with an abortion secret. .. now causing relational problems."
"If there have been millions of men who have been wounded by abortion since 1973, where are they?" asks Greg Hasek, a marriage and family therapist and executive director of Misty Mountain Family Counseling Center in Portland, Oregon. "Until we find the answer to that question, those in the media, those that do not believe abortion hurts men, will continue to believe they are not there."
Vincent Rue, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Pregnancy Loss in Jacksonville, Florida, explains that in many ways, men's experience of abortion mirrors that of Vietnam War veterans and the discovery of post- traumatic stress disorder. "So far, the most reliable data is anecdotal - just as identification of individual cases of PTSD in soldiers preceded organized studies." Published studies of men and abortion as of 2008 are few in number with only two including more than 1,000 men in the sample.
"Abortion is the most common surgical procedure in the U.S.," continues Dr. Rue, "We know this: In every abortion, fatherhood too is lost." 10 Even though the number of men participating in abortion is unknown, "the number of men affected is tremendous," Hasek estimates that "one-quarter to one-third of all men in America are post-abortive."
"Abortion is a death experience and, once chosen, cannot be undone ... Above all, we need to assure men that their grief is normal after such a significant loss."
Clearly, raising awareness of abortion's impact on men is vital. While the women are more likely to seek out counseling and healing than are men, the fathers are still deeply affected by elective child loss. "Men are more successful than women at burying their feelings" and a man may fail "to face the emotional aftermath of losing his child to abortion." A man easily compartmentalizes his thinking and then can dismiss any problems he perceives after the event as not being connected. A man, like a woman, can sustain suppression for many years. Lacking freedom to express these emotions allows them to fester, spill over and erupt in other areas of his life. "Many men acknowledge various problems in their life without connecting them to a previous abortion decision." But after seeing a list of common symptoms, he may then be able to recognize his own reactions.
"A man tormented by the guilt of murder will be a fugitive till death; let no one support him." - Proverbs 28: 17
"Add to this [ reluctance to seek help] the fugitive factor, which will further preclude them from interest in a group, and you will find there are few men with whom to work ... Consider that while many will not come forward, there are more than 40 million dads out there who have lost their fatherhood. Think about how much collective anger and bitterness exists which could be defused. We know bitterness and anger significantly alter behavior, and we know the levels of social anger have risen alongside the need for intervention. We have not tapped into the motivation, which would draw men to want to heal. So long as an ever-increasing level of anger is socially acceptable in male behavior, we likely won't."
"There are many Christian men, sitting in pews, who haven't dealt with their abortion decision,' said one counselor. When speaking of his own experience he said, 'If one man or the church had said something, I would have responded."' Sadly the church is largely silent and Christian men rarely admit to specific sins, especially this one. "Almost every woman who has begun the road to recovery after her abortion has given credit to the fact that she returned to, or discovered, her religious faith. That has proven to also be true with men."
"Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." - James 5:16a
''The James 5:16 approach of confessing to each other and praying for each other so that you might be healed is useful. Jesus suggested that when two or three gather for these kinds of issues, he is there to bless them."
To be released from guilt, pain, and/or grief and to come to acceptance and peace, men must also work through the common elements of healing just as women do in their recovery groups. Men also need to:
- Assign responsibility.
- Confess participation and their responsibility.
- Admit to anger.
- Forgive the others involved.
- Identify and admit the negative behavior and habits resulting from the covering up of the pregnancy and/or abortion.
- Resolve his negative issues about God and reconcile with Him.
- Confess and receive forgiveness for the real guilt and shame.
- Grieve the loss and the lost relationship.
- Find closure.
- Begin to make appropriate behavioral changes.
Men grieve differently than women. "While women grieve with interaction, in community, men grieve with action." They want to "fix it." They may create things to work out their grief.
Men need men facilitators. They also need to meet in a confidential and neutral setting, like someone's office or a conference room. Even two or three participants may be too many for a men's group and many men may prefer one-on-one or on-line counseling. Men can be threatened by eye contact and therefore sitting side by side can lessen tension. "Talking about his physical sensations with questions like 'How does your body feel?' or 'What is your body telling you?' may help him access his emotions." Starting with several lessons over a weekend and then meeting for a few weeks afterward may prove to be a helpful schedule for men. Above all when working with men, prepare to be very flexible.
In the men's Bible study, Healing a Father's Heart, there are some variations from the women's study, Forgiven and Set Free, both by Linda Cochrane. The changes occur in the "Preface" and in some questions in the "Discussion Guides." The "Depression" Discussion Guide for men has a completely different set of questions. However, the major difference between the men's and women's Bible study is an extra chapter in the men's, chapter 3 "And God Made Man ... " The topics include:
- God's purpose in creating man in His image.
- Man's need for his earthly father's blessing and also God's blessing.
- God curse of the ground and the serpent but not Adam and Eve, personally.
- God's command to man to manage (plan, direct and delegate authority).
God created human life. He places a sacred value on mankind because men and women are the only creatures made in His own image. God prohibits the shedding of innocent blood, which is an assault on the image of God, and makes it punishable by death. The shedding of innocent blood, including the murder of the prebom, is one of the seven things "detestable to God" (Proverbs 6: 16-19; see also Sanctity of Human Life, pages 12-14).
God gives every father instinct to provide for and protect their families. 1 Timothy 5:8 states that a father is considered worse than an unbeliever if he does not provide for his family. Therefore, a man's priority shifts from procreation to providing for the mother and the unborn offspring he has fathered. He instinctively knows that this new family will look to him for many of the day-to-day necessities. In his own mind it is important to him that he succeeds in providing for them.
Brad Mattes continues: like providing for his family, a man is highly programmed to protect them. In Ephesians 5:28, men are instructed to love their wives as their own bodies. Instinctively, a man would protect his own body and, therefore, guard his family. The need for him to provide and protect his offspring should not be underestimated. Role confusion is often expressed in a man who is facing abortion in a society that wants men to care for and support their families, but simultaneously denies them the legal right to protect their children before birth. When a man experiences abortion, these roles of provision and protection are seriously damaged or totally obliterated.
When a man faces an unplanned pregnancy with his partner, he may tend to repress his emotions. The typical man, in fact, rushes to placate his partner, repress his emotions, and take his cue from an environment that others structure for him3 . This is very similar to Adam hiding from God following his sin (Genesis 3:8) and not wanting to face his own responsibility. In Genesis 3:6, Eve gives the forbidden fruit to Adam and he ate despite God's command to him. Thus, many men are prone to passively accept a woman's suggestion that she have an abortion. Since the man feels his role is to suppress his emotions and the woman has the legal right to obtain an abortion, the man is not likely to debate the abortion decision with his partner. Denial and repression of a man's emotions also makes him disinclined to later seek the help he needs.
Passivity is one response to news of an unintentional pregnancy when his partner makes the decision to abort. Coercion to abort, unfortunately, is also a very common response by men involved in an unplanned pregnancy. "Almost half of men interviewed at abortion clinics, including married men, recalled pressuring her to some degree." Leaving a man out of the decision is yet another common thread of men involved in an unplanned pregnancy.
Whatever role the man plays in a decision to abo1i, repression of emotion and silence regarding the act of abortion are the most common responses in a man. This silence that ensues and endures is addressed in Psalm 32:3: "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away ... "
Men and women can sustain suppression for many years. A man can compartmentalize his thinking and dismiss any problem he perceives in himself after the event as not being connected (see Symptoms of Post- Abortion Distress in Men, page 22). His initial reaction is to run from God and from any uncomfortable thoughts and memories that he may experience. He consciously or unconsciously chooses counterfeit protections, sinful strategies that serve as substitutes for turning to God for forgiveness of his sins.
If a husband and wife are both participating in these Bible studies, we suggest that the woman also study this chapter for insight into the creation of man and his role in God's plan. We also believe it may benefit some husbands and wives to accomplish their studies of "Anger" and "The Need to Forgive" separately then join together again to finish the studies.
There are organizations devoted to keeping up-to-date resource lists on their websites, so this list is not exhaustive. While providing good descriptions of post-abortion symptoms and problems some sources do not provide biblical solutions. Therefore, use discernment as you strive to stay informed.
Forgotten Fathers, Vincent Rue, Life Cycle Books, PO Box 420, Lewiston, NY 14092-0420, 8 00-214-5 849, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fatherhood Aborted, Guy Condon and David Hazard, published by Tyndale House Publishers
Fathers and Brothers Ministries Int., Warren Williams, Missing Arrows: A Bible Study about Fatherhood Lost and Fatherhood Lost: Suggested Guidelines in Leading a Bible Study, 777 Panorama Court, Boulder, CO 80303, 888-546-0148, Fax. 303-494-2239, email@example.com, www.lifeissues.org/men/missingarrows
Fatherhood Forever Foundation, Inc., 3121 E. Greenway Rd. #303, Phoenix, AZ 85032, 602-334-7651, Fax: 602-485-3932
International Institute for Pregnancy Loss and Child Abuse Research and Recovery, Phillip Ney, MD, MA, FRCP (C), PO Box 27103, Colwood Corners, Victoria BC Canada V9B 554, 250-391-1840
MAN: Men and Abortion Network, Reclaiming Fatherhood, www.menandabortion.net
Minirth-Meier New Life Clinic, Stephen Arterburn, 570 Glenneyre, Suite 107, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 800-NEW-LIFE, www.newlife.com
A Path to Healing, Catherine T. Coyle, Ph.D., Life Cycle Books, PO Box 1008 Niagara Falls, NY, 14304-1008, 800-214-5849; firstname.lastname@example.org, www.FatherhoodForever.org, email@example.com
National Office of Post Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, Vicki Thom, PO Box 070477, Milwaukee, WI 53207, Referral line: 800-5WE-CARE, www.noparh.org
Life Issues Institute, Bradley Mattes, MBS Executive Director, 1821 W. Galbraith Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45239, 513-729-3600, www.lifeissues.org
Misty Mountain Family Counseling Center, Gregory Hasek, MA/MFT LPC, Executive Director, 14833 SW 72nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97224, www.lifeissues.org
Men's Abortion Recovery Ministries (MARC), "Recovering from Abortion", workbook, 237 South 13th Ave. Coatesville, PA 19320, 610-384-3210
New Life Family Services, Conquerors, A Bible Study for Men, 1515 East 66th, Richfield, MN 55423,612-866-7643
Reclaiming Fatherhood Conference: "A Multifaceted Examination of Men Dealing with Abortion." September 8-9, 2008, Chicago, www.MenandAbortion.info