Men Healing from Abortion

You pick up the stone on a Friday. At some time over the weekend, you’re supposed to put it down.

The stone can represent many things–your sin, your bitterness toward yourself, toward someone else. It’s the burden you’ve been carrying. It’s been the rock in the pocket of your heart for years.

But over the next few days, you’ll finally be able to put it down. And you’ll finally find healing you didn’t know was possible.

Such is the experience of many men attending a retreat to heal from abortion.

A typical situation begins with two people who come together in passing or in love–but always in passion.

She becomes pregnant.

He doesn’t resist when she says she’ll have an abortion–even though she may be hoping he will take a stand on behalf of their child–that he will choose to stand by her.

Or perhaps he pushes her to abort the baby.

Or perhaps he will learn of the abortion only after it’s already happened.

He’s often the neglected one in such situations.

Since before Roe v. Wade, we’ve heard that abortion is between a woman and her doctor. It’s nobody else’s business.

Except it doesn’t work that way–even though it may take him years to understand that the wound from abortion is the stone that has been weighing him down.

In The Tears of the Fisherman, Kevin Burke writes:

“[Many men] do not associate the symptoms they are suffering [depression, addiction, inability to maintain relationships] with that abortion event in their past. Even if a man is aware that he is hurting from participating in the death of his unborn child, there is no safe place to share that burden.”

He has no place to go–either because no one else knows about the abortion or because those who do know don’t want to discuss it.

Burke explains why healing is so important:

“When you went through that abortion experience the natural need for you to grieve the loss of your child and your parental relationship with your son or daughter was also aborted. For some men and women, forgiving self and letting go of the burden of self-condemnation feels like letting go of the only real connection with their unborn child or children.”

Yet there is hope–for both men and women. Hope comes, not in forgetting, but in honoring and remembering. Healing ministries provide the opportunity to remember, to name the child, to repent, to find forgiveness.

Burke’s book lists the following: is part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. helps men find healing and works to raise awareness of men’s abortion pain in counselors, pro-life workers, and society at large.

House of Esau offers weekend retreats for men seeking healing from abortion.

And Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry for married couples, parents, and grandparents. This ministry provides the stone that symbolizes the burden of abortion.

Burke quotes an attendee of a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend Retreat: “After I picked up my rock, I was inspired to share with the group. ‘I’ve been carrying this rock for 14 years. I’ve been emotionally dead for that long.'”

He is dead no more.

Laying down the burden of death brings new life.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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29 Replies to “Men Healing from Abortion”

  1. You name some great resources for me and couples to use toward healing from abortion. I’m glad you have done the research so that we can share it with others. I have encountered many who have died emotionally because of an abortion in their history. Thank you!

  2. Wow. You don’t hear the man’s side of this heartbreaking story very often. I am so glad that you listed the places that men can go to receive help! Thanks for educating us on this very sad but much needed topic of discussion. Well done.

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa. We tend to think of this issue from the baby’s perspective–sometimes from the mother’s. But there are so many more people this issue touches. God bless!

  3. In this whole issue of abortion, we do often overlook the men in the situation. Thanks for sharing and reminding us of their struggles in this terrible loss.

  4. I appreciate this expression of the father’s side of abortion, one we don’t often hear about. And I appreciate that there are resources and experienced men waiting to help. I will keep this in mind and refer men to these resources when needed. Thank you, Nancy.

  5. Lord have mercy. This I never considered. Thank you for sharing the heartfelt pain of men who are recovering from abortion, in one way or another. Oh God, may the truth of this come forth for more to see and know and understand what is really happening!

  6. Nancy,

    Thank you so much for posting this. As a man who found myself an un-knowing and un-willing participant in an abortion almost 25 years ago, my life became a very dark place. It was 20 years before I ever allowed myself to say the word and then God, somehow opened the floodgates of denial. The last 5 years or so have been a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs(mostly downs), as I have tried to come to grips with the loss alone. There have been a few close friends that kept watch over me when I was in the deepest pits, and I am grateful they were there. The 22nd of last month (2 days before the anniversary) I found myself back in one of my pits. I walked to my closet and retrieved my 45 handgun, and stood there for a moment crying. I honestly couldn’t tell you if I was trying to decide whether to pull the trigger, or trying to talk myself out of it. I described the incident to one of my friends and she admonished me to do something. Within five minutes, I had filled out the request for help on the page and sent it off. I had it saved on my laptop, but could never quite fill it out till then. Within 3 days I had an appointment scheduled with a local counselor and have been seeing her weekly. I don’t know if it will help, but it can’t hurt. I am grateful to Mr. Bradley Mattes for his quick and compassionate response, and for the counselor he referred me to.

    It isn’t easy, but maybe I have a glimpse of some hope that I couldn’t see before.

    1. Wow, Doug, there is such power in your story. May God bring you healing and comfort. I’m thankful for you telling your story and for Bradley Mattes being there for you. Thank you for sharing your pain. God bless and bless and bless you.

      1. He blesses me every day, and seeing your post was an unexpected blessing. When I started this walk, I was completely alone, with no idea where to turn. I have friends who have supported me once I broke my silence, and I love them to death, but thru no fault of their own, I really didn’t trust anyone with the storms that were constantly raging inside me.

        I knew there were programs out there, but for a variety of reasons, (pride mostly, but I have to confess to a degree of distrust as well) I wouldn’t reach out. Some of the sites you listed have been bookmarked in my laptop for a few years, and I have probably read everything, but I guess I was waiting on something to just fall in my lap. Once I took a few small steps, that is exactly what happened.

        There are other men like me out there, many of them probably less informed than I was. Still, it took a lot of searching before I knew what was out there. Anything, and anyone who helps get that message out is a tremendous blessing.

  7. Thank you for sharing these significant facts. This is so powerful and true. I’m glad you made this information available, and I hope it reaches wounded people who seek healing. I have grandchildren I will never meet here on earth because of abortion. It is a wound that festers and brings tears. I believe I’ll see them in heaven, for they died innocent.

  8. Nancy, Surely, this is a side of abortion that our culture covers up as they claim it is only about the woman. I appreciate the resources and pray for a time when our culture will recognize abortion as murder. If we get there, I believe more would find a better resolution to their “problem” pregnancy.
    Praying the Lord will open our eyes and honor men who stand up for their unborn children.

  9. Thank you, Nancy. We are often unaware of the affects abortion have on men. But it makes sense they grieve and carry burdens as well when they fathered the child, now gone. This ministry of healing sounds very needed.

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