Most studies focus on how abortion affects women. It is difficult to find any current studies on the affect abortion has on men. Fortunately, there has been some recent research on how men perceive their role and concerns surrounding the abortion of a partner.

The research was a survey of 1,000 American men who had been involved in a partner’s abortion. The results from Lifeway Research in 2021 were compiled by CareNet. I have summarized some of the main findings below.

  1. Men had varying emotions discovering partner was pregnant with about half describing themselves as nervous and scared.
  2. 30 % suggested she have an abortion
  3. 63% said it was her decision
  4. 46% cited lack of ability to afford the child as main reason, with second main reason they were not ready to be a dad
  5. 70% of the men said they were the one the woman consulted about the decision. 
  6. Only 3% reported the woman consulting someone in the local church
  7. 38% reported they were the major influencer in the choice
  8. 43% of the men said they did not discuss the choice with anyone other than the woman
  9. 34% of the men were married, and 29% living together at the time of the abortion
  10. 40% of the men and women did not want to get married
  11. 47% were attending a Christian church at the time of the abortion at least once a month
  12. 42% said they expected judgmental response from the church and 30% expected condemning. Only 24% expected a caring or helpful response from the church
  13. 54% were aware of PRCs at the time of the abortion
  14. 46% said men should have input in the abortion
  15. 54% believe teachings on forgiveness don’t seem to apply to abortions
  16. 52% believe churches are a safe place to talk about abortion and other options
  17. 57% believe churches oversimplify choice of options
  18. 62% believe churches are prepared to help support couples who keep child from unplanned pregnancy
  19. 72% expect unmarried pregnant couples will be judged by the church
  20. 49% did not recommend talking about abortion with local church
  21. 68% describe themselves as Christian at time of abortion
  22. 46% describe themselves as evangelical or born again

The overwhelming takeaway for me is how at least half of the men in general felt the church was not safe, help, loving, or where the couples went to discuss their options. Yet nearly half describe themselves as born again or evangelical Christians! And a whopping 68% identify as Christians. While this does not answer the issue of the aftermath of abortion for men, it is clearly a wake up call to the church. We MUST do better in being a place where abortion can be openly and safely discussed. The biblical truths on the sanctity of the unborn child’s life must be taught. The scriptural truths of chastity outside of marriage and dangers/prohibitions regarding sexual immorality must be communicated from the pulpit.

The little research I could find on the aftermath of abortion for men was an old study; however, I suspect it was accurate.

This is an excerpt from a compilation of studies, of which there are very few, up to about 2007. In general, it shows men can experience a similar post traumatic response to abortion as women experience.

What Does The Research Show?

While there is much we don’t know about men and abortion, there are some 28 studies on men’s reactions to abortion that are informative.  In one study, most men felt overwhelmed, with many experiencing disturbing thoughts of the abortion (Shostak & McLouth, 1984). Research evidence suggests that men are also less comfortable expressing vulnerable feelings of grief and loss, instead either saying nothing or becoming hostile.  And of course, because no abortion occurs in a relational vacuum, the consequences of these two factors have considerable implications for men’s relationships with women.

In a review of how abortion impacts relationships, Coleman, Rue & Spence (2007a) reported: (1) men tend to exert greater control over the expression of painful emotions, intellectualize grief, and cope alone; (2) men are also inclined to identify their primary role as a supporter for their partners, even after an abortion, and even if they opposed the decision; (3) men were more likely to experience feelings of despair long after the abortion than women; and (4) men are more at risk for experiencing chronic grief.  

The best evidence indicates that a minimum of 10-30% of women who undergo an abortion report pronounced and/or prolonged psychological difficulties attributable to the abortion. These adverse psychological outcomes include guilt, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, relationship problems, substance abuse, symptoms of post-traumatic stress, and increased risk of suicide. Male responses to a partner’s abortion include grief, guilt, depression, anxiety, feelings of repressed emotions, helplessness/voicelessness/powerlessness, post-traumatic stress, anger and relationship problems (Coyle, 2007).

Psychological injury in men following abortion is likely underestimated due to men’s propensity to avoid self-disclosure. Preliminary findings in a new study found four out of ten men experienced chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, occurring on average 15 years after the abortion. Other disconcerting findings included: 88% feeling grief and sadness, 82% guilt, 77% anger, 64% anxiety, 68% isolation, 31% helplessness, 40% sexual problems. Certain factors predict whether men are more likely to experience abortion as traumatic: where the pregnancy was desired by them or their partner, where someone else pressured their partner into abortion, where the abortion occurred against his wishes or he didn’t know about it until afterwards (Rue, Coyle, & Coleman, 2007).

Men do indeed grieve after an abortion, but they are more likely to deny their grief or internalize their feelings of loss rather than openly express them (Coyle, 2007). Then too, in our culture men are typically discouraged from expressing their feelings. When men do express their grief, they tend to do so in culturally prescribed “masculine” ways, i.e., anger, aggressiveness, silence, control. Men typically grieve following an abortion in a private way. Because of this, men’s requests for help may often go unrecognized and unheeded by those around them.

Research evidence suggests that some men following the loss of their unborn child may in fact grieve more than the mother (Coleman & Nelson, 1998; Kero & Lalos, 2000; and Lauzon et al., 2000; Mattinson, 1985). Men are more likely to feel despair after a pregnancy loss, including a pervasive sense of hopelessness, one of the signs of chronic grief (Stinson et al., 1992). It is apparent that men’s lives contain greater attachments and are more profoundly affected by fatherhood than has usually been assumed.

Healing Resources for Men Following Abortion

Many PRCs offer abortion recovery programs for men.

The Biblical Call to Men in Relationship to their Wives

‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,’ (Ephesians 5:25-29).

First, men should not be in an intimate relationship with anyone but their wife. So first, these men need to be married before sex which could produce a baby even occurs. MOST abortions occur with unmarried couples.

But the biblical admonition of the man’s call from God in relationship to his wife is critical in addressing how he should behave in the face of an unplanned pregnancy. He should love her, sanctify her, CLEANSE her with the washing of the WORD, present her as holy and blameless, love her as his own body, nourish and cherish her.

If men treated women this way, I suspect abortion levels would plummet.

List of post-abortive symptoms in men from a compilation of research:

● Has difficulty with commitment

● Dodges authority

● Has no solid sense of identity

● Works to impress moral leaders

● Keeps women at bay

● Has trouble bonding

● Fears impending tragedy

● Doesn’t own his mistakes

● Feels inadequate as a leader

● Relationship struggles

● Inability to trust friends

● Rage

● Anxiety attacks

● Addictions and sexual compulsions

● Sleeplessness, bad dreams, nightmares

● Sexual dysfunction

● Depression

● Fear of failure

● Fear of rejection

● Loneliness or numbness

Click HERE for a great article on Post-Abortion Men

Vicky Kaseorg

Vicky Kaseorg

Vicky Kaseorg is a missionary with Love Life. An author of over 25 books, she is ardently pro-life and deeply desires to share the hope and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ through her work, writing, and life. Read her personal blog at


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