For men, the road to post-abortion healing is often lonely, difficult, and silent.
One of the keys to finding wholeness, according to Jill Marquis, Care Net’s Director of Abortion Care and Recovery, is having a place to tell your story and hear from others who have experienced the same, pain, guilt, shame, and anger. For women, this approach comes more naturally, but for men, it can be quite challenging.
With a heart to provide a much-needed resource to men, Care Net is currently producing a study guide and revising a book that addresses the issue from a biblical perspective. Marquis is editing and updating Fatherhood Aborted, co-written in 2001 by Guy Condon, the former executive director of Care Net. This summer, at its national conference, Care Net released the Forgiven And Set Free study guide for women in need of post-abortion healing.
Fatherhood Aborted addresses the emotional wounds of men who have been involved in the abortion of a child and discusses “the aftershocks, including violence, addictive behaviors, isolation, and difficulty bonding with women and children.” The book also includes personal accounts from men and shows that the path to forgiveness and healing is found in a vital relationship with Jesus Christ.
One of the foundational scriptures in the forthcoming study guide is Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”
Marquis has gained valuable insight for the book and study guide by recently working with a focus group comprised of men who have experienced healing from abortion.
“Evil is overcome when we share our testimony,” she explained. “One of the things that I have learned is that there are no guys who tell their story. Many men live in isolation. And that’s what the enemy wants. If he keeps us isolated, he can attack us, and, like a lion, look for the one that is separate from the herd.”
In addition to offering the soon-to-be published Fatherhood Aborted book, Care Net also gathers pro-life men and helps foster healing to those who have experienced the trauma of abortion at its annual men’s summit. In 2023, The Called and Missioned Pro-Life Men’s Summit will be held March 3 and 4 at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas.
At last year’s conference, there was a time of repentance, prayer, and healing following a message by Stephen Arterburn.
To see the men come forward at the conference for prayer and surrender to the Lord was powerful, Marquis said.
One man gave this testimony after the conference: “Through abortion, you're overwhelmed with guilt and there is trauma. There needs to be healing. And I do believe that I am healed.”
Another one said, “I’m beyond grateful to see now that God is using my past—my broken, shattered past—to now advocate and speak up on behalf of children in the womb.”
One conference attendee expressed his repentance in the form of a poem:
Within those heavenly realms, there lives a child I have never seen. She would be 41 years old, if I had not a coward been…
So many years ago, a choice was made that was both rash and wrong. A life was ended just like that, as if she didn't belong.
Christ now lives within, and I am freed from all the consequences of my self-inflicted sin.
For Marquis, working with a focus group of men has given her insight into the unique approach needed to minister grace to them. Although she knows that violating God’s divine design for life can be emasculating for men, she is also filled with hope when she realizes how His grace can transform them and how His strength can be made perfect in their weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).
“What I have heard from each of these gentlemen was a deep sadness. The abortion had stolen their voice, their manhood, their leadership, and their children,” she stated. “Each man said that he didn’t know how deep his wounds were, only that there was something very wrong…”
“Abortion, ultimately, is such a selfish decision. When you stop looking inward and start looking upward, that's where you start to see the generational change begin to happen.”
And that’s when the healing can begin and men can be free to lead their families and in their communities in the way God intended.
“Once you are free from the death grip that abortion has on you, it allows you to come off the bench and truly get in the game,” Marquis said. “[They now have] a Godly assurance and strength, which was gained because they were first vulnerable before the Lord.”
And that godly strength is needed in a day and age when the voices of men have been silenced in the abortion debate. According to Care Net’s recent study on men and abortion, 31% of men whose partner had an abortion said they did not give her any advice regarding her pregnancy decision. A follow-up question revealed that 61% of these men said they were ready and willing to support her either way.
Equipping men to reach and disciple that 31% of expectant fathers and guide them into a transformative relationship with Jesus Christ is essential to the future of the Pro Abundant Life movement and the end of abortion as a whole.
“Guys have been told, ‘Sit down and shut up. My body, my choice.’ And that's a lie,” Marquis said. “We need to hear their stories. We need the voices of men. When the men get healed and regain their voices to say, ‘No!”—that’s when we are going to see abortion stop in this country.”