Men and Abortion

Man And Abortion

By Vicki Thorn

The lie that has been perpetrated in our society from the legalization of abortion on is that abortion is a woman’s issue. It is her choice. It is between her and her doctor. Men have been cut out of the decision process or told they have to be compliant.

If there are over 43 million abortions in this country since abortion was legalized, there are 43 million men who are impacted by an abortion loss. These men usually suffer in silence or sometimes act out in rage, in what may become a murder/suicide.

Why would a pregnancy make a difference to a man? Because the man is tied to his partner by means of certain scent hormones called pheremones. These are scent molecules of affiliation. They are not the same as the scent of food or perfume. They are perceived by different cells in the nose and the brain, but this information that they transmit impacts our lives in many ways. They are why women who spend much time together cycle together. Mothers know the smell of their baby right after birth and fathers know it within a few days. It is why we automatically smell the top of the head of a newborn baby we are holding.

It seems that men recognize by scent when women are fertile and when they are pregnant. Some men report knowing that their partner was pregnant before she did. I know in our family, my nephew knew my niece was pregnant before she did.

In other cultures it is recognized that 60 to 90% of men will have some symptoms of pregnancy with their wife. I learned about this in an anthropology course at the University of Minnesota many years ago. No one in our culture seems to have heard of this, If the poor man is one of the 20% who are really sick and he goes to the doctor, no doctor ever asks if his partner is pregnant. He just assumes he has a virus and that it will go away. It does, right before birth.

But there is even more to the story. In the 6 weeks before birth, the man undergoes hormonal changes. His testosterone drops, making him less aggressive and sexually interested. His naturally occurring estrogen climbs, making him more gentle. His stress hormone, cortisol, rises and he is in an alert stage, needing to protect mother and child. He gets more of the hormone vasopressin, which is a bonding hormone, effectively Mother Nature’s way of saying “sit, stay!” And about the time the baby arrives he gets prolactin, which is the nursing hormone in women. Why would he get that? Well, prolactin makes us nice. We smile more and we are very helpful. Isn’t that just what a new mother with a newborn needs? “Of course, I’ll go get diapers, even if it is midnight!”

It doesn’t even end there. Research on certain monkeys who are good parents finds that the male brain changes. He gets more brain cell growth in the front of his brain, the rational, logical thinking part. Researchers say the cells last until the offspring becomes independent, but don’t define at what age independence happens: 2, 12, 22 or 35. At that time, the cells begin to die off.

And, when the hormones return to normal, the testosterone never returns to the pre-fatherhood level or the bachelor level. The man is forever changed by the pregnancy.

When men grieve following an abortion, they articulate grieving for lost fatherhood. He was denied the opportunity to complete the biological changes that were begun with the pregnancy.

A good book for a man dealing with an abortion loss is “Men and Abortion: A Path to Healing” by C. T. Coyle. This is for any man, regardless of how he was involved in the abortion. It uses a forgiveness model of healing. It can be purchased from LifeCycleBooks


This article is an intellectual property of Vicki Thorn. Republishing of this article is not permitted without her expressed premission.

Picture by Wazari


  1. Anonymmous January 15, 2007
  2. Becky January 16, 2008
  3. j March 5, 2011