Thursday, October 7, 2010

Strong Silent Types - Young Men Exposed to the Abortion Experience…

Another excellent post recently at Strong Silent Types - Stuff for Men. Here ultimo167 looks at some research (finally) on the experience of young men who are involved in an abortion - there have been loads of studies on what the young woman goes through, but this is the first time I have seen any examination of what the young man experiences as he stands beside the mother of his unborn child through the abortion process.

Halldén, B., & Christensson, K. (2010). Swedish Young Men’s Lived Experiences of a Girlfriend’s Early Induced Abortion. International Journal of Men’s Health, 9 (2), 126-143 DOI: 10.3149/jmh.0902.126

When Hallden and Christensson (2010, p.126) refer to the fact that many young men in Sweden are ‘exposed to an experience of abortion’, my instant response was to think of those fundamentalist Christians who promulgate the fiction that abortion is a ‘triple tragedy’, that is, for sperm provider, foetus carrier and foetus. That young men might feel anxious, guilty, grief-stricken or whatever (2010, p.127) because they have been marginalised from their partners’ reproductive choices, should never serve as impetus to give such men any substantive role in that decision-making process. Abortion is a deeply personal matter, to which all rights should rest with the woman herself. I have experienced first-hand the devastation caused when meddling others trample all over those rights, and I baulk when I read such scary shite as that put out by French and Kayess (2008), in which they argue that the State should afford the foetus personhood and thence, should forcibly prevent any woman from procuring an abortion…

Whether a life lived in perpetual hell is preferable to having not ever lived at all is an irrelevant line of reasoning, since abortion is and will always be a right intrinsic to individual autonomy and bodily integrity

Still, it is insightful to read what 10 young men, who as teenagers had all ‘experienced a girlfriend’s abortion’ (2010, p.128), actually thought about that experience, including their initial reactions and their lingering concerns (p.129). The open-ended, narrative interview approach garnered some extraordinarily frank, personal reflections and resulted in what was, for me, a surprising diversity of viewpoints (2010, p.129). Noting the small sample size, four main themes emerged…

1. That the abortion had interrupted ‘a life-giving process’ (2010, p.131), whereby the young men conceived of the foetus as a reality and therefore, to destroy said foetus was possibly akin to ‘denying a life’ (p.132). That perspective reflected the reality, if not also the residue of their religious, moral, and cultural values (2010, pp.131-132)…

It had been easy if the pregnancy had been a week old. I have read about it, how big the child is in relation to how long you have it in your stomach [the abortion was carried out in the ninth week of pregnancy]. It’s like becoming a man. It’s not a child. But is it when it is nine months old? Where to draw the line?‘ (Toni) (2010, p.132)

Read the whole post.


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh please. This is a woman's issue, men need to stay out of it. Not your business.

WH said...

It took the man and the woman to make the fetus, so both of them should be involved in the experience of terminating it.

It is our business - not to tell women what to do, but to be a part of the process for sure.

Anonymous said...

As a female, and as a therapist, I think understanding how abortion impacts men is important- there is a grief process for many men. Ultimately the woman has the final say, but to ignore that many men are impacted by the decision is ignorant.

Jami