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         July 2017


BBC addresses impact of abortion on men.

When the Abortion Act was passed in 1967 it was stated that as long as the termination was supported by two doctors it was to be the woman's choice alone and not to be in any way influenced, in the law at least, by any male partner. The role of men was discussed as part of the debate back then but any amendments to make it a requirement for men to be consulted were all rejected. Men continue to be sidelined in abortion decisions and the topic of how men are affected by abortion is often closed and taboo. However, interestingly, on Friday 16/6/2017 BBC Radio 4 aired a programme, hosted by Asimah Mir, called "It's my baby too", where the question “how are men affected by abortion?” was discussed. She spoke to men who had experienced an abortion, with women about how they think men cope with an abortion, with abortion service providers, researchers and psychologists.

One man who had been through three abortions with three different partners admitted during the interview: "I’ve not spoken to anybody about this ever. I did bring it up once recently but people just seem to want to sweep it under the carpet with me. They were embarrassed that I brought it up. It’s a taboo. You can’t really talk about it.” (As quoted by the BBC)

An issue raised in the programme was how men are very often excluded from the abortion situation. One man spoke of how surprised the clinic worker was when he came with his girlfriend for the termination. The clinic worker told him “We don’t often see [boyfriends] here” and no kind of support was offered to him.  (As quoted in Lifesitenews)

Psychotherapist Michael Simon said that men are often sidelined as abortion is seen to be something that is only to do with women but that a past abortion can go on to affect the way a man deals with sex and relationships.

Arthur Shostak, who has carried out biggest study yet into the psychological impact of abortion on men, said a major finding was that men wanted an opportunity to discuss their experience at the time of the abortion where they could speak about their emotional turmoil and discuss what events had lead them to the point of coming to the clinic that day to support someone having an abortion.

Denise Knowles, a psychosexual therapist, spoke about how the idea of becoming a parent is quite strong and emotive for a lot of men and many young men regard themselves as potentially good fathers and therefore after an abortion feelings of loss and grief can be overwhelming. One man opened up about how he often thinks about how old his aborted child would now be. And when asked about the impact of his abortion he described how he felt “empty, at a loss…cold…in a dark cave…in the middle of an ocean with dark waves crashing down…it left deep scars.” (As quoted in Lifesitenews)

UK newspaper columnist Sarah Ditum expressed her opinion that men should not be included or offered any support related to an abortion saying, "The more you involve men, the more you take the focus away from women. You're suddenly allowing this other person in, who in a physical sense is very much the junior partner in the whole baby making process." (As quoted by the BBC)

Presenter Asimah Mir ended the programmer by saying “We’re approaching the 50th anniversary of the historic decision to decriminalize abortion in most of the UK. I hope it doesn’t take another 50 years for men who’ve been affected by abortion to be heard.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08tgjky (available until 14/7/2017)