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Homosexual rights activists gain influence in public schools (10/17/04)

Church’s prayer births children’s ministry (10/17/04)

Partner program revitalizes dying church (10/10/04)

Church music festival attracts variety of visitors (10/10/04)

Churches urge compassion for alienated smokers (9/19/04)

Youth ride wooden waves in church parking lots (9/12/04)

A/G, COGIC join forces through inner-city campus (9/12/04)

Christians respond to victimized women and children (8/29/04)

Growing slavic church shares new facility (8/29/04)

Couple embarks on capitol prayer tour (8/29/04)

ADHD requires multifaceted treatment approach (8/22/04)

Small congregation grows — by planting churches (8/22/04)

‘Under God’ stays in Pledge of Allegiance, at least for now (8/8/04)

Church reaches out to those feeling loss (8/8/04)

Churches act pre-emptively to reduce risk of abuse (7/25/04)

Credit cards ensnare record number of Americans (7/25/04)

Church helps out with donated CD, recycled buses (7/25/04)

New wave of pastors minister to emerging adults (7/18/04)

‘Walking Witnesses’ raise thousands for missions (7/18/04)

Healing center offers alternative medicine (7/18/04)

Growing number of Hispanics impact economy (7/11/04)

'Busy' couple finds time for compassion ministry (7/11/04)

Hand-copied Bible leaves 40-year legacy (7/11/04)

Pastor ends hunger strike when strip club promises to sell (6/27/04)

‘Military survival kit’ requests inundate A/G (6/27/04)

Fourth of July outreach draws thousands (6/27/04)

Drivers warned to steer clear of distractions (6/27/04)

Pastors face more counseling demands (6/20/04)

Church uses touch of ‘flavor’ to reach community (6/20/04)

Outrageous self-expression often starts, stops at home (6/13/04)

Runner raises $5,200 for Convoy of Hope (6/13/04)

Euphemisms tempt Christians to conveniently shed sin, guilt (5/30/04)

Funds for Easter play buy groceries instead (5/30/04)

Identity theft threatens millions of Americans (5/23/04)

Spanish speakers face challenges, opportunities in United States culture (5/16/04)

Health experts implore Americans to get fit (5/9/04)

Leaders say Christian faith stems recidivism (4/25/04)

Riders feel at home in Orlando sanctuary (4/18/04)

Churches try to keep human touch with new media (4/11/04)

Christians see Passion as ministry opportunity (3/28/04)

Tutoring improves lives, opens doors for evangelism (3/21/04)

Cybertheft costly — especially for Christians (3/14/04)

A/G women seize new ministry opportunities (2/29/04)

Investment in early spiritual maturity reaps rewards (2/22/04)

Christian families respond to foster care opportunities (2/15/04)

Childless couples grapple with emotional roller coaster, faith challenges (2/8/04)

Few men seek help from abortion grief, guilt (1/18/04)

Women who answer God's call provide valuable local ministries (1/11/04)

2003 PE Report stories

Frontline Reports

2002 PE Report stories

2001 News Digest stories

2000 News Digest stories

Few men seek help from abortion grief, guilt

By John W. Kennedy (1/18/04)

As a church youth leader, Jerry Little had long preached about the evils of abortion. He and his wife, Debbie, repeatedly opened their home to young, unwed soon-to-be mothers, declaring that a baby, no matter how conceived, is always important in God’s eyes.

But Jerry Little’s belief system cracked when his unmarried 18-year-old daughter, Candy, became pregnant. Upon learning that physical abuse was involved in her relationship, he convinced himself that only an abortion could resolve the dilemma.

The young mother, however, didn’t want an abortion.

“I told her with these special circumstances she just had to have an abortion,” Little says of the 1993 incident. “That pathetic statement was the sickest thing I ever said.”

Little clandestinely drove his daughter from their Amarillo, Texas, home to Lubbock. He could have turned around at any of the eight towns they went through on the 120-mile journey. Yet he didn’t. Once they went inside the facility, his daughter became so distraught a nurse refused to let her see the abortionist.

Little and his daughter returned two days later.

“I kept thinking this situation was somehow different,” Little says. “Although my daughter continued to cry uncontrollably, this time the abortionist took my money.”

When Candy returned to the waiting room she vacantly gazed at her father and passively said, “Let’s go.” For the next two years, the Little family nearly disintegrated as they kept the abortion a secret.

While pregnancy care centers began providing post-abortive syndrome counseling soon after Roe v. Wade became law, spiritual and psychological healing for men is not commonly promoted. The handful of organizations that exist to help men overcome abortion grief are typically operated on a shoestring budget by a part-time staff.

Warren L. Williams, who in the past 25 years has counseled 250 post-abortive men as founder of Fathers & Brothers Ministries International in Boulder, Colo., estimates that only 4,000 American men have gone through any kind of healing study in the past decade. The walking wounded are plentiful because more than a million abortions take place in this nation annually. When a baby’s father refuses responsibility, the woman’s father, brother, uncle or platonic friend sometimes steps in to finance the abortion.

Few Christian men talk about abortions they bankroll, according to Olivia Gans, director of American Victims of Abortion, a branch of the National Right to Life Committee in Washington, D.C. “Men no longer know their duties and responsibilities as fathers,” Gans says. “Modern guys have been taught that the honorable thing is to get out of the way and let the woman make the decision, or pay for the abortion and make sure she gets there on time. Still, the father’s influence is the single most powerful factor in whether a baby lives or dies.”

While a first-year university student, Stephen Arterburn impregnated a co-ed, and then badgered her into believing that she only had one option. “I helped pay for the abortion because it was the convenient thing,” Arterburn admits. “Only afterwards did I realize that I had essentially paid to have my own child murdered.”

Arterburn, founder of the Laguna Beach, Calif.-based New Life Ministries, subsequently suffered through a life-threatening 83 ulcers. Now 50, he says he didn’t fully come to terms with what he had done until 18 years later, after he and his wife, Sandy, adopted a baby.

Some men are dealing with the antithesis: a girlfriend who aborted the child without the father’s sanction, or sometimes, even knowledge. While a man and a woman create a baby, only one party has a legal decision for an abortion. Three decades ago seven men on the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a woman is the autonomous decision-maker.

The repressed angst that men have manifests itself in an array of societal woes, according to Williams.

“There hasn’t been anyone who has gone through the healing process with me who didn’t express a deep level of anger toward themselves and others involved in the abortion process,” says Williams, 56, who has authored a post-abortive Bible-study training manual.

Experts who have counseled men repeatedly see more symptoms besides guilt and depression. The aftermath, both in men who pushed for an abortion and those who fought it, often includes inability to form a lasting relationship, sexual dysfunction, substance abuse, nightmares, fits of rage, suicidal behavior and fear of having more children.

Although he steadfastly maintained the abortion’s necessity, two years later Jerry Little agreed to his daughter’s request to go through a Bible study and counseling at the CareNet Crisis Pregnancy Centers of Amarillo. He grasped the immorality of his actions, admitted his guilt, prayed for God’s forgiveness and experienced healing.

“I had kept thinking those two years that I was supposed to protect her,” Little says. “But no one could have abused her as much as I did because I took her to get an abortion.”

Little, who is a construction crew manager, has individually led four men through a 12- to 16-week post-abortive Bible study that deals with denial, anger, forgiveness, depression and acceptance.

“There is not some magic pill to make this better,” Gans says. “Emotionally these men are grappling with a death experience.”

Anne Pierson, 61, executive director of Loving & Caring in Lancaster, Pa., says men don’t want to appear “weak” so they rarely seek guidance without prodding by the woman. “Men like to keep abortion a women’s issue, but it’s not,” Pierson says.

The healing can be transformational. For instance, Little’s daughter is now director of the Amarillo pregnancy center where she and her father found help eight years ago. Ignoring the pain doesn’t make it go away.

“Whenever you make a decision to kill one of your own species it’s going to have a profound effect on you,” Arterburn says. “Men have to accept Christ’s forgiveness — and forgive themselves — if they don’t want to struggle with this guilt forever.”


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