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Men and Abortion Trauma - Forgotten Fathers

Abortion Trauma Recovery [ATR] (previously Abortion Grief Australia) was founded in 1984 by Registered Nurse Dawn Dureau. It is a not for profit organization providing specialised care and advocacy for those experiencing abortion grief and pregnancy crisis. Since 1990, AGA has operated a National Crisis Line on 1300 139 313 and provides training for volunteers working on the telephone line as well as being a resource for health professionals.


1300 139 313

Abortion Trauma Recovery explains abortion trauma/grief frequently destroys relationships and shatters families both present and future.

Untreated it has a tendency to be trans-generational.  At present understood to be a type of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), abortion grief/trauma tends to (but not always) have a delayed onset (months/years) that is often precipitated by a triggering event.

The cardinal features are denial and suppression, meaning most women and men do not consciously connect the problems they are experiencing with their abortion(s).

One fifth (20%) of callers to the helpline are from men.

ATR's publication called Men and Abortion Trauma gives an insight into the issues facing men.

Abortion can have a profound impact on men's lives, both through their own exposure and/or through their partner's trauma.


The extent to which men suffer from abortion is unknown. However, whether the abortion was wanted or unwanted, underlying conflicts are not uncommon.

These include denial and distancing, to burying feelings or putting them on hold. Their personal stories illustrate that men can suffer trauma/grief reactions similar to women.

Most men find themselves totally unprepared for the suffering abortion can cause in the lives of their present and/or future partners and children.

Insights from Therapists & Researchers:

‘... We find that guys that have not ventilated, have not processed the experience, have at a level of their psyche a feeling of second class citizenship. They were not a full partner in the matter. So there is a lack of resolution, a seething discontent. they become reluctant to trust and reluctant to commit.’

Dr Arthur Shostak - Sociologist and Author

‘Abortion breeds anger, resentment, and bitterness towards the partner who was not supportive or who ignored their partner’s desire to keep the baby. At the same time, there is often tremendous pressure in the relationship to conceal one’s true feelings of grief or guilt. This can especially be a problem for men, who are often taught to hide their emotions. Men may also feel obliged to appear ‘strong’ so as not to upset the woman any further.’

‘Can Relationships Survive After Abortion?'

Dr Theresa Burke - Psychotherapist and Author

‘Typical male grief responses to abortion include remaining silent and grieving alone. In the silence, a male can harbour guilt and doubts about his ability to protect himself and those he loves. These ‘silent sufferers’ who feel they must not talk or cry may appear tough, but inside they crumble under the crushing weight of their own conscience and shame.

‘Some [men] become depressed and/or anxious, others compulsive, controlling, demanding and directing. Still others become enraged, and failure in any relationship can trigger repressed hostility. To mask or substitute the need to grieve fosters denial and forces a male to become a ‘fugitive’; from life, loving and healing.  A guilt-ridden, tormented male does not easily love or accept love. His preoccupation with his partner, his denial of himself and his relentless feelings of post abortion emptiness can nullify even the best of intentions. His guilt may prevent him from seeking compassion, support or affection. In turn, he ‘forgets’ how to reciprocate these feelings.’ Dr Vincent Rue - PhD

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