By Schu Montgomery, Special to The Record
Despite “precious little research” on abortion’s effect on adult men, a pioneer of post-abortion counseling for men asserted Friday night that the aftermath of abortion leaves many men with crippling scars of anxiety, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness leading to accelerated anger, addictive behavior, depression and suicide.
Brad Mattes, a founder of Men and Abortion Network, spoke to about 500 guests at Right to Life of Louisville’s annual Celebration of Life Banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel May 13.
During his keynote address, Mattes said that emerging evidence indicates eight percent of men connected with a partner’s abortion suffer serious aftershocks that society, as a whole, has been neglectful in addressing.
Since the legalization of abortion in 1973, Mattes estimated, 4.5 million “walking wounded” are “deeply anguished” knowing they were participants in the “destruction of a human life.” Anecdotal evidence, Mattes said, shows some men lose jobs, end relationships and battle disturbing thoughts and dreams following an abortion experience.
Mattes believes that, despite notions to the contrary, men have a “certain instinctual, strong desire to preserve and protect” the young. Yet, they have been stripped of “any legal recourse in preventing an abortion — even if married,” he said. This “helplessness” leaves many men with a sense of personal failure as fathers and triggers destructive behavior, even promiscuity, as they “desperately look for love in all the wrong places,” he said.
Mattes’ ministry aims to offer hope and healing to men coming to grips with involvement in an abortion. By creating safe, gender-neutral counseling environments, men learn to grieve, release unhealthy guilt, seek forgiveness and make peace with their “lost child,” Mattes said.
“Abortion is a cancer, killing and maiming everybody in its wake,” he added. “We have to be there to pick up the pieces that the ‘other side’ fails to do. Men need to be told, ‘You’re not alone.’ ”
During the banquet, Right to Life of Louisville also presented awards to those working to end abortion.
The Albert J. Schweitzer Humanitarian of the Year” award was presented to Laura Grijalba, a member of St. Patrick Church, for spearheading the local 40 Days for Life prayer and sidewalk counseling campaigns.
The Schuhmann A. Montgomery, Sr., Volunteer Award was presented to two people:
- Frances Sasse, a member of Holy Trinity Church, who has served with Right to Life for 42 years.
- John DeFriend, a St. Martin of Tours Church member, who founded Billboards for Life.