Men and Abortion: A Path to Healing By C.T. Coyle, Ph.D.
The impact of abortion on men is not widely understood or discussed. But opinion polls have shown that men are equally, or even more likely, than women to admit feelings of guilt and regret about a past abortion.
In Men and Abortion: A Path to Healing, psychologist Catherine Coyle describes her experience in forgiveness counseling with men struggling with a past abortion.
As the men were led through an “intervention program” designed to foster forgiveness toward both others and themselves, Coyle was able to measure a significant reduction in feelings of anger, anxiety, grief, and depression. The men were also significantly more self-forgiving and forgiving of the women who had aborted their children.
Coyle repeatedly emphasizes that forgiveness does not mean justifying or excusing the act of abortion. She writes:
“Forgiveness does not demand that we ignore justice. In fact, we must have an adequate sense of justice in order to recognize when we have been treated unfairly. Forgiveness involves both the recognition that an injustice occurred and a decision to respond to that justice with mercy.”
Clearly, forgiveness is an indispensable step in the experience of inner healing. This is true not only from an emotional perspective but most certainly from a spiritual perspective, as addressed in the chapter “Forgiveness: A Christian Imperative.”
Coyle skillfully uses the testimonies of several men to describe how her intervention program helps men to work through the process of forgiveness. In the latter half of the book, each chapter is concluded with a section called “Putting the Ideas into Practice,” which will help the reader work to privately address his own post-abortion experience.
While this book focuses mostly on the role of forgiveness in healing for men, her insights are certainly applicable to post-abortive women. Indeed, anyone who struggles with forgiveness over any experience would find valuable insights in this book.
This reviewer would recommend Men and Abortion as a resource for post-abortion counselors, but most especially as a gift for that man in your life-a husband, brother, cousin, son, or friend-who never talks about his own abortion loss. Coyle’s non-threatening, compassionate book may be exactly what he needs, even if he would never get it for himself.
Reviewed by Amy Sobie
Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 7(4) Oct. – Dec. 1999. Copyright 1999 Elliot Institute.