The role that feminism and unresolved trauma plays in abortion decisions
Lisa Rowe is the CEO of Support After Abortion and reveals she has experienced trauma in her past. It is because of that trauma, and her response to it, that during conflict she has the tendency to revert to what her husband says is “power chick” mode – someone who takes the reins of any situation and tries to exert control over it, find a solution, and power through it. It’s not a complimentary description yet a role that many women who have experienced trauma will revert to.
Greg Hasek, a licensed clinician with over 20 years of experience working with men who have experienced trauma, including an abortion decision, and helping them find healing, acknowledges that trauma Lisa has been through and why it’s hurtful:
“You were in a position you were never supposed to be in and you are wired in a way you weren’t supposed to be wired,” said Hasek.
This is one of the big repercussions of unresolved trauma in men and why failure to acknowledge that trauma is hurting both men and women.
Feminism has turned roles of women and men upside down
Historically, men have been conditioned since the women’s rights movement to not fulfill their role as a male, to not be a part of the abortion decision. Culture says that abortion is a “woman’s choice” and that men should have nothing to do with it. Legally, men do not even have a say in what his partner decides about his own unborn child.
“Men have been demasculinized,” Hasek said.
Lisa agreed, “If you look at how men are portrayed in our culture, they lost that voice and bought into what society has been telling them.”
Men are seen as pepertrators of trauma when they coerce a woman into an abortion or when they don’t stand up for her and the child, abandoning them completely. Hasek has noted in previous podcast episodes that these responses often reveal that the man has endured some type of attachment or abandonment trauma in his childhood, or a previous abortion decision.
This does not exclude the man from taking responsibility for his decision, nor invalidates women’s trauma, but it can help explain why he made those choices and why it is so important to acknowledge and address previous trauma in order to avoid another abortion and instance of perpertrating trauma on a woman.
It’s when women are put into this kind of situation of a role reversal after a man abandons her during a time of crisis, that she often becomes a “power chick”, taking that leadership role almost by force and just trying to get through, exerting whatever power she can muster in order to control the situation and outcome.
Reflecting on her own experience, Lisa asks the question, “How many other women are portraying themselves as power chicks, giving the impression they are in charge of everything? My insecurities run so deep.”
How many men and women are walking around with these marks of trauma they endured that have not been acknowledged or healed? In all likelihood, more than any of us can possibly realize.
Acknowledging men’s trauma
Hasek says that acknowledging men’s trauma is key to breaking the cycle of abortion. The only trauma acknowledged in men that have consistent programs for healing around the country are for mental health issues stemming from combat and war-related trauma. While this an incredibly important and wonderful thing to have, any other trauma that men have endured from childhood trauma to an abortion decision, are not acknowledged or addressed.
And the resulting behavior and decisions from such trauma is detrimental to both men and their partners. They are misunderstood and the results are devastating.
Until programs widely exist and mental health clinicians start screening for trauma other than war-related trauma, “men are only going to be seen as the perpetrators,” said Hasek.
After attending a men’s trauma taskforce meeting, Lisa walked away feeling as though men may be misunderstood as perpetrators of trauma, especially when it comes to abortion. This was a huge realization coming from someone who has endured trauma inflicted by a man.
“Are men really pressuring women to have abortions? Are they really abandoning their roles as protectors and providers?,” she asked.
Research from Support After Abortion reveals that women are deeply affected by males and their roles in abortion. It also shows that upwards of 80 percent of males who experienced an abortion decision felt they had no say in it whatsoever.
Hasek has seen firsthand the behavior resulting from unresolved trauma inflicted in an abortion decision: sex addiction, substance abuse, alcohol addiction. No one is acknowledging these behaviors stem from abortion.
Ending the cycle of abortion
Through his extensive years helping men heal from trauma, Hasek believes that the cycle of abortion can indeed be broken if men are able to heal from trauma and take those leadership roles they were always meant to have.
Both Greg and Lisa agree that moving to a place where men can be validated for their trauma is crucial in addressing the cycle of abortion. If men are exhibiting depression or destructive behaviors and are being asked by clinicians, mental health providers, and even pregnancy centers, if they have had an abortion experience in their past, the opportunity for healing can be opened up. Men can rise to that leadership role they were designed to be and not engage in destructive behavior towards others and themselves.
Support After Abortion has extensive content to help men who are wanting to explore healing from past abortion wounds at our website, which anyone, from mental health clinicians to pregnancy centers, can take advantage of. To view speakers and presentations from the 2021 Unraveling the Roots of Men’s Trauma conference, please see this link.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by abortion, you are not alone. Call or text our confidential hopeline at 844-289-HOPE (4673). Women, this is your call: if your partner, male loved one or friend has had an abortion, visit us at www.supportafterabortion.com to learn how to create a safe space, and create dialogue so more men can receive hope and healing after abortion.