Culture of Life

Chicago Conference Helps Men to ‘Reclaim Fatherhood’
Psychologists and others discuss abortion’s affect on men.



At a 2009 conference in Chicago, psychologists,  counselors, academics and clergy joined with men and women who have had an experience with abortion.

They spoke out about what they say is an “invisible problem” – men, as well as women, can have profound grief and suffering as a result of abortion.

The conference, titled “Reclaiming Fatherhood: A Multifaceted Examination of Men Dealing with Abortion,” was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Archdiocese of Chicago Office for Evangelization, and organized by the Milwaukee-based National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing (NOPARH). Attendees came from throughout North America, and from as far away as Europe and Africa.

The first international conference of its kind was held in November 2007 in San Francisco, and was also co-sponsored by the Knights. The July 2008 issue of Columbia later featured a special report on the subject of men and abortion.

Psychologist Vincent M. Rue, a psychotherapist for more than 30 years and an expert on post-abortion trauma, spoke at both conferences.

At the Chicago conference, he noted that recently the American Psychological Association (APA) falsely asserted that abortion is psychologically safe for women. “

The APA has missed the boat and has misguided the American public,” said Rue. “It is out of touch with reality and the pain and suffering of these very real people.”

Catherine T. Coyle, who holds a doctorate in educational psychology, added it is important that those who grieve after an abortion realize that they are not alone. “It is the compassionate thing for us to do to recognize that some people — men and women — have profound grief and suffering after an abortion,” she said. “And if we are to be a compassionate society, we must validate their pain and provide the help they need regardless of where we may stand individually on the issue of abortion.”

In addition to professional, academic and pastoral perspectives, the conference welcomed several fathers who recounted their grief and regret as a result of having lost children to abortion.

The Knights of Columbus was given an award of appreciation at the event by the Men and Abortion Network for “helping give voice to the millions of men hurting after abortion.”

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