By Carrie Gress
SAN FRANCISCO, California, NOV. 29, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Men also suffer from abortions because they grieve the loss of their fatherhood, said the founder of Project Rachel.
Project Rachel, along with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Knights of Columbus, and the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing (NOPARH), sponsored the first U.S. conference to focus on the effects of abortion on men. The event concluded today at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco.
Vickie Thorn, the executive director of NOPARH and founder of Project Rachel for post-abortive women, told ZENIT on a trip to Rome that grieving men can't be forgotten, "After all, it takes two parents."
"The model to help men with post-abortion healing has to be different than for women," Thorn explained. "Men have a different way of dealing with these issues. While with women, the emphasis is on talking and crying, men have different ways to deal with their grief.
"A man's grief often is for the lost fatherhood. There is grief for the child, but many times it focuses more on the loss within himself, that he didn't make the transition into fatherhood."
Beginning a ministry
The two-day conference, "Reclaiming Fatherhood," featured experts, including therapists, from a variety of backgrounds and countries, speaking about men's healing process after abortion; abortion's effects on men's spirituality; fatherhood and abortion; and why men who have been involved in abortion come for help.
Speakers included Tom Golden, author of "Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing"; Warren Williams, author of "Fatherhood Lost," "Missing Arrows" and "Fatherhood Aborted"; and Capuchin Father Martin Pable, author of "The Quest for the Male Soul."
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, of the Knights of Columbus, said: "As an organization of laymen that has a strong history and commitment to life, we think it is very important to highlight the issues faced by those fathers whose children are aborted.
"There are three victims of every abortion, the child and both of his or her parents, and it is our hope that this conference will be the beginning of a ministry within the Church to these fathers, who grieve the death of their unborn child in isolation and silence."
Anderson and Thorn believe the "Reclaiming Fatherhood" conference will help men deal with the psychological trauma of post-abortion reality the way Project Rachel has helped women who have undergone abortions deal with their emotional and spiritual scars.