Respect Life Conference: Include men when discussing abortion, healing
When it comes to abortion, women may have the procedure but that doesn’t mean men are exempt from the pain, said Kevin Burke, co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries for post-abortive women and a pastoral associate of Priests for Life.
He said well-meaning people may ask, “Why is this important?” or “Why should we care?”
“The reason we should care is because how men deal with their abortion-related pain, their grief, and in particular how they express that, which is often in the form of anger, can have a far-reaching impact not only in their lives, but as you can imagine, in the lives of their loved ones and their children, often many years later,” Burke said in his talk Sept. 14 at the diocesan Respect Life Conference. It was titled, “Tears of the Fisherman: Understanding Men and Abortion Loss.”
“Abortion is about disconnection at every level — relationships, spiritually, the child and the mother, the relationship between the people that have the sexual relationship that conceived the child. The disconnection continues in various ways and healing is all about reconnecting.” Kevin Burke, co-founder, Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
As is often the case with abortion, said Burke, who is also a licensed social worker, there’s a disconnection between what they’re feeling and the abortion that may have happened years ago.
“Abortion is about disconnection at every level — relationships, spiritually, the child and the mother, the relationship between the people that have the sexual relationship that conceived the child,” he explained. “The disconnection continues in various ways and healing is all about reconnecting.”
Contrary to what is often said, abortion is not about “my body, my choice,” according to Burke.
“Abortion is a relational wound fundamentally. Healing is through relationship, intimacy,” he told them.
Not only are men hurt if they don’t address their grief, but the church is hurt, Burke said, “because they’re not able to fully claim their role as spiritual leaders in their communities. That wound does impact them and they don’t realize it until they’re on the other side of healing.”
Men may feel weak and vulnerable while they’re grieving and yet it can unleash great spiritual power.
“We will emerge from healing stronger, blessed in every aspect of our lives. That’s his promise and I can tell you, that’s the truth,” Burke said.
“Whenever we communicate about abortion and healing, I implore you to include men — husbands, fathers, uncles, grandparents, all that have been touched by abortion,” he said.