Psychological impacts on men
Ann Lalos (Sweden)
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
In general, men involved in induced abortion constitute an invisible group and there is scarcely any knowledge about their reactions and reflections. Thus, to increase knowledge and understanding of the complexity of the abortion situation 75 Swedish men involved in abortion were studied.
Most men were found to live in stable relationships with a financially good position. A quarter had previously experienced an abortion. Wanting an abortion did not imply that the men experienced their standpoint as easily conceived. Contradictory feelings towards the pregnancy appeared among more than one third and more than half used both positive and painful words to describe their feelings in connection with the abortion. Nearly half of those who solely expressed positive initial feelings towards the pregnancy also stated that they wanted an abortion.
Twenty-six of the men participated in a follow-up study 4 and 12 months post-abortion. Nearly all of them were happy with the women’s decision to have an abortion at both follow-ups. They experienced the abortion as a relief and a responsible act. Simultaneously, abortion could also be experienced as a painful and ethically problematic act. Overall, most men had only positive experiences post-abortion, such as a feeling of maturity. However, it was also found that 1-year post-abortion, more than a third consistently did not use a reliable contraceptive method.
For deeper understanding of the complexity of the abortion situation it is of great importance that men’s ambivalence and experienced paradoxes also become visible. In the work to prevent induced abortions it is of fundamental importance that a gender perspective is incorporated.