Abortion's silent victims: men

Women and babies are not the only victims of abortion.

...Bill Thomas is an abortion victim, too. Since the day 27 years ago when his girlfriend ended their child's life, his life has been in ruins.

...Thomas - not his real name - squandered a promising career, has failed to hold a steady job, and abuses drugs and alcohol, says Sue Liljenberg, then Thomas' 18-year-old lover.

...Liljenberg, 45, said she went through a "healing process" years ago that left her with a rock-solid confidence in God and an enthusiasm about His power to transform lives. She is married to a man who has three sons, and leads Healing Hearts (see link #1 below), a nondenominational Christian ministry. The Seattle-based group has helped more than 2,000 post-abortive women since 1988.

...Healing Hearts wants to help men, too. Post-abortive women tell Liljenberg stories about their husbands and boyfriends that make her want to weep, she says. They can't understand why their men sometimes are so uncharacteristically angry, depressed, or cold-hearted.

...Liljenberg knows that in many instances, the root of the problem is the same one that hounds Bill Thomas, even after all these years. "I saw the devastation that my baby's father has gone through," she told Religion Today. "There is a definitive 'before-the-abortion' and 'after-the-abortion.' He is a changed person, tormented."

...She realized the problem was big a few years ago when, during a Moody Radio broadcast, she read a poem written by a man about "his" abortion. "I got tons of emails from men" who reacted personally to the poem, she said. "I just sat and wept. It was so heart-wrenching."

...Abortion "has to affect" men, Liljenberg said. "Whenever a man gives up his God-given responsibility to be priest and protector over his home, he has violated everything God ever made him to be. That's where the problem is. He's got to be reconciled to God and cleansed."

...Healing Hearts recently adapted a Bible study for use with men, Liljenberg said. A church elder who had been involved in abortion helped write it, and several pastors are reviewing it. Two pilot men's groups say the study has changed their lives, she said. Counseling by men for men also is done by email.

...Liljenberg is praying that the Scriptures selected will be as powerful as they have in small-group sessions with women, which have met in churches over the years, she said.

...Using God's word is "like handling nitroglycerine," Liljenberg said. "It sounds crazy to people, but we see it every day. Women come to us who have gone to psychologists for 15 years and are so far in debt they can't see straight. In 10 weeks (the duration of the Bible study) they are set free by God.

..."God's word is the most powerful thing I have ever dealt with in my life."

...Pastors should take the lead in dealing with the effects of abortion, Liljenberg said. Abortion is "ripping the church in America apart because pastors will not admit there is a problem." In the church today, "you screw up, you cover up," she said.

...An estimated 40 million legal abortions have been performed in the United States since the procedure was legalized, many involving professing Christians, she said. Yet many of the Christians who are post-abortive "think they are the only Christian who has had an abortion."

...Some people are "entrenched" in pro-life activism to make amends for their abortions, Liljenberg said. "But you are never going to make it like you didn't have an abortion. You will always be the father of a dead baby. The only thing that will change is to be reconciled with God."

...There is "a huge need" and not much help available, Rick Dennler of David's Heart, a new Seattle-based ministry for men, told Religion Today. Some men feel angry, powerless, or emasculated because they couldn't stop the abortion, or guilty because they didn't. Involvement in abortion "lies at the heart" of some sexual deviancy, he said.

...Some emotionally distant men may have a "hard spot in their heart" that they created to deny their dead child's humanity, Dennler said.

...Dennler, who counsels men in person and through email, is compiling letters written by men to their aborted babies as well as testimonies of how God subsequently has worked in their lives. The confidential and anonymous letters will be published as a "healing resource for men," he said.

...Christian men who have been through the experience of abortion are desperately needed to help counsel and encourage others by email, Dennler said. He can be reached at Davidsheart@ccnmail.com (see link #2 below) or at David's Heart, P.O. Box 22, Snohomish,
WA 98290.

...Liljenberg agrees. If men are to get the help they need, many more Christian men who have been through abortions must step forward to mentor them, she said. Those who are interested can contact Liljenberg at heartsinc@aol.com (see link #3 below), (360) 897-2711, or P.O. Box 7890, Bonney Lake, WA 98390.

1: http://www.healinghearts.org
2: "mailto:Davidsheart@ccnmail.com"
3: "mailto:heartsinc@aol.com"

Religion Today - January 21, 2000

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