Volume 20, Number 11
NYC Subway Workers
Outside The Bomb
Malai Joya Interview
Peltier: Silence Screams
Responsibility & Guilt
Gabriel matthew Schivone
Shock, Awe, and Antioch
George j. Bryjak
Guatemala '07 Election
Black Caucus Demise
Crackpots & the Left
Men and Abortion
Eleanor J. Bader
Guthrie's Live Wire Reviewed
In the Valley of Elah Review
Genocide in Iraq?
Health Care Hokum
There are no articles.
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Men and Abortion
In the early 1980s, anti-abortion forces began to heed criticism that their reverence for the fetus came at the expense of women. In short order, Crisis Pregnancy Centers sprang up around the country. Armed with baby blankets and diapers, they preached that having an abortion not only kills “unborn children,” but leaves women grieving and dysfunctional. Shortly thereafter, they coined the term Post Abortion Syndrome— the feelings of guilt, shame, and sadness that supposedly follow the surgery. Then came the specious link, decried by the American Medical Association, between abortion and breast cancer.
Now, after years of riding the talk show circuit with these assertions, the anti-choice movement has conjured a new victim: men.
“Lost Fatherhood,” a workshop at the 35th annual Right to Life Convention this June, brought psychologist Greg Hasek and attorney David Wemhoff together to describe the adverse mental health risks for men whose partners have abortions. It’s a message sure to resonate with media, coupling “sensitive” men who confide their feelings with hard-core misogyny.
Hasek, a licensed marriage and family therapist at a Christian counseling center in Oregon, began the session by blaming abortion and feminism for the crisis in American families. “Women are angry at us and believe we’ve hurt them,” he begins. “But men also hurt even though they don’t come to therapy and say, ‘Hi, I’m struggling with abortion.’ Men hurt through their symptoms and show anger as a way of processing grief. When they feel shame, they hide because the shame is so powerful.”
That shame, he continues, may be buried in addictions. But the catalyst? “One of the pains in men’s lives is abortion. He may have pressured the woman to abort or encouraged her to have the abortion. He may have abandoned the woman, saying, ‘It’s up to you.’ He may have unsuccessfully opposed the abortion or learned about it after the fact.”
Men who are kept out of the abortion decision are always the angriest, Hasek adds. “They have higher rates of domestic violence, child abuse, depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and an inability to bond with children, stepchildren, their spouse, or God. Half are pornography addicts or have other addictions. Their unresolved pain about abortion comes out in their symptoms. Remember the Garden of Eden? We have a community of Adams.”
Gender relations are at the core of Hasek’s analysis. “God created men to care for women and children. Women look to men for decisions. The fear of abandonment—powerful in most women—means that they’ll choose love from a man over love from a child.”
New Age gobbledy-gook meets age-old sexism as Hasek describes his ideal universe where, not surprisingly, abortion is illegal, autonomous females are non-existent, and men are in charge as “the husbands and fathers God created them to be.” Wemhoff goes even further, lambasting contemporary feminism for diverting the culture away from “how men and women are hard- wired. Men are meant to protect and provide, building a family. It’s the natural law, the will of God,” he says.
Dead-beat dads and the physically or sexually abusive seem to evaporate in this worldview. “There are lots of men out there who are willing to raise a child,” Wemhoff says. As he speaks, he becomes visibly distraught, angry. His personal pain— which he says emerged after he told his girlfriend it was okay for her to end a pregnancy 20 years ago— seems heartfelt. The audience reacts sympathetically. Tears flow. “It was important for me to acknowledge that what I did was a sin,” Wemhoff says. “Once I did that I could find healing from God.”
Such confessions are central to Hasek’s reparative therapy. “God never turned his back on me,” Hasek says. Like Wemhoff, he got someone pregnant and was complicit in choosing abortion. “He laid repentance on my heart. That’s key. I confessed my sin in the abortion. I gave it to God and knew I’d been forgiven.”
Men’s mental health woes, he implies, require them to get on their knees, confess their transgressions, and make peace with God. Hasek does not say whether this will stem sex addictions, end drug or alcohol abuse, or stop men from abusing their partners or children, he believes that men’s testimonies about the “pain of abortion” will go a long way toward strengthening families and curing pathologies. “We have to make a bigger deal about how abortion affects men,” he says. “Psychological woundedness is powerful. We are our brothers’ keepers.”
Eleanor Bader is a freelance writer, teacher, and co-author of Targets of Hatred: Anti-Abortion Terrorism.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.