In light of Rowe v. Wade Rouhling, Men Share Their Abortion Stories

Two years ago, Matthew Markman, a California software salesman, and his wife, who was 20 weeks pregnant, learned that their son had a rare heart defect. If his wife carried the fetus to term, he was unlikely to survive after birth, their doctor told them.

The news was devastating for Mr. Markman and his wife; they tried to have a baby for over a year and used in vitro fertilization several times. After three rounds of implantation, one embryo engrafted, resulting in a miscarriage. This pregnancy was their fifth embryo. They even settled on the name Elijah, “because my grandfather’s name starts with an E and he recently died,” Mr. Wilson said. Markman, 37, describes himself as a supporter of abortion rights.

When the couple made the difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy, Mr. Markman felt that since his wife was pregnant and had to undergo the procedure, he should have been stronger in this moment of desperation. They cremated the remains and scattered the ashes on Muir Beach in Northern California.

“Personally, I had to take a couple of months off because it was an emotionally very difficult period,” he said. “It took me a while to realize that it’s okay that this experience was hard on me.”

Another recurring theme in the responses of the men who wrote to The Times was the belief that without abortion they would not be where they are today.

There is a vast body of peer-reviewed research that links access to abortion to a woman’s emotional, physical, and financial outcomes, including Failure study, which followed women who were denied an abortion for five years and found that they were more likely to live in poverty or be unemployed than women who could have an abortion. But experts noted that few researchers have studied the long-term effects of abortion on a man’s life path.

One studypublished in 2019 in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that men whose partners had abortions while in college were more likely to graduate and earn higher incomes than men whose partners did not.

Nam Phan, a 30-year-old Massachusetts engineer and father of two, said his wife’s abortion when they were dating as teenagers helped them eventually become better parents. At that time they did not have financial security, and they did not feel mature enough to take care of a child. “I don’t think any of us could even take care of ourselves at that moment,” he said.

Their first child, now 5, was also an unplanned pregnancy, but they felt much more prepared for motherhood when they found out about it; they graduated from college, got a job, got married and were going to buy a house.

“We don’t lose sight of the fact that having a baby at that time would really change our lives significantly,” he said.

When Kevin Barhydt was 19, a woman he dated got pregnant. Immediately, “panic and great fear” seized him.

“There was a moment, ‘Gee, let’s make a list of pros and cons,'” said Mr. Barhydt, now a 60-year-old analyst and writer from New York. By that time, he was already going through hard times in his life. He was abused, dropped out of school and struggled with alcohol addiction. According to him, they had nowhere to take care of the newborn, and he did not even have money to pay for an abortion.

mr. Barchydt’s second experience with an abortion was about a year or so later with another woman, while he was still struggling with his addiction. He described that period of his life as “terrible”.

“The idea of ​​having a baby just seemed crazy back then,” he said.

Both abortions, Mr. Barhydt said, pushed him into a “trajectory of healing.” He went to college and found a stable job. He is married, has two sons, and has not been drinking for more than three decades. These memories, however, are still painful.

“Do I beg for forgiveness? Yes, I know,” Mr. Barhydt said. “Do I wish there was a way to keep my children? Yes. Do I regret my decision then? Not at all. “