Kudos to a new Web site that recognizes that abortion is not just a women's issue. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports today that Men and Abortion aims to educate men about contraception and how to deal with their own feelings and support their partners through the procedure. After being launched earlier this month, the site had 700 visitors in its first two weeks of operation.
"Men have been ignored in this process for too long," Claire Keyes, director of Allegheny Reproductive Health Center in East Liberty, told Post-Gazette writer Sally Kalson. (Keyes created the site with Arthur Shostak, professor emeritus of sociology at Drexel University in Philadelphia.) "They didn't know what was happening to their partner, how to help her, what to expect. They were not being talked to [about] their feelings, about birth control, or even about how the abortion was going to be done."
Until now, much of the content geared toward men on the subject has come courtesy of the antiabortion camp. "Priests for Life, for example, argues that men are too involved in abortion already, pressuring their girlfriends to end pregnancies so they can keep having sex without the burden of a child," writes Kalson, adding that the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family has profiled several men who, they say, are "scarred for life by regret over their partner's abortion."
But Keyes' and Shostak's new site offers a diverse and nonpartisan mix of emotional and practical topics -- such as guilt, fear of breaking up, wanting the child, how to find an abortion provider or helping a woman after an abortion.
Shostak is hopeful that educating men will prompt them to take more responsibility for preventing unplanned pregnancies. Since 600,000 to 750,000 men accompany their partners to abortion clinics each year, it's reasonable to think that guys do want to get more involved. Eventually, Shostak plans to enlist clinics in his teaching mission, too. But for now, a Web site seems like a fabulous start.