Partners of Women Who Have Abortions Are in the Loop

According to some new research from the Guttmacher Institute,  the majority of women seeking abortions (82%) report that the men with whom they became pregnant were aware of the abortion. What’s more, nearly 80% of the women said that the men were supportive of their decision.

The paper, Perceptions of Male Knowledge and Support Among U.S. Women Obtaining Abortions, also reports that 88% of women living with their male partner and 87% of women married to their male partner said that the men knew about it and that they were supportive (82% and 87%, respectively). Not surprisingly, I think, the numbers go down for women who were separated, divorced, in a relationship less than a year old, or not in a relationship. But even so, of the 12% of women who weren’t in a relationship with the guy, 61% said that he knew about it and 64% of them said that he was supportive of her decision.

A partner’s support can be a really important part of a woman’s well-being when she terminates a pregnancy, so this is really good news. However,

The study also found that 7% of abortion patients reported exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) by the man involved in the pregnancy. These women were substantially less likely than women who had not experienced IPV to report that their partners knew about the abortion (62% vs. 84%) or to perceive that he was supportive (49% vs. 81%). Moreover, women with abusive partners who knew about the abortion were significantly more likely to perceive that these men were not supportive of their decision (25%) compared with women not exposed to IPV (8%).

It’s uncommon for the experiences of men around abortion to be part of the discussion. But the more support that male partners, family members, friends, and significant others have, the more they can support women. Fortunately, there are some great resources.

Men and Abortion is a fantastic website. There’s info on how to find a quality provider, answers to the most common questions, extensive resource lists,  advice about the issues that are specific to men when it comes to abortion, and some great tips on how men can be supportive.

And if you need to talk with someone, Exhale is a great place to go. They offer pro-voice support and counseling for anyone who is considering or has had an abortion, as well as the people in their lives. About 10% of their callers are men, so don’t worry about whether it’s ok to call them. And they’re there for you, even if the abortion happened years ago. If the emotions are still fresh for you, give them a call:

1-866-4 EXHALE

Monday – Friday:
5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Pacific
Saturday – Sunday:
12 p.m. – 10 p.m. Pacific

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