"The lived truth of peoples' experience is very hard to dismiss," said Vicki Thorn, who runs post-abortion counseling programs for the Catholic Church. "It's time we . . . affirm the pain that fathers feel."
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Years later, when his wife told him she was pregnant, "I suddenly realized that I had four dead children," said Morrow, 47, who lives near Erie, Pa. "I hadn't given it a thought. Now it all came crashing down on me -- look what you've done."
A few months ago, Morrow reached out to the ex-girlfriend who aborted twice. They met and prayed together, seeking peace. After they parted, she spilled her anger in a letter: "That long day we sat in that God-forsaken clinic, I hoped every moment that you would stand up and say, 'We can't do this'. . . but you didn't."
Even abortion rights supporters acknowledge that men may benefit from counseling when they and their partners face an unwanted pregnancy. Sociologist Arthur Shostak has interviewed thousands of men waiting in abortion clinics; though they tried to project strength to help their lovers through the ordeal, many told him that they felt powerless, anxious and alone. Some dreamed about the children they would never know.
Shostak encourages clinics to reach out to these men. But he views the activist movement with alarm.
Recruits often cycle through church-based retreats, support groups and Bible studies that aim to heal post-abortion trauma. The men are urged to think of themselves as fathers, to name -- and ask forgiveness from -- the children they might have raised, had their partners not aborted.
At one retreat, the men are told to picture their sons and daughters dancing in a sunny meadow at the feet of Jesus Christ.
"They draw in men who may have a little ambivalence, possibly a little guilt, and they exacerbate those feelings," Shostak said.
Chris Aubert, a Houston lawyer, felt only indifference in 1985 when a girlfriend told him she was pregnant and planned on an abortion. When she asked if he wanted to come to the clinic, he said he couldn't; he played softball on Saturdays. He stuck a check for $200 in her door and never talked to her again.
Aubert, 50, was equally untroubled when another girlfriend had an abortion in 1991. "It was a complete irrelevancy," he said. But years later, Aubert felt a rising sense of unease. He and his wife were cooing at an ultrasound of their first baby when it struck him -- "from the depths of my belly," he said -- that abortion was wrong.
Aubert has since converted to Catholicism. He and his wife have five children, and they sometimes protest in front of abortion clinics. Every now and then, though, Aubert wonders: What if his first girlfriend had not aborted? How would his life look different?
He might have endured a loveless marriage and, perhaps, a sad divorce. He might have been saddled with child support as he tried to build his legal practice. He might never have met his wife. Their children -- Christine, Kyle, Roch, Paul, Vance -- might not exist.
"I wouldn't have the blessings I have now," Aubert said. So in a way, he said, the two abortions may have cleared his path to future happiness.
"That's an intellectual debate I have with myself," he said. "I struggle with it."
In the end, Aubert says his moral objection to abortion always wins. If he could go back in time, he would try to save the babies.
But would his long-ago girlfriends agree? Or might they also consider the abortions a choice that set them on a better path?
Aubert looks startled. "I never really thought about it for the woman," he says slowly.
"On one level, yes, maybe she got an education, married a great guy, has six kids and everything's wonderful now," he said. But he can't believe it could really be that uncomplicated. "It might bother her once every 20 years or once every five years, or every day, but there's a scar."
He has not talked with either of the ex-girlfriends, but he says he can imagine what they feel because he knows how the abortions affected him. He never had the nightmares that other men describe, or the crying jags, the drug abuse, the self-loathing. Yet he knows he has been tarnished.
"I have this stain on my soul," Aubert said, "and it will always be there."
He hopes to organize a father's section at this month's march in Washington protesting the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.
Aubert pictures men by the hundreds praying, chanting -- and waving signs: "I regret my abortion."