Problem: Boyfriend Wants Abortion

Help! My boyfriend wants me to get an abortion! When I discovered my unplanned pregnancy, I went through all the emotions, from fear to joy. Pregnancy hormones are intense. My boyfriend was the only person I told about my late period. Despite not using birth control, I thought that unplanned pregnancies only happened to other young women. My boyfriend was in denial. He insisted that I make sure I was really pregnant, so I got a free pregnancy test from my local Pregnancy resource center.

Now what should I do?

 

—Brittany*

(*Brittany’s name has been changed, and her story is an aggregate of women’s stories.)

Are you pregnant?

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Can you relate? Did your first conversation about your unexpected pregnancy go poorly? Maybe he just didn’t react well in the moment. Is he really opposed to you keeping the baby, or is he just ambivalent? Does he feel a baby would mean the loss of freedom? Does he want to have children someday?

 

Unwanted pregnancy brings up so many questions. You want to make the right decision, but your boyfriends is saying he hopes you make the “right choice” and you know he means abortion. There are so many important things to think about.

 

Keep the lines of communication open. Why does he want you to have an abortion? Sometimes a guy may say he wants an abortion because he thinks that’s what you want to hear. Have you told him about your feelings?

Are you afraid you can’t keep the baby without both practical support, and emotional support from your boyfriend? It's healthy and normal to both want and need support from others. You can build a support system of supportive friends and family with or without your boyfriend. Let's start by asking if your relationship with your boyfriend is healthy enough to be supportive.

Whether or not you stay together depends on the quality of your relationship, not the presence or absence of a child. Is your boyfriend willing to listen to your feelings, and respectful of your wishes? Or are you afraid to talk to him because he has angry outbursts? Fearing your partner is not a healthy sign. See if your situation sounds like this woman with an unhealthy relationship. She described her own experience on a forum in response to a story of unplanned pregnancy much like Brittany’s:

Hi dear,

I'm sorry you’re in a tough spot. It closely reflects what I've been through! My unplanned pregnancy brought out the truth in my relationship. I realized my 28-year-old baby daddy would not be there to support me emotionally through an abortion. He saw it as his way out from parenting. Deciding was so difficult! For two months, I booked and canceled appointments. After having endless conversations with friends and family, posting here, arguing and crying daily with BD, I had to go with my heart. My heart is to keep the baby.  

Now I'm single and 5 months pregnant. I'm so much happier to be alone compared to the stress, shame, and sadness he has caused me. BD left me a few months ago. It's a relief not having to try to make him stay. If I could have gone back in time when I first found out, I would have told myself to keep the baby and let him go immediately, based on how he was acting.

 

My little one and I will not be a perfect family, but I know that my child will be so loved and have every opportunity in their life. Yes, being pregnant and single sometimes feels lonely — but honestly, it's just pregnancy. It isn't as difficult as you think it will be. 

One last thing: men and women are equally responsible for their own contraception. The fathers of our children could have insisted on condoms if they felt they were not ready to risk making a baby. There is nothing to feel guilty about. Listen to your heart and if you need support, please DM me (1)!

Speaking of support, did you know your local Pregnancy resource center can talk you through your pregnancy options? Know your legal rights - no one can force you to abort. In order to make the best decision, you need to know your available options. Client advocates at Colfs Medical Clinic can give you factual information about surgical abortion, medical abortion, parenting, and adoption.

If you’re still not sure how healthy your relationship is, it’s a good idea to talk to a client advocate about your boyfriend’s behavior. They can help you identify signs of domestic violence from controlling behavior to physical abuse. I know it’s hard to consider the possibility that the man you love might be abusive. The fact that he wants you to get an abortion when you don’t want one is concerning, and controlling.

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Did you know there’s an association between abortion and domestic abuse? It’s not always the case, but sometimes an abusive relationship leads to unplanned pregnancy and then abortion. Put another way, women with a history of Intimate Partner Violence had significantly higher odds of unintended pregnancy and abortion (2). According to Dr. Burke, “the abortion rate and the domestic violence rate have risen almost side by side. Abortion, for both women and men, is associated with self-hatred, self-punishing behavior, and an increased tendency to act out anger and rage toward others.” (3). Work with your client advocate, and tell a safe family member if you need to make a safety plan.

If you are in crisis, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 800.799.SAFE (7233)

For emergencies, call 911.

Maybe your boyfriend isn’t toxic, and you’re still tempted to get an abortion to keep your relationship. Sometimes it’s helpful to map out all the possibilities. You could:

  • Keep the baby and keep the relationship
  • Keep the baby and lose the relationship
  • Lose the baby and keep the relationship
  • Lose the baby and lose the relationship

You’re in control of keeping the baby or not, but you’re not in complete control of your relationship. He might leave you after you have an abortion. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re thinking about keeping the baby. If you ignore your heart and abort, you may feel “anger, resentment, and bitterness toward the partner who was not supportive or who ignored [your] desire to keep the baby.” (3). This resentment can destroy your relationship. Another woman from the same forum described how her abortion decision affected her relationship. Her boyfriend lied to her, claiming they could have another baby in the future. (No one can guarantee you a future pregnancy.) He argued he wouldn't leave and promised to support her. His promises were weak. She’s still clinging to the relationship, but now she feels empty. Before the procedure, she believed it was the right choice for her. Then a few days later she had doubts when the permanence of her decision set in. Now she wishes she didn’t do it. Her advice is two-fold: first, educate yourself, and second don’t go through with a decision unless you feel 100% (4).

Ask yourself, after a period of time, which decision am I more likely to regret? 

Brittany felt calmer as she talked about all her feelings while her client advocate listened. She expected the woman to say something judgmental, but instead she highlighted all the resources they could offer her. [NAME OF CENTER] has free diapers, baby supplies, and classes for single parents and parents-to-be.

Need Support?

If your boyfriend is not willing or able to support you financially, check out the Top 3 Financial Resources for Pregnancy.

 

Thanks to the center, Brittany knew she could keep her unborn child, even without her boyfriend's financial help. She talked to her boyfriend more about his feelings about her pregnancy. He felt a mix of wonder, joy, guilt and pride. Turns out, he was afraid he would be a bad dad because he didn’t have a father growing up. She invited her boyfriend to attend parenting classes at the Pregnancy resource center with her. After her beautiful daughter was born, she knew keeping her was the best choice.

 

You can do this. This is not the first time pregnant women have decided to keep their unborn children. Maybe you’re thinking “Brittany had it easy. The fact that my boyfriend wants an abortion is not my only problem.” Client advocates have worked with hundreds of women with all sorts of problems. Get in touch to learn how we can help in your unique situation.

Problem-solving

Together with your client advocate

 

Sources

*Brittany’s name has been changed, and her story is an aggregate of women’s stories

 

(1) Paraphrase Peaa67wij. (2018, January 12). Help - I want the baby, father doesn't. Netmums Forum. Retrieved April 22, 2022, from https://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/pregnancy-terminations-1161/unplanned-pregnancy-46/1746791-help-i-want-baby-father-doesnt.html

 

(2) Pallitto, C. C., García-Moreno, C., Jansen, H. A., Heise, L., Ellsberg, M., Watts, C., & WHO Multi-Country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence (2013). Intimate partner violence, abortion, and unintended pregnancy: results from the WHO Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence. International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, 120(1), 3–9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijgo.2012.07.003

 

(3) Burke, T. K. (2020, June 5). Can relationships survive after abortion? • afterabortion.org. AfterAbortion.org. Retrieved April 21, 2022, from https://afterabortion.org/can-relationships-survive-after-abortion/

 

(4) Emwar5. (2018, January 12). Help - I want the baby, father doesn't. Netmums Forum. Retrieved April 22, 2022, from https://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/pregnancy-terminations-1161/unplanned-pregnancy-46/1746791-help-i-want-baby-father-doesnt.html