Workshop helps men cope with abortion


PROVIDENCE — Some men say women aren’t the only ones who experience heartache affiliated with abortion. The shame, grief, and guilt, says Tom Malloy, is overwhelming regardless of gender.

In his mid-20s, Malloy, a parishioner at Holy Cross Parish in Providence, impregnated his now former girlfriend. She told him the news, then had an abortion.

“We never really discussed the pregnancy,” he said. “After two weeks, I said, ‘We need to decide what we’re going to do,’ and she said, ‘I already had the abortion.’ To be honest, I felt a sense of relief.”

At that time in his life, he wasn’t involved with the Church and believed it was a woman’s choice. About 20 years later, he was dating another woman and got her pregnant. He said he told her he would support the child, but claims she demanded he sign over half of his possessions.

“I didn’t want to be extorted,” he said, noting that she had an abortion soon after.

Malloy, who was raised Catholic, regrets his decisions. Feeling a “nagging” guilt, he started attending Mass more often, and began praying the Rosary on a regular basis. In his late 40s, he became a father.

“That’s when it really hit me,” he said. “Having a baby girl that’s beautiful made me realize there were two other children who would have been just as beautiful. Two children got murdered because I didn’t step up to the plate. When I think of that, I pray for them, not myself. They are with God, but they never got a shot at life.”

To further cope, he began frequenting abortion retreats, rallies and workshops, including The Carpenter’s Workshop, a free, confidential support group for men 18 or older. The group, which is run by males, “helps men rebuild lives through God’s forgiveness and grace,” and is offered periodically by the Diocese of Providence.

The next workshops will take place on Wednesday nights, including November 12 and 19, as well as December 3 and 10, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Malloy participated in the workshop when it formed last year, and said it helped him manage his emotional strife.

“It gave me a lot of good information about how to forgive myself,” he said, noting that he’s confessed the sin. “There’s still regret, but it doesn’t consume me.”

Peter Magnotta, a licensed clinical social worker for the Diocese of Providence’s Life and Family Office, leads the workshop, along with two volunteer facilitators. He said participants are able to express their emotions, learn that they are not alone, and listen to the perspectives of other men.

“They feel that their sense of honor has been obliterated if they pushed a woman into getting an abortion,” Magnotta said. “They also feel powerless if a woman insisted on getting an abortion and the man tried to prevent it. If they were unable to persuade the woman, they may feel inadequate. By coming to a group, they reinforce the sense of being loved by God.”

That’s exactly what Malloy said the workshop offered him. He’s grateful he rekindled his relationship with God.

“If I stayed true to my faith all along, I would have known how to deal with those situations,” he said. “For 30 years, I had nothing to do with the Church. I was welcomed back with open arms.”

For information about The Carpenter’s Workshop, contact Magnotta at 421-7833, extension 217.