Rage to Redemption: One Man’s Perspective on Abortion
“The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships.”
~ Mother Teresa
Among those who favor abortion - the deliberate killing of a preborn child – women’s rights and wellbeing typically begin and end the arguments in favor of abortion on demand. Pro-life advocates almost always ask, “What about the rights and wellbeing of the preborn children?” But there is a third group whose rights are rarely considered, and whose emotional devastation in the aftermath of abortion often goes virtually unnoticed: fathers.
Marc Coddette knows this firsthand. He found out about his girlfriend’s abortion at the same time he found out she’d been pregnant – seven weeks after she’d had the operation. It happened more than three years ago, and Marc says he is just now finding divine healing after years of pain, anger, and bitterness.
“It was just as devastating as any…woman who has lost a child,” he explains. “If I could have carried that child for nine months and given birth, I would have.”
Marc had lived in New York when the relationship began, but moved to Georgia shortly thereafter. He was already in the process of moving south when he met her and started getting to know her better. The move got delayed by several weeks, and they both knew by the time Marc was ready to leave that they wanted to be together.
“When I left, we were both like, ‘well, we’ll make it work, we’ll figure something out,’” said Marc. Both had been married previously, and she had four children, the younger two of whom Marc got to know well.
“She seemed to be very stable and organized, like the kids were a big part of her life,” Marc says, adding they even talked about having a child together someday. “It was a committed thing. I would say now that played a heavy part in how I reacted [to the news of the abortion].”
That news came nearly two years into the relationship, in February of 2012. Marc would make occasional trips to New York, and his girlfriend visited Georgia several times. On one visit while Marc watched her then-five-year-old daughter, his girlfriend called to ask Marc to find an envelope she had left behind so her sister wouldn’t see it. Marc got curious and looked inside.
“It was an appointment card for a follow-up [after] an abortion,” said Marc. He says he had no idea at the time that she’d even been pregnant, much less had an abortion.
Marc didn’t know much about abortion at the time. “I’m not coming from this as a guy who was raised in the church, who knew all this stuff, who was pro-life,” he said, adding he probably would have (naively) considered himself more pro-choice than pro-life until he went through this experience and found himself confronted by the stark reality that a life had ended because of someone’s “choice.”
Others in his life didn’t seem to see it the same way. “Everyone was trying to get me with the point that ‘it’s already done, that’s it,’” Marc recalls. “But I was mourning…. Man, I was so broken I can’t even describe it.”
He told one of his friends about what had happened and showed him the post-abortion appointment notice; the friend replied, “Well, this has nothing to do with you. Let’s go bowling.” Other friends told him he “had no right to be upset whatsoever.” Marc couldn’t understand why no one felt the same pain or anger over the preborn baby’s death that he did, but treated the whole episode as if it didn’t exist.
“I wasn’t even allowed to mourn; that also [caused] a lot of rage for me,” Marc admits. “Surreal is an understatement.”
With time, the anger swallowed up the sadness and confusion. “At that moment, that devastation [was] so shocking,” Marc explains. “[But] as the months and years passed, it started going in the other direction of hate, anger, revenge.”
He realized quickly after learning about the abortion that the relationship would not survive the blow. “I completely lacked any empathy or sympathy because of my pain,” he says, adding he wasn’t even approaching it from a spiritual standpoint because of the pain. “It was just a lot of rage towards women at that point.”
He and his girlfriend officially broke it off about a month later. “I loved this girl deeply, but it was about this baby,” he said.
During the months that came, the anger and pain led to thoughts of suicide and reckless behaviors. “I wanted to take my life, but I didn’t have the courage,” Marc said, so he began taking risks like intentionally driving way too fast on the highway.
If he hoped for a quick end to the pain, he nearly got it. Just before Christmas of 2012, he got into an accident – his fault, because of near-suicidal speed and reckless driving – with an 18-wheeler that nearly destroyed his car. Miraculously, he walked away with nothing more than some sore muscles.
Miraculous, indeed. That brush with disaster Marc now understands to be God’s wake-up call, helping him to see “how fragile we are…how much we don’t even appreciate grace, like in our health.”
Marc began to pay attention to other ways God was trying to speak to him – less dramatic than the accident, perhaps, but no less personal and profound. “When God dealt with me, he dealt with me,” he said. “He started showing me how I view things [versus] what his word says.”
According to Marc, this healing journey was never easy. “I truly understand now that this was God’s plan, to bring me along to the purpose he had for me,” Marc says. “I didn’t [like] the process, the pain I had to go through, but…once I started moving in faith, regardless of how I felt emotionally, that’s when he started working.”
“The biggest thing was forgiving,” Marc states emphatically. “[God] does not want to see his children hurting. The world would have written me off in a heartbeat, and it did. But he didn’t…Every time I speak about his redemptive power…it overrides [everything].”
Marc said it took experiencing God’s divine forgiveness to allow him to forgive his ex-girlfriend, “because at times I would think ‘why should I even have sympathy for her?’ But that’s what He does!”
Over a year and a half after finding out about the abortion, Marc traveled to New York to talk with his ex-girlfriend. Although Marc says she did not acknowledge any need of forgiveness because she didn’t believe she had done anything wrong, going there and forgiving her in person allowed him to relinquish the anger that had consumed him for 19 months.
At the same time he learned to let go of his anger towards others over the child that was killed. Marc says God showed him his anger over abortion itself is not misplaced – it is, in fact, a reflection of what the Bible teaches of God’s own attitude toward the killing of innocents. Marc had listened to a lot of sermons, but he said he had never heard much preached specifically about abortion. About a week after his final trip to New York, he heard a sermon from Proverbs 6 about seven things that are “an abomination” to God.
“The first one was a proud look, the second was a lying tongue, and the third was hands that shed innocent blood,” he remembers. After hearing the same definition of “abomination” twice in the same week, he started researching the passage, particularly that word, in the original Hebrew. He found it means something disgusting or abhorrent that provokes an intense emotional reaction. “I would sit and think about [the abortion], and how it physically hurt me…and I thought, ‘that’s how God feels about this.’”
“How I was feeling started to make sense – ‘okay, I’m not crazy,’” Marc says. And as he learned more about abortion on demand in this country since the Roe v. Wade decision, his conviction that every abortion, such as the one that had devastated him emotionally, is only a legal form of murder only deepened.
“If you kill your mother, it’s matricide; if you kill your father, it’s patricide; if you kill a kid it’s infanticide,” he points out. “But if a woman decides to kill her [preborn] baby, it’s legal and considered ‘choice.’ That was not clicking with me.”
The sense of righteous anger over the injustice of abortion almost threatened to bring back the old hurt and the rage. Instead, God connected Marc with Georgia Right to Life, and with a woman named Angela who knew what Marc was going through because she had been through it herself.
“[God] used another woman to touch me in an area where I just had this rage against women,” Marc says thankfully. Several weeks into his counseling sessions with Angela, all the emotions he thought he had worked through hit him anew. “I had buried some things so deep, but now I was reliving it every day.”
“It’s tough because…if that’s not resolved, it’s going to pop back up, it’s going to rear its head. It’s either going to take you under, or you’re not going to live the full, abundant life you’re supposed to,” Marc says. “And that’s what it’s really all about at the core – there are so many people just hurting [as a result of abortion].”
Through remaining obedient to God and talking with Angela, among other things, Marc says he has finally encountered healing from the anger and pain that used to cripple him. God used the “small” hurdle of talking about his experiences with one woman, though it seemed insurmountable at first, to bring some closure and allow him to now open up to more people.
“I’m elated, because I’m really, finally coming to the end,” says Marc. Talking about it, he insists, “is the way of getting this poison out. When God heals, He wants to heal and kill it from the root, not the surface…He doesn’t do things partially.”
Now, Marc wants to share with anyone who will listen the pain and anger caused by abortion, and the healing and forgiveness God offers. He says his experience changed his perspective on a lot of human problems – such as bitterness, depression, rage, and self-destructive tendencies. Having suffered these things himself, he wants to help others who are also struggling. “There are millions and millions and millions of walking wounded out there, especially the women.”
Many claim abortion is a “women’s rights” issue and men have no place in the discussion. Marc vehemently disagrees, calling that notion a “disgusting lie.”
“We hurt just as bad…We would die for that kid just like [a mother] would,” he says. “This isn’t a race or a gender thing. This is a human rights thing…It’s like a war, and the casualties are just adding up every day.”
By Jonathan Arena
Pillars of Personhood Peer Leader