Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross admitted in her new memoir that she had an abortion to further her athletic career.
But unlike the #ShoutYourAbortion stories of today, Richards-Ross is not grateful about the “choice” she made to abort her unborn baby. After finding God’s grace and healing, the Christian athlete said she now wants to help other post-abortive women do the same.
For the first time publicly, she shared her abortion story and her journey to healing in her new book, “Chasing Grace.”
Flotrack reports the United States track star found out she was pregnant right before she was supposed to leave to compete in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Richards-Ross said she and her fiance, now husband Aaron Ross, were using natural family planning to avoid pregnancy, but it did not work.
The day before her flight to Beijing, Richards-Ross said she had the abortion.
“Everything I ever wanted seemed to be within reach,” she wrote, according to Bleach Report. “The culmination of a lifetime of work was right before me. In that moment, it seemed like no choice at all. The debate of when life begins swirled through my head, and the veil of a child out of wedlock at the prime of my career seemed unbearable. What would my sponsors, my family, my church, and my fans think of me?”
Many of the other female athletes she knew also had abortions, she wrote.
“Prioritizing athletic goals over the gift of life was the norm. It was all around me, but not until it was me did I realize many of these young women only wore a mask of indifference for something I can now testify requires deep thought and proper counsel,” she continued.
When she arrived in Beijing, Richards-Ross began to struggle emotionally and spiritually with her abortion, she said on the Newsworthy with Norsworthy Podcast.
Expected to win gold in the 400-meter, Richards-Ross came in third place. She said she knew she had not run her best; her thoughts were elsewhere.
On the streets of Beijing, she said she experienced the toughest time in her life, but God began helping her to heal.
“God wrapped his arms around me,” she said. “He just hugged me and told me he loved me, and I knew I would be ok. God has already forgiven me, now I need to forgive myself.”
For two years, Richards-Ross said she prayed about sharing her abortion story publicly. It was an extremely painful, private experience, and only a few people in her life knew about it. Richards-Ross said she has not completely healed and she still cries sometimes when she thinks about it; but she hopes her story will help other women understand that God will forgive and heal them, too.
“I’ve always wanted God to use me to help other people. Ultimately, I did it to glorify God and to tell people that you can come back from any decision no matter how hard it is to make… you can still have God with you on the journey,” she told the podcast.
She and her husband, former New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross, now are expecting a second child.