Counter to the pro-abortion narrative of the day, Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross says her abortion was a terrible experience that caused her years of heartache and regret.
Richards-Ross said she 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.
Her task is huge. The three-time Olympic gold track and field athlete said she knows many other athletes who also had abortions, and she has heard from some of them since sharing her own story publicly.
“There is a brokenness there,” the American told BBC Radio 5 live.
“For me, it was really healing to be able to share that with other friends.
“Now I’ve had other women reach out to me, not just in track and field but all over the world. They’ve said ‘your courage is helping me to heal myself’. That’s meant a whole lot to me.
“I feel bad because I think people misinterpreted when I said ‘everyone I know’. I don’t intimately know a lot of women in this sport.
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“When I started to share my story I was like ‘wow’, so many women around me have been through the same thing and no matter how close you are, it’s something that people don’t share.”
Earlier this year, the Jamaican-American athlete shared her abortion story and her journey to healing in her new book, “Chasing Grace.”
The track star said she 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. “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?”
Richards-Ross said she knew many other athletes who also had abortions and seemed fine. But after she aborted her own child, she realized that many of these women were just hiding their pain behind a mask.
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 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 said on the Newsworthy with Norsworthy Podcast.