Olympic gold medalist Brianna McNeal revealed this week that she struggled with guilt and depression after she aborted her unborn baby in 2020 to further her athletic career.
USA Today reports the California athlete shared about her abortion for the first time publicly after the Athletics Integrity Unit banned her from competing last month. McNeal won the gold medal for the 100-meter hurdles in the 2016 Olympics.
McNeal was charged with “tampering within the results management process” for required drug testing for athletes. She recently was disciplined with a five year suspension from the competition, according to the report.
But McNeal, 29, insists that she is “not doping and will never dope,” and her punishment stems from the “very emotional time” when she had her abortion, according to the New York Times.
On Jan. 12, 2020, two days after her abortion, McNeal missed a required drug test; later, when she received her medical records to show athletics officials why she missed the test, she changed the date of her abortion procedure on the forms, the report states.
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McNeal said she was struggling emotionally at the time, and she changed the date by 24 hours on her medical records because she thought the abortion facility had made a mistake. The changed date was the basis of the board’s decision to suspend her.
“Right now I feel excommunicated from the sport itself and stigmatized, and to me it is unfair,” she said in response to her athletic suspension. “I just don’t believe that this warranted a suspension at all, much less a five-year suspension, for just a technicality, an honest mistake during a very emotional time.”
She said she decided to share about her abortion publicly because she wants people to understand that her discipline has nothing to do with drug use.
The athlete admitted that she had the abortion because she wanted to be able to compete in the Olympic Games later that year and thought her pregnancy would get in the way of her dreams. Afterward, however, McNeal said she began to feel guilty about the abortion and suffered from depression. A Christian, she said she sought the help of a spiritual adviser.
Here’s more from the report:
She said she was even more crushed when the Games were postponed until 2021, because the delay meant she could have had the baby after all.
McNeal had been so shaken and disoriented by the abortion, she said, that it didn’t occur to her that changing the date would be a bad thing.
… In its case against her, McNeal said, World Athletics said it didn’t believe she was so traumatized by the abortion that she got the date of the procedure wrong.
She appealed the decision, but, on Friday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland upheld her suspension, according to the report.
Abortion activists claim the vast majority of women have no regrets about their abortions, though it is not clear if this claim had any bearing on the World Athletics’ decision about McNeal.
But she is not alone in her pain. Despite what the pro-abortion movement claims, many women do regret aborting their unborn babies after they recognize the truth. In 2017, another Olympic gold medalist, Sanya Richards-Ross, admitted that she also had an abortion to further her athletic career. Later, she said she found God’s grace and healing, and decided to begin helping other post-abortive women do the same.
Other Olympians have shared powerful stories about choosing life for their babies and competing while pregnant to prove that babies are worth sacrificing for.
Many pro-life organizations offer post-abortion healing programs to help mothers and fathers of aborted babies. These include retreats, counseling and other support systems. Rachel’s Vineyard, one of the largest post-abortion healing ministries, offers weekend retreats and other services across the world.