A new Verily article focuses on heartbreaking stories about elite female athletes pressured or coerced to have abortions so they could continue succeeding in their sport.
Live Action reports:
One athlete, Sanya Richards-Ross, wrote a book about her life and athletic career, which included the grief surrounding an abortion she sought before she competed in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. “I knew I was at a crossroads,” she wrote in her book “Chasing Grace: What the Quarter Mile Has Taught Me About God and Life.”
She added, “Everything I ever wanted seemed to be within reach. The culmination of a lifetime of work was right before me. In that moment, it seemed like no choice at all… All of the crying leading up to that moment had left me so numb that I barely remember the cold instruments as they brushed against my skin… I made a decision that broke me.”
Richards-Ross is far from alone, which she noted in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “I literally don’t know another female track athlete who hasn’t had an abortion,” she said, adding that she felt like she didn’t have a choice in the matter. For college athletes, the pressure to have an abortion can be even more immense — giving birth to children affects not only their athletic future, but their educational future, as well.
An ESPN investigation found that female athletes are frequently threatened with losing their athletic scholarships if they become pregnant. At Clemson University, for example, at least seven athletes sought abortions; if they didn’t, their spot on the team would be given to someone else and they would lose financial support. Cassandra Harding, a student at the University of Memphis, was told to have an abortion. She then realized she was four months pregnant, and therefore, it was too late. Harding kept her baby, and her coaches cut her scholarship.
Phoebe Wright, a runner who had been sponsored by Nike, also said pregnancy discrimination is rampant. “Getting pregnant is the kiss of death for a female athlete,” she said. “There’s no way I’d tell Nike if I were pregnant.”