The Olympics and Abortion: A Painful Reality

| June 26, 2017
“Abortion would now forever be a part of my life. A scarlet letter I never thought I’d wear.” -Sonya Richard-Ross

A few weeks ago, Sonya Richards-Ross publicly told the story of her athletic journey and the child she aborted for the chance to win gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A four time gold medalist in both individual and relay races, Richards-Ross is no stranger to Olympic glory. However, in her new book, Chasing Grace: What the Quarter Mile Has Taught Me About God and Life, Sonya Richards-Ross bravely discusses the pain that came from her decision to sacrifice her child for a chance at that sports victory.

At the age of twenty-three, she aborted her child one day before traveling to the Beijing Olympic Games where she went on to win both a gold and bronze medal in track and field events. Her abortion is a terrible tragedy and loss of a child, and her testament is a brave and powerful witness in a world that often forgets the trauma and heartache women endure after an abortion. Writing of her experience, Richards-Ross describes her brokenness and her long process of healing. “I wanted to share it because I think a lot of women just sweep it under the rug. You just keep moving, keep pushing. And I bawled … I prayed and cried over that for months…” She goes on to describe the long process of self-forgiveness after the realization of the reality of her decision.

But at the time of the abortion, Richards-Ross says she did not realize the magnitude of the decision, writing that “in that moment, it seemed like no choice at all.” And yet, years of guilt and pain would follow that seemingly simple decision: Olympics over her child. Another disturbing insight she shares is the prevalence of abortion within the world of women’s athletic. “I literally don’t know another female track-and-field athlete who hasn’t had an abortion – and that’s sad.”

Today when abortion is promoted and lauded by big organizations like Planned Parenthood, famous celebrities, and powerful leaders, Richards-Ross’ story exposes the real story of a woman who faces the aftermath of abortion and the pain many keep hidden.