DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Olympic medalist, Sanya Richards-Ross is revealing she had an abortion only days before she ran for Team USA in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, and that it "broke" her "physically and emotionally."
In her new book, Chasing Grace: What the Quarter Mile Has Taught Me about God and Life, Richards-Ross admitted she had an abortion the day before she boarded the plane for Beijing; and it left her scarred and in search of forgiveness from God and herself.
At the time, she was 23 years old and engaged to New York Giants' cornerback Aaron Ross, the father of her child. She wrote of her thinking at the time, "The culmination of a lifetime of work was right before me. In that moment, it seemed like no choice at all." She continues, "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?"
Ross was away at football training camp and in a short telephone conversation left her alone to decide on the abortion procedure. "I always harbored some resentment toward Ross," she wrote.
"It was our mess-up, but I felt abandoned in the decision. It was like by not saying anything, neither agreeing nor opposing, he kept his conscience clear, but it wasn't fair. We were in it together."
She notes their relationship experienced some healing; and he admitted he also was heavily impacted by the abortion. "He believed that our child in 2008 was a blessing we had rejected by always wanting to be in control," she writes. What is more:
I made a decision that broke me, and one from which I would not immediately heal. Abortion would now forever be a part of my life. A scarlet letter I never thought I'd wear. I was a champion — and not just an ordinary one, but a world-class, record-breaking champion. From the heights of that reality, I fell into a depth of despair.
She admits, however, that she's not the only olympic athlete who has had an abortion, telling Sports Illustrated, "I literally don't know another female track-and-field athlete who hasn't had an abortion – and that's sad."
Many athletes, she says, prioritize "athletic goals over the gift of life." She adds, "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 also admits that many athletes don't use hormonal birth control because it has adverse effects on their bodies, noting, "I thought about taking the pill, but I'd seen so many teammates struggle with the water weight and changes in their body that I feared the adverse effects it might have on my speed and endurance."
She admits she still cries when she thinks about her abortion but the thought of giving birth to their second child later this year makes her happy.