Arina Grossu is Director, Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council. This article appeared on National Review Online, June 2, 2014.
What do Toni Braxton, Sharon Osbourne, Sherri Shepherd, Sinead O'Connor, Stevie Nicks, and Charlotte Dawson have in common?
They've all had abortions.
In her new recently published memoir, Unbreak My Heart, Toni Braxton revealed that she was wracked with guilt after she had an abortion.
While abortion is a highly taboo topic, especially in Hollywood, it is far too difficult to ignore its prevalence and effects. Celebrity status does not mitigate abortion's somber reality. The Guttmacher Institute reports that 3 in 10 women will have an abortion by age 45.
There are far too many women hurt and wounded by their abortions physically, psychologically or both. Numerous well-known health risks related to abortion have been documented. A few celebrities have admitted to the hurt and pain their abortion has caused them, some even doing so while defending that decision.
Sharon Osbourne, reality star and talent-show judge on the British X Factor TV show, suffered three miscarriages due to damage to her cervix after having had an abortion at age 17. She recounted: "I had an abortion at 17 and it was the worst thing I ever did . . . I went alone. I was terrified. It was full of other young girls, and we were all terrified and looking at each other and nobody was saying a bloody word. I howled my way through it, and it was horrible. I would never recommend it to anyone because it comes back to haunt you. When I tried to have children, I lost three - I think it was because something had happened to my cervix during the abortion."
Television personality Sherri Shepherd has spoken openly about her several abortions. In 2008 she said, "I was sleeping with a lot of guys and had more abortions than I would like to count." In 2010 she said on The View: "Sometimes [sadness and grieving] doesn't come until later. I've had several abortions. It hit me as an adult, the guilt and the shame and the humiliation of having all of these abortions." In a 2012 show, she choked up again on The View saying, "I had a lot of abortions."
Singer Sinead O'Connor was quoted in a Philly.com article saying, "I think people don't necessarily understand, because they haven't had the experience, that to decide to terminate a pregnancy is probably the most difficult decision a woman would have to make . . . I made the decision that it would be better for everybody if I had the abortion."
She aborted at nine weeks at a Minneapolis hospital in the middle of her concert tour.
She wrote about her unborn child two weeks later in a song called "My Special Child," which the article describes as "a gentle, mournful ballad, almost a lullaby." She began performing the song, selling it as a single and donating the money to charity. She said, "As far as I'm concerned, that child's spirit is gone and perhaps someday it will return."
In her song she also referenced her son Jake, who was four years old at the time and "alive." She describes her "little girl" with "yellow skin" and "dark curls" who was "precious" to her.
Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks admitted having four abortions during her life, saying, "To give up four babies is to give up a lot that would be here now. So that bothers me, a lot, and really breaks my heart. But they're gone, so . . . "
There are many other celebrities who suffer the loss of their aborted children in silence, while still others refuse to admit that an abortion has had any effect on them whatsoever.
Australian celebrity Charlotte Dawson, who committed suicide in February of this year, had written in her 2012 autobiography Air Kiss and Tell that her depression was triggered by her abortion with then-husband and Olympic swimmer Scott Miller. She said that she could sense some hesitation in Scott because her due date would clash with the 2000 Olympic Games. She said wryly: "Everything Scott had done was leading up to this moment and nothing could stand in his way, so it was decided that we would terminate the child and try again later. Who needed a developing fetus when a gold medal was on offer, eh?" The day she went to get the abortion she was in complete "turmoil" as she was abandoned by Miller at the facility because he "couldn't cope with the atmosphere." She recounted that after the abortion she "felt a shift." She said, "Maybe it was hormonal, but I felt the early tinges of what I can now identify as my first experience with depression."
She said that Scott, in persuading her to abort their child, was "one of the most destructive forces in her life." They divorced only a year later, but she never really got over her abortion or her ex-husband. She revealed in an article that she wanted to be a mom but "found out a few years ago [that she] wasn't able to have children."
Abortion is violence against a child, but also a violence against the natural inclination of a mother and father to protect the life they created. Thankfully, there are support groups for post-abortive women and men such as Rachel's Vineyard and Silent No More. Approximately three-fourths of pregnancy resource centers also provide abortion-recovery services - assisting more than 22,000 women every year. Let us break the silence of the terrible tragedy of abortion which affects celebrities and non-celebrities alike.