Do Female Athletes Need Abortion to Succeed?

September 27, 2021

Over 500 female athletes recently filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health claiming that abortion is needed to help them achieve their athletic goals. This claim is deeply troubling for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, no athletic competition or victory is worth sacrificing the life of a child.

It's certainly true that professional athletic competitions aren't merely fun and games for professional athletes; it's also their career, livelihood, and the reality of their dreams being fulfilled. However, at the end of the day, it's still a game. No game or career achievement is worth the life of your child. Nor does someone's economic livelihood justify keeping abortion legal. The amicus brief points to a larger issue: that women feel they must abort their children in order to achieve their goals. This is a lie the abortion industry has been perpetuating since the passage of Title IX, and it's just that: a lie.

I don't mean to undermine the sacrifices women go through in bearing children. When I was pregnant, I was bedridden for six months, throwing up multiple times a day, unable to move. Had I been a professional athlete, it would have been impossible for me to compete at the level at which professionals must compete. Also, intense physical training might not always be compatible with pregnancy. Some women are put on bed rest due to a chance of premature birth. Pregnancy may prevent women from competing for nine months. I will not deny that there are realities of pregnancy that could prevent a female athlete from achieving her dream that year. Yet, that doesn't change the fact that abortion is wrong. A child is still a gift, regardless of how difficult pregnancy can be and the sacrifices it entails.

No career dream -- sporting or otherwise -- justifies abortion. Women can still succeed without abortion. After birth, an athlete can resume her training to compete in a championship the following year. The 2020 Olympics were postponed a year due to the coronavirus. Many athletes were forced to postpone their athletic dreams by a year. Pregnancy may require women to postpone their athletic dreams by a year or two, but their careers are not -- and should not -- be over simply by postponing a year.

Female athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics were permitted to bring their children to breastfeed them. These women recently gave birth and were still able to compete in the Olympics -- the pinnacle of athletic success. There is also a long list of female athletes who have not only competed but have won titles while pregnant, including tennis star Serena Williams and beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings.

These athletes did not have to abort their children to succeed. As a society, we need to encourage more policies that support women who give birth. We should strive to ensure that pregnancy, whether planned or unplanned, does not jeopardize a woman's career, education, or livelihood. Motherhood is a beautiful gift, and our policies should reflect that fact while simultaneously encouraging women to follow their dreams.

There is no doubt that motherhood requires sacrifice. But as a result of that sacrifice, a beautiful new life is able to flourish. Society is better off with the beautiful gift of life and all of the things women uniquely contribute to society.