Updated: Nov 8, 2021
August 20th, 2021
World's Most Decorated Olympian is a Mother First
In a world where women are encouraged to "shout their abortion," it is incredibly refreshing to hear a woman speak passionately about how important motherhood is to her.
Track athlete Allyson Felix--officially the most decorated track athlete in Olympic history--has spoken very openly about the challenges she faced during and after her pregnancy with daughter Camryn, as she strove to keep her career moving forward.
She's also spoken out about the way elite athletics penalize women for becoming mothers.
"If we have children, we risk pay cuts from our sponsors during pregnancy and afterward," she wrote in a 2019 New York Times op-ed. At the time, she was embroiled in negotiations for a new contract with Nike, which--despite all her victories--wanted to slash her compensation by 70%.
Felix's daughter--who came with her to the Tokyo Olympics, per her contract with Athleta--is now two years old.
But other female athletes have made different decisions, and the resulting headlines have been devastating.
Olympic hurdler Brianna McNeal has spoken publicly about the trauma resulting from her abortion--an abortion she felt compelled to undergo in order to keep her career on track. That trauma led to her missing a scheduled drug test... and a resulting five-year ban on competing.
Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross also underwent an abortion--the day before her flight to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"Prioritizing athletic goals over the gift of life was the norm. It was all around me," she wrote in her book Chasing Grace.
"These athletes' powerful testimony show us, without doubt, that abortion is not empowerment--but quite the opposite," says Susan S. Arnall, Right to Life League Director of Outreach and Engagement.
"It is so clear that abortion is, so often, not a choice women make--but a decision that is forced upon them. There's nothing empowering about that."