Dear Christian Sisters and Brothers,
On Sunday, Alyssa Milano told her abortion story on her podcast. Some news outlets reported on it, including the LA Times, Us Weekly, and FOX.
Rather than getting mad at her for justifying what she did (for I, too, had an abortion), let’s read what Alyssa actually said (which I transcribed from her podcost):
I was on the pill, taking birth control, because I knew that I was not ready to be a parent… Also, at that time, I was taking a drug called Accutane. Accutane is an acne medicine that is so likely to cause birth defects if taken by a pregnant woman that the FDA now requires doctors, pharmacists, and women to sign up to a registry before dispensing it. So using contraception was doubly important to me.
And I still got pregnant.
It was devastating. I was raised Catholic and was suddenly put in conflict with my faith, faith I was coming to realize empowered only men to make every single decision about what was allowed and what was not allowed…
I chose to have an abortion I chose. It was my choice. And it was absolutely the right choice for me. It was not an easy choice. It was not something I wanted, but it was something that I needed, like most health care is.
I refuse to let anyone else’s bullshit morality force me into a life of premarital celibacy. I refuse to live in the narrative that sexual pleasure is for men and that women exist to deliver that pleasure. My body gives me pleasure. Sexually connecting with my partner gave me pleasure. No one would say that he was at fault for enjoying sex with me, but you can be damn sure that the men enacting these laws think less of me for deriving the same pleasure from him…
They tell you that the pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancies and yet [here, she let’s out a big sigh] a few months later, I found out that I was pregnant again. So, I had done what I knew to do to prevent pregnancy and was still pregnant. So once again, I made the right decision to end that pregnancy…
The assault against women’s bodies has forced me to reflect on what I would’ve lost if I never had my abortions. I would not have my children… I would not have my career… I would never have met my amazing husband David… I would never have been free to be myself… That’s what this freedom is about: freedom. Freedom from oppression. Freedom for women to have the audacity to be equally sexual beings as men. freedom for women to live the life they were meant to have not just the life that is thrust upon them by a pregnancy that cannot exist in their life.
Listening to Alyssa tell her story is heartbreaking for me because…
- I hear the pain in her voice.
- I hear her regret for being pregnant and her regret of being faced with a choice.
- I hear her anger toward patriarchy and inequality and hypocrisy.
- I hear her heartbreak that she was twice in the 1% of birth control failure when she expected to be in the 99%.
- I hear the anger for Christianity, which she sees as favoring men.
It’s heartbreaking to hear because I once thought like she does.
Regret about Pregnancy
I remember that I was more upset about being pregnant and having to choose than I was about the abortion itself. I blamed everyone else for my pregnancy rather than taking responsibility for choosing to have sex, which exists for procreation (whether you believe in creationism or evolution).
So, I was mad that sex did what it was supposed to do—make babies.
Do you hear that from Alyssa, too? What does that tell you about our sex education programs?
Inequality & Hypocrisy
When I hear Alyssa’s anger at inequality and hypocrisy, I want to cheer her on! Why? Because men are historically seen as studs when they get women pregnant, but women pregnant out-of-wedlock have been seen as whores. That hypocrisy makes me mad.
The reality is that men can have sex with multiple women with little consequence compared to the consequences for women. Women are at much higher risk for STIs/STDs because they are on the receiving end.
Women are the ones who get pregnant while men can walk away—and many men do, and many men have. Then the woman has to find him and fight for financial support.
If he’s not a nice guy, then she has to hide to protect herself and her child.
If she’s not interested in him any more, then she doesn’t want a child to keep her forever connected to him.
For the pro-choice movement, abortion is an equality issue. Alyssa says it in her podcast. The guests she quoted in her podcast say it. Can you see why?
Men have hurt women. Men have a reputation for hurting women, not protecting them.
So, when Alyssa and others in the pro-choice movement see male legislators writing anti-abortion laws, she does not see them as protecting her but as hurting her in yet another way.
What’s the answer?
One answer is for men to improve their reputation.
Oh, how I would like to hear a male, pro-life politician apologize for all the men who have not stood up to their responsibilities and to call for men to do better.
Men who are good men need to be mentoring other men—of every age. They need to be good dads to their sons and daughters. They need to teach their sons and especially their daughters what to look for in a spouse and what to watch out for when dating.
Women who are married to good men need to be heralding their husbands to their children and their friends publicly so that society hears that there are good men out there.
I’ll start! Russ is an awesome provider who would never run away from his children. Actually, Russ would have chosen to stop after our first was born because he felt too old to have our second one, but he never considered aborting. Today, our second boy is a chip off the old block. They truly enjoy their relationship.
(Follow Love Harder Marriage Coaching for more positive stories about husbands and fathers.)
Equality or Bondage?
The irony is that Alyssa and my former self see premarital sex and abortion as an equality issue, but I now see premarital sex and abortion as a bondage issue.
Roe v Wade was decided by men. What does legalized abortion allow? It allows men to have more extra-marital sex without consequences of providing for their children.
- The baby daddy is the number one influence on a woman’s choice to abort.
- Fathers, even Christian fathers, bring their daughters to abortion clinics.
- Abusers bring women to abortion clinics.
- Men bring their underage girlfriends to abortion clinics.
- Sex traffickers bring women to abortion clinics.
That’s not equity. That’s bondage.
If we want abortion to be unthinkable, then we need to be talking to men, influencing men, to do better. I’m a mother of two boys. I’m starting at home.
Here’s another irony in what Alyssa has to say. At the time of her abortions, Alyssa was on the “women-empowering” show Charmed. She was one of three female stars of the TV series, which was created by a woman.
If Hollywood executives had written her out of the series for being pregnant, wouldn’t we have screamed women’s oppression? and inequality in the workplace?
Alyssa’s boyfriend/fiance—whom she did not call out, but I will: Scott Wolf—certainly had the money to support their child. She had enough money to raise their child or to put their baby up for adoption. So what was the concern?
The concern is that Alyssa’s career would’ve been ruined.
Don’t be surprised by this. Hollywood was paying for / providing abortions to actresses long before Roe v Wade.
Further, Lisa Whelchel, a Christian, who was on the TV show “The Facts of Life” (1979-88) talked about how she was given a scale and expected to weigh in every day. Skinniness is not just expected but demanded in Hollywood. Pregnancy messes that up.
In contrast, Gal Gadot, who played “Wonder Woman” in the recent DC Extended Universe movie, filmed several scenes while pregnant. Note that she had a female director.
But I wonder if Alyssa has ever talked to Taraji P Henson, who didn’t let her toddler or her status as a single mother stop her from becoming a multiple award winning actress.
“What if I believed those people who told me when I became pregnant in college that I wouldn’t finish? I walked across that stage with my son on my hip.” ~Taraji P. Henson, “Empire” and “Hidden Figures”
1% not 99%
I hear Alyssa upset that both of her unwanted pregnancies were from the 1% ineffectiveness of the pill.
This makes me wonder if Alyssa ever took math. I wonder if so many people in the pro-choice movement took math. I wonder how I was so blind when I was pro-choice.
The thinking is that we did everything to prevent pregnancy, so why are we pregnant? But we didn’t do everything to prevent pregnancy because if we had, we wouldn’t be pregnant. What? What’s that? It’s called abstinence.
Women and men, don’t be surprised if you’re having sex and get pregnant. It’s called biology.
Patriarchy & the Church
Did you notice that Alyssa looks at the Catholic church, and therefore the Pope, as male oppression? The same could be said of Protestant churches that do not allow female pastors. This is certainly how I felt.
Again, I find this ironic, because if Christians were actually not having sex outside of marriage, then Alyssa wouldn’t think that what Pope Paul VI said in Humanae Vitae (1968) or what Pope John Paul II said in Theology of the Body (1979-1984) favored men rather than women.
And no, I’m not Catholic.
When the Holy Spirit first tapped on my shoulder (on my first Uganda mission trip) about speaking boldly about abortion, I had just said to two male pastors, “Women don’t want to hear this message from men. You don’t understand. There’s no way you can understand. Women need to hear from women.”
So, we women need to speak up. And when we do, we need to be clear that we have not been convinced by “male oppressors” but instead by scientific research.
And men, you need to talk to men because their influence is much larger than the pro-choice movement is willing to admit. Teach men to be men, to step up, to provide, to be responsible, to father well.
Sex is the responsibility of both men and women.
- Both have a choice.
- Both are smart enough to realize that even 1% ineffectiveness can result in pregnancy.
- Both have a responsibility to provide for the child they helped to create.
Me Too, Alyssa. Sorry, Not Sorry.
Alyssa ended her podcast saying, “I, for one, will never stop using my voice. Sorry, not sorry.”
Yeah, me too, Alyssa—not that I have your pretty face, your slim figure, or your Hollywood credentials, for I am just a woman who listens to both sides, discusses rather than rants, reasons with others out of love rather than self-justification, and who votes her values.
I vote for abundant life not just for babies, but for women.
My body. My choice. It’s my body, and with it I will worship the Lord.
P.S. The video at the top of the FOX news article is from May 2019 and is demeaning—please don’t applaud FOX or Tucker Carlson for that awful interview with Mark Steyn. We don’t win this battle by belittling but through love.