Emmanuel Acho, a former NFL linebacker and sports analyst, recently invited four women onto his “Uncomfortable Conversations” podcast to discuss “Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice: Overturning Roe v. Wade.”
Pastor Chelsea Smith (wife of Churchome pastor Judah Smith), four-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross (who is married to two-time NFL Super Bowl champion Aaron Ross), Dr. Yeni Abraham (Pelvic Floor Therapist), and MJ Acosta-Ruiz (sports analyst for the NFL Network) joined Acho to share their stories and thoughts regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last month.
The Court’s decision removed abortion’s status as a constitutionally protected right and sent the question of its legality back to individual states.
Three of the women, with the exception being Smith, shared with Acho that they had abortions, two of which were out of wedlock, and the other being the result of an ectopic pregnancy. All the guests on the episode, along with Acho, appear to consider themselves Christians—either by directly or indirectly saying so.
The episode included testimonies from the women, who shared the emotional pain a woman experiences after having an abortion, what role they want men to play in the decision making process when it comes to abortion, and the “nuance” of the pro-life versus pro-choice debate.
MJ Acosta-Ruiz was the first to share her experience, expressing that it isn’t something she has shared with many people, including her parents. Barely into her 20s, Acosta-Ruiz went back and forth on whether to get an abortion after having dropped out of college.
“[I was] very much at point in my life where I was lost,” she said. As a daughter of immigrants who left their careers to move to America and give her a chance at a better life, she felt pressure to not to let them down by bringing a child into the world who would be born into poverty. Acosta-Ruiz even said that she lied to her mother when she asked if she was pregnant so that her mother would be relieved.
She believes she made the right choice.
Acosta-Ruiz asked Smith for advice on how to have the conversation with her parents. Smith explained that her response to the question would be as a mother and not a pastor, saying, “I bet your mom’s first response is going to be, ‘I can’t believe you kept this from me for all these years. I can’t believe you carried this pain on your own without inviting me into it.’”
Richards-Ross shared with Acosta-Ruiz that she felt relieved when she finally told her father about her own abortion.
“My dad had no idea. I’ll never forget it was actually a lot easier conversation I ever anticipated,” Richards-Ross said about telling her dad, years later, that she had gotten an abortion.
“I went to him and I was in the room and I just started crying immediately,” she shared. “I just felt so much pain, shame, hurt, and everything.” That is when she told him that she had gotten an abortion the day before she left for Beijing to compete in the Olympics. Though he was hurt that his daughter hadn’t felt comfortable enough to tell him sooner, Richard-Ross said of her father, “He just loved on me. He hugged me. We had a moment.”
“Everything we go through in life for a reason and if you just helped one woman out there, it’s worth it,” Richard-Ross recalled her father telling her.