October 20, 2023 Written by Tabitha Goodling
Some call their unplanned pregnancy an “oops” or a mistake. In the early 2000s the pop star who brought us “Oops! I did it again,” was hiding a painful secret. She may have looked like a bubbly, happy 19-year-old with a boyband boyfriend posing on the red carpet. But 20-plus years later, after they had broken up, married other people and had children, Britney Spears shared the vulnerable moment she had an abortion.
Media outlets lit up when excerpts from her memoir, “The Woman in Me,” revealed she terminated her pregnancy after boyfriend Justin Timberlake told her he did not want to be a father. She said in the book she did not want to proceed with the abortion, “if it was up to me.”
For reasons unknown beyond the feelings of Timberlake, Spears went through with the process.
How many 19-year-olds do we see in our centers with the same scenario? How many girls come to us as abortion vulnerable or abortion minded because their boyfriend is “not ready” to be a dad?
I read a column by a conservative writer after the news broke. He said something along the lines of “as if she couldn’t afford to raise the baby as a single mother making millions of dollars in record sales.”
The writer missed the point.
Spears obviously was not in economic despair.
She simply felt alone.
These young women cling to the men they love and will do anything to keep them close. And sadly, that includes taking the life of their unborn child.
Like most of these situations, Spears and Timberlake parted ways. And Spears was left with a gaping hole of grief.
The pop star was in the spotlight over the years for her mental illness and lashing out in absurd ways such as shaving her head and hitting a car windshield with a baseball bat. Her parents took charge of her life in the form of a conservatorship, likely due to her mental fragility. Thirteen years later she was released from the conservatorship following what came to be known as the “Free Britney” movement.
I must admit I was wondering what happened to her. It seemed to many as though she lost her mind. So many pop stars fall into drug addiction or alcoholism. This wasn’t the case for Spears.
Few people recognize the emotional impact an abortion can present within a woman. Spears just told the world that abortion is “agonizing.”
Someone who was bold enough to share the horrors of abortion has spoken out. Will anyone take her seriously? Do people still think she is crazy?
There has been speculation about a music video she made in the early 2000s to her song “Every time.”
In it, she ultimately commits suicide in a bathtub, and she has an outer body experience. She is in a hospital room and there is a woman holding a baby wrapped in pink. The scenes keep panning back to the baby and to the pain in Spears’ eyes.
What if Spears had walked into a pregnancy center all those years ago? What if she met with one of our client advocates?
I’ve seen the Spears/Timberlake scenario play out many times in my office. I recently had a young woman of 19 wanting to go to college and to keep her boyfriend happy. We talked about how she could still complete college with a pregnancy. She believed that was possible. Yet she did not believe the boyfriend would be as supportive. Despite an ultrasound revealing a strong heartbeat, this young woman managed to take the abortion pill.
We are pro-women in our centers. We are here to encourage them and help them to see they can choose life and have a career.
Tweet This: We are pro-women in our pregnancy help centers. We are here to encourage them and help them to see they can choose life and have a career.
Nearly 70% of abortions in the U.S. are coerced, unwanted, or inconsistent with women’s preferences, according to a study released earlier this year by the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
From my experience, I firmly believe 90 percent of these ladies do not want to proceed with an abortion.
Clearly, men have significant impact in a pregnancy decision. We can’t make the father come into the center with her. If they do choose to come, we can show him the ultrasound and offer him assistance as a new father. As centers we need to be praying about our men’s ministry. If a center does not have one, pray to begin one. These young men need our support as well and need to know how they can support their girlfriends when the line pops up on the home pregnancy test.
These “Justins” may not feel ready to be fathers, but we can encourage them through the process as well.
Even if she comes to our centers alone and follows through with the very painful decision like my client and like Spears, we can still offer them hope.
I always tell my clients that no matter what they decide, they can come back. I tell them there will be some grieving at some point. And I offer to lead them through post-abortive counseling.
Imagine if Spears chose life. Who would this young person be today? Imagine if she sought out help after her abortion and received counseling from a center. Imagine if she chose to understand her identity and value.
My heart hurts for her.
Many years of longing for this child have plagued her.
We need to show Spears some grace and not condemn her. She is just as precious as the women who walk into our offices every week. If anything, her story could help someone in her very circumstance. Her words boldly written in her memoir and on display in social media could make one more girl consider choosing life over a boyfriend who may not be there next week.
Let’s pray the Lord uses her story. And let’s pray for Spears.
“Free Britney” has just taken on a whole new meaning.