Why I Named The Children I Aborted

Abortion recovery comes in different forms for different people.

Her Voice

Recently, I read something that, on many levels, I can personally relate to. The title of the article was "This Is What No One Tells You About Being Child-Free In Your 40s". Like the author, I'm also in my 40s and I don't have children. But if I were to alter the title to fit my own situation, it would probably be something along the lines of "This Is What No One Warns You About Before You Get on an Abortion Table".

From 1993-1999, I had a total of four abortions. One day, I'll share what I believe led me to make those decisions. For now, I'll just say that obviously, I'm no poster child for the pro-life movement. However, I can provide some "hindsight wisdom" and regrets, so if you're considering having an abortion (especially if you're a woman of color), I would encourage you to first read think pieces like Abortion as Black Genocide: Inside the Black Anti-Abortion Movement and What Margaret Sanger Really Said About Eugenics and Race.

Abortion is a multi-layered issue. And no matter what political side of it you might be on, I think we can all agree that there is so much more to the topic than what meets the eye.

Anyway, what I want to share with you today isn't about getting into if abortion is right or wrong. Personally, I will say that even when I was getting mine, I never believed it was a wise or even good thing to do. But when you come from childhood abuse and you compound that with allowing fear—and really bad advice from so-called friends and sex partners—to motivate your decisions, you can end up doing things that you don't truly see the magnitude of until many years later.


Take my final abortion (which happened on December 4, 1999), for example. I know I heard God say, "I promise you don't want to do this," yet in my mind I thought, I'm 25 and healthy. I've got time to have more children.

Hmph. Life comes at you fast. Although I'm not officially perimenopause yet, what I am is 44 and not in a serious relationship or sexually active. Yep…it's looking like I won't be having any children, at least from my own womb. God gave me the heads up that this could be my reality almost 20 years ago.

How do I feel about that?

I feel a lot of things. Something that immediately comes to mind is, how I felt about my pregnancies when I was in my 20s is very different from how I feel about them now. Personally, I always find it interesting that when someone wants to get pregnant and their pregnancy test has a positive result, they immediately say "I'm having a baby!" yet somehow if someone doesn't want a child and they find out they're pregnant, suddenly there's a debate on whether the embryo is truly a baby or not. Things that make you go hmm…

Personally, what I know for sure is that when you do get pregnant, it changes your life forever, no matter what ends up happening (you keep the baby, you miscarry, you give the child up for adoption, or you have an abortion). I also believe that when you choose to abort, you oftentimes only think about your present life, not your—or your child's—future. And when the future finally arrives, if you're not careful, or emotionally prepared, it can hit you hard. Really hard.

I know this for a fact because I know women who had abortions decades ago who still cry at diaper commercials, carry a sense of guilt now that they are now raising children, or they have a cryptic undercurrent of shame or anger; not just because of their decision to terminate their pregnancy, but because they've never really known how to heal from it. Fully heal from it.

Me? I think a part of the reason why I am able to speak so freely and open about my experiences is because I have found a way to heal that has worked for me. It's unconventional, no doubt. But it's brought me peace of mind.

What do I do? I wear a hoodie.

OK, it's a little bit deeper than that. I wear a hoodie that has a "4" in the middle of it and the words "tamer", "life", "miracle of life" and "peaceful" around it. What is that about? Those are the meanings of the names I gave my four aborted children—Damien, Ava, Nasya, and Solomon (in that order).

Again, I don't expect everyone to agree with how I view aborted children, but the reason why I decided to name mine is connected to a scripture in the Bible: Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward (Psalm 127:3—NKJV) and I couple that with, For You formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well (Psalm 139:13-14—NKJV).

Given the kind of men I conceived with (not perfect, but smart and ambitious individuals), on this side of life, it's hard for me to not think of what my children could've accomplished on this earth, had I chosen to carry them to term. And the thoughts of that? That reality hits me like a ton of bricks—at times.

And so, I figured that since I will never see their purpose manifested, the least I could do is give them names that speak to purpose and life and then commit to living those words out in their honor. In other words, since I kept them from living out their purpose, I commit to trying to do it for them.

Every day, on some level, I say to myself, "I need to tame any 'crazy' down a bit. I need to embrace life and the miracle of it. And I need to strive for inner peace." And you know what? It's amazing. Although it's not the same thing as having a (now) 25, 24, 22, and almost 20-year-old in my life, it does make me feel like I learned some life-altering lessons from my abortions—and that I am doing what I can to make an amends.


I know not everyone feels like I do about their past abortion(s) or abortions, in general. I get that. However, if you are a woman who's had one and you can't seem to get past it, maybe doing what I did can help.

Terminating a pregnancy doesn't have to ruin your life. Find some purpose in the experience.

I did.

I live it out every single day.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissons@xonecole.com.

Featured image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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