Opinion

An open letter to Nicki Minaj: Thank you for publicly discussing the pain of abortion

Nicki Minaj

Dear Nicki,

A few days ago, someone pointed me toward the lyrics to your song, “Autobiography.” I didn’t know very much about you or your music before that, but after reading verse three, I feel like we are sisters:

Please, baby, forgive me

Mommy was young, mommy was too busy tryna have fun

But I don’t pat myself on the back for sending you back

‘Cause God knows I was better than that

To conceive you then leave you, the concept alone seems evil

I’m trapped in my conscience, I adhered to the nonsense

Listened to people who told me I wasn’t ready for you

But how … would they know what I was ready to do?

And of course, it wasn’t your fault

It’s like I feel you in the air, I hear you saying

“Mommy don’t cry, can’t you see I’m right here?”

I gotta let you know what you mean to me

When I’m sleeping, I see you in my dreams with me

Wish I could touch your little face or just hold your little hand

If it’s part of God’s plan, maybe we can meet again

Reading these words brings tears to my eyes, because I get it. I had my first abortion at age 16, mostly because the father insisted, and everybody I went to for advice told me I wasn’t ready. They told me my child deserved better than what I could give her – as if killing her was somehow a way of doing better by her. Like you, I “adhered to the nonsense,” and believed the doubts these poisonous voices planted inside my head. 

Also like you, I am well-acquainted with grief, guilt, and regret because of my decision. I have spent innumerable nights soaking my pillow with tears, wishing for and wondering about what might have been. I have felt the unrelenting desire to “touch [their] little face[s] or just hold [their] hand[s].” And the dreams – sometimes the dreams are the hardest thing to bear.

READ: Woman tells of her nightmares and fears after abortion: “I didn’t protect him”

I read your words, and I wonder if you have felt the same emptiness I have, the years of feeling like I was searching for something I could never find. I wonder if you, too, have careened through self-destructiveness, trying to drink and drug the pain away. I wonder if you, too, have grappled endlessly with the demon of depression. I wonder if you, too, have thought about ending it all, or maybe even tried to, like I did.

If so, you would be far from alone. Research shows these problems are remarkably common among post-abortive women. One meta-analysis of 30 independent studies found a 45.5% prevalence of depression and bipolar disorder among post-abortive women generally. That’s almost half of us, literally sick inside. Far too many of us flirt with suicide, too. Suicidal behavior and ideation are significantly more common among post-abortive women compared to those who give birth — nearly six times as high in one study and are elevated compared to women who miscarry, as well.

Substance abuse is also remarkably prevalent in the post-abortive population. An Australian birth cohort study found that post-abortive women had 3.6 times the odds of experiencing a lifetime illicit drug disorder and were twice as likely to abuse alcohol as women who had never aborted. Similarly, a meta-analysis of eight independent publications showed that abortion was associated with a nearly four-fold increase in risk for substance abuse.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – self-harm, avoidance, shame, anxiety, eating disorders, promiscuity – these are all part of the package for many post-abortive women. We are the walking wounded, and it shows – even though the abortion industry would prefer to sweep our suffering under the cultural rug, never to be acknowledged or addressed. 

The good news is, help is available. Many organizations have made our emotional, psychological, and spiritual recovery their sole mission. Ministries like Rachel’s Vineyard, Not Forgotten Ministries, Deeper Still, and She Found His Grace are informed by the experiences of women like us who have walked this painful path and are committed to helping us repair what our actions have broken. For me personally, post-abortive recovery has been nothing short of revolutionary – it has improved every aspect of my life and restored my joy.

I want to thank you for being honest about your suffering and for opening your heart to the world by means of your art. It took me countless years before I could even confess my actions to close friends. But you have shared your pain in a very public way that is sure to impact and help other women who are facing the same decision. God bless you for that.

I pray that you find peace and solace, and that you are able to recover from the pain you have so poignantly expressed. And I hope you never stop telling the truth – no matter how much it hurts.

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