Britney's Memoir Highlighted How Harmful Anti-Choice Arguments Are

It's a healthcare matter.
Copies of the book The Woman In Me in the shelves of Casa del Libro bookshop on October 26, 2023 in Madrid, Spain.
Carlos Alvarez via Getty Images
Copies of the book The Woman In Me in the shelves of Casa del Libro bookshop on October 26, 2023 in Madrid, Spain.

In her new memoir The Woman In Me, Britney Spears details having a secret abortion, away from the comfort of her loved ones or the guidance of medical professionals.

Spears found the process very painful and difficult, stating that twenty years later she, “remembers the pain of it, and the fear”. She admitted that nobody knew apart from her, Justin Timberlake and her assistant Felicia.

While she struggled with the experience, she said that Timberlake didn’t take her to the hospital but instead, sat on the floor with his guitar and sang to her.

It didn’t have to be this way. Spears said that her and Timberlake as a couple, “decided on something that in retrospect wound up being, in my view, wrong, and that was that I should not go to a doctor or a hospital to have the abortion”.

She added that this was because, “it was important that no one find out about the pregnancy or abortion”.

Stigma only causes harm

While this happened 20 years ago, abortion stigma still runs deep and a study conducted in 2020 found that most people considering abortion perceive some abortion stigma, which is associated with psychological distress years later.

While there have been countless debates and moral panics over abortion rates, it is always worth remembering that before anything else, abortion is a healthcare matter.

In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that, “Induced abortion is an essential component of women’s health care. Like all medical matters, decisions regarding abortion should be made by patients in consultation with their health care providers and without undue interference by outside parties.”

“Like all patients, women obtaining abortion are entitled to privacy, dignity, respect, and support.”

Additionally, HuffPost UK spoke exclusively with a spokesperson at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) about abortion rights in the UK and Spears’ abortion story. They were keen to emphasise not only how safe abortions are but why we must do them under the care of medical professions:

“Abortion is a safe and effective procedure with more than 180,000 women across the UK have an early medical abortion using pills like Britney Spears every year. As part of the procedure, patients experience miscarriage-like symptoms including pain and bleeding”.

While abortions can be incredibly painful and traumatic, it’s not helpful to add to the stigma of them by applying a moral argument. Instead, BPAS are focused on what matters – look after the person having the abortion:

“As a provider, we know the best thing we can do for women is make sure they know what to expect and to be here if they need us. That’s why we run a 24/7 aftercare line staffed by nurses, midwives, and doctors who answer any questions and respond to any complications”.

The spokesperson added that in a situation like Britney Spears’, BPAS recommend calling your provider’s aftercare line to talk through your experience and see if you need any further care.

“Abortion law in England and Wales is in desperate need of reform to best serve women and medical professionals - but abortion care remains safe, available, and led by dedicated and expert professionals”.

For abortion options and care, speak to your GP or call BPAS on 03457 30 40 30.