You can shine your shoes and wear a suit
You can comb your hair and look quite cute
You can hide your face behind a smile
One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside
With the release of Tennis pro Jimmy Connors autobiography, The Outsider we learn of an unplanned pregnancy and abortion with fellow pro Chris Evert when they were young sweethearts engaged to be married.
With a superficial reading of the account from his book, you might conclude that Connors was a stand up guy when he learned of the pregnancy. He appears open to the responsibility of fathering their child, and upset by his lack of say in the decision to abort:
“An issue had arisen as a result of youthful passion, and a decision had to be made as a couple,” he writes in The Outsider. “Chrissie called to say she was coming out to LA to take care of the ‘issue’. I was perfectly happy to let nature take its course and accept responsibility for what was to come.”
But Connors says Chrissie made a unilateral decision and he was powerless to stop her. “Chrissie, however, had already made up her mind that the timing was bad and too much was riding on her future,” he writes. “She asked me to handle the details.”
The next exchange between the couple likely sealed the fate of their unborn child:
Connors says he told Chris: “Well, thanks for letting me know. Since I don’t have any say in the matter, I guess I am just here to help.”
And so it was. The Outsider “handled the details” and arranged for the abortion of his unborn son or daughter.
Pro abortion advocates proclaim as some self-evident dictate delivered from on high that “abortion is a private personal decision between a woman, her health care provider and her god.” It is true that current law ensures that the father of the child has no legal rights to defend the life of his unborn baby. (This can be a very painful reality that will devastate a man when he desperately tries to prevent an abortion.)
But that doesn’t mean the father’s response to the pregnancy is not important. Based on firsthand experience and research with thousands of women who made abortion decisions, the truth is that in 95% of these situations the response of the father to the pregnancy is a key factor in her decision to have or not have an abortion.
When Evert approached Connors with her mind seemingly made up, he made a serious and deadly mistake many fathers make during this challenging and emotional time for a young couple…he fails to fight for the life of his child. This sends a clear signal to the mother who may hear in his response:
“I am open to you having the baby, but I’m not going to fight too hard to protect the child and I may or may not be around to help…so if you’re minds made up anyway, I’ll respect whatever you decide.”
There is no guarantee that Evert would have changed her mind if Connors was more determined to fight for the child’s life. But it was the best hope their baby had for survival. Once the father communicates ambivalence and does not strongly express the natural desire to protect his offspring, the mother may understandably fear making the sacrifices of single parenting unsure if the father will continue to love and support them both. Women also understandably fear the resentment and anger a man may express later when facing the responsibilities and stress of an unplanned child.
“It was a horrible feeling, but I knew it was over,” Connors writes. “Getting married wasn’t going to be good for either of us.”
Rather than the joy of youthful love and passion and anticipation of married life together, the couple now shared a dark secret…a participation in the death of their unborn son or daughter.
Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they were offered the Apple of Choice, with the alluring promise to attain a type of Divine Providence over life and death, empowered and free to be Lords of their own lives.
Both tennis pros went on to stellar careers. On the surface it may appear that they “made the right decision.” But like many couples after abortion, the fruit of this tragic choice is evident as their lives unfold.
Connors, now 60, struggled with a gambling addiction and the infidelities that “came that close to ruining his marriage” to former Playboy model Patti McGuire. Men, who later regret, reconcile and heal of a previous abortion decision report that along with addictions and infidelity, anger was a way they repressed and expressed their painful emotions such as guilt and complicated grief around that abortion event and their role in the child’s death. Perhaps some of Connors on and off-court anger issues and fireworks can be understood as a way he expressed some of the powerful emotions men can feel after abortion.
Evert also exhibits common symptoms of post abortion complications…instability in intimate relationships. Chrissie, now 58 married three times. All three marriages ended in divorce.
Sadly if this couple were offered education and resources for recovery after abortion they could have attended a healing program and found reconciliation and peace with their loss and help alleviate the emotional suffering, and relationship problems common for many women and men after abortion.
Abortion is a life changing, and soul-changing event that strikes at the deepest part of the human person. The abortion account of Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert reflects on a much grander stage, what has been the experience of millions of young couples. They valiantly press on with their lives, perhaps like Connors and Evert achieving great success as they struggle to bury that abortion event deep in their past.
But the symptoms of their post abortion lives if properly understood, are calling them to reconcile and heal of this loss, buried deep in their hearts and souls.
You can wear a mask and paint your face
You can call yourself the human race
You can wear a collar and a tie
One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside
– John Lennon – Crippled Inside