The lyrics for Britney Spears’ “Everytime” have a whole new meaning now. In her new memoir, The Woman in Me, the pop star writes about the abortion she was pressured into by her boyfriend and fellow Mickey Mouse Club star Justin Timberlake.
In the 2003 ballad, she sang: “Every time I try to fly, I fall/Without my wings/I feel so small/I guess I need you, baby/And every time I see you in my dreams/I see your face/It’s haunting me/I guess I need you, baby.”
An Innocence Robbed
In the book, she writes about an innocence that was robbed from her. Her family life was volatile. Despite her fame and wealth, she felt she had to do what the young man in her life told her to do when she became pregnant.
Spears writes about the pregnancy:
It was a surprise, but for me it wasn’t a tragedy. I loved Justin so much. I always expected us to have a family together one day. This would just be much earlier than I’d anticipated. Besides, what was done was done. But Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young.
Timberlake didn’t want the press to find out, so he insisted, she writes, that she would not go to a hospital for the abortion. So, she had a chemical abortion at home.
The Agonizing Details of Chemical Abortion
She remembers the grim details of the process:
Soon I started having excruciating cramps. I went into the bathroom and stayed there for hours, lying on the floor, sobbing and screaming. They should’ve numbed me with something, I thought. I wanted some kind of anesthesia. I wanted to go to the doctor. I was so scared. I lay there wondering if I was going to die.
Spears is describing what the majority of abortions in America look like today. Spears sums it up:
To this day, it’s one of the most agonizing things I have ever experienced in my life.
I kept crying and sobbing until it was all over, Spears writes. It took hours, and I don’t remember how it ended, but I do, 20 years later, remember the pain of it, and the fear. After that, I was messed up for a while, especially because I still did love Justin so much.
That’s the experience of a girl whom you would think would have all the resources in the world.
Seeking Hope and Purpose
I pray that Spears can appreciate what a blessing she has given women who have had abortions or who currently feel the pressure to abort their babies. She loves that child she never got to hold. Many women have the same experience, but don’t have the outlet to express their pain or grief.
At the very beginning of her book, Spears writes about escaping the chaos of her home — her father’s alcoholism and her parents’ constant fighting — in the woods of her Louisiana neighborhood. She had a deep appreciation for the warmth that was captured in a rock garden she would retreat to. Spears had an appreciation of being a creature of a loving God. She felt an infused knowledge that somehow, God had given her gifts that would bring her hope and purpose.
Spears, to my knowledge, doesn’t take a political position. She just shows love. She just shares her story. And looking in the music video for “Everytime,” there is a beautiful baby born at the end. The baby she longs for, still. May she and every woman who has been coerced into an abortion come to some peace.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review magazine and author of the new book A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living. She is also chair of Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life commission in New York, and is on the board of the University of Mary. She can be contacted at [email protected].