Last week, a brave young woman known as Miss X went public with her devastating experience of having an abortion after being verbally bullied and eventually paid to get rid of a messy problem in NRL star Bryce Cartwright’s private life.

Read my letter to Miss X here.

A few short days later another NRL player was in the spotlight for the same reason – and more.

Tim Simona’s ex-girlfriend Jaya Taki revealed that she had been “bullied” into having an abortion, which she followed through with on April 15 last year. The two were embroiled in a gambling scandal at the time of Ms Taki’s pregnancy and she shared with The Daily Telegraph how she felt that their baby was a sideline issue to Simona and the NRL.

Simona admitted that he told Ms Taki that she should have an abortion, and that he would not support her if she had their baby. The pregnancy, which happened around the same time as Simona was suspended for three weeks, was unimportant to him.

“He would only talk about how his world was falling down because of the suspension,” Ms Taki told The Daily Telegraph.

“The only time he would talk to me about the abortion was when I was supplying dates for a possible abortion.

“He said to me, ‘I know you will do what I say. I know I am going to get my way’. I was mentally controlled by him.

“I begged him to consider having this baby. But then I gave up.”

While lying on the bed in the doctor’s surgery waiting for the abortion to begin, she wanted to run away.

“I remember thinking, please, please, please I want to leave … I wanted to get off the table. I wanted to get out of there but I was too scared about what Tim would do. That was it. That was the final decision. It was done.”

These are two stories brought out from the NRL shadows in one week of media reporting. The question we should be asking is, how common is this? If it happens in the NRL, does it happen in the AFL, the NBL, cricket, tennis, the olympic teams or any sporting club for that matter? Does it happen in the film industry, the media industry, the music industry – the places where fame and performance are front and centre? Where money can make things go away.

I think we all know the answer.

Abortion has been used to control, demean, harm and silence women and their babies in the two stories we heard of in the NRL last week. These two stories that reached our eyes and ears should serve as a reminder of the ones that don’t, and the responsibility we have to do better for women and children. No woman, whether she works behind a supermarket checkout, teaching at the local school or is linked to a famous sporting personality – no woman should be coerced into a decision to end the life of the baby growing within her pregnant belly.

What about the men?

Two talented NRL players rejected fatherhood last year. They said “not now”, “I’m not ready”, “My career’s more important”, “I can’t”, “I won’t” and “I don’t care”. The grief of abortion does not only touch women. One day, if they haven’t already, these men might wonder about the child that could have been, about the dad they could have been, about the life they could have given. It’s a very real and sobering reality for men to face. And men grieve too.

Abortion hurts people badly. We’ve witnessed it in the media last week, and if we’re honest, we know it to be the case amongst our friends and family. And as we have levelled the finger at two NRL players who coerced their ex-girlfriends into abortions they didn’t want, what are we doing about it?

We know that 70 per cent of women who had an abortion would have kept their baby if just one person reached out and showed meaningful support.

There may always be nay-sayers, doubters, people who advise abortion, who may not even understand what the actual procedure is (early or late-term), but as a loving, caring community we need to let people know that we are for them, that we care and are practically and emotionally willing to stand by them.

Will you put your money where your mouth is, so to speak? Because only when we do this will love and support shine out and the painful decisions end.

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