This past week, two Washington, D.C. police officers—Assistant Police Chief Chanel Dickerson and 24-year veteran Karen Arikpo—revealed that early on in their careers they had been told to have an abortion or they would lose their jobs. Fearing for their careers, both women aborted their unborn babies.
They expressed the pain caused by the police department’s past actions. Officer Arikpo lamented, “It’s so unfair…. And now I’ve never been able to have a kid. All these years, I’ve tried, and I’ve never been able to have a baby…. I did this for a job….” Assistant Police Chief Chanel Dickerson shared, “My choice to have a baby was personal, and it should’ve been mine alone and not for an employer ultimatum.” Like Arikpo, Dickerson has never had other children.
This shocking news—a city-sponsored police department issuing an ultimatum to two black women—abort your unborn child or see your career come to an end—has received little to no media attention. Perhaps because coerced abortion is a far from an abnormal occurrence for women in America.
Just weeks ago, 500 female athletes filed a brief in the much-anticipated U.S. Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, arguing that an unborn child’s right to life is a serious threat to the hard-fought progress made in women’s sports. They argued that female athletes could not be as successful as they are without abortion making it possible.
The writers of the amicus brief referenced Sanya Richards-Ross, an Olympic track athlete who, after revealing she’d had an abortion prior to competing, stated, “Most of the women I knew in my sport have had at least one abortion.” They forgot to mention that Richards-Ross also said, “In that moment, it seemed like I had no choice at all,” and went on to say, “I made a decision [to get an abortion] that broke me.”
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