“Unbreak my heart”: singer Toni Braxton’s abortion
Singer Toni Braxton is arguably one of the greatest talents of the last twenty years, an incredibly gifted performer whose personal life until very recently has been in downward spiral.
Now she is “opening up,” acknowledging that in 2001 she became pregnant by her then boyfriend (and soon to be husband), Keri Lewis and chose to have an abortion. The couple subsequently went on to have two boys before divorcing in 2012.
Braxton told Entertainment Tonight that at the time she was taking Accutane, a prescription acne medication which can cause serious complications for the baby. However, according to the New York Daily News, Braxton admits in her new memoir “Unbreak My Heart” that “she would’ve have come to the same conclusion even if she weren’t on the medication. The singer admits her decision was caused more by the refusal to inconvenience her lifestyle than any fear that her fetus had been harmed.”
The legacy—and the guilt—lives on. Braxton’s youngest son, Diezel, was diagnosed with autism years later. “Is God punishing me for that abortion?” she writes in her memoir. According to the Daily News, “Braxton realizes that might sound odd, but says she ‘believed that God’s payback was to give my son autism.’”
More legacy and more guilt. Braxton was “so consumed with guilt over the abortion,” Marianne Garvey, Brian Niemietz, and Molly Friedman write, “that she questioned if God was punishing her for it with lupus and her parents’ messy divorce.”
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Madamenoire.com carried a short story on the tragedy and the appearance on Entertainment Tonight and the new book. Like Braxton’s mistaken notion that God would punish her child for her abortion, Madamenoire.com draws a wrong conclusion. “We are happy to see more and more women breaking their silence about such a very personal experience so that other women don’t feel so guilty and ashamed,” the entertainment site writes. “Toni has had a lot of setbacks in her life so it’s nice to see her busy working again.”
It is nice to see Braxton working again, but whoever edited this piece would benefit enormously from reading the book, or at least the Post story.
Madamenoire.com would have you believe it was her “strictly religious home” that explains her “huge amount of guilt.”
To be clear I haven’t read the book, either. In the Post we read that Braxton is “consumed with guilt,” which is like saying the sun is hot. True but doesn’t come close to conveying the full truth.
Braxton feels the way she does because she is honest enough to admit the rationalization that she used to justify the abortion (to herself) is simply not true. She has two children and the only way she can “explain” her son’s autism and the legacy of further family hurts is to falsely attribute it to a wrathful god.
Madamenoire.com has it backwards. Other women won’t be liberated from guilt and shame by Braxton’s story.
“Unbreak my heart” is not only the name of Braxton’s memoir, it’s the title of her most famous song.
But I think it’s also fair to conclude those three words likely also capture a fervent wish on her part–to wash away the pain, the guilt, the shame, and to unbreak the heart that was broken when she took her unborn baby’s life.