A California pastor, who is also a father to two young children, appeared to have struck a chord with hundreds of people after he commented on actress Alyssa Milano’s remarks in which she said her life would be “completely lacking all its great joys” had she not earlier had two abortions.
Jarrid Wilson, a pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship and founder of the non-profit Anthem of Hope, wrote on Twitter on Aug. 21, addressing Milano’s strongly-worded comment.
“Everyone should post a picture of their kids and use the hashtag #greatjoys,” he wrote in response, and added a photo of himself with his wife and two children.
— Jarrid Wilson (@JarridWilson) August 21, 2019
Wilson’s tweet was followed by hundreds of likes and retweets, and scores of responses in the form of family photos complete with the hashtag #greatjoys.
A few hours later, Wilson weighed in again on Milano’s remarks, saying, “So sad to read this. Because yeah, kids are just life-destroyers.”
@Alyssa_Milano So sad to read this. Because yeah, kids are just life-destroyers.
— Jarrid Wilson (@JarridWilson) August 20, 2019
Milano had said in an Aug. 19 episode of her podcast “Alyssa Milano: Sorry Not Sorry,” that she had undergone two abortions when she was in her early 20s.
“I’m Alyssa Milano and I’ve had an abortion. I control my own body,” she said at the start of the podcast episode, which was titled “My Abortion Story.” The episode featured stories of women who shared why they decided to have an abortion. Later, Milano also shared hers.
“In 1993, I had two abortions,” Milano said. “I was in love for the first time in the breathless way you can only be in love when you are young.”
She said that at the time, she was on the pill for birth control “because I knew I was not ready to be a parent,” and added she was also taking Accutane, an acne medication.
“[Accutane] is so likely to cause birth defects if taken by a pregnant woman … I knew this and so using birth control was a doubly important decision for me,” she said. “And I still got pregnant.”
“I had a career, a future, and potential,” she added. “And also I suffered from sometimes crippling anxiety, so I knew at that time I was not equipped to be a mother and so I chose to have an abortion.
“I chose. It was my choice. And it was absolutely the right choice for me. It was not an easy choice. It was not something I wanted,” she said, adding that it was something that she “needed.”
Later, Milano said: “They tell you the pill is 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancies and yet a few months later I found out I was pregnant again. So I had done what I knew to do to prevent pregnancy and was still pregnant. So once again I made the right decision to end that pregnancy.”
Milano said in the past few years she had reflected on what she “would have lost if I never had my abortions.”
“I would not have my children—my beautiful, perfect, loving, kind, and inquisitive children—who have a mother who was so very, very ready for them. I would not have my career … I would never have met my amazing husband David … Fifteen years after that first love had fizzled, my life would be completely lacking all its great joys,” she said. “I would never have been free to be myself. And that’s what this fight is all about: freedom.”
Wilson countered Milano’s stance with a different perspective.
“Children are our future, and a blessing from God, not a burden that so many people—specifically people who are only focused on their own achievement and goals—make them out to be,” Wilson told outlet Faithwire.
View this post on Instagram
The 30-year-old father and minister also lamented at the possibility that people who look to Milano’s podcast and other content may be convinced by “the lie that children are a hindrance to finding bliss in life.”
“I don’t know Alyssa personally,” Wilson told the faith-based news outlet, “but I’m praying she really thinks about the totality of what she’s saying on public platforms, especially in regards to situations that encompass the reality of life and death.”
“I don’t hate Alyssa,” he added. “I want nothing but the best for her, her family, and her career. But I would encourage her, in love, to really re-think the impact her words may have on other people … Children should be celebrated, not looked down upon.”
Twitter users who posted photos with the hashtag #greatjoys in response to Wilson also responded to Milano’s remarks with stories of their own.
17 years ago, I walked out of an abortion clinic….
I was going through a divorce and didn’t think I would be able to “handle it” He’s 16 today. Today, am a happily married mother of 4 #greatjoys pic.twitter.com/UTxdXNzZ1p
— ∂ιαиα м. мαттнєωѕ ???? (@didimatts) August 21, 2019
“Seventeen years ago, I walked out of an abortion clinic,” one person wrote. “I was going through a divorce and didn’t think I would be able to ‘handle it.’ He’s 16 today. Today, am a happily married mother of four.”
“Totally and completely blessed to have a son who is 8 months old now. My life before him was lacking. It’s an absolute honor to be a father!” another Twitter user shared.
“Unplanned pregnancy at age 19 and was pressured to get an abortion but refused! Raised my daughter alone, and she is now expecting my second granddaughter and they are my greatest joys!” a mother weighed in.
Unplanned pregnancy at age 19 and was pressured to get an abortion but refused! Raised my daughter alone, and she is now expecting my second granddaughter and they are my greatest joys! #GreatJoys #Blessed pic.twitter.com/IotVO8XIVY
— Cathy Rockstrom (@CathyRocks08) August 22, 2019
“Here is my #greatjoy! Honestly, I was not ‘prepared’ to be a mom at that time in my life, but I needed to own my decisions. I’m so blessed to have him in my life! There was no other option in my mind!” another mother wrote.
Here is my #greatjoy! Honestly, I was not “prepared” to be a mom at that time in my life, but I needed to own my decisions. I’m so blessed to have him in my life! There was no other option in my mind! ❤???? pic.twitter.com/m8e33VtF9l
— Karla Falcone (@hazleyes87) August 23, 2019
One person of faith commented that Milano’s comments were “sad.”
“What a sad statement to make,” she wrote. “Life should be treasured above all else. How could we not know that. Each life matters and is part of God’s plan. Born to love. Born for greatness. If we only knew. God help us all.”
What a sad statement to make. Life should be treasured above all else. How could we not know that. Each life matters and is part of God’s plan. Born to love. Born for greatness. If we only knew. God help us all.
— Melissa Wittke (@MelissaWittke) August 23, 2019
Another reflected: “If my biological mother would have opted for one abortion … the year I was born, my life would be completely lacking any joy, since I wouldn’t exist.”
And if my biological mother would have opted for one abortion in 1952, the year I was born, my life would be completely lacking any joy, since I wouldn’t exist. #greatjoys
— Janet Latshaw Simons (@JanetMLSimons) August 25, 2019