A wedding announcement in The New York Times is a triumph for any couple, a place to tell the world about the tight bonds of their love and its manifestation in the romantic splurge of their wedding day.

The Aug. 30 profile for Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem and his wife, Faith Rein, detailed a Vera Wang mermaid dress, chicken and waffles, a walk down the aisle to Tupac Shakur’s “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” and guests such as rappers Flo Rida and Wale. But the couple also chose to share a very private and controversial secret: their decision to terminate a pregnancy.

Rein and Haslem tied the knot after nearly 14 years together. The Times announcement chronicled their courtship from an inauspicious first meeting and their wildly divergent backgrounds, including her stint as a career woman and subsequent struggle with fitting into the Miami scene, as well as his disappointing failure to make the NBA draft after he dropped out of college and eventual rise to becoming the captain of the Miami Heat and the winner of three NBA championships with that team.

The candid revelation about their abortion, however, stuck out among all the details. Rein became pregnant while she was a junior and Haslem was a senior at the University of Florida. Also an athlete, Rein juggled track meets, her studies in business administration and helping Haslem with his homework while he trained for the NBA draft.

Finances were tight—Haslem was already having a hard time supporting the son he’d had in high school—and a child could potentially derail their budding careers. The timing, the couple agreed, was bad.

“I am not a huge fan of abortion, but we both had sports careers, plus we could not financially handle a baby,” Haslem told the Times.

“Udonis appreciated that I was willing to have an abortion,” Rein said. “I found him caring, supportive, nurturing and all over me to be sure I was OK. I saw another side of him during that difficult time and fell deeply in love. He had a big heart and was the whole package.”

Abortion critics and supporters have weighed in on the news.

Feminist website Jezebel hailed the reference as “progress,” saying, “When a wedding announcement in The New York Times openly discusses abortion as a difficult yet pragmatic decision a young couple made before they were financially and emotionally ready to have a kid, it’s a signal that a vast majority of Times readers (at the very least) recognize that having an abortion is a completely legitimate option.”

On the other side, pro-life website LifeNews, which regularly covers issues about abortion, was not as enamored with the article, saying the Times went too far.

“Now the Gray Lady is going overboard with its effusive praise of snuffing out the lives of unborn children by printing a wedding announcement celebrating the abortion Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem’s fiancée obtained,” LifeNews wrote.

Many on both sides of the ideological debate simply questioned whether a wedding announcement was the right venue to discuss something as private as an abortion.

While appreciative that the couple discussed their decision like “it’s not some life-ending tragedy,” pro-choice blogger Eve Vawter felt its mention was in poor taste.

“It’s their wedding story and they can discuss whatever they want, but it just seems a bit uncouth to me,” she wrote. “Couldn’t they have done an entirely separate article where they talked all about it?”


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO