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Former Olympian says everyone deserves the 'right to choose the best healthcare for us'

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Posted at 12:32 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 22:22:30-04

Crissy Perham swam for the University of Arizona, going on to win multiple gold medals at the 1992 Olympics.

But before reaching the peak in her swimming career, Perham had an abortion.

Perham says she was engaged to be married in May of 1990, but in January of that year she found out she was pregnant.

RELATED: Valley woman had two abortions, now she works for an anti-abortion advocate

Perham was still a student-athlete, with her eyes set on making it to the Olympics.

"I was on birth control, and I was not currently trying to be a mother," said Perham. "In fact, I was actively trying not to be a mom."

She said within hours of finding out she was pregnant, she knew what she wanted to do.

"I was just really coming into my own as a young adult," said Perham. "My swimming career was improving. I was getting a scholarship to attend the University of Arizona, and I didn’t want to give any of those things up."

When asked if she thinks her life would have been different if she hadn't gotten an abortion, Perham said those are hypotheticals she doesn't have to think about.

"Would I have been an Olympian in '96? I don’t know," said Perham. "Would I have been a college graduate? I don’t know. I don’t need to worry about those choices and those hypotheticals because I had the healthcare that was available to me."

"We deserve the right to choose the healthcare that’s best for us," said Perham.

Perham believes the Supreme Court decision could impact the number of women that go on to be student-athletes, college graduates, or even just entering the workforce.

Now, she said she’s hoping to help break some of the stigma surrounding abortion.

She spoke with ABC15 from her home in Texas, now a mom of two. Perham said she's speaking out hoping to shed light on what she calls a “private choice.”

"It's a personal private choice that happens for a multitude of reasons, and we need to talk about it now because there are people that are interested in taking it away," said Perham.