In the wake of a disturbing tweet (later deleted) from a Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood office that our society “needs” a Disney princess who’s had an abortion, a woman who actually worked in Orlando as a Disney princess says an abortion left her not empowered (a myth abortion advocates are always selling) — but shattered.
She has now resolved to tell other women the truth about what empowerment really is.
“I’m really happy that Planned Parenthood made the faux pas in creating that tweet,” Deanna Falchook, who wrote a moving piece for Medium.com about her personal experience with abortion, told LifeZette on Thursday.
“I think it just brings to light how deeply influential the fairy tales and iconic princesses are in shaping who we are as women and men. I have had so many great conversations in the last 24 hours with women who are defending Cinderella and others.”
Her own story goes like this: In 1981, Falchook worked at Disney World as a singer and dancer, and her voice was used in show and special event recordings as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.
“I performed, on average, five shows a day in front of Cinderella’s castle singing and dancing to ‘Some Day my Prince Will Come,’ and ‘When You Wish Upon a Star,'” she wrote in her Medium.com essay. “At the age of 18, I became pregnant and had an abortion to keep my job as a singing princess. There was no pressure from the company or management to abort my baby. I didn’t tell them. But I made a decision on my own that I quickly lived to regret.”
Falchook (shown above) also wrote, “In the immediate days following my abortion, I struggled deeply. I continued to sing songs in front of the castle about dreams coming true, but eventually had to quit my dream job due to my inability to reconcile my decision within myself. I wanted to die. Eventually, I found healing. It was an arduous struggle to navigate my personal grief. But by the grace of God, I am living an amazing life.”
Eventually, she married — she calls him “my prince” in her article — and she gave birth to a baby girl.
She then went on to adopt five more children from various countries, and to become an advocate for adoption.
Her adopted daughter Matéa was born to a 14-year-old who “decided NOT to abort her baby,” Falchook wrote (those caps were hers).
As Falchook told LifeZette, she is raising her daughters to be independent and mindful women. “I cannot say if all of them will be pro-life, but they all know about my journey and support me wholeheartedly, as do my sons.”
And of her adopted children, she said, “They are all alive because their moms all gave life. These children are world-changers.”
Falchook is writing a book about Cinderella’s strength of character. “My book is not intended to be a commentary, but if we can reclaim the word ‘feminism’ to mean studying the feminist aspects of who we are, then I guess it could be considered a feminist book,” she told LifeZette. She is also building a pro-life group of women called “pro-life princesses,” who will explore the idea of what “royalty” means in each person. And she feels the princesses we have serve us just fine.
“Disney doesn’t need a princess who has had an abortion,” Falchook emphasized in her Medium.com piece. “For years feminists have been princess-bashing because they clearly don’t really grasp the depth of the princess stories that have already been told of overcoming evil, beauty rising out of the ugliness of the world, empowering love that is willing to slay dragons, resurrecting life after evil witch potions threatens to poison, and demanding true love in a world that wants to rewrite the happy ending into something less romantic. Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Merida, Ariel, Mulan all represent strength, power, grace, favor, determination and beauty out of ashes.”
“Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Merida, Ariel, Mulan all represent strength, power, grace, favor, determination and beauty out of ashes.”
Falchook also sees a revelation in the since-deleted Planned Parenthood tweet that she hopes others see, too. “It is … disturbing yet revealing to get confirmation that Planned Parenthood is conspiring to a new demographic in the ‘toddlers and tiaras’ age range,” she said.
As for her own personal views today? “The Bible tells us to choose life, and science shows us where that life begins. That is all I need to know.”
Deirdre Reilly is a writer and editor based in the Boston area, and a former parenting and family editor at LifeZette.