- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Toni Braxton, a Grammy award-winning singer who had an abortion a decade ago, pined in her recently released memoir that perhaps God punished her for the procedure by inflicting her second-born son with autism.

She said the guilty feeling stems from a strict Christian upbringing that required her to memorize 26 Bible passages each week — sometimes in place of doing school work — and banned her from even wearing pants, the New York Daily News reported.

She penned her thoughts, regarding 11-year-old son Diezel’s autism, in her just-released “Unbreak My Heart” memoir: “Is God punishing me for that abortion? … [Perhaps it’s] God’s payback to give my son autism.”

Ms. Braxton, who has another son, Denim, 12, said she discovered more than 10 years ago she was pregnant by her then-boyfriend Keri Lewis.

She had an abortion — and though she said in her book that she did fear the side effects of her prescribed Accutane acne medication could harm her baby’s fetus, she also made clear that the pregnancy termination decision was ultimately made more out of convenience, the New York Daily News reported.

In her book, Ms. Braxton revealed how guilty she felt about the abortion, to the point of believing that perhaps her actions brought an affliction from God upon her son. She also wondered whether God also punished her for the abortion by placing her in the middle of her parents’ chaotic divorce, and then later afflicting her with lupus.

Ms. Braxton, now 46, and Mr. Lewis were married from 2001 to 2013. The singer has also gone through two bankruptcies — issues she covers in her book — and the loss of rights to several of her best hit singles, due in part to shady management deals and poor contract negotiations.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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