I finished this book a week and a half ago, but I’m just now getting around to writing about it. The last weekend in June was was a hot and sticky one, best suited to reading. I’ve already written about Friday’s reading selection. On Saturday, I finished This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund. I first read about the book on Salon and I thought it sounded interesting, so when it showed up on the “New Books” shelf of my local library, I picked it up.
This Common Secret follows Wicklund’s unlikely path to become a doctor and then her struggles to provide compassionate and complete care to women seeking abortions, in part inspired by her own horrible abortion experience in the immediate aftermatch of Roe vs. Wade. Wicklund does an excellent job putting a human face on abortion providers and also at highlighting the many complexities that lead a woman to seek an abortion. The title refers to the fact that so many women have been touched by abortion – by having one, by knowing a friend who has had one – and yet no one talks about it. Abortion is common (and was common, if much more deadly, before it was legal) – and we would do well to acknowledge that.
I think this book is a must read for any one who has the power to legislate abortion, because it does a really good job of showing how this is such a personal decision, best made by a woman and her doctor. This is an issue that has so much gray and attempts to paint it as black and white help no one.
Another book to read, if you liked this one is The Girls Who Went Away, which is about the women who were sent “away” and forced to give up their babies for adoption in the years before Roe vs. Wade. What happened to those women was devastating (and not specifically because abortion wasn’t an option, but because many of them wanted to keep their babies and were not allowed to). Women deserve choice. To make their own decisions with ALL the options available. And these two books make powerful arguments for that.