Hey, our blog is famous! Well, sort of. Some excerpts of this blog are appearing in a new book on abortion politics called Abortion Under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice edited by Krista Jacob with an introduction by Rebecca Walker. It will be released on amazon.com October 28, 2006, with an advanced discount, no less.
We submitted to this anthology because the editor, and publisher--Seal Press-- was working hard to collect new perspectives on what it means to be pro choice in this time. We felt strongly that if the abortion experience were not represented--albeit from a provider perspective--it would be a great loss to anyone hoping to understand abortion in today's context. It strikes me that there are still too few women speaking out about their abortion experience and still not enough safe places to speak the full range of experiences and feelings. I liked the Ms. Magazine "I Had an Abortion" petition, but it was just the shock value, not the detail rich stories. And there are talklines, notably Backline (yourbackline.org) and Exhale (4exhale.org) but that is not a public venue that we all get to listen to and take away information. So, until there is more safe opportunities and a kinder, gentler political environment, our patient stories will have to stand in for the hundreds of thousands of stories that don't get heard.
again today i talked with another woman whose husband is in iraq. this woman, whom i'll call julie, is in her early twenties, has one child. in fact that child will soon be a year old. but he has not seen his dad since he was four months old. he is too young to even know that he has a dad. his mother is doing her best to raise him alone and does have help. so her situation is not as dire as many that i have seen. but the problem is that when her husband came home this summer after basic training, she became pregnant. as difficult as it is to actually have a conversation when you are halfway across the globe from one another, they managed to do so. and they were in agreement that another child would not be good for their family right now. already, they wonder how their soon-to-be one year old will accept his daddy when daddy returns in another year or so. and, even with help, raising a child alone is not easy so how could she do the kind of job she would want with two? with the miracle of video cams, daddy will be able to see a part of his son's first birthday party but he is missing his son's first words, his first steps and will return to a child in whose upbringing he has not participated for two whole years. to this young couple, having another child would put stress on every family member and, they decided, much to their surprise, that abortion would be best. surprising because in the past, abortion was not a word that ever entered their minds, let alone their conversations. but wars change people, change their thinking, change their decision making. so julie had an abortion today. she goes home hoping that her son's daddy comes home next fall as he is scheduled to. she said she could handle it with one child but not two if he doesn't make it. so many brave women and men, dealing with the longest war in more than a century.
The media so rarely get it the way you want it, but here is an author that is comfortable with complexity and nuance. Monika Bauerlein writes in MORE magazine about trying to hear real people's experiences in a political context that doesn't always allow a fuller discourse. She interviewed two abortion providers and some prochoice folks too.
Even better were three companion first person articles about changing from a black and white world view (prochoice) to a gray but still prochoice view. One was a woman who has repeated IVF procedures and felt surprisingly proprietary about her 8 celled "children." Another was a male abortion counselor who shifted his rhetoric after he saw his own baby's ultrasound. And the third, and my favorite, was a woman with a teen who was appalled that her daughter watched her friends blithely have children and not know they had a choice. This middle aged dyed in the wool prochoice activist had to "come out" to her daughter about her own abortion and her beliefs about women's lives.
A good read: In the stores now, with Sigourney Weaver on the cover, or on line. Here is a link to the article from More magazine.