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16 November 2009 @ 10:04 am
Book review: This Common Secret by Susan Wicklund  
I posted this to my personal journal, and I thought folks on this comm would be interested in this book as well:

My friend lent this to me on Saturday, and by the end of Sunday I was done. It's fast and it's gripping. Susan Wicklund, her career path shaped by a terrible abortion experience in 1976, began medical school in 1980 as a single mom, and eventually became an abortion provider. She traveled around the northern Midwest, the target of protesters, harassment, death threats, etc. They barricaded her driveway; they terrorized her daughter; they would lie in wait for her at airports and outside clinics.

Through all this shines Wicklund's obvious love for her work and for her patients. Having been subjected to an abortion where the doctors and nurses treated her like a piece of meat (she regrets the circumstances but not the abortion itself), she was always careful to include patients in their procedures, to make sure they absolutely wanted the abortion and were making a free choice, and that they knew what was happening at all times. She sounds like the gold standard of patient care, and I hope and wish that all providers treat their patients the way she does.

Abortion is a big issue at the moment (as if it ever stopped being one), and it seems clear to me that there's a long fight ahead to keep abortion legal. In many parts of the US it is extremely difficult to obtain one between the lack of providers and the various legal rigmaroles, and even in liberal Massachusetts, where the clinics have 30-foot safe zones around their entrances, parental notification laws are still in effect.

This was an excellent book for the human face of abortion--the providers, the patients, Wicklund's love and care even at the expense of nurturing her own family. It was clear that although she regrets not being there for her daughter and husband (who she married after graduating from medical school), if there hadn't been such a dearth of providers she wouldn't have had to work so much. And the reason for that is obvious--the extreme tactics of the antis, many of whom are dangerous extremists willing to murder people for their beliefs. Only a very strong, courageous person could be an abortion provider in this day and age.
Paquette la Chantefleuriemorgondag on November 16th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
Definitely adding this to my "to-read" list, thanks for posting.
flufftasticoflufftastico on November 16th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)
I also highly recommend this book. I was able to see Dr. Wicklund speak several years ago regarding this book. She is really an inspirational woman.