This Common Secret by Susan Wickland

/ posted in: FeminismReading

In 1976 Susan Wickland had an abortion.  The doctor and staff that did the abortion were very rough with her and she was disgusted at the way she was treated.  Afterwards she became interested in reproductive health and worked with women giving birth.  A chance encounter with a career counselor at a party put the idea of becoming a doctor into her mind.

She entered college as the single mother of a toddler.  After finishing medical school, she wanted to provide abortions in a supportive environment like she wished that she would have had during her abortion.

She started providing abortions during the 1980s when anti-abortion protesters were at their most aggressive.  She was beaten and chased and routinely was threatened.  Crowds of protesters met her at airports and blocked the entrance to her driveway to try to keep her from being able to leave her house.  She had to don disguises to be able to get into clinics where she was scheduled to work.

Through it all, she kept going for the women for whom she was providing service.  She tells the story of many of them and what led them to seek out an abortion.  She talks about women who she encouraged not to have an abortion.  She talks about the anti-abortion protesters who came to her for abortions.

It was a hard life.  She had to vary her route to and from clinics.  She had to sneak through the woods at night to get away from protesters in her driveway. Her daughter was targeted at school.  When doctors started being killed, she started to wear a gun.

No matter how you feel about abortion, this is a story from a point of view that hasn’t been told.

 

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