Monday, February 11, 2008

Lifting the Curtain

I just finished This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund, and I highly recommend it. I completely support a woman's right to choose and I applaud Wicklund for telling her stories of the women who choose abortion and the challenges they face.

Through her career spanning over two decades, Wicklund has helped women of all creeds. She has helped rape and incest victims; one eerie story describes a father who brings his 14 year old daughter to Wicklund's clinic where the daughter tells Wicklund that the pregnancy she is there to abort is her father's fault. The clinic called the police and child protective services and had the girl taken to a safe home and the father arrested.

Wicklund is a fine example of what a doctor should be: a counselor, a caretaker, and a confidant. In running her own clinic, every patient was counseled, offered options besides abortion, and, above all, was treated with dignity and care.

Of course, her career has been full of trouble as well. She has been harassed, threatened, stalked, and trapped in her own home. She paints a picture of the damage done to women by protesters. One woman came to the clinic whom Wicklund recognized as a protester. She discovered that upon becoming pregnant and trying to have an abortion, the protester convinced her not to abort and told her they would help her support her child. But no help ever materialized. Pregnant again, she knew she couldn't support a second child. Wicklund spoke with her frankly about her choices to join the protesters, and then respected her decision to go through with the abortion.

There were many stories about the maliciousness of the protesters, and their great hypocrisy, and the ways in which the laws have been changed in recent years to thwart a woman's right to abortion.

I am proud of doctors like Susan Wicklund, who risk their lives to help women who need to end a pregnancy. As she says, if men were the ones who got pregnant, the right to abortion wouldn't be a question at all. The argument is about control; the most rabid protesters are men, who want to keep women in submission, who think that they are simply baby-making machines. And while I am not a doctor and cannot help this cause medically, as Wicklund has done, I am fully capable of voting to keep and expand abortion rights. I write letters to my elected officials, and I use this blog as my platform. I urge you all to read this book, and take its message to heart.

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