Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

This Common Secret [review]

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This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund
Published by PublicAffairs on December 7, 2007
my rating: ★★★ ★ (4 stars)
Goodreads avg:
4.28 (as of 2020-04-07)
Spoiler-free review

Goodreads | Bookshop | Author’s Website

“I know exactly what kind of work you do, and it is a good thing. People like you do it safely so that people like me don’t murder their best friends.”

This is an incredibly powerful book that quickly puts to rest the most common misconceptions about abortions. If you believe that life begins at conception and therefore abortion at any stage is murder, this isn’t going to change your mind but then again, nothing is. If you hold any other reservations about abortion regarding the process and its outcomes, I think this would be an interesting read for you. Even as a staunch pro-choice advocate, I learned a lot reading this.

But this is not just about abortion, this is also Dr. Wicklund’s memoir and her experiences with anti-abortion activists are truly harrowing. I did not realize the full extent of harassment and danger that abortion providers face; Dr. Wicklund is stalked, threatened, barricaded in her driveway, and even had her home broken into. She somehow still manages to go in day after day to help her patients. Her philosophy and practice comforted me a lot: she ensures that every patient is positive they want an abortion before she’ll perform one, and she always covers the alternatives available. This should be the case with any elective procedure, but particularly abortion.

My only qualms were that some conversations just didn’t feel real. Perhaps some stories were amalgamations of other stories, but at times they just felt scripted. I guess when you have the same conversations day in and day out, that can be the case though. It’s not that I felt they weren’t real, just a little too polished. But this was really a minor complaint and I’m really glad I finally got around to reading this and would recommend it to pretty much everyone.

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5 thoughts on “This Common Secret [review]”

  1. Great review! This sounds like such an important and educational read. I’ll never forget how taxing it was just walking past the women’s health clinic (which performed abortions) near my college campus where more often than not people were protesting all sorts of women’s choices that didn’t concern them. I was lucky to never need that clinic and felt so bad for all the patients who must’ve been harassed just for going inside; I was once followed for half a mile and incessantly questioned just for walking by and wearing leggings, which was apparently a Grave Sin and the definitive path to an unwanted pregnancy. At the time I was more focused on the girls who needed health care and hadn’t even thought about how grueling it must be to work under those conditions, but I think I’d appreciate a doctor’s take now. Adding to my TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my god, that sounds scary!! The author actually became a doctor in part because she had a really terrible abortion experience herself, so while it does look at both sides it does really focus more on the doctor bit. I hope you enjoy it when you get around to it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was a small, middle-aged woman who followed and talked at me, so more frustrating than scary fortunately, though even at the time I knew I was lucky not to have been an actual patient more in the line of fire for harassment. It’s insane, some of the ways grown people will treat each other. Anyway, thanks very much for the info, this book does sound right up my alley!

        Liked by 1 person

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