Susan Wicklund – “This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor”

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The New York Times has a story today about Dr. Susan Wicklund’s new book, This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor.   The story’s worth reading for her insider’s perspective on the importance of telling the stories of women who have had abortions.   After all, as she points out, abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures in the country, as almost 40% of women in the United States will have one in their lives.   The goal of her book is to put the procedure out in the open so that people understand how common and important it is.   A worthy effort!

Besides describing the basic point of her book, the story also contains some great quotes from Dr. Wicklund:

“It’s so incredibly insulting,”Dr. Wicklund said in the interview.”The 24-hour waiting period implies that women don’t think about it on their own and have to have the government forcing it on them. To me a lot of the abortion restrictions are about control of women, about power, and it’s insulting.”

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Dr. Wicklund said she would put more credence in opponents of abortion rights if they did more to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies. Instead, she said, many of the protesters she encounters”are against birth control, period.”That is unfortunate, she said, because her clinic experience confirms studies showing that emphasizing abstinence rather than contraception may cause girls to delay their first sexual experience for a few months, but”when they do have intercourse they are much less likely to protect themselves with birth control or a condom.”

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One question Dr. Wicklund hears”all the time,”she said, is how she can focus on abortion rather than on something more rewarding, like delivering babies.

“In fact, the women are so grateful,”Dr. Wicklund said in the interview.”Women are so grateful to know they can get through this safely, that they can still get pregnant again.

“It is one of the few areas of medicine where you are not working with a sick person, you are doing something for them that gives them back their life, their control,”she added.”It’s a very rewarding thing to be part of that.”

- David S. Cohen

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