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The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion

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Every day in America, abortion providers and the women who need them are in danger. First published ten years ago, this collection of 25 powerful stories from contributors both famous and ordinary, privileged and poor, provides often harrowing insights into what happens when women are denied the right to choose. Testimonials from teenagers, college students, overloaded you Every day in America, abortion providers and the women who need them are in danger. First published ten years ago, this collection of 25 powerful stories from contributors both famous and ordinary, privileged and poor, provides often harrowing insights into what happens when women are denied the right to choose. Testimonials from teenagers, college students, overloaded young mothers, and even a retired male Marine put a human face on one of this country’s most controversial issues and offer passionate arguments for access to legal and safe abortions.


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Every day in America, abortion providers and the women who need them are in danger. First published ten years ago, this collection of 25 powerful stories from contributors both famous and ordinary, privileged and poor, provides often harrowing insights into what happens when women are denied the right to choose. Testimonials from teenagers, college students, overloaded you Every day in America, abortion providers and the women who need them are in danger. First published ten years ago, this collection of 25 powerful stories from contributors both famous and ordinary, privileged and poor, provides often harrowing insights into what happens when women are denied the right to choose. Testimonials from teenagers, college students, overloaded young mothers, and even a retired male Marine put a human face on one of this country’s most controversial issues and offer passionate arguments for access to legal and safe abortions.

30 review for The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Powerful and varied stories. Even after doing a lot of work in this field, I don't think I had fully realized, until I read Grace Paley's story about a friend who died, that women had--and still have--a hard time getting treated for spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) in many hospitals and doctors' offices because of a reluctance to do anything even resembling abortion. Having just read Frances Moore Lappe's book "Getting a Grip" and then this one, I like her suggestion that we substitute "pro-co Powerful and varied stories. Even after doing a lot of work in this field, I don't think I had fully realized, until I read Grace Paley's story about a friend who died, that women had--and still have--a hard time getting treated for spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) in many hospitals and doctors' offices because of a reluctance to do anything even resembling abortion. Having just read Frances Moore Lappe's book "Getting a Grip" and then this one, I like her suggestion that we substitute "pro-conscience" for the term "pro-choice."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bookewyfe

    I’ve reached out to the author and thanked her for reaching out, talking to peoplx and writing this book. These conversations are vital; we must have them. There is no shame in having an abortion; our stories matter. All respect to the contributors in this book that not only shared their story but their name—it takes guts to put yourself out there! I know, because I’ve done it. Some of the stories here also touch on the arguments that the anti-choice side makes—honing in the immense personal nat I’ve reached out to the author and thanked her for reaching out, talking to peoplx and writing this book. These conversations are vital; we must have them. There is no shame in having an abortion; our stories matter. All respect to the contributors in this book that not only shared their story but their name—it takes guts to put yourself out there! I know, because I’ve done it. Some of the stories here also touch on the arguments that the anti-choice side makes—honing in the immense personal nature and how these situations are familiar to so many of us. Onward in the fight for a more just world for all peoplx! First step: empathy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bela Sastry

    The first hand accounts in this book were critical in the formation of my views on the right to choice. A must-read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    A quick read with many short stories. Of course this is from 1990 and many things have changed since then but it was still a good read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Everyone ought to read pre-legalization narratives. There are still not enough first person accounts of abortion in the public conversation.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    An excellent book with personal stories from women who have actually had abortions and the experience through their eyes. Not every story is one of those horror back alley butcher abortion stories which was a needed angle. It made the juxtaposition even greater between an abortion that was done poorly and an abortion that was done safely. It made me angry that anyone should have to go through an illegal dangerous abortion when there is a perfectly safe, painless, medical way to have an abortion. An excellent book with personal stories from women who have actually had abortions and the experience through their eyes. Not every story is one of those horror back alley butcher abortion stories which was a needed angle. It made the juxtaposition even greater between an abortion that was done poorly and an abortion that was done safely. It made me angry that anyone should have to go through an illegal dangerous abortion when there is a perfectly safe, painless, medical way to have an abortion. Many stories brought up aspects/arguements I had never considered. One gentleman in particular raised an excellent view point. His mother had died during a botched illegal abortion when he was 4 years old. He goes on to tell a heartbreaking story of loss. However the conclusion he poses at the end of his story blew my mind even further open on the question of abortion. He states that what makes him angriest about everything is that everyone ignores the orphans of women who died because of illegal abortions. No one has ever attempted to figure out a statistic. He goes on to say, rightfully so, that both sides, pro-life and pro-choice ignore this population and issue. Another point made that I loved, that I've used when arguing for separation of church and state was made by another contributor in regards to allowing the government to pass laws on women's reproductive rights. "Once you allow politicians to tell you you can't have [an abortion], those same politicians can turn around and say you must have one, or it can only be a boy, it can only have blue eyes, it can only be a girl, you can only have two, you can't have any." The point is it's a slippery slope where giving up one right can eventually lead to giving up all our rights. Another woman addresses the fact that she had an abortion when she was young and went onto have 3 children later in life who would not exist if she had had to have that child when she was young and unprepared to do so. She directly addresses pro-lifers "goal" of saving the children and argues that since the one abortion lead to three healthy living children doesn't that accomplish their goals better than having only one child? The Law of Averages is posed in regards to abortion. "...from the time a girl gets her period-mine started at eleven-all the way up to when she's menopausal, you're talking about 40 to 50 years of 12 times a year that you can get pregnant. If you multiply 12 months times 40 years, what is that, about 500 months? The law of averages says you're going to mess up sometime no matter how faithful you are." I have to agree, so many pro-lifers want to put forth the argument that if you're irresponsible then why should the fetus have to suffer for you lack of responsibility. But life happens, not everyone is perfect all the time, it's impossible to set that standard. So I turn that argument back, why should the woman have to suffer for being human and making an error or oversight? A journalist writes an essay about his daughter who was walking home from and Independence Day celebration. A car approached her and two men jumped out grabbed her and forced her into the car. She was blindfolded driven to an unknown location and repeatedly beaten and raped over the course of the remainder of the evening. After the men were done with her they drove her to a park and shoved her beaten body out of the car and left her there. A few weeks later it was discovered she was pregnant. He addresses Senator Jesse Helms directly who was trying to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape or incest, why his daughter should have to go through the horror and mental anguish of bringing a baby that was created out of violence and violation to term. I have to wonder what kind of a cruel human being would actually expect that. This book was chock full of excellent arguments for why abortion should be/needs to be legal not only for the safety and well being of women, but for men and children as well.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    I read this as a companion to the book that I read about birth mothers and adoptions (see my other reviews). It was not as emotional for me as reading about the birth mothers, and this is largely due to the fact that most of the women featured in the adoption book were forced to do what they did by others and often regret their actions. Their emotional responses were larger and more devastating than those of the women who told the stories of their illegal and legal abortions. What I did enjoy ab I read this as a companion to the book that I read about birth mothers and adoptions (see my other reviews). It was not as emotional for me as reading about the birth mothers, and this is largely due to the fact that most of the women featured in the adoption book were forced to do what they did by others and often regret their actions. Their emotional responses were larger and more devastating than those of the women who told the stories of their illegal and legal abortions. What I did enjoy about this book was hearing some of the personal outlooks of the women, including the story of a a female clergy member and a quote from a letter of nuns regarding the topic of abortion. There are some harrowing stories included in the book regarding the illegal abortions that some women went through. The incredibly disturbing imagery that arises from their stories is moving and has stayed with me since I've finished the book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Stories from famous/distinguished women who have had abortions, both before and after Roe v. Wade. Sort of a Choice classic.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Powerful book about abortion, the women who choose it and the reasons why...

  10. 5 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    People (some famous) tell their true stories of having abortions or helping people they love have abortions, many during the time when abortion was illegal in the US. Good history.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Whitley

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kendra Purtle

  13. 5 out of 5

    EmK

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ashlee

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jody

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anthea

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura Myers

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Donald Spratley

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Mccarthy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Pajor

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cathi Woods

  28. 5 out of 5

    Holly

  29. 4 out of 5

    Misty

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lena La

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