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The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion Paperback – February 27, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press; 2nd edition (February 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568581882
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568581880
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,966,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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63 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Katha Pollitt on March 29, 2001
This is a terrific collection of first-person narratives by women who had illegal abortions in the days before Roe V Wade. Some are famous -- Whoopi Goldberg, Linda Ellerbee, Jill Clayburgh, Ursula K LeGuin, Grace Paley. Others are not. But all testify to the fear, desperation and danger that surround abortion when it is forced underground. Harsh religion, sexual ignorance, unsympathetic families, and vanishing boyfriends are recurring themes. Each woman tells her own story--vividly and naturally, without slogans or jargon. Coat hangers and death by sepsis or hemorrhage are not pro-choice propaganda -- they were realities not so long ago. I hope everyone who supports abortion rights will give this book to a friend who thinks maybe restricting abortion would be a good idea. A definite must for your local public library.
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This is a book every anti-choice, so called "pro-life" person should read. It also is a book all of us pro-CHOICE should read to remind us of the horrific state they are trying to force us back in to.

With a brief history Roe v Wade and of the violence against women, doctors, staff and others that anti-choicers targeted. We also learn a bit of detail about the pride they took in these horrific murders, saying it was the "holy war", I'd write more but for those who want to learn via the book, I'll leave the rest out.

Birth control was limited and restricted, unless married and even then frowned upon. No one spoke about it, unless it was to blame the woman for the pregnancy and forgetting the man involved.

We read 25 different abortion experiences, from 25 different types of people, including a man whom lost his mother due to illegal abortion. Each story is powerful, each story comes from a different world, a different lifestyle, a different reason... But the one thing consistent is they were either not ready, didn't want to bring "shame" or couldn't afford to take care of themselves yet, much less a child... Or, they were a child themselves; scared, alone and confused!

It's also so interesting to read stories from the women who lived both before abortion became illegal and after. It wasn't frowned upon as much back then because it was not yet so stigmatized. We've made a lot of advances in society in many areas, but in areas of vital importance, i.e., women, racism, we seem to be taking giant, tragic steps backwards. We must stop this before we are the next generation writing our stories in a book such as this.

I think this book should be mandatory reading for all teens, adults and anyone who judges, but doesn't understand.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Boone on November 12, 2010
First, I want to say that I'm disappointed that some ideological blowhards are bringing down the rating of this book, despite probably not even having read the book.

But this book is a perfect example of why abortion needs to remain legal in the United States - and everywhere. 25 women tell stories of getting abortions, either before 1973 and Roe v. Wade, or shortly thereafter, or many years after. It's a progression, and predictably, the earlier stories are particularly horrifying - coat hangers, household cleaning products, deadly herbs, etc. Women have and always will be desperate to control their own reproduction, bodies, and lives, and many many many women will go to desperate measures in order to do that even with the risks are great. Reading the stories, you can feel these women's emotions - their panic, their feeling of being trapped, their harrowing thought process and ultimate decision, and in some cases, the aftermath. There is also one man who tells his story of his mother's botched abortion leading to her death, and how it affected his life. Goes to show how criminalizing abortion not only affects women - it affects the other people in their lives around them, who lose mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, and friends.

If you are going to read this go in with an open mind and the desire to take a peek into the mind of a woman making an important decision in her life, not with pre-condemnation of these women for doing what they felt was best for themselves and their families.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Ols on March 15, 2013
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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.
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