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This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor Hardcover – December 31, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Edition edition (December 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158648480X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586484804
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,693,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In rational, compassionate and honest language, Wicklund chronicles more than 20 years as a medical doctor and women's health provider with a "fundamental commitment to patients and to the cause of keeping reproductive rights safe and legal," a commitment that would put herself and her family under direct threat from anti-abortion extremists, and cause her to adopt disguises and even a personal bodyguard in order to continue her work. Wicklund's story is gripping and poignant, not only for its numerous personal accounts-including Wicklund's own experience terminating her pregnancy-but in her consideration of current and proposed reproductive rights legislation; in addition to eye-opening statistics ("In 2006, 87% of counties in the United States had no abortion provider"), Wicklund provides a fine resource guide for further reading. Though a digression concerning her parents' unrelated health issues derails the narrative, and she fails to discuss abortion law in other developed countries, this topical memoir will make a compelling read for anyone interested in women's health and reproductive rights in America.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"This Common Secret is a riveting and heartbreaking memoir from the front lines of the abortion wars. Susan Wicklund is a true American hero. You will be amazed, enraged and inspired by her story." -- Maryanne Vollers, author of Ghosts of Mississippi, Lone Wolf, and co-author of Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole, August 1, 2007

"Gripping, deeply moving . . . a compelling memoir." -- Christian Science Monitor, February 25, 2008

"Ms. Wicklund's book, This Common Secret, is a rarity in this day and age - the odyssey of a courageous woman who refuses to compromise her morality and is willing to pay an enormous price for acting on her compassion and sense of justice without ever stooping to a flicker of self-pity. This book is at times funny, often horrifying, and, like Ms. Wicklund herself, always inspiring." -- Margot Kidder

"Through [Wicklund's] story is harrowing, the stories of the women she serves are becoming even more so as the number of obstacles blocking their reproductive choices increase, thanks to ever more conservative legislators." -- Booklist, December 1, 2007

"Too often the abortion debate is framed in abstractions about the `unborn' and their rights. This Common Secret puts flesh and blood on the issue and gives it a woman's face. Thank you, Susan Wicklund, both for your amazing courage as an abortion provider and for your wonderful honesty and openness as a writer." -- Barbara Ehrenreich

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Dr. Wicklund is a hero in this book, and she's a hero to me.
grrlpup
I recommend this book to anyone who wants a different perspective on abortion issues whether you are pro-choice or pro-life.
LAS
This is one book that I could not put down and read straight through.
A. S.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Chris on February 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just finished this book and I cried through half of it. Dr. Wicklund is extremely open about her life and what she's had to go through to provide women with the choice that is their legal right to make. Flying to 3 states every week. Spending 6 days a week away from her family. Death threats. Being surrounded and screamed at by angry protesters in the airport every-single-week for years. Having her house surrounded and her daughter targeted. She constantly fears for her life. Could you do this? Even if you really believed in what you were doing? I can only hope to be as strong as she is.

I will be interested in what reasonable pro-lifers think of this book. As written, Dr. Wicklund is the kind of doctor that they should look as kindly on as possible for them. She believes in real counseling. She sends patients home if she doesn't think they are sure about their choice - and she asks them if they are sure over and over and over. She only performs 1st semester abortions. She reports statutory rapes to Social Services. She's even honest about issues in women's clinics that aren't as well run and works to fix the problems. Does she really deserve the treatment she's subjected to?
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Lydia Becker on February 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amazing, shocking, and educative piece of literature. Easy, impressive read. Describes what steps extremists are willing to take who seem to lack the ability to accept, or respect, people's opinions, if they are different from their own. The actions the extremists take border on or sometimes even cross into insanity.
The book offers excellent material for a movie that most likely would turn into a huge success, which may offer the possibility for people like Sue Wicklund to go about their jobs without fear for their lives, help people who are seeking Sue's services to not get harrassed for what they believe needs to be done.
I have the utmost respect for Sue Wicklund and other abortion doctors, as they do not give up, even in the face of danger.
Well done, Sue!!!! A++++++++++++++++
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. Tarbrake on February 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book, easy to read and captivating emotionally with every page. I thought it was well written and would recommend for anyone, no matter your beliefs on abortion. Overall, an excellent book.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Katie Sundquist on February 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Susan Wicklund MD is a personal friend of mine. Reading this book was like talking with her. She is honest and shares her experiences and beliefs about abortion and women's rights. I did find the book very sad and scarey because of what some people consider their right to impose on others. Sue talked about having to carry a gun to work but I didn't know all the other impediments she went through. If you care about women you should read this book.
Katie Sundquist
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Levy on January 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was motivatd to read this book after hearing a brief interview with Dr. Wicklund on the radio. While I knew that some of the stories would be emotional and riveting, I really had no idea the depth that emotion would be until I read the book. This is a profoundly sensitive and moving book of the pain and angst of the patients involved in making a very difficult decision and Dr. Wicklund's dedication to supporting those patients in those decisions; it is a respectful and authentic memoir. The book is sensitive without being sappy; and factual while still holding onto emotion. I found this to be a fascinating book and read it in one day. It is one that I would recommend to all of my friends.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Robin Orlowski on February 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is unfortunate and frustrating that women's healthcare and it's provision remains stigmatized in America. In this unique book, Susan Wicklund talks about how she decided to become an abortion provider, and the daily struggles which persevere to deliver the humane and compassionate care which are provided to all women.

Even at my most frustrating job position, I've never had to wear a disguise to slip in the front door. I've also never been stalked by zealous fanatics. This book unapologetically advocates a pro-choice perspective, but it also has a bit of wry humor mixed in. After getting herself worked up what her grandmother would think, Wicklund ultimately learned that relative also supported reproductive freedom, having had a friend who died from an illegal abortion.

The culling of journal entries for this book gives it an additional intimate feel. As a student of the body politic, I've read my share of conventional accounts. But this brings back the doctors voice themselves. Wicklund's is careful to delineate that a doctor (contrasting with the one who had performed her own abortion) must talk with the women about their decision. A truly feminist counseling model respects a woman's right to undergo an abortion procedure, while also making sure that they were not pressured to undergo an abortion. It is the woman themselves who has to decide what they want to do with their own bodies.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By LAS on November 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is rarely heard of that an abortion doctor writes a book about the effect her profession had on her life and the trials and tribulations that she went through. Reading this novel gave a refreshing view on what the life of an abortion doctor is like. Whether you read this from a pro-life or a pro-choice aspect, this novel will open your eyes to a lifestyle that is not very well known or talked about.

Susan Wicklund focuses on the women that come in to procure abortions, her own personal opinion on abortion and the decisions that she had to make while she chose this profession. She mentions times in her life that she was threatened and the precautions she had to take to be safe and to keep her family safe.

This novel is written in a very easy to read format and very personal information about her life that allows the reader to identify with her and stay intrigued for 253 pages. She gives a lot of information about the abortion procedure and the types of situations that women are in when they go to get an abortion. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a different perspective on abortion issues whether you are pro-choice or pro-life.
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