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This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor Paperback – December 29, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 Reprint edition (December 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586486470
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586486471
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,318 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"(This Common Secret) teems with fascinating, often tragic stories... Wicklund's book is a compelling account of the hypocrisy and secrecy that surround this subject." The Guardian "This is shocking stuff, and goes a long way to explaining (Susan Wicklund's) extraordinary sense of being a woman on a mission... Her book... leaves a vivid impression of the damage inflicted on civil society when one side in an important debate resorts to terrorist tactics." The Times"

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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. Sciolino

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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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Emeraldcityserendipity on February 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Absolutely one of the most gripping, hair-raising, soul-wrenching and yet beautifully written personal accounts I've ever read. As a male I am only vaguely aware of how profoundly abortion affects women (and their significant others and families), but almost everyone knows at least one woman who has been sexually assaulted. And almost everyone knows a woman who has had (or will have) an abortion during her life. While this book will unfortunately be read primarily by those who are pro-choice and likely already agree with all that Susan has to say, it should be read by anyone and everyone who wants to have a greater understanding of abortion (pro-life and fence sitters as well).
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