This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor

This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor

4.3 13
by Susan Wicklund, Alex Kesselheim

View All Available Formats & Editions

One doctor's raw and riveting memoir, contrasting the headline-grabbing political rhetoric with the contours of her life, and the lives of her patientsSee more details below


One doctor's raw and riveting memoir, contrasting the headline-grabbing political rhetoric with the contours of her life, and the lives of her patients

Editorial Reviews

Christian Science Monitor
Gripping, deeply moving . . . a compelling memoir.
Eyal Press
The price of concealment is the central theme of Wicklund's memoir, This Common Secret, which offers a rare glimpse into the life of an abortion provider who, like her dwindling band of peers, learned to don an array of disguises over the course of her tumultuous and peripatetic career…in setting down her story, Wicklund has done something brave, not only by refusing to cower in the shadows but also by recounting experiences that don't always fit the conventional pro-choice script…Wicklund may never convince the protesters who demonized her that women should be free to make such decisions on their own. But in sharing her secrets, she has shown why there is much honor in having spent a lifetime attempting to ensure they do.
—The New York Times
Emily Bazelon
Susan Wicklund tells riveting stories about patients she has treated during nearly 20 years as an abortion provider…And Wicklund's sensitivity to the fraught nature of abortion, as some women experience it, makes her stories of the damage wrought by the "antis," as she calls them, more credible and vivid.
—The Washington Post
Kirkus Reviews
A longtime abortion provider relates her personal history, describes the opposition's ferocity, chronicles the corrosive effects of her profession on her family life and portrays herself as a White Knight in a Dark World. In 1980, Wicklund was a 26-year-old single mother on welfare. When a mentor advised her to become a doctor, she debated and then tried it, discovered she was a top student and zipped through college and medical school. Settling on a career in women's health, she devoted herself to traveling around the Upper Midwest performing legal abortions at various clinics. Her peripatetic professional activities shot down two marriages and introduced into her life a level of stress that is difficult to fathom: screaming protestors, threats of violence, frightening phone calls. At times she resorted to disguises to get by picketers; she packed guns while she performed operations. Her professional life became just about her entire life. Her most satisfying experience was the Mountain Country Women's Clinic she established in Bozeman, Mont., but she was forced to close it after five years in 1998 to help her sick and aging parents while working part-time at a corporate-owned facility in St. Paul, Minn. She returned to full-time work in Montana after her mother's death. All this is either admirable or reprehensible, depending on your position on abortion, but Wicklund and co-author Kesselheim have no doubts: She is eligible for sainthood right now. All the dialogue-and there is quite a bit-portrays her speaking in reasonable, well-structured paragraphs while her enemies bray in ignorant ugliness. She understands every case before her; knows when to touch, when to cry; converts a fewnaysayers; confronts the angry with calm courage; never makes a mistake in surgery. Two postscripts-one by her daughter, another by Kesselheim-provide further, embarrassing testimonials. In a genre known for self-celebration, this is Self-Celebration. Agent: Kristine Dahl/ICM

Read More

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.02(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.56(d)

What People are saying about this

Maryanne Vollers
"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)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >