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A Complicated Choice: Making Space for Grief and Healing in the Pro-Choice Movement

A Complicated Choice: Making Space for Grief and Healing in the Pro-Choice Movement

A Complicated Choice: Making Space for Grief and Healing in the Pro-Choice Movement

A Complicated Choice: Making Space for Grief and Healing in the Pro-Choice Movement


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Too often, the public abortion debate depicts the experience of ending a pregnancy in falsely simplistic terms. Anti-abortion activists falsely contend that abortion is always emotionally damaging for the pregnant person, while pro-choice activists focus on honoring bodily autonomy and personal conscience without always giving voice to the nuances of abortion itself. In particular, the pro-choice movement fails to acknowledge that some people experience abortion as a kind of loss.

A Complicated Choice addresses the fact that abortion stigma is ubiquitous, even among those who identify as pro-choice. We have not been supportive of people who have abortions, especially those whose experiences are complicated and involve grief and loss. Bringing the reader along the journeys of those who have had abortions, Rev. Katey Zeh opens up space for the complexities of our reproductive lives, giving voice to the experiences of grief, loss, and healing surrounding abortion experiences. She weaves these personal stories with key insights from the fields of psychology, theology, and public policy to illuminate the systemic injustices that undergird the conditions that shape a person's decision to end a pregnancy.

A Complicated Choice goes beyond the falsely simplistic terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" that define the public abortion debate and centers the real people making the decision to end a pregnancy in the context of their full lives and circumstances. A call to people of faith and to all people to examine our judgments about people who have abortions, we are invited into the act of sacred listening to the real stories of those most impacted. By focusing on these experiences, we will be drawn away from the stalemate of debate and into a spiritual response rooted in compassion for those who end pregnancies.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781506473499
Publisher: 1517 Media
Publication date: 02/15/2022
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 172,045
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Katey Zeh is an ordained Baptist minister and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. She is the author of Women Rise Up and the co-host of the Kindreds podcast. The Center for American Progress named her one of their top justice-seeking faith leaders to watch, and she is a member of Planned Parenthood's Clergy Advocacy Board. Zeh has written for many outlets including the Huffington Post, Sojourners, Fidelia's Sisters, Religion News Services, Rewire and Religion Dispatches, and her advocacy work has been featured in The Washington Post, The Nation, and VICE News. She lives with her family in North Carolina.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface xv

About the Process xxiii

A Note on Language xxvii

Part 1 Introduction

1 Honoring Your Experience of Abortion 3

2 Uncovering the Culture of Shame, Stig: and Silence around Abortion 11

Part 2 The Stories

3 For Abundant Life 27

4 For Self-Preservation 47

5 For the Dignity of Young People 65

6 For a Just Society 87

7 For the Good of Growth 105

8 For Communities That Heal 121

Conclusion: Creating a Culture of Compassion around Abortion, Grief, and Healing 141

Recommended Resources 149

Acknowledgments 151

Notes 153

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