Abortion: A Collective Story

Abortion: A Collective Story

Abortion: A Collective Story

Abortion: A Collective Story

Synopsis

Stories about abortion provide a rich ground for looking at the relationship between narrative, experience, and meaning because in many ways abortion has come to be a defining issue for American culture--one that touches on the value we attribute to human life, liberty, and freedom. Using personal stories and interviews, MariAnna seeks to show the contours of a vital and diverse collective story--a narrative that emphasizes the discursive dynamics at work in any account of the significance of abortion.

Excerpt

One rainy afternoon, ten years ago, a friend and I rode a metro bus north through downtown Seattle. At some point in our conversation, my friend mentioned the two abortions she had had in the early 1970s. Abortion had just become legal in New York, and she had had to travel from Chicago for both of them. I sat and listened to her story in a state of mild shock, not because she had terminated two pregnancies, but because I had been unaware of her story. I had known her for years. We had even worked together on several abortion rights marches, yet neither of us had told the other about our own experiences. Our abortions were closely guarded secrets we kept to ourselves.

As I listened to my friend those many years ago it occurred to me that I probably knew a lot of women, like myself, who had had an abortion. I found myself wondering about the silence surrounding the issue—a personal silence imposed, in part, by the excessive noise generated by the larger cultural debates—how it was that I had come to think that I was alone in my experience and why I had never discussed it with friends. For the first time, I realized that women do indeed have stories to tell about our abortion experiences.

This book was motivated by my desire to hear those stories. It is my attempt to locate a reservoir of narratives about a topic that many people—even some who support legal abortion—find distasteful or offensive but that, nonetheless, refers to a rather common and ordinary experience shared

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