This book is about young unmarried women who experienced one of the most difficult and, in most cases, lonely decisions of their lives. They freely and openly shared with me the most intimate details of their sexual, contraceptive, and abortion experience. Their only selfish interest was to convey to others how it feels to face an unwanted pregnancy and the abortion decision, in the hope that society's attitudes and abortion services would begin to change for the better for other women. I share that hope.
To all these women I feel indebted for giving generously of their trust and of themselves, even if it was at times painful to reveal an intimate part of their lives. Without their willingness to confide there would be no stories, hence no book. Bearing the yoke of the male perspective, I have attempted to understand and interpret the many emotions and feelings these women shared with me. I would feel at least partially successful in this mission if the women feel that I have relayed their stories with accuracy and as forcefully and cogently as they were expressed. I hope that the statistics and scientific structure of the report did not dilute the intensity of their affect but rather heightened the salience and credibility of their experience.
Without the extraordinary cooperation of the participating hospitals and the counseling agency I never would have had a sample. I am, indeed, grateful to the chief gynecologists of these hospitals, without whose generous support and confidence this study would not have been possible. I also wish to thank their staff, who were very