The Waves: Gender, Relationships, Feminism
BONUS: The Abortions We Don’t Talk About
Monday, 30 July
When Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s crucial swing vote on many matters, announced his plan to retire last month, it was suddenly clear that Roe v. Wade, the decision guaranteeing a woman’s right to abortion, could be substantially eroded or even overturned. News of Kennedy’s retirement caused many women to consider what life without choice might look like and that a post-Roe America might really come to pass. In the days that followed Kennedy’s announcement, the journalist Cindi Leive published an op-ed in the New York Times called “Let’s Talk About My Abortion (and Yours).” In the 1970s and ’80s, she noted, prominent women told the stories of their abortions—on TV and in the pages of People magazine. But in the decades since, the right to choose has become one that most women exercise silently.
The reasons women choose not to talk about their abortions are obvious: It’s a personal decision, made about the interior of our bodies and the consequences of our most intimate acts. And the people who oppose abortion can be vehement and even violent in expressing their objections. But here at Slate, we thought that Cindi Leive had a point: We might better understand what abortion is, and what that right means, if we talked about it more. And so we asked the people who write and podcast for Slate if any of them have abortion stories they’d be comfortable sharing. Six of us do.
The women who will tell their stories now are alike in many ways: We’re all journalists of one stripe or another who’ve ended up in Slate’s orbit and felt able to describe our experiences, which means these stories don’t represent all abortions. But one of Cindi Leive’s points was that women you know have had abortions they don’t talk about. If you read our work or listen to our shows, you know us, in a way. Here are the stories we haven’t told you.
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