Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

04 February 2008

More on Dr. Susan Wicklund @ WCF

The event also featured the Chicago Abortion Fund, where I co-chair the board. One of our staff members discussed what the fund does to the standing room only audience. It was an honor to watch this young woman talk about opening up the phone line for one hour each week and how that was an improvement. Yes, an improvement. Just a few months ago CAF's hotline was open only one hour every two weeks. That's all the money we could hand out and have money last an entire year. But our energetic executive director has worked hard to increase our funding from foundations and individuals.

Back to Dr. Wicklund...She said something that really made sense, but was a bit sad. Dr. Wicklund said that her book made both sides of the abortion debate mad. She tells her truth and for that she has received some negative comments from the pro-choice community. Her truth includes admitting mistakes and honesty about how she dealt with them.

One such story she told us and it hurt. Oh, you could hear the air just disappear from the room when she told us the conclusion. Such fallible beings we are and because of that some in the pro-choice community would rather we not discuss our errors. Dr. Wicklund thinks otherwise. I can see why we shouldn't talk about mistakes, but I think it is more of a mistake not to speak of them.

Dr. Wicklund connected this big mistake to the title of the book - This Common Secret. That we, as a society, are so shamed by abortion that we can't talk about it. If we just talked about it, we would realize, without statistics like 40% of women will have one in their lifetime, that it is the most common surgical procedure done.

She spoke of one day in the clinic when two patients met in the hallway to "What are YOU doing here?" The two women were both employees of the same Catholic school. After talking it over, they both went through their procedures on the same day as planned. They ended up scheduling their follow-up exam on the same day so they could carpool. Dr. Wicklund is sure that they ended up still teaching what the Church tells them about abortion, but they know each other's secret.

The goddess works in mysterious ways. As I was cleaning out old files from organizations I don't belong to anymore and sorting grad school notes, I found a poem from Marge Piercy in her collection, What Are Big Girls Made Of? I'll share the first 2 stanzas. I can't find the poem online in its entirety, so I will honor her by not typing it all out:

A day in the life

She is wakened at four a.m.
Of course she does not
pick up, but listens
through the answering machine
to the male voice promising
she will burn in hell.

At seven she opens her door:
A dead cat is hammered
to her porch: brown tabby.
Hit by a car, no collar.
She hugs her own Duke of Orange.
She cannot let him out.

Technorati tags: Susan Wicklund, abortion, activism, feminism

1 comments:

If you do find the poem on line, I'd love to know where! I'll be looking, too.
It is all too common for women to be in situations they cannot pull themselves out of - and have little help. It doesn't matter how intelligent, or bright, or educated, or rich a woman is; empathy, emotions, and wiring can keep us in a place we 'know' we shouldn't be.