Susan Wicklund is a sensitive and compassionate woman. She is also an abortion doctor. Last week the Vital Conversations group of which June and I are a part discussed Dr. Wicklund’s book, This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor (2007).
Dr. Wicklund (b. 1954) closes the third chapter of her book with these striking words: “Abortion is about life: quality of life for infants, children, and adults. Everywhere and in every sense of the word. Life, not death” (p. 33).
There was nothing I read in the remainder of the book that seemed to contradict that statement. Thus, I have concluded that I will never again refer to the battle over abortion rights to be a battle between “pro-life” people and those who are “pro-choice.” The conflict is between those who are pro-choice and those who are anti-choice.
For a long time I have opposed the use of the term “pro-abortion,” for no one is really for abortion. It is always seen as the lesser of two evils, not something that is in any sense good in and of itself. That, it seems, is clearly the position of Dr. Wicklund.
As many of my Thinking Friends know, a section of my book Fed Up with Fundamentalism is on “The Issue of Abortion” (pp. 226-235). In those pages, I rejected the absolutist position that condemns all abortions, which tends to be the position of most Christian fundamentalists. But I don’t clearly state there that I am a pro-choice advocate. After reading and thinking about Dr. Wicklund’s book, if were I to write that section on abortion now, I would advocate the pro-choice position more explicitly.
For me, one painful aspect of This Common Secret was that Dr. Wicklund has nothing but unfavorable things to say about Christians or Christianity. People identified as Lambs of Christ are mentioned at least four times in the book—and always in a negative way: they were among the most vociferous of the protesters who constantly harassed Dr. Wicklund. (The Lambs of Christ is an anti-choice organization, founded in 1988 by Rev. Norman Weslin, a Roman Catholic priest and retired U.S. Army officer. Some refer to them as a Christian terrorist organization.)
Whether you are pro- or anti-choice, I would recommend the reading of Dr. Wicklund’s book. It helped me greatly to understand the pathos surrounding the performing of abortions as well as the importance of having a doctor who does those procedures in a safe and supportive environment. And it caused me to feel great admiration for Dr. Susan Wicklund, a sensitive and compassionate person.