In case you haven’t noticed, autonomy over our own bodies is being stripped. Numerous bills have been introduced that have no scientific backing, are unconstitutional, and will be psychologically and physically harmful to people with uteruses, if not put their lives in danger. In some states, if these bills become laws, the punishment for a rape victim getting an abortion or the provider doing the abortion is exponentially more severe than the punishment the rapist would get. People have the potential to be criminalized for miscarrying. (Think about that for a second—really, and truly think about the cruelty of that, as well as the ridiculousness of it). But it’s about much more: abortion is not a women’s issue. It is a healthcare issue. It is a Civil Rights issue. It is a safe and legal medical procedure done with informed consent. It is no one’s business but the person who is getting the procedure. You don’t know their story, nor do you need to. Not your body? Not your business.
If you’re fired up about the attack on abortion rights—or even if you’re not sure about it but would like to read more about this, here’s a list of books that might be helpful.
Poor Your Soul by Mira Ptacin
This is a gutting memoir of Ptacin’s unplanned pregnancy at 28 and her decision to keep the pregnancy and start a family—only to find that the fetus had multiple conditions not compatible with life. What follows is a personal look at the decision to have an abortion, and a vivid picture of what late-term abortion really looks like. (Hint: it’s not what anti-choice legislators would have you believe).
Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice by Dr. Willie Parker
Parker, perhaps one of the most well-known reproductive justice advocates and also a Christian, has written a stunning memoir about his decision to focus on providing safe abortions to those who need them the most. For anyone who uses religious arguments to curtail a woman’s freedom over her own body, read Dr. Parker.
Handbook for a Post-Roe America by Robin Marty
This. This is imperative. This is a guidebook for the day we never thought we’d see coming, but it’s looming. Marty takes readers through every scenario and discusses how to network, how to plan for emergencies, what you should know about legalities, and information about self-managed abortion care. There is also a highly inclusive resource guide covering access and organizations and action groups in every state for you if you need to access them or if you want to become involved.
Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion edited by Karen E. Bender and Nina de Gramont
Why am I including this here? Because this book is all about reproductive choices. Different people make different choices, and one is not better than another. But we need to ensure that those choices are kept safe and protected.
Comics for Choice edited by Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor, and Sophia Foster-Dimino
As a comics person, I love this. An anthology of comics about abortion: the history of abortion, current issues with abortion, activism, and more. A great way to get people involved and educated about reproductive issues. What’s especially great about this is that lawyers and abortion professionals have also paired with the illustrators to add factual information about the abortion process and reproductive rights.
Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundation, Theory, Practice, Critique edited by Loretta J. Ross, Lynn Roberts, Erika Derkas, Whitney Peoples, and Pamela Bridgewater
If you’re looking for something a little more academic, this book is it. This book contains 20 years worth of writing from SisterSong Women of Color Health Collective, which created the term “reproductive justice.” This book is intersectional and nuanced and contains brilliant writing about choices to have children, not to have children, privilege, disability, abortion, and more.
May Cause Love: An Unexpected Journey of Enlightenment After Abortion by Kassi Underwood
This is not merely an “abortion memoir.” To call it that would be a grave disservice. Yes, Underwood had an abortion at 19, but that set her on a path of spirituality and self-discovery that changed her life forever. Taking her cues from women from all different spiritualities and religions, Underwood carved out a path of healing from abortion that taught her more than she ever expected. Make no mistake, this is a memoir about life.
Shout Your Abortion edited by Amelia Bonow and Emily Nokes
Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you’ve probably seen the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion. This went viral after Congress tried to defund Planned Parenthood. The fact is, whether you know it or not, you likely know and love someone who has had an abortion. Abortion is a common medical procedure, and this book is filled with pictures and essays about refusing to feel shame about having an abortion.
Outlawing abortion won’t stop abortions; it will only stop legal and safe abortions. Education and knowledge are so important in being able to have informed discourse, and I hope these books are a stepping stone to even more reading about this issue.