Experiencing Abortion:
A Weaving of Women’s Words

Experiencing Abortion by Eve Kushner
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Harrington Park Press published Experiencing Abortion: A Weaving of Women’s Words in 1997. Taylor & Francis later acquired Harrington Park Press. Routledge (a division of Taylor & Francis) is now serving as the publisher.

Exciting News!

I spoke about abortion issues on a TV show called “Saturday Night at the Movies” and was quoted in Newsweek on the same topic! In each case they sought my comments not only because of Experiencing Abortion but also because of my 1999 article “Go Forth and Multiply: Abortion in Hollywood Movies of the ’90s.” This article also received considerable attention in the publication Gender Across Borders. There’s more information about all of this on the Press Coverage page.

What Reviewers Have Said

  • “Author Eve Kushner compassionately and insightfully orchestrates a rich chorus of women’s voices in a groundbreaking experiential study of abortion. She takes us beyond political and ethical judgments into the raw realities of this complex life event…. A wonderful resource book for women experiencing abortion, for the people who love them, and for the professionals and paraprofessionals working with them.”
        —Carol S. Becker, PhD, Professor of Human Development, California State University, Hayward; Licensed Psychologist; Author: Living and Relating: An Introduction to Phenomenology
  • “Even as a very experienced psychotherapist, I gained many new insights about abortion from Kushner’s wise, compassionate, and comprehensive book…. Although she speaks directly to women and, hopefully, their partners too, this book is of immense value to educators and clergy, as well as health clinicians and policymakers.”
        —Audrey T. McCollum, MSW, Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work; Psychotherapist; Author: The Chronically Ill Child: A Guide for Parents and Professionals and The Trauma of Moving: Psychological Issues for Women, Etna, New Hampshire
  • “The most important debate on abortion is not taking place on television or even in the heated battles of our country’s legislative chambers. It takes place every day in the minds and hearts of thousands of women who face the dilemma of an unintended pregnancy. This book puts us in touch with women who have had abortions. We hear what they think and feel about their decisions and how they have made sense of their experiences…. Beautifully written and very insightful, Eve Kushner’s book is an excellent and sorely needed resource. I will recommend it to both my clients and my colleagues.”
        —Kim Kluger-Bell, MA, MFCC, psychotherapist, Berkeley, California; Author: Unspeakable Losses
  • “Frank, open and well written…. A valuable addition to the libraries of those specializing in women’s studies, psychotherapy and counselling.”
        —Journal of Biosocial Science
  • “Good spectrum of women’s experiences related in a nonjudgmental manner.”
        —Canadian Family Physician
  • “Rich in sorting out and describing the complexities of the abortion experience, Experiencing Abortion has excellent sections on using anger as an empowering force, and how to make peace with our bodies. Experiencing Abortion is thorough and well recommended. “
        —Pro-Choice Connection
  • The book also received an East Bay Express write-up based on an interview that the paper did with me.

Other Kudos for Experiencing Abortion

As of December 2009, Experiencing Abortion has been listed as recommended reading on a site called “The Doula Project: Supporting People Across the Spectrum of Pregnancy.”

Around the same time, Experiencing Abortion was also listed as recommended reading on a Toronto right-to-life site. People clearly see whatever they want in the book!

In spring 2006, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado auctioned off the book, saying it was a “big hit” at their fundraiser!

In 1991, I received a sizable Dartmouth General Fellowship grant to write this book. The grant partially funded the research.

Why a Book About Abortion Experiences?

Millions of women have had abortions, but we usually can’t find each other when we go through this experience. A taboo on abortion prevents us from discussing it on a personal level. There seems to be no socially acceptable way to come forward and share our stories, to reassure each other that whatever we feel is okay.

I’ve written Experiencing Abortion to help cut through this isolation. Of the 115 women I interviewed, many shared this goal; they contributed to the book as a way of being there for other women.

It’s essential for us to be able to speak honestly about abortion experiences, no longer censoring ourselves. I’ve tried to help readers block out ideology and feel whatever they feel.

People often think abortion experiences are solely about making decisions, but the reality tends to be much larger and more complex. If an abortion experience intertwines with other parts of our lives (for example, relationships with lovers, family, and friends), we can easily feel overwhelmed.

To help readers sort through their experiences, I’ve organized the text thematically, devoting one chapter to each emotion or issue that can arise. Chapters abound with stories and analysis, with the women often making the points. This book discusses such topics as:

  • how avoiding feelings can delay acceptance
  • changes in perceptions of our bodies
  • the struggle to enjoy sex after an abortion
  • a heightened awareness of gender after an abortion
  • how intimate relationships may change
  • self-acceptance after a second abortion

The voices of dozens of women fill this book. With access to their diverse experiences and collective wisdom, a reader will ideally feel part of a community. Having found plenty of others who have felt as she does, she will no longer feel alone. That’s my fervent hope.

Related Writings

I’ve been writing about reproductive issues for ages. First came letters to the editor: in the Dartmouth newspaper (1989), in the San Francisco Chronicle (1995), and in the New York Times (1996).

Then I stretched out in the full-length book Experiencing Abortion (1997).

After that came a 1999 article in Bitch magazine: “Go Forth and Multiply: Pronatalist Imperatives on Film.” Since 2000, the article has appeared in the online magazine Bright Lights Film Journal.

I’ve also written pseudonymously about my decision not to reproduce.