Sunday, June 27, 2010

Things I Don't Know

I wrote this review on my LivingSocial: Books page on Facebook. What I didn't say in the review is how the book affected me personally. Cohen was not that much older than me when she discovered she was pregnant at 6 months, and her writing about her ambivalence about (even hostility towards) her pregnancy was fascinating to read as I try so hard to conceive. Granted, I have only two of the four strikes against me that she had to grapple with: I have not-such-great health insurance and I'm of "advanced maternal age," but unlike Cohen, I am not a DES baby and I am not taking teratogenic drugs. It's hard to imagine not being aware of the pregnancy in the first six months--especially as I am hypersensitive to anything going on down there these days, but if you've been told for more than a decade that you are infertile, I suppose you wouldn't be looking for those signs.

Her discussions around her feelings about taking care of a child with a disability were hard to read. I don't know where I come out on that one yet, and I don't think anyone does that hasn't faced it. I just hope that I would be less depressed and more communicative with my partner than the author describes herself being.

The scariest part of the book was her description of her process of laboring and giving birth. At one point she says that a doctor told her that after 35, a woman's ease at giving birth and her needed recovery time increases exponentially. I mean doctors say all kinds of shit, so hopefully that's not altogether true, but it does make me feel like I ought to start doing yoga like, now.

Here's my review:

Anyone working in the field of abortion rights should read this book--today. I heard an interview with the author on NPR a few months ago and scrawled the name in my agenda so that I could remember to order it. I forgot about it until I attended the premiere of the Human RIghts Watch film festival a few weeks ago to see the film "12th and Delaware" about a corner in Florida where on one side of the street is an abortion clinic, and the other side is a Crisis Pregnancy Center--basically a "clinic" set up to fool women that they provide abortion services but instead offer them a sonogram and aggressively and with lots and lots of lying, try to convince them not to have an abortion.

There are like, tens of thousands of CPCs that have cropped up all over the country, and it is part of the culture shift around abortion. If we simply demonize the right to lifers and we don't start examining our feelings about life and answer the hard questions about abortion, we're going to keep losing this culture war and women's lives will be at risk. Alice Eve Cohen's articulation of why abortion rights are important in the face of her decision to keep an unwanted pregnancy are starkly and refreshingly honest. Her thoughtful revealing of her struggle around this pregnancy should be front and center in discussions among those of us who fight to retain abortion rights in this country.

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