Sunday, March 15, 2009

Susan Wicklund: This Common Secret

Near the end of "This Common Secret," Susan Wicklund describes herself as a doctor who has "been providing safe, legal abortions for women for nearly twenty years." She is one of very few doctors that provide this service in the United States. According to the LA Times, there were only 1800 abortion providers in the US in 2000, and according to the well respected Guttmacher Institute 87% of counties have no abortion providers.

Dr Wicklund puts a human face on both the trials of being a doctor who provides this service and the varied patients who come into her offices for a simple, yet always complicated 5 minute procedure. She discusses the evasive maneuvers she has to take just to get to work (wigs, disguises, security guards, walking miles to get to hidden cars, secret addresses, etc) and the tricks she uses to ensure that her patients get what they need. She outlines her struggles to provide compassionate care in the face of managed care and how frustrating and daunting this is for patients who need access to services without the added complications of insurance companies who only think of the "bottom line."

Dr Wicklund is a "whole person" doctor. She thinks about patients' lives and circumstances, and will not perform an abortion until she is confident that the woman and the woman only is behind the procedure 100%. She takes the time to talk to protesters, even though they make her life miserable. She neglects her family for her career, though they seem to come out okay in the end (would we notice this if Dr Wicklund were an hombre?), and can't give up her job when she's fired for caring too much about her patients. We need more doctors like this, who fight the good fight with their work and their extra-workular activities. Not a great read, but worth reading to keep you inspired to keep fighting.


THB said...

Got a book waiting for you, written by son of abortion doc, also very level and evenhanded...THB