PRO: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt


 “Unless they are very brave, women who seek abortion have been pushed back into the shadows. It’s one thing for a rape victim to speak up, or a woman with a wanted pregnancy that has turned into a medical catastrophe. But why can’t a woman just say, This wasn’t the right time for me? Or two children (or one, or none) are enough? Why must women apologize for not having a baby just because she happened to get pregnant?”

Katha Pollitt’s book PRO is a fabulous, refreshing book on abortion – the history, the illogical views of those who support abortion restrictions or want it made illegal, and the importance of it today and always. As others have said, this is not a book that any anti-choice person will probably willingly pick up, and even so, they’re not likely to be convinced of anything – their position is so steeped in political dogma that you cannot convince them otherwise. But it IS a great read for any on-the-fence kind of person, and it’s definitely a fabulous book for women who are pro-choice, but whisper it rather than proclaim it. Or for the women who have had an abortion, but don’t ever speak of it for fear that others will judge her. This book is one giant reminder that abortion is NOT a shameful thing, and that we should not speak of it in the context of it being a “necessary evil”.

And I hope that pro-choice activists take notes as they read it – I’m tired of hearing about how important abortion is for women who have been raped, or whose life is in danger – obviously it’s important that abortion be available in those situations. But it’s just as important, if not more so, for abortion to be available for women who simply don’t want to continue that pregnancy, whatever their reasons. Their reasons are no one’s business. I want pro-choice activists to talk about how abortion access is critical for ALL women, not just those in more extreme situations.

“I want us to start thinking of abortion as a positive social good and saying this out loud.”

 The only way abortion stops being a taboo subject is to continue to talk about it in a frank, unapologetic way, until people get the message that is a part of life and not something shocking and tawdry. How can society as a whole feel comfortable about abortion if we are not comfortable even saying the word?

I could go into further detail – I could type out all of my favorite quotes. I had about 100 of those little book flags sticking out from the pages.  At the very least, this is a great read to get a little background on the historical and social context of abortion rights. Pollitt’s tone is direct, concise, and her frustration is evident, and mirror’s my own. I think that’s probably the best thing I got out of this book – that the author was articulating so many things that I feel often.

Sarah Says: 4.5 stars



  1. I’ve always been very pro-choice, though I’m usually quiet about it. I’m going to blame the fact that I was raised Catholic. Now I feel guilty for being a whisperer… Which I also blame on being raised Catholic.


  2. Yessssssss to this. I understand the rhetoric focusing on women in extreme situations. If you figure you’re trying to slowly dismantle pro-lifers thinking, then you gotta start with things that will make those people stop and say “wait, yeah, I guess abortion would be right in that scenario.” But then people sort of get stuck at that point and don’t move onto the “and also women should be able to make very personal decisions about themselves by themselves, thankyouverymuch”


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