Thanks so much for having the courage to discuss this extremely sensitive subject.
Let me tell you some of my personal experiences with attempting to talk and write about abortion.
I'm the author of 11 books on holistic healing. Back in 1982, BantamBooks published my third book, Healing the Family—Pregnancy, Birth and Children's Ailments. This was intended to be the first of three books on Natural Healing. The second would have been for ailments of adults, and the third would have been for ailments related to aging. I already had contracts and significant advances for all three books.
My intent was to take a woman (and her partner, if applicable) from the point of thinking about having a child, to conception, through prenatal care, pregnancy, birth, postnatal care, breastfeeding, and remedies for small children. It even included a section on how to cope with miscarriage, stillbirth, or the possible death of an infant. It also seemed perfectly natural to discuss the possibility of an unintended pregnancy, and how to handle that with natural remedies.
This didn't seem unreasonable to my editor, Tobi Sanders, and so we simply sailed through the publication of Healing The Family with the 13 pages on Abortion fully intact.
A few months after the publication of Healing the Family, my editor called to inform me that "people have been complaining" about the section on abortion. Shortly thereafter, all of the books were recalled and destroyed. Yes, this really happened in America. Bantam canceled both my contracts (I did keep the advances).
It took me at least a year to recover from this trauma. When I did, I contacted Crossing Press. They agreed to publish Healing the Family as two separate books: one would be Healing Yourself During Pregnancy, and the other would be A Difficult Decision—A Compassionate Book About Abortion. This time we did not publish the recipes for herbal abortions. The book is primarily visualizations to help women (and their partners) cope with an unexpected pregnancy. It takes what I believed to be a very middle-of-the-road position. Here is an excerpt from the Preface, followed by some reviews.
Excerpt from A Difficult Decision
"The purpose of this book is to give support to the woman (or couple) who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. For most women, this is a profound crisis."If you are pregnant, and if you feel ambivalent about having an abortion, I want to encourage you to explore your options carefully. Too often there are social pressures, family pressures, and peer pressures which make a clear decision difficult."I believe that a woman should be free to make her own choice, because carrying a baby for nine months and/or raising a child is a profound commitment.... Children are such a blessing-when they are truly wanted. I believe we should have fewer children, and take better care of the ones we have...."many women feel pressured to have abortions which they later regret. Please be extremely careful; unwanted abortions can traumatize your body, mind, and spirit."
Testimonional for A Difficult Decision
"Finding myself with an unwanted pregnancy, I didn't know where to turn...Your book was a real friend to me through the whole painful process and I just want to thank you. I can't imagine what this experience might have been like without the information and spiritual support your book provided."- A woman in Colorado
"The political controversy-pro-choice versus anti-choice-has created a dead-end situation that forces many women to feel that because they have chosen an abortion they must feel OK about it and ignore their true inner feelings. Gardner's book offers a lot of support and space for acknowledging and dealing with our deepest feelings about abortion. "One of Gardner's fortes as a death and loss counselor is her ability to guide visualizations in facilitating the healing process. There are some truly lovely ones in this book. I welcome her acknowledgment of the whole spiritual realm of abortion, and her wisdom in dealing with abortion as a death-because for most women it is."-Healthsharing, Judi Pustil, Midwife
"Stories of adoption, how to heal oneself after an abortion, grief and guilt and recognizing the spirit are-Imprints Magazine
"For women and couples who face an unexpected pregnancy, this compassionate book will give you the options and support to help you make a choice you can live with. Equal support is given for either keeping the baby or having an abortion."-Cascade
So what happened to A Difficult Decision?
It was purchased by bookstores and libraries throughout the United States and Canada. And in virtually every case, the books mysteriously disappeared from the shelves.
I was interviewed on a television talk show, and the station received threats that it would be picketed if they re-ran the show as scheduled.
I thought that at least it would be popular in women's centers, but most of the pro-choice women rejected the idea that a soul was involved, and that it was a strongly emotional decision. So the book fell through the cracks.
As I listen to your program, it occurs to me that we may be entering a social and political time period that will be friendlier to the publication of this book, and I should think about publishing it again. If you like, I'd be glad to send you a copy. As you can imagine, I could go on and on about this topic.
Thanks for being an incredible talk-show hostess. I love all your programs, and I'm delighted that I can listen to them anytime I like on the web.
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