Issue 18 / Summer 2019 / Abortion Ban Protest Issue


Editor’s Introduction to Special Issue

Finish Your Drink and Get to Work: Why We Need a Protest Issue in 2019

“As a Black woman, I rarely get to use my privilege. But in this broken moment, I finally said, ‘I’m the managing editor of the SFWP Quarterly. I can do something.'”

Monica Prince

Creative Nonfiction

A List of Fears

“I have never been asked, but I know people wonder if all adopted children have a fear of abandonment, if we are all just longing to be loved wherever we can find it.”

River Adams


“I cannot arrest what’s been created, I can only make what wants of creation.”

Zea Archer

The Bean

“So condescending to believe that every woman wants to be congratulated instead of consoled.”

Kenia Burke

Support for Women!

“If he drank too much, I could count on becoming a target of his rage. He was abusive, taking his ‘rights’ when and where he wanted.”

Claire Curry

There’s Something Wrong with Your Fetus. Probably.

“My heart stops, when I think of bearing a child I expect to bury before his first birthday.”

Amy Freeman


“I did not want to be a mother that would rather go dancing than stay home with her kid; would rather spend money on weed than diapers; would rather eat nothing to stay skinny than watch my body grow a baby. I did not want to have a baby. I did not want to be a mother.”

Karen Green

Unexpected: How an Abortion in My 20s Changed My Life (excerpt)

“There are other kinds of doctors for women like me. I want to cry. Her words to me feel as if the world is saying this is not legitimate. You and your pregnancy are not the kind worthy of our time.”

Emily Heiden

Anything Untouched

“Each part of my body was becoming a constant question mark, and I had in turn become obsessed with slapping on a fresh one every time a new diagnosis pulsed in front of me.”

Amy Jarvis

Damn the Diaphragms

“As I folded the small rubber frisbee-shaped device and went to insert it, I knew the diaphragm twisted, but the jelly was there, so what the hell.”

Kylie Johnson

On Storms, Choice, and Motherhood

“Neither boy turned out to be a handful. It’s motherhood that’s the storm.”

S. Jordan

No Hard Feelings

“I was offered the chance to hold him, with the caveat that he would die soon. At that age and feeling emotionally fragile and drugged, I declined.”

Shannon Lange

The North is Next: Magdalene Laundries and the History of Women’s Choice in Ireland

“In 1765, the first Magdalene Asylum in Ireland opened. Named after Mary Magdalene, the prostitute who sought redemption in the Bible, this was a Christian church-run institution for ‘fallen women.’”

Fiona Murphy McCormack

Threatened Abortion

“So, if you believe a pregnancy is the universe’s way of telling you to stay with someone, to work through things; what exactly is the universe trying to tell you if you miscarry?”

Noriko Nakada

The Great Spirit Is My Vow

“There is a great deal of difference between unplanned pregnancy and an unwanted child.”

Lynn Puhle

The Men in Charge of Our Bodies

“It was hard getting a word in because he kept talking over me, but I managed to tell him that I had had an abortion, and I didn’t regret it.”

Suzanne Roberts


“It’s been 31 weeks since I last purged—the longest break in my adult life. I should set a pregnancy alert, I think, and my metal elbow grinds against the vortex’s sharp freeze.”

Cameron Steele

Before and After

“We are not to leave the parts of ourselves we don’t like behind. If life, or I guess love, is a battlefield, then the rules of warfare apply—leave no soldier behind. I did not follow this rule.”

Stephanie Vessely


Becoming Jane

“She touched the empty skull fragment gently; it turned over in the saline.”

Jerri Bell

Options Counseling

“You want to ask him how anyone can know if a decision will, in the end, be right for them. To ask if he can carry, within himself, two conflicting viewpoints and still function.”

Jen Fawkes

We Need to Talk

“Getting knocked up at thirty-five is considered a geriatric pregnancy (so says the tactless medical term probably coined by some privileged white guy), and it comes bundled with an increased risk of complications like birth defects, high blood pressure, and diabetes.”

Deirdre Frank

Philosophy’s Daughters

“Mara then took from the other bag a small, plastic bag, and from this she began to remove the dark folds of waste-laden cloth full of the whatever-it-was Schlep was about to take from her.”

Leigh Herrick

In the Spirit of Motherhood

“But filling out the paperwork, Alima started to cry. The tears just rolled. …She wanted to scream I’m getting rid of it, okay? but instead she sat down on the curb outside and called her aunt to pick her up.”

Sara Karim

Living Small

“She wondered if this was some rare pregnancy symptom, an overactive imagination, a short-term memory loss of appalling proportions.”

Allison Lamberth

Hills Like White Bedsheets

“I loved him so much I wanted to eat him. I loved him so much I wanted to punch him in the face. I loved him so much it packed me skin-to-skin with fear.”

C. M. Lindley

Jane Roe, III

“No, not the abortion—I never had one—but I regretted the case with my non-name on it, the millions of unborn since.”

Karina Lutz


“She wondered if she was being too hard on Derek and started to ponder his redeeming qualities. The only thing she could muster was that he knew how to make her come, unlike the first guy she had been with who was too gentle and came entirely too fast.”

W. T. Paterson

The Second One

“There are no seats, but she doesn’t want one anyway. That’s the whole point. She wants to stand.”

Ava Robinson


“You’re a title. Always will be.”

Svetlana Sterlin


“When I was drunk enough, I’d find a man and have unprotected sex. I didn’t think I wanted children, but who knew the knots of my subconscious?”

D. J. Thielke

The Abortion Club

“We waited, too. For an ending, for a beginning. For someone new to step inside and take this all away.”

Laura Maylene Walter


Kill This

“A woman’s place
Without valor, without honor

But with grace”

Genevieve DiNatale

How We Dare

“My husband has struggles. How dare you?

Colleen Doty

Miracle of Blood

“I just remember bleeding clots like wicker men
and did not realize
how lucky I was to still be alive.”

Ellie Hudson

time-lapse of a girlhood

“my mother tells me that
she who asks for forgiveness
for someone else’s sin
is a mother”

Uma Menon

The Universe, a Woman

“My fingers are the pillars of creation
that give you this life. I birth the stars you sing of.”

Uma Menon


“just remember that we still have

blood—blood that could’ve breathed air”

Misti Vaughn

To the woman who commented on Facebook, an Open Letter

“Dear, you said you felt sorry for anything that’s had to live inside My Uterus.”

Emily Vieweg

And Kidsley Divey, Too

“The doctor cut and some just bleed 
and bleed without hospital helpers.”

Laura Lee Washburn

Who Lives

“Coat hanger, incinerator, knitting needle…”

Laura Lee Washburn

Culture Rants

They’re Coming for Black Womxn Too: The Strategically Disturbing Assault on Womxn’s Bodies

“History informs us that the recent state abortion bans forecast that the reproductive health of all womxn is at risk; and that at least initially, the rights of Black, trans, and other womxn of color will be abrogated.”

Dr. Katherine Bankole-Medina

Meat is Metaphor, Life is Metaphor

“What is clear I that the concern here is womxn’s bodies. What is being controlled is the body within whom an embryo exists.”

Madison Snider

Resources and Action Steps


Need help? National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673


Contact Your Lawmakers

They can’t ignore ALL of us.

How to Fight the Abortion Bans

A few articles on how to fight the bans

How are Babies Made?

Just a refresher course in case you aren’t totally sure why we’re doing this.


A few places to put your dollars if you’re looking to support the fight financially

Don’t see your story here?

Submit to us so we can include your story in future issues of the Quarterly — this isn’t the only issue where reproductive rights matter!