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You're the Only One I've Told: The Stories Behind Abortion

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  574 ratings  ·  99 reviews
"Moving, multifaceted, and deeply eye-opening as it is compelling” —Cecile Richards, author of Make Trouble 

At a time where reproductive rights are at risk, these vital stories of diverse individuals serve as a reminder of the importance of empathy, finding community and motivating advocacy 

For a long time, when people asked Dr. Meera Shah, Chief medical office
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 1st 2020 by Chicago Review Press
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Kaitlin Barnes
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this book ten stars, and I think it should be required reading for all Americans. The author does an AMAZING job of humanizing this topic by weaving together powerful stories from a variety of real people. Truly outstanding!
Melinda Worfolk
This excellent and important book, written by Dr. Meera Shah, tells the stories of ordinary people who have made the choice to have an abortion. The stories span a wide variety of pregnancy situations (the pregnancy is the result of consensual sex but was unplanned; the pregnancy was planned but the fetus is not viable or is unlikely to survive after birth; the pregnancy is the result of rape), and the people seeking the abortions are diverse--cis, nonbinary, black, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, marr ...more
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
1. men ain't shit
2. neither are america's healthcare and legal systems regarding women's reproductive rights
Claire Berngartt
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with the humans and their stories. I feel like this should be required reading in school. It’s compassion training 101 and important right now more than ever.
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting and informative read about a controversial subject. No matter what side of the argument you are on, you will learn something new in this book. The personal stories are a needed addition to this topic. My only complaint is that the stories are often interrupted to explain a law or concept. By the time the author returns to the story, readers have lost some of the emotional connection to the person. However, this should not stop readers. The stories of women need to be heard.
Carli McDonald
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“We live in a society where most desired pregnancies (and those assumed to be desired), especially within the context of white heterosexual marriage, are celebrated, but the common experiences of infertility, unintended pregnancy, miscarriage, and especially abortion are kept secret. Not every positive pregnancy test is met with celebration.”

An absolute must read, regardless of your opinion on the subject of abortion. Dr. Meera Shah’s book is eye-opening about a topic that has become highly pol
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredible stories collected by Dr. Meera Shah, a family medicine physician who is also an abortion provider. She speaks powerfully of all the intersections of identity present in people with uteri seeking abortions; themes of womanhood, lgbtq identity, sexual and physical abuse, classism, religion, motherhood were all present throughout these stories. Interspersed within these stories were hard facts, statistics, and ridiculous laws that hinder the ability for women to get safe abortions. I was ...more
Jenna Deutsch
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
READ. THIS. BOOK. Better yet, buy it since a portion of the proceeds will be donated to promote reproductive health access.

I took four pages of notes with abortion/reproductive health statistics, reaction towards the 17 stories Dr. Shah told, and maddening thoughts about other’s views on abortion.
•¼ women in the U.S. has had an abortion
◦61% getting abortions are aged 20-29
•Abortion safety rating: 99% (safer than carrying a pregnancy to term)
•There are many accommodations around abo
Alex Lewis
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I learned something I didn’t know about abortion in every chapter of this book. Deeply thankful for this resource.
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I had an abortion last year and because there’s so much controversy in the United States over this, plus the disapproval of my religious in-laws, it brought so many emotions up for me to untangle and make sense of. Especially, when I’ve taken care to prevent a pregnancy for so many years, only to finally decide to get pregnant and the baby end up developing a fatale neural tube defect. It took me five months to process what happened, grieve, and reach a sense of closure. In the long run, I’m gra ...more
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks go to Dr. Shah for bringing together these personal and intimate stories. Each testimonial speaks to various eras, cultural considerations, health concerns, political roadblocks, and socioeconomic barriers that individuals have faced in their decision to have an abortion. Interspersed in each story is Dr. Shah's voice providing background information and current developments in abortion rights. Every reader can take something away from this read, and especially for those to find community ...more
Amy Albinger
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
“We must pay close attention to those who are the most affected by abortion restrictions, and not forget that race and ethnicity have become significant indicators of access. Sometimes, the only way to create change for the future is by telling our stories from the past - and the present”

Raw, powerful, and informative, this book of short narratives is diverse and intersectional, and sprinkled with information re: the history, policies, and mindsets that have shaped reproductive health and abo
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How do you bust stigma? By having these conversations. In this book, the author is a provider and talks about her experiences. In each story shared, she expands by talking about all of the barriers and the harm that they cause. Some of these stories are heartbreaking. They are all deeply personal and moving. Everyone knows and loves someone who has had an abortion. Please, have the conversation.
Jan 16, 2021 rated it liked it
As a Canadian woman reading this book, I could only think about how lucky I am to not be living in the United States with its complex legal bullshit surrounding abortion care. A lot of educational material in this book, and you will learn a lot. I somehow was expecting more from the stories and less education, maybe because of all the reviews, but still a good read.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing and I'm so glad that Dr. Shah and the individuals in the book were willing to share these stories. This is a topic that we need to be talking about with no shame or stigma but unfortunately that is not the case. As a genetic counselor, reproductive rights are something I strongly believe in and this book highlights so many different perspectives and provides insight on how we can better serve our patients and community. I very much appreciated all of the facts, history, and ...more
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Okay this should be REQUIRED reading. I learned and felt so much during this I need a while to formulate real thoughts.
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Super important read to understand a super complex discussion.
Sarah Pennington
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow wow wow. Everyone should read this book.
Audrey Marcusen McMacken
Enjoy the premise. However she tried to cover all the issues in reproductive health in a reasonably short book that attracted me based on stories. The stories after the one in the introduction didn’t pull me into the lives of the people. And while I always have something to learn with the exception of a few chapters the educational material on the issue didn’t add much to my pre existing knowledge.
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While abortion care experiences differ from person to person, this was a pretty comprehensive look into how different aspects of life can lead to a similar path. I appreciate the sensitivity Dr. Shah had approaching these topics and the evidence-based medical facts they held. Honestly, it really made me miss my work at RHAP and I’m proud of the work I’ve done and do advocating for abortion care access. This shirt definitely will get you calling for action, I couldn’t make it halfway through the ...more
Dec 21, 2020 rated it liked it
There is definitely merit in these stories being told--and everyone can learn from them--but the author made each chapter SO confusing by inserting the abortion stories of other, unrelated women, by talking about policies throughout the years in the same paragraph as someone's ex-boyfriend, all that.

This would have been stronger if these women could have told their own stories, and then the author, an abortion-providing doctor, would have done a "here's my insight into the politics behind it" k
Lulu Peng
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this unique and well-written book. This is an essential read for everyone who is interested in health care and health equity. Just a few decades ago, essentially all Americans across the political spectrum agreed upon and supported abortion. This all changed with the rise of the conservative evangelical Christians, who politicized what is necessary health care that has been around for ages. Abortion is heath care.

Many of us do agree that abortion is a right that people should
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
These stories are incredible. I learned a lot and I would like to invite anyone who thinks they know about abortion to listen to these stories - you’ll be surprised. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Roman 12:2
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ll never forget the years in college I spent working at Whole Woman’s Health. In 2013 I remember despondently calling patients at our Texas clinics that they couldn’t come in for their scheduled appointments because new absurd/unreasonable/and non-medically sound laws just passed. It was devastating. 7 years later the threat against reproductive justice has only gotten worse.

This story humanizes abortion. Each story is personal and highlights the nuances within reproductive justice. Read it t
Nov 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well written with compassion and understanding no matter which side of the fence you choose to stand on for this issue.
Well Read Well Said
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: january-2021
Rating; 4.6/5!


Dr. Meera Shah knows her sh!t and it shows. You’re the Only One I’ve Told humanizes the multifaceted and hotly contested choice to have an abortion. Alternating between Dr. Shah’s experience providing abortion care and interviews with seventeen abortion recipients, we are presented with stories ranging in age, race, gender identity, and background. Dr. Shah writes with a “reproductive justice lens,” a term “coined in 1995 by twelve black women and defined as the human right
Pujitha Padmanabhan
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copy
Dr. Shah’s book is extremely relevant given the current political debates surrounding abortion. While in political terms, abortion can seem really abstract, this book is important because it focuses on the person. As a doctor and an abortion provider, she has been able to offer unique insights into people’s lives surrounding an abortion decision while also giving readers medically accurate information.

I love how fiercely Dr. Shah advocates for her patients and the empathy and compassion with whi
Kay's Pallet
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I didn't realize how much I didn't know about abortion until I read this book. I've always been pro-choice, but I was on the fence about it. I ignorantly thought that abortion was only ok if someone's life was in danger. This really opened my eyes to the complexity of this topic by using real life stories. I feel more compassionate and slightly ashamed of my previous beliefs. This book also shows how much information about abortion is lies.

I think that this is a really good book and I think ever
Keith De-Lin
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In You’re the Only One I’ve Told, Shah has done a masterful job of weaving real life stories of abortion with the latest triumphs, struggles, and defeats of the pro-choice battle. She reminds us that there are real people behind these stories, not just politics, and that each story is unique. And that abortion is not always a first or easy choice and not always hard. But a decision one must make for themselves.

This is a must-read for those who want to protect the right for all people who can ge
Kristi Sommer
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
All I can say is before you throw your thoughts about abortion or the women that have had one. Read this book. It is a beautiful collection of stories of the quiet feelings, terror and for some hidden embarrassment women who have had an abortion carry. It also brings to light the true heros the doctors and staffs of these clinics are. Along with explaining how politics trumps science on the safety and information shared with people on this subject. This book is something both conservatives and l ...more
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