USA – The white, conservative Southern women who asked me to keep their abortions secret

My middle-class evangelical peers quietly took advantage of abortion rights, while publicly advocating against them


The day one of my closest childhood friends got married, she asked me to keep two secrets: The first was her high school abortion. "It was so long ago," she said in a terrified whisper, "I can't tell him; it doesn't even matter anymore." She was peeking down the hall, where everything was draped in rented white satin—a traditional, Southern wedding, officiated by an odious Calvinist preacher. She frowned at her family, who were busy decorating. "Nobody except you understood."

She was desperate not to be overheard, so I squeezed her hand to tell her wordlessly, We buried that memory together a long time ago. (Even now as I write this, I can't bring myself to type her name.) Her body relaxed, and she took a breath. As I opened her makeup kit, she added abruptly, "And don't you dare say a word about last summer, either."