Sharing secrets

Harriet Hills Stinson

Women urge others to go public about abortions

Harriett Hills Stinson, 85, a prominent member of the wealthy San Francisco family that founded Hills Bros. Coffee, says it took a push by GOP conservatives to cut funding for family planning and abortion services to move her to reveal a long-held personal secret: She once had an illegal abortion.

“I’ve never regretted it,” Stinson told The Chronicle this week. As a mother in her 20s with three young children, Stinson said, she came to the decision that “for the sake of my family, it was not right for me to have a fourth child.” Now, she said, “I’m hoping women who have had abortions will come forward.”

On Wednesday, Stinson was honored as national, state and Bay Area supporters of abortion and reproductive rights gathered on the Peninsula for their annual Power of Choice lunch sponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice America, the nation’s largest abortion and reproductive rights advocacy group.

My aunt told me this story about thirty years ago:

My uncle was home on leave from the Marines during WWII and one Sunday afternoon the two of them got married without telling anyone first. When they got home and announced the news my grandmother wasn’t happy and pulled her new daughter-in-law aside.

“Did you have to get married?” she asked (meaning “Are you pregnant?”)

“Of course we did” my aunt told her. “We love each other.”

I was laughing at the story when my aunt dropped a bombshell. “You do know your grandmother had to get married when she was seventeen because she was pregnant, don’t you?”

Needless to say that was news to me. Both my aunt and my grandma passed away years ago. But stories like those are what turned them in my mind from “grown-ups” to real people.

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13 Responses to Sharing secrets

  1. myiq2xu says:

    If my reads this she’s gonna kill me.

    Why are you telling strangers this stuff?”

  2. Lola-at-Large says:

    They tried this strategy with t-shirts in 2004.

    I always wanted a t-shirt that said “I never had an abortion because I’m so good at birth control.”

    They lady is brave to tell her story, but it’s a disingenuous approach that someone else may have convinced of her of. We are never going back to the days of illegal/back alley abortion, because the world and medical technology have changed. All the old stories in the world about it aren’t enough to scare me into buying into progressive dude nation and its support for abortion-on-demand (which is really just support for pussy-on-demand).

  3. WMCB says:

    Abortion rights just isn’t even an issue for me anymore. I’m not hanging on a political cross for it. Sorry. Done. There are a lot of power and equality and other issues that are way more important to me than that. It is not the Holy Grail.

    It is election season, so they will be beating that horse to keep the wimminz in line clutching their uteri in fear. Expect lots and lots of comments from Dem politicians and stories in the media about women and abortion. It’s cranking up.

    They can fuck right off. I don’t care. And I don’t hate pro-life women.

    • catarina says:

      I’ve had it too, with the whole drama.

      I fought my ass off for choice and i’m tired.
      Especially tired of having Roe held over my head by the Democrats.

      When they come around with their bullshit in 2012, I’m telling them since they don’t care about my light bulbs I don’t care about their vaginas.

  4. Lola-at-Large says:

    Hey, guess what Myiq? They got CONSENSUS on the cleanup!

  5. catarina says:

    wait, I meant to say I’m fucking tired.

  6. The worst kept secret in the world. Women have been having abortions for as long as women have been subject to unwilling bodily takeover. No law is going to stop it.
    My mom took a long time to talk about it- but eventually she did. In her day you looked for a really good ob/gyn. They politely called it a D&C. Secret but not so secret.
    Agree on the polticos using Roe V Wade as a stick for too damn long. On BOTH sides. If they were going to repeal it- they have had plenty of time. Nahgunnahappen. Take away the issue they use to keep the wimminz of both sides divided? Lose their big stick? Nope.
    Roe v Wade will be around for a long long time yet imo. And if it IS in danger, when the young women of child bearing age show signs of giving a shit- I will back them up. Until then? PFFFT.

  7. catarina says:

    “when the young women of child bearing age show signs of giving a shit- I will back them up. Until then? PFFFT.”

    yup. how ’bout it, girls?

    your turn to make calls for Planned Parenthood

    and PS, Obama is NOT “what a feminist looks like!”

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