Gloria Steinem's new book My Life on the Road came out this week, and readers only had to get through one page to gain sharper insight into the activist's storied life.
The dedication in My Life on the Road is made out to Dr. John Sharpe, a British doctor who referred Steinem for an illegal abortion in 1957, when she was 22 years old. Steinem has discussed her abortion before, though not until her mid-30s. She recently went into more detail for NPR, detailing how desperate she was to get the abortion so she wouldn't have to settle into "a life that wasn't [hers]."
But she had never revealed the doctor's name before now, at his request:
The dedication in Gloria Steinham’s new book. Read it. pic.twitter.com/NPsClSSABV— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) October 30, 2015
Some people are surprised. Some, less so. But there has been a groundswell recently to destigmatize abortions (particularly via the #ShoutYourAbortion Twitter movement), and Steinem's declaration that she got an abortion — and that it changed her life for the better — is one of the most straightforward, personal, and deeply heartfelt examples we've seen yet.