This Children's Book Explores The World of Abortion Care

This Children’s Book Explores The World of Abortion Care

Instagram/@emulsify.art Whether adults realise it or not, kids are exposed to the concept of “abortions” from an early age: from social media, television and radio, overheard conversations by adults, campaign materials, and even billboards on the highway. And it’s for that reason, two people in the US have written and published “What’s an Abortion, Anyway?”, […]

by | May 14, 2021


This Children's Book Explores The World of Abortion Care
Instagram/@emulsify.art

Whether adults realise it or not, kids are exposed to the concept of “abortions” from an early age: from social media, television and radio, overheard conversations by adults, campaign materials, and even billboards on the highway. And it’s for that reason, two people in the US have written and published “What’s an Abortion, Anyway?”, the first-ever children’s book about abortion care in the U.S. for young people ages 8+.

“There is not a single resource to help parents or caregivers speak openly and accurately with the young kids in their lives about abortions if asked. Much like sex-ed, it’s imperative that when kids have questions, the grown-ups in their lives are equipped with age-appropriate, accurate and digestible answers,” authors Carly and Mar explain to Women’s Health over email.

Targeting older children, the book hit its first funding goal within 35 hours of launch, with new hopes of creating a Spanish version. It covers what an abortion is, some of the reasons people have abortions, and a few of the ways people might feel about the abortions.

“In the current political and cultural moment where abortion is continually restricted at the state level, this new book is especially relevant and salient. To my knowledge, there are currently no published books in the U.S.that use the word “abortion” for children under the age of 13 that aren’t explicitly anti-abortion books,” the pair add. “Not only does that make “What’s an Abortion, Anyway?” the first-ever children’s book about abortion care in the U.S., it also makes it the first one to be intentionally gender-inclusive and medically accurate for all children.”

While it is the first to mention the word abortion, Mary Walling Blackburn’s Sister Apple, Sister Pig touched on the matter with a reimagination of two parents explaining an aborted sibling to their 3-year-old son Lee.

Lee’s parents instil in him the idea that his ghost sister is anywhere and everywhere. She could be an apple in his hand, a pig in a pen, up in a tree, or anywhere he wants to imagine her to be.

The reaction to the book was incredibly divisive, receiving furious responses from anti-choice conservatives.

Right-wing website LifeNews claims Sister Apple, Sister Pig “promotes abortion to kids,” while Women’s Day said the book was “even creepier than it sounds.” Commenters particularly took issue with the fact that it reads like a children’s book, concluding that it must be targeted at young readers. But Walling Blackburn says that’s not so.

“It’s not a book intended for children,” she said. “It’s actually just using the form of a children’s book…it’s intended for adults.”

Yet “What’s an Abortion, Anyway?” is directed to older children, and as Carly and Mar explain, it aims to “de-stigmatise abortion and give parents, providers, and caretakers a resource they have wanted and needed for years.”

Written with the assumption that the person reading has a basic understanding of how pregnancy happen, you can read an excerpt below:

“When a person gets pregnant, many different things can happen.
“Some people are pregnant for many months and have a baby. That’s what happened with you!
Some people have a miscarriage. “A miscarriage is when a pregnancy isn’t healthy enough to keep growing. Some people have an abortion.
“An abortion is when someone decides to stop growing their pregnancy.

Would you buy it for your child? You can read more here.

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the web-obsessed Digital Editor at Men's and Women's Health, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she spends most of the time in the gym or with her husband and daughter. She was previously a Digital Editor at GQ and Vogue magazine.

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