Last month, I wrote about my plan to donate money to a worthy organization each month in light of our country’s current path toward fascism and the further oppression of marginalized groups. My adult years in Texas have shown me that my state’s administration is generally happy to contribute to this destruction regardless of who holds the nation’s highest office, and it’s a 24/7 struggle to simply try to keep from moving backwards here. The latest in the crusade against women’s health is a fetal burial law, which requires all fetal remains to be buried or cremated instead of disposed of as medical waste. Yes, this means if you miscarry in a hospital after 8 weeks of pregnancy, that composition of cells that resembles nothing so much as a blood clot must be given a burial, and you’ll get to pay for it. Governor Greg Abbott is this law’s major proponent.
In light of this law, which goes into effect December 19, I decided to make my December donation to Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, which covers my area of the state. I encourage anyone who has the means to make a donation, too – either to the national organization or to your local chapter. You can set up a recurring donation or make a one-time gift.
Like with the national organization, your donation can be made in memory or honor of someone. Many donors have been choosing to “honor” Mike Pence in this way, who as governor of Indiana has been enacting similar legislation in his state. In that vein, I made my donation in honor of Greg Abbott. I’m sure he’ll never see the notification himself, but it feels good regardless.
Abortion is still in many ways a taboo topic in young adult and children’s literature, and often when it is written about, it’s done so in a way that’s punishing – the pregnancy is a punishment for a teen daring to have sex, or the teen is punished in some way (either directly by another character or just cosmically, by the universe in general) for choosing to have an abortion. So my book list this month strives to include those titles that tackle this tough topic in a compassionate, realistic, and honest way. It’s rather short; if you know of any others, please let me know in the comments. Descriptions are from WorldCat.
Every Little Thing in the World by Nina de Gramont
Before she can decide what do about her newly discovered pregnancy, sixteen-year-old Sydney is punished for “borrowing” a car and shipped out, along with best friend Natalia, to a wilderness camp for the next six weeks.
Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
In Ontario, Pen is a sixteen-year-old girl who looks like a boy. She’s fine with it, but everyone else is uncomfortable–especially her Portuguese immigrant parents and her manipulative neighbor who doesn’t want her to find a group of real friends.
Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann
Addie’s future is laid out in front of her–become the best runner in the state and go to college on a scholarship–but after getting preganant with her boyfriend her decision to have an abortion affects her life greatly.
And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
Sent to an Amherst, Massachusetts, boarding school after her ex-boyfriend shoots himself, seventeen-year-old Emily expresses herself through poetry as she relives their relationship, copes with her guilt, and begins to heal.
My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson
When the classmate she is tutoring in trigonometry admits she is pregnant, high school junior Rhonda must finally come to terms with the abortion her father insisted she undergo three years earlier and examine how it has changed her life.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston
At cheerleading camp, Hermione is drugged and raped, but she is not sure whether it was one of her teammates or a boy on another team. In the aftermath she has to deal with the rumors in her small Ontario town, the often awkward reaction of her classmates, the rejection of her boyfriend, the discovery that her best friend, Polly, is gay, and above all the need to remember what happened so that the guilty boy can be brought to justice.
I Know it’s Over by C. K. Kelly Martin
Sixteen-year-old Nick, still trying to come to terms with his parents’ divorce, experiences exhiliration and despair in his relationship with his girlfriend Sasha especially when, after instigating a trial separation, she announces that she is pregnant.
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Sixteen-year-old Gabi Hernandez chronicles her senior year in high school as she copes with her friend Cindy’s pregnancy, friend Sebastian’s coming out, her father’s meth habit, her own cravings for food and cute boys, and especially, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, it was just the two of them against the world. But now her mom’s gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, the next stepfather. Anna gets used to being alone, until she discovers that she can make boys her family, from Desmond to Joey to Todd. But filling the void comes at a price.
A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith
As her senior year of high school begins, Annabeth is anticipating the realization of everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been dreaming of, but soon struggles with such unforeseen complications as Noe’s new boyfriend and a long-hidden secret.