The Dedication in Gloria Steinem's New Book Will Sock You in the Gut

Today's required reading.

Gloria Steinem
(Image credit: Marie Claire)

In case you needed another reason to love/admire/adore Gloria Steinem, just one read of the dedication in her memoir My Life on the Road will do it. In it, she thanks the doctor who changed her life when she was 22.

Dr. John Sharpe of London, who in 1957, a decade before physicians in England could legally perform an abortion for any reason other than the health of the woman, took the considerable risk of referring for an abortion a twenty-two-year-old American on her way to India. Knowing that she had broken an engagement at home to seek an unknown fate, he said, "You must promise me two things. First, you will not tell anyone my name. Second, you will do what you want to do with your life."Dear Dr. Sharpe, I believe you, who knew the law was unjust, would not mind if I say this so long after your death: I've done the best I could with my life. This book is for you.

Do you have chills? Yeah, me too. 

While Steinem has been vocal about her decision to have an abortion, it wasn't until her mid-30s that she chose to divulge that information openly. In an interview with NPR, she admitted that she kept it to herself until she started hearing other women speak out and she realized she wasn't the only one to have had one. "It's the kind of revelation that comes from people just telling the truth and discovering you're not alone," she said. 

Bless you, Steinem. 

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Samantha Leal
Senior Editor

Samantha Leal is the Deputy Editor at Well+Good, where she spends most of her day thinking of new ideas across platforms, bringing on new writers, overseeing the day-to-day of the website, and working with the awesome team to produce the best stories and packages. Before W+G, she was the Senior Web Editor for Marie Claire and the Deputy Editor for, with bylines all over the internet. Graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a minor in African history, she’s written everything from travel guides to political op-eds to wine explainers (currently enrolled in the WSET program) to celebrity profiles. Find her online pretty much everywhere @samanthajoleal.