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6 beach reads that celebrate reproductive freedom

Pack a beach bag and make a stop at your local bookstore. Here are six books that give us real, relatable, and diverse experiences with reproductive care.

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Who says books about abortion have to be all doom and gloom? Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, we need literature that approaches abortion with humor and sensitivity more than ever. These beach-ready reads don’t just normalize reproductive care–they celebrate the normalcy of abortion and the freedom that comes with reproductive choice. So, pack a beach bag and make a stop at your local bookstore. Here are six books that give us real, relatable, and diverse experiences with reproductive care.

1. Juliet Takes a Breath

“Juliet Takes a Breath” by Gabby Rivera explores the intersection of abortion with race, economic class, and sexuality. Rivera follows the main character, Juliet Milagros Palante, a Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx, on her journey to Portland, Oregon to intern for a famous feminist author. Juliet’s conversations about reproductive freedom with the characters she meets along the way inspire her to get introspective about how her own abortion has shaped her sense of self, and her broader connection to feminism and social justice.

2. Daisy Jones and the Six

Loosely inspired by Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac, “Daisy Jones and the Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid follows the rise and fall of a fictional rock band while touching on topics like abortion against the cultural backdrop of the 1970s, when abortion access was just becoming more accessible, and highlights the social stigma and barriers that people often face when seeking reproductive health care—as well as the difference that support from friends and loved ones can make.

3. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

Sometimes, abortion is beautifully unremarkable. In “Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman,” a memoir by Lindy West, West reflects on her own relatively unremarkable abortion as a practical decision. From a staunchly pro-choice point of view, West reflects on the ways the media often sensationalizes and moralizes abortion, when for some, abortion is an emotionally neutral event. In a sea of unrealistic portrayals of abortion in media, West’s memoir is candid and refreshingly unapologetic.

4. The Boss 

"The Boss" by Abigail Barnette explores the topic of abortion in the context of a consensual and mutually pleasurable BDSM relationship. When the main character, Sophie, faces an unplanned pregnancy, the discussions between Sophie and her partner illustrate their supportive relationship, the importance of mutual respect and understanding, and Sophie’s personal autonomy. If you’re looking for a kink-positive novel that breaks down stereotypes about BDSM and reproductive freedom, look no further.

5. Luster

“Luster,” the debut novel by Raven Leilani, addresses reproductive freedom, sexual autonomy, and personal choice through the experiences of Edie, a young Black woman navigating complex relationships that bring power, race, and consent to the center stage. With dark humor that balances heavy conversations, Edie handles her own unplanned pregnancy with clarity in the face of cultural stigma surrounding reproductive choices.

6. The Miseducation of Cameron Post

“The Miseducation of Cameron Post" by Emily M. Danforth follows a teenage girl grappling with her sexuality in a conservative town. Danforth addresses abortion, reproductive choice, and the experience of abstinence-only sex education in the broader context of LGBTQIA+ identity and personal autonomy. These themes are portrayed with a light sensitivity that explores how young queer people navigate societal expectations and the choices that impact their lives.

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Positive and diverse representations of abortion experiences in the media are key to destigmatizing reproductive care. And just like every person deserves empowering stories that center reproductive choice, every person deserves access to safe and affordable abortion procedures. At Hey Jane, we’re committed to providing stigma-free reproductive care to all people. Happy reading!

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Written by

Abbi Havens (MSW)

Abbi (she/her) is an Austin-based writer and editor with a passion for queer theory, sexuality, health, and culture. She received her master's degree with a concentration in LGBTQIA+ Sexual Health and Education Interventions from Washington University in St. Louis.

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