Professor Carter's Play 'How to Pray' Rejects Abortion Storytelling Cliches

Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Michelle Carter smiling in a home
Michelle Carter, professor of Creative Writing

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Now I realize that that much of the anxiety I’d felt had little to do with the realities of the procedure. I had been projecting based on the way we typically tell stories about abortion, which led me to seek an alternate narrative by San Francisco playwright and longtime San Francisco State University Professor Michelle Carter.

Carter wrote “How to Pray” on a mission: She wanted to write a play in which an abortion is a happy ending.

“Often (abortion) is rendered as something that’s going to change the woman’s life forever: ‘Nothing will be the same after this,’ ” Carter, 60, told me. “Or the woman makes a decision, and it’s the most difficult decision of her entire life. She’ll always either regret it, or, if they want to make it soft, it’ll always be something she thinks about with some degree of pain.”