Jodi Picoult takes on the abortion debate in latest novel, “A Spark of Light”

Jodi Picoult is known for tackling tough topics and her latest, “A Spark Of Light,” is no different. The best-selling author’s newest book follows a diverse group of people over the course of one day during a deadly shooting at a Mississippi abortion clinic.

Picoult told “CBS This Morning” she was inspired to take on women’s reproductive rights because of her own conflicting emotions. She explained that while she wholeheartedly supported her college friend’s abortion at seven weeks, years later when she had complications with her own pregnancy – also at seven weeks – she couldn’t help but see the situation differently.

“I couldn’t figure out how I could hold both of those concepts in my mind at the same time. In America we tend to legislate reproductive rights but laws are black and white and the lives of women are a thousand shades of gray and that was why I wanted to write this book,” Picoult said. “Uncertainty exists for the individual woman over the course of her own life. What you believe at 14 is not what you think at 30 or 45.”

While doing research for her novel, Picoult spoke to people on both sides of the abortion debate. Her aim was not to draw any conclusion for readers, but instead help both sides hear one another.  

 “This is not an issue that we are ever going to agree on and one of the things that I learned speaking to people who think differently than me is that they come from a place of deep conviction and deep compassion as well. They believe what they believe and we have to find a way to work together in spite of that,” she said.

Ultimately, though, she does hope she can help remove some of the stigma associated with women’s reproductive choices. Of 151 women she interviewed who had terminated a pregnancy, Picoult said one regretted it and fewer than 25 were willing to be acknowledged in the book.

“They’re living under this umbrella of guilt and shame because when women don’t speak up, people fill in the story for them,” Picoult said. “We need to move past legislating reproductive rights. Have to take Roe vs. Wade off the table, leave it alone and begin to come up with solutions that move beyond that.”

To hear the medical phenomenon that inspired the title of her book, watch the video in the above player

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