When Soviet Women Won the Right to Abortion (For the Second Time)
By Sasha Talaver
After a liberalization period following the Russian Revolution, the Stalin-era Soviet Union drastically restricted women’s right to abortion. But in the 1950s Soviet women won free and legal terminations — achieving the right to choose before almost all of their sisters in the West.
In today’s Russia, feminism is often regarded as something imported from the West after the collapse of the Soviet Union, just like foreign finance or the internet. In this context, the story of how Soviet women won the right to abortion is a sad case of lost memory — it having been forgotten that it was achieved here earlier than in Western countries. Yet this fight was an important example of Soviet women’s political activism — and a story that helps us reconstruct a wider history of socialist feminism in the USSR.
‘You have to stand up to illegitimate authority’: what veteran abortion activists can teach us in the Trump era
The pioneers who struggled for legalisation in the 60s are seeing the same battles being fought all over again
Sat 18 Jan 2020
The telephone sat in the dormitory hallway, and when it rang it might have been for any of the residents – young women in their teens and early 20s, all students at the University of Chicago. Calls came from family and friends and boyfriends, from colleagues and classmates and clubs. But sometimes the voice at the end of the line would ask for “Jane”.
This was 1965, and in Chicago the social justice movement was gathering pace – a new era that encompassed civil rights, student rights, women’s rights and resistance to the war in Vietnam. Among those involved was Heather Booth, a 19-year-old social sciences student from New York.
Women Have Always Had Abortions
By Lauren MacIvor Thompson
Dec. 13, 2019
Over the course of American history, women of all classes, races, ages and statuses have ended their pregnancies, both before there were any laws about abortion and after a raft of 19th-century laws restricted it. Our ignorance of this history, however, equips those in the anti-abortion movement with the power to create dangerous narratives. They peddle myths about the past where wayward women sought abortions out of desperation, pathetic victims of predatory abortionists. They wrongly argue that we have long thought about fetuses as people with rights. And they improperly frame Roe v. Wade as an anomaly, saying it liberalized a practice that Americans had always opposed.
But the historical record shows a far different set of conclusions.
Contraceptive Knowledge in the Mid-19th-Century United States
December 5, 2019
Circulating Now welcomes guest blogger Donna J. Drucker, MLS, PhD, Senior Advisor, English as the Language of Instruction at Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany. Here, Dr. Drucker explores the changing availability of knowledge about contraception.
What do pennyroyal, fish skins, horse riding, and ergot of rye have in common? They are all contraceptive methods that have been used for centuries. In preliterate societies, information on regulating pregnancy was likely passed down orally from one generation of women to the next as they helped each other with pregnancies, births, and child spacing. In the mid-nineteenth-century US, however, more and more women were literate and information was more securely captured in print. Examining three mid-nineteenth century medical guides, available online and searchable in the NLM Digital Collections, shows the range of information available to those who could access and read books.
The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate
Why we need to face the best arguments from the other side
Story by Caitlin Flanagan
December 2019 Issue
(Posted Nov 11, 2019)
In 1956, two American physicians, J. A. Presley and W. E. Brown, colleagues at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine, decided that four recent admissions to their hospital were significant enough to warrant a published report. “Lysol-Induced Criminal Abortion” appeared in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. It describes four women who were admitted to the hospital in extreme distress, all of them having had “criminal abortions” with what the doctors believed to be an unusual agent: Lysol. The powerful cleaner had been pumped into their wombs. Three of them survived, and one of them died.
Almost 50 years after Roe v. Wade, right to abortion under threat in US
Issued on: 18/10/2019
Revisited FRANCE 24
By: Manon HEURTEL | Sophie PRZYCHODNY
Forty-six years after Roe v. Wade, the historic US Supreme Court decision recognising the right to abortion, the issue continues to bitterly divide public opinion in the United States. Already undermined by local policies, this fundamental right is now threatened at the federal level, following the appointment of two conservative judges to the Supreme Court. FRANCE 24’s team reports.
Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a woman’s right to abortion, is perhaps the most famous ruling by the US Supreme Court. The historic milestone, dating back to 1973, refers to the battle between Jane Roe (not her real name) and the state of Texas, represented by Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade. Roe, who was just 21 years old, was pregnant for a third time and wanted to have an abortion. But like in 45 other US states, the law in Texas prohibited it. She decided to approach two feminist lawyers, who seized upon her case as a symbolic one to fight all the way to the Supreme Court.
I Had An Illegal Abortion Before Roe v. Wade. This Is Why Women Of My Generation Must Share Our Stories.
The author, now 74, had an illegal abortion at age 23.
Carla Nordstrom, Guest Writer
May 17, 2019
At 74, I am well past the age of worry about an unwanted pregnancy. In many ways, the bad old days before Roe v. Wade have faded from our collective memory. Women of my generation have rarely told our stories of illegal abortions, perhaps because we are embarrassed. But our reticence has prevented others from learning from experiences like mine.
I never expected that we would go back to illegal abortions, but current legislative actions in a number of states have opened up that possibility.
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Abortion And Were Too Afraid To Ask. Especially in Tasmania.
By Bonnie Mary Liston
on April 10, 2019
Abortion never really used to be a ‘thing’. Then the Catholic Church came along. Bonnie Mary Liston explores the history, particularly in Tasmania, where it’s legal, but not practiced.
You may have seen protests about abortion in the news lately – both for and against. Tasmania has no currently active surgical abortion clinics and some people believe there should be even less. It can be a bit confusing. What does that mean? Is abortion legal or not? Why is everybody so upset all the time?
The Catholic Church Has No Moral Argument on Abortions
After the pope revealed nuns were forced to get abortions while being held as sex slaves, the Church doesn’t seem well positioned to lecture on what women should or should not do with their bodies.
By Jennifer Wright
Feb 11 2019
If you are going to get your information regarding abortion from anyone, perhaps it is best not to get it from an institution that has no women in its higher orders, and is keeping women as sex slaves.
Like, for instance, the Catholic Church. This week Pope Francis admitted there has been clerical abuse of nuns, including sexual slavery. The BBC reports, "He said the Church was attempting to address the problem but said it was 'still going on.'"
They Called Her “the Che Guevara of Abortion Reformers”
A decade before Roe, Pat Maginnis’ radical activism—and righteous rage—changed the abortion debate forever.
By Lili Loofbourow
Dec 04, 2018
There was nothing remarkable about the small woman carrying a box of leaflets—certainly nothing to justify the clutch of reporters waiting for her across from San Francisco’s Federal Building on a July morning in 1966. Still, there they were. She arrived at exactly 9 a.m., greeted them, and began distributing fliers to anyone who passed. There were two of them: One was a yellow slip of paper titled “Classes in Abortion,” listing topics like female anatomy, foreign abortion specialists, and police questioning. The other—which she gave only to the assembled journalists and the five women who signed up for her class that Wednesday evening—described two techniques for DIY abortions. “I am attempting to show women an alternative to knitting needles, coat hangers, and household cleaning agents,” she told the reporters, adding that she had notified San Francisco police of her whereabouts and plans.