Self-Managed Abortion Is Medically Very Safe. But Is It Legally Safe?
by Carrie N. Baker
Between 1969 and 1973, feminists in Chicago with no formal medical training formed an underground abortion service called Jane that performed nearly 12,000 safe illegal abortions.
Today, as many states increasingly restrict medical professionals’ ability to offer abortion, women are once again finding ways to access safe abortion on their own.
The Argument for Abortion as a Religious Right
The world's largest religions support—and sometimes require—abortion.
by Leila Ettachfini
Feb 10 2020
When evangelical professor Bruce Waltke shared a standard biblical interpretation in favor of abortion in 1968, his words were hardly controversial.
“God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed,” he wrote in a 1968 Christianity Today article. “Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.”
More than five decades later, a lot has changed. In that time, a concerted effort to place anti-abortion views at the core of the religious right has succeeded in rallying conservative Christians against reproductive rights.
‘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.
Tired of hiding: five doctors who provide abortions come out
They’re fearless, defiant, and increasingly angry at the mounting threats in the US to reproductive rights. Here, they reveal why the reasons why they choose to go public
by Carey Dunne
Tue 6 Aug 2019
On a frigid evening in January, Dr Katie McHugh welcomed 20 guests into her Indianapolis home and prepared to tell them a secret she had kept for seven years. They had come for a Planned Parenthood fundraiser party; among them were her father and two sisters. As they gathered in her living room, sipping wine, McHugh’s hands shook.
“I was quite nervous, but I wanted to get my secret out as soon as I could,” she says. “I said, ‘Welcome. I’m glad you’re all here. I’m Katie McHugh. I’m an OB-GYN here in Indianapolis, and I’m also an abortion provider.’ My father visibly flinched. Then I stopped to take a breath, and everyone applauded, including my family.
Missouri and the Fight for Abortion Rights: How Past Became Prologue
Missouri’s historic battle for abortion rights presaged in important ways where we are today, and what will be required of reproductive rights advocates in the future.
Aug 1, 2019
The time, the late 1960s; the place, St. Louis, Missouri. Judy Widdicombe, a twenty-something self-described supermom, was raising two boys with her husband, working as a labor and delivery nurse in a Catholic hospital, and volunteering one night a week as a counselor on a suicide prevention hotline.
“In those days, there was no official place a woman with an unwanted pregnancy could go for help,” she told me when I interviewed her for my book, The Choices We Made: 25 Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion.
Former Member Of 'Jane' Abortion Service Remembers Time Before Roe v. Wade
July 29, 2019
A number of states have passed laws this year restricting access to abortion, raising concerns among activists that the debate could reach the Supreme Court and possibly lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
This was the 1973 decision that legalized abortion across the country. Laura Kaplan remembers a time before abortion was legal. She was a member of the Chicago group, Jane, also know as The Abortion Counseling Service of Women’s Liberation, which provided abortions to women illegally.
Not Your Grandmother’s Illegal Abortion
By Jennifer Block
July 1, 2019
The sola variety of papaya resembles a pregnant uterus, so much so that around the world, humans use the fruit to learn one method of modern reproductive health care: manual vacuum aspiration, or MVA, a low-risk, low-tech method of first-trimester abortion that requires little or no anesthesia. As one doctor remarked at a conference in 1973, where the technology was introduced to physicians from around the world, “it’s something we will be able to bring practically into the rice paddy.”
This, too, is the fruit I have been given to practice on. I’ve placed it on a table across from me, and I’m focused on the neck, where its stem grew, which evokes the cervical os. The tool I’m using is a large plastic syringe with a bendable plastic strawlike thing, called a cannula, where the needle would be. At the top of the syringe is a bivalve to create one-way suction.
The female game designers fighting back on abortion rights
Through video games, live-action role-playing games and interactive documentaries, developers are challenging the conversation around reproductive rights
Fri 28 Jun 2019
The year is 1972. You’re part of an underground network of feminists in Chicago that provide illegal (at the time) abortion services to vulnerable, pregnant people with few options. Despite the risk of imprisonment, and the ways that your personal experiences may not always perfectly align with your activism, you persist.
It’s emotionally complicated. It’s politically fraught. It’s a live-action roleplaying game by Jon Cole and Kelley Vanda called The Abortionists, which requires three players, one facilitator, six hours and a willingness to dig deep into the painful history of reproductive rights in the United States. That history has terrifying relevance in 2019, as numerous states pass laws that put their residents in a reality where abortion is functionally illegal. Based on the real-life work of a 1970s activist group called Jane, it challenges its participants to think about the “internal landscapes” of its players, and how they deal with the larger political and personal landscape of their world.
Abortion bans have some women preparing for the worst. It involves ‘auntie networks.’
By Monica Hesse, Columnist
May 26, 2019
The first breadcrumb leading me to an Auntie Network landed in my path last week, in the form of a Facebook post written by a friend of a friend:
“Hey! People with uteri in other states! If you need to visit your friend Cindy in Chicago, you just PM me and ask for my phone number. I will be so excited to TALK and HANG OUT with you. No judgment. No questions.”
The Abortion Rights Movement Can’t Afford Amnesia—or Nonprofits Leading Our Activism
We need an energetic movement that will fight for abortion without reservation. And that means reclaiming its radical roots—and reclaiming it from big national organizations, including the Democratic Party.
Mar 11, 2019
Michelle Farber & Dayna Long
Given the dire state of abortion access, it’s hard to believe that a radical women’s movement in this country once helped win transformative reforms, including decriminalizing abortion, in spite of a Republican president and a U.S. Supreme Court packed with GOP appointees. If you don’t know the history of that movement—or what followed for feminists after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973—it can be even harder to imagine a way forward for abortion rights supporters now. A movement that doesn’t reflect on its own history, including its failures, has an uncertain and rocky future.
We were recently reminded of that when reading Robin Marty’s Handbook for a Post-Roe America, billed as the definitive guide for activists to navigate the current crisis, in which abortions are already inaccessible for many and the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to make things worse.