California governor pardons abortion activist from 1940s

Gov. Gavin Newsom has posthumously pardoned an abortion activist from the 1930s and 1940s
By DON THOMPSON Associated Press
November 4, 2022

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday posthumously pardoned an abortion activist from the 1930s and 1940s, acting days before Californians finish voting on whether to enshrine increased protections in the state Constitution in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Laura Miner was convicted in 1949 of abortion and conspiracy to commit abortion. She was sentenced to four years in prison on the twin felonies, and died in 1976.


When It Comes To Abortion Rights, Canada Can’t Save You

As long as Americans are fighting, again, for their right to choose, they should fight for better than what we have in Canada. Trust me.

Oct. 27, 2022

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested that Americans are welcome to use the Canadian health care system, and the abortions it provides, I scoffed.

Offering the Canadian health care system to American abortion seekers is a nice sentiment from someone whose country decriminalized abortion in 1988, but the reality is that much of Canadian health care is currently in shambles. As a Canadian woman who has covered the issue, and experienced it personally, I know that abortion care in this country is uneven at best.


A Lost Great Yiddish Abortion Play

After sitting in a drawer for a century, a newly unearthed piece of theater is finally having its moment

OCTOBER 13, 2022

Around 2010, Jeffrey Michael Brown was cleaning out the Long Island home of his late father, David, when he came across a school notebook with bands of inky Yiddish script. As he could not read Yiddish, he sought out a translator. He could already assume, however, that the notebook belonged not to either of his parents, but to his grandmother Lena Brown who had arrived in the United States in the late 19th century and had lived in an apartment on President Street in Brooklyn until she died sometime in the 1940s. Jeffrey’s father, David, had brought Lena’s things with him to Hempstead when he moved into his home there in 1951. David had placed the notebook in a desk drawer and there it lay until Jeffrey dusted it off 60 years later. What has turned out to be one of the most powerful Yiddish plays of the 20th century—one of only a small number of Yiddish plays written by women, and one that expresses honest and difficult sentiments about marriage, motherhood, and reproductive rights—sat silently in a drawer for about a century only to have its moment now as we contemplate American women’s newly curtailed reproductive freedoms.


Before Roe, What Was It Like To Talk About Abortion?

BY MARY GORDON, Vogue Magazine
October 10, 2022

It is the fall of 1971. I have just walked into a room in a church basement, where there is a meeting of NARAL, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, the organization created two years earlier by Betty Friedan. Although abortion had been legal in New York since 1970, it was still illegal in most states.

I’ve moved to Syracuse—the first time I have lived outside the New York metropolitan area. I’m feeling a bit unmoored, not yet at home in my MFA program, and missing the political engagement I had experienced as a college student at Barnard and Columbia.


‘Extraordinary moment’: the 1970s abortion case that changed French law

Issued on: 10/10/2022

Paris (AFP) – Five decades ago, a lawyer convinced a French court to acquit a teenage girl who illegally terminated her pregnancy after being raped, a landmark case that would pave the way for the right to abortion in France.

Marie-Claire Chevalier was 16 when a boy the same age attacked her and made her pregnant. Her mother, an employee of the Paris public transport authority, helped her find a backstreet abortion.


USA – Abortion Rights Advocacy: Past and Present


IN 1970, when Mary Summers and three other women’s rights activists—Jane Pincus, Karen Weinstein, and Catha Maslow—made a documentary about illegal abortion, they saw it as an organizing tool for state-by-state legalization efforts. Fifty-two years later, Summers believes it may serve that role again.

Abortion and Women’s Rights 1970 synthesized the stories and experiences of several women and stated that, of the 800,000 abortions performed in that year, only one percent were obtained legally; 300,000 resulted in complications, and between 3,000 and 8,000 resulted in death. This April, the filmmakers re-released the 28-minute documentary, making it available free online.


Abortion in Colonial America: A Time of Herbal Remedies and Accepted Actions

UConn historians discuss abortion in Colonial America

August 22, 2022
Kimberly Phillips

Two hundred eighty years ago, nine generations in the past, more than four decades before the signing of the U.S. Constitution – and Sarah Grosvenor had the ability to choose.

In towns like Pomfret, that eventually would comprise the new country, women had a name for what the teen did. Sometime in May 1742 she started “taking the trade,” or an abortifacient to induce a miscarriage. The herbs, berries, and plants in the recipe were plentiful in New England, oftentimes cultivated by women for women.


The ‘Surprising Allies’ who pioneered reproductive health care access in Western Mass.

By Judy Waters
Aug 8, 2022

With the recent overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, struggles from the pre-Roe era are not forgotten. Before 1973, Western Massachusetts played a key role.

“Surprising Allies: The Struggle Over Birth Control and Abortion in 1960s Massachusetts,” a 2019 piece from the Massachusetts Historical Journal, highlights the work of David Cline, author of “Creating Choice: A Community Responds to the Need for Abortion and Birth Control, 1961-1973.”


Abortion rights: history offers a blueprint for how pro-choice campaigners might usefully respond

BMJ 2022; 378
Published 26 July 2022
Agnes Arnold Forster, research fellow

In October 1971, the New York Times reported a decline in maternal death rate.1 Just 15 months earlier, the state had liberalised its abortion law. David Harris, New York’s deputy commissioner of health, speaking to the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, attributed the decline—by more than half—to the replacement of criminal abortions with safe, legal ones. Previously, abortion had been the single leading cause of maternity related deaths, accounting for around a third. A doctor in the audience who said he was from a state “where the abortion law is still archaic,” thanked New York for its “remarkable job” and expressed his gratitude that there was a place he could send his patients and know they would receive “safe, excellent care.” Harris urged other states to follow the example set by New York and liberalise their abortion laws.


‘Thank the lord, I have been relieved’: the truth about the history of abortion in America

Abortion in the 19th-century US was widely accepted as a means of avoiding the risks of pregnancy. The idea of banning or punishing it came later

by Tamara Dean
Tue 12 Jul 2022

At our rural county’s historical society, the past lives loosely in bulletins, news clippings, maps and handwritten index cards. It’s pieced together by pale, grey-haired women who sit at oak tables and pore over old photos. Western sun filters in, half-lighting the women as they name who’s pictured, who has passed on. Other volunteers gossip and cut obituaries from local newspapers.

I was sent here by hearsay. For years, my neighbour has claimed that the old cemetery in the low-lying field on my Wisconsin property contains more bodies than the scant number of tombstones indicates. The epic flood of 1978 washed away the markers of the nameless – civil war soldiers, he says. I want to know who the dead were in life. After many walks through the cemetery, I’m familiar with the markers that remain. One narrow footstone reads simply: “MAS”. Three marble headstones rest at odd angles among the box elder trees. Stained, eroded and lichen-crusted, the stones belong to a boy and two baby girls who died in the 1850s and 60s. On the boy’s is a relief of a weeping willow; on the sisters’ are rosebuds. Signs of young lives cut short.