From our Director of Operations, Rachel Kacenjar:
One of my favorite topics to write about is abortion portrayals in the media. I sat down and dug deep into a very niche type of representation: abortion pre-Roe v Wade.
If you’re a child of the 80’s like I am, the first time you heard about abortion was when the character Penny had an illegal and unsafe abortion in the Dirty Dancing. I remember not exactly knowing what had happened to Penny, but that it was bad, and if she had been able to see a doctor for what had happened to her, she wouldn’t have gotten hurt.
In doing a deep dive for some resources, I noticed that a lot of the language around abortion within these outlets is gendered. That’s not cool.
There’s also a lot of language about abortion being rare, or the hardest decision someone has ever had to make. Just wanted to put it out there that reactions to, and feelings after, abortion can be varied, simple, complex, and in a myriad of different formulations. The point is, abortion is personal and subjective and there’s no one way to experience an abortion.
Please enjoy these pre-Roe pieces of media:
My Grandmother’s Desperate Choice by Kate Daloz
Women Have Always Had Abortions by Lauren MacIvor Thompson
Maude’s Abortion Fades into History by Lewis Beale
Jane: An Abortion Service by Kate Kirtz and Nell Lundy
Video: This is the story of one woman’s illegal abortion Libby Rich had an illegal abortion in Alabama when she was 19 years old. Rich spoke with reporter Abbey Crain about her experience and the repercussions her illegal abortion had on her life.
At 16, My Mom Flew to Japan Alone to Have an Abortion by Alexis Cheung
Pre-Roe abortion films (German)
Before Roe v Wade by Linda Greenhouse and Reva B. Siegel
As part of my research, I came across an old Ladies Home Journal article posted online by a Professor Timothy Stewart Winter. I hope you find the images as interesting as I do!
This article was also a result of an awesome Facebook post by Dr. Cookie Woolner. Thanks for the leads!