Tag: Abortion

Back to the Back Alley? Abortion Rights and Realities in the Trump Era

On the first day of his presidency, Donald Trump reinstated the global gag rule on abortion. This is no great surprise; Trump is certainly not the first Republican president to restrict access to abortion when assuming office. Still, there is something different about the Trump election and administration: already, of course, when it comes to… Read more →

“Buried with Doctor’s Certificate”: Reading the Uses and Abuses of Bodies in a Medical School Thesis

In 1886, Marie K. Formad graduated from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, entering the small but rapidly growing body of American women holding the degree of Doctor of Medicine. Along with Dr. Formad, the 31 other members of the class of 1886 demonstrated clearly the progress of women’s medical education in the thirty years… Read more →

New York Grandmother Seeks Democratic Presidential Nomination! Ellen McCormack (1926-2011)

No, not that one! Exactly forty years before Hillary Clinton’s historic run and nomination, Ellen Cullen McCormack (1926-2011) ran for president as a Democrat in the 1976 primary campaign that ended with the nomination of Jimmy Carter. But Ellen McCormack was a different kind of female Democratic candidate. In fact, while Hillary Clinton famously rejected… Read more →

Queen Bee

Samantha Bee has been America’s leading late-night feminist comic for over a decade. As the longest serving correspondent in the history of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Bee spent 12 years skewering politics and the media. When she was offered her own development deal with TBS to start a late-night comedy show, I’m sure… Read more →

Trump’s Part in Centuries-Long History of Punishing Women and Doctors

In a recent campaign interview with Chris Matthews, presidential candidate Donald Drumpf contended “there has to be some form of punishment” for women seeking abortions, should the procedure be made illegal in the United States. In a rare moment, the candidate quickly retracted his statement, but not before his Republican opponents and pro-life advocates seized… Read more →

Tea Kettles and Turpitudes: Abortion and Material Culture in Irish History

In 1932, a Donegal woman was brought up on criminal charges after she attempted miscarriage by consuming both pills as well as a ubiquitous item in early twentieth-century households: a bottle of castor oil.1 Just a few years earlier a Belfast midwife, Isabel, defended herself in court after being charged with giving another woman an… Read more →

Coat Hangers and Knitting Needles: A Brief History of Self-Induced Abortion

Knitting needles. Arsenic. Deliberately falling. These are just some of the methods that women used to self-induce abortion in the early twentieth century, when abortion was illegal. This is not simply a subject confined to history books any more. Evidence suggests that self-induced abortion is rising once more, thanks in large part to political efforts… Read more →

“She Did It to Herself”: Women’s Health on Television and Film

[Spoiler alert for PBS’s Mercy Street] Like just about every other Civil War historian out there, I’ve been following PBS’s new period drama, Mercy Street, pretty closely. The show, which aired its season finale on Sunday night, was innovative compared to other shows and movies on the war: it included plotlines about the health of… Read more →

The New Rubella: Zika and What it Means for Abortion Rights

Historians, journalists, and public health officials have begun to call Zika the new rubella (German measles). When a pregnant woman contracts the Zika virus, she normally experiences mild symptoms of fever and rash, much like rubella. But also like rubella, the Zika virus can wreak havoc on the developing fetus. Before the rubella vaccine in… Read more →

Abortion in Ireland: The More Things Change…

Last month, a handful of Irish women and men left Dublin on a unique bus tour. For two days, they traveled the country giving information on abortion pills — which are currently illegal in Ireland — to women. Organizer Rita Harrold said of the bus tour and the pro-choice campaign: “You know what? We aren’t… Read more →