Tag: Abortion

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 →

Baby Parts for Sale — Old Tropes Revisited

When Robert Lewis Dear Jr. was finally taken into custody after opening fire on a Colorado Springs, Colorado Planned Parenthood on November 28, 2015 — an attack that killed three people — he allegedly told police, “no more baby parts.” While all the facts about Dear’s motives and actions are yet to be released, on… Read more →

“She Looks the Abortionist and the Bad Woman”: Sensation, Physiognomy, and Misogyny in Abortion Discourse

In November of 1866, a minor sensation rocked the Albany area following the death of the young widow Elizabeth Dunham, who passed away at her mother’s house on the third of the month under, as the Albany Argus primly noted, “suspicious circumstances.” The Argus’s suspicions quickly proved sound. An inquest performed the next day revealed… Read more →

Friday Night Rights: Abortion in Small-Town Texas

Two recent events have made me return to my favorite TV show of all time, Friday Night Lights, a well-written and riveting drama about football and small-town life in West Texas. First, I recently saw Connie Britton, aka Tami Taylor outside a restaurant in Beachwood Canyon, Los Angeles. I got so excited I stalled my… Read more →

Female Presidential Candidates Aren’t the Answer: Republicans and the Reframing of the War on Women in 2016

There seems to be some confusion about what the controversial term “the Republican war on women” actually means. Most became familiar with the concept during the 2011 midterm elections when Republicans swept the majority of seats. Left-leaning media outlets began wringing their hands over the kind of restrictive anti-abortion legislation they feared would pass, and… Read more →

Archiving Abortion: Sharing One Story At A Time

“I feel like nobody should have to experience anything in life without sharing it. I feel like through our experiences it teaches us a lesson and I feel like we owe it to the world to share it.” That was Nikki’s response when I asked her the question I ask everyone who shares their story with… Read more →

Agency and Abortion in Brazil

Two women’s deaths resulting from clandestine abortions recently shocked the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In August 2014, 27-year-old Jandira dos Santos Cruz died during an illegal abortion procedure. Her body was later found burned and dismembered to avoid identification. The following month in the nearby city of Niterói, 32-year-old Elizangela Barbosa died from… Read more →