Just a few of the stories my great aunt told me about women in the 60s:
1) A woman she worked with at the hospital who had a baby with one of the ambulance drivers. When work found out they fired her (he kept his job). She tried to self-abort with a knitting needle.
2) The sister of one of her neighbours who wasn’t able to rent a room because she was a ‘fallen woman’.
3) A girl who got sent to a convent house and scrubbed floors until the day she gave birth. Her baby was given up for adoption without her consent.
4) Girls who had babies with priests.
5) Women who were on their fifth, sixth, seventh child, who had been pregnant for the best part of a decade, begging for sterilisation because their husbands wouldn’t wear a condom.
Banning abortion has never ever stopped it from happening. It’s just meant more stigma, more prejudice, more risks and more deaths.
In 1962, my mother was going thru a divorce, got pregnant and knew this fact would be used to deny her divorce (they used to do that, in case you didn’t know).
My mother was given a “shot”; she lived 3 blocks from the doctor. He never told her what it was, likely an “overdose” of progesterone, which is how they used to “induce menstruation” in a hurry (i.e. abortion off the books). She was about 7-8 weeks by her estimation. He said, GO STRAIGHT HOME, go to bed and stay there. She walked fast, but nearly collapsed at the curb and my grandmother went out to guide her into the house. She went to bed, stayed there and bled steadily and heavily for 3-4 days. She said it was like being very very sick, headaches, nausea, vomiting… and then, gone.
She never let me forget this and took me to my first NARAL meeting when I was 15 yrs old. And here I am today, in my 50s–and I still remember my grandmother’s scary account; my mother swaying, literally, at the curb, and nearly falling, under the strength of that one shot.
How did she get the doctor to do it? She told him, “If you don’t, I will do it myself”–and if you knew my mother, you knew she meant it. She would have. After all, lots of women she knew had.
This is what they want to take us all back to, the fucking middle ages. Please remember.
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