When Abortion Access Wasn’t A Battle


When it comes to a discussion about abortion, we often talk either about today’s highly politicized culture for reproductive rights, or the days before Roe when access to abortion mainly depended upon your money, your location, and how much you were willing to fight to get one.

But what about that period in between, when getting an abortion wasn’t a multi-day, extraordinarily public process that is half medical procedure, half psychoanalysis, and as many checks, balances, roadblocks and pubic shaming that both the government and anti-choice activists can provide?

Via the New York Times, author Susan Heath remembers her own abortion back in the 70s.

All I had to do was call the clinic and make an appointment. I don’t have to be ashamed or terrified, because brave women before me fought to make abortion legal, have gone public with their stories of shame and terror and made sure that no woman ever again has to die from a back-alley abortion or bear an unwanted child.

We park and walk up to the entrance. No running the gantlet between pickets shouting at me that I’m a murderer, no fear that someone will throw a bomb. The receptionist takes my name and says, “You just have to talk with a counselor first.” I don’t mind, I figure it’s part of the procedure. I tell the counselor I already have four children and I don’t want any more. I’m on a different track now. She nods understandingly and says they’ll be ready for me soon. No judgment, no showing me pictures of fetuses, no trying to make me feel guilty. She just wants to be sure I’m sure.

And of course, I am.

Funny how much things have “progressed” in the last 25 years, everywhere but when it comes to a woman’s bodily autonomy.

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