Today I taught Margaret Sanger and the birth control movement for the fist time since my abortion. Normally I try to be very even handed in my approach but I am fairly certain that it is safe to say I got more than a little passionate about the subject. Coincidentally, another class happened to be covering the origins of the nineteenth century women’s rights movement and I managed to work in the “private” talks about “voluntary motherhood” that Elizabeth Cady Stanton used to give in the afternoons to women when she traveled to speak publicly about suffrage.
Want to school yourself on life before women had the right to control their fertility and their pregnancies?
There is a great book, Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race before Roe v. Wade written by journalist, Rickie Solinger.
A more historical approach can be found in Leslie J. Reagan’s carefully researched When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973
There are also some wonderfully courageous physicians who give presentations about the reality of life before Roe.
Finally HBO made an amazing documentary, If These Walls Could Talk, that dramatized three historical epochs. You can find youtube clips, but make sure to look for the first If These Walls Could Talk. The second is about lesbian life (another great topic :).
10 months ago