Episode: The Abortion Underground


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The Abortion Underground

Before Roe v. Wade, there were thousands of illegal abortions in the U.S. every year. Some of these were incredibly dangerous; women would use knitting needles or coat hangers to end pregnancies. This, and other illegal methods, could lead to injury or death. In the 1970s, one group of women got fed up and decided to take women's health into their own hands. We talk to “self-helpers” Carol Downer and Francie Hornstein, who led a movement for safe abortions and education for women by women.

Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2sfqhlB

Selected references: “Back alley” abortions before Roe v. Wade (See chapter 3) https://bit.ly/2JA6gObA study documenting the techniques used for illegal abortions in the 60s https://bit.ly/2VLKl8eA Woman's Book of Choices by Dr. Rebecca Chalker (PhD) and Carol Downer https://bit.ly/2K5MbP4

This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman, with help from Meryl Horn, Rose Rimler, and Michelle Dang. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Editing help from Caitlin Kenney, Kaitlyn Sawrey, Sruthi Pinnemanni, Jorge Just, Lulu Miller and Chris Neary. Fact checking by Diane Kelly. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. Recording assistance from Anny Celsi. A huge thanks to all the scientists we got in touch with for this episode, including Dr Sara Matthiesen, Professor Verta Taylor, Professor John DeLancey, Professor Carole Joffe, Professor Johanna Schoen, and Dr. Denise Copelton. And special thanks to Michele Welsing and the team at Southern California Library, Dr Becky Chalker, Jonathon Roberts, Jim Aspholm, Odelia Rubin, Alice Kors, the Zukerman family, and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.

Women's Liberation Day: New York, San Francisco and Berkeley rallies of August 26, 1970 was used courtesy of the Pacifica Radio Archives.



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