There is always the scene from the first part of the three vignette movie, “If These Walls Can Talk” featuring Demi Moore as a widow and a nurse who had an affair and got pregnant and was desperate for an abortion in 1952. She ended up paying 400$ of hard earned (or borrowed) cash to pay some non-medical ass-hole to perform the procedure on her kitchen table with non-sterilized instruments. We see her humped in a corner in the kitchen in her own pool of blood. I’m sure that vignette was based on a combination of horror stories living in that time period. I was reminded again of that vignette when I came across this blog from an American grandmother on Twitter last night.
It’s a story of this woman went and had an illegal abortion performed by a very courageous doctor who ended up paying for it with his license to practice medicine. I think it’s fair to say that, compared to what Demi Moore’s character went through in “If These Walls Can Talk”, this grandmother was one of the lucky ones. Click on the above link; it is a must read.
The year was 1962. This was just before the birth control pill was widely available, and of course, as since time began, women got pregnant who didn’t want to be. I was a sophomore in college, the first one in my in my family to ever go to college. Being pregnant would have been a huge embarrassment. The other alternatives of keeping the baby and getting married, or giving the baby up for adoption did not appeal to me in the least.
We tried all the old wives tales remedies first; drinking quinine, going horseback riding, taking hot baths. It was not easy to find a doctor to perform an abortion. The heat was on in New York and most doctors were refraining from doing them. We had a list, passed around from college girls, but we got many doors slammed in our faces until we got to Dr. Levy.
Surely, she was not alone. There were many other stories that led to the victory of Roe v Wade. Many of those same stories led to legalized abortion here in Canada. Stories like this must be brought to the forefront as in both the U.S. and in Canada with the help of conservative media (hello, Brian Lilley), of course are pushing for all out regression. Yes, while they all cry out for ‘freedom’, they also cry to take away the freedom of women to choose.
When I hear stories of insipid bills being passed in various U.S. states in an attempt to circumvent Roe v Wade, or equally useless bill proposals like that of Rod Bruinooge, like many men and women, I get scared. One of the reasons is that these bills won’t cut back on abortions, but rather, we will see the desperate actions that do nothing but endanger many lives. When we hear of moves to criminalize abortion like the so-called ‘good ol’ days’, we should perhaps remember stories like that of the above blogger or the vignette in “If These Walls Can Talk”.