The World Pre-Roe v. Wade

After railing in previous  posts about the mother and baby homes in Ireland, I came up on a Washington Post article which shows that we had our own version of same. Pre-Roe v. Wade, young white women who became pregnant outside of marriage were often shipped off to the Florence Crittenden Homes, where they came under heavy social pressure to release their newborns for adoption. Young black girls, assumed to be promiscuous to start with, were left alone to give birth and live with their families. As in Ireland, healthy white babies were a hot commodity in the United States in the mid-1960’s. Healthy black babies were of less interest.

My mind goes back to my freshman class at the College of St. Elizabeth, which entered in 1963. One of our classmates simply disappeared mid-term, with no information on why she had withdrawn. She made contact with no one in our class, as far as I know, and she never came back to continue her studies. I’m wondering now if she might have been pregnant.

With Roe v. Wade newly under jeopardy from a right wing Republican Supreme Court, I’m shaking my head as I read. Is this really what we want to go back to?

2 thoughts on “The World Pre-Roe v. Wade

  1. I have a lot to say about this. I began my nursing practice in the early 60’s when birth control was scarce (at least for low-income or unmarried women) and abortion was illegal. Later I worked in a city hospital in NYC, when the federal government started subsidizing contraceptives and family planning clinics. Big relief for women who had not had any way to control unplanned pregnancies. I also took care of and saw women die from self-attempted abortions done with coat hangers or Lysol douches, or unclean back-alley abortions. I started getting scared several years ago when a few GOP presidential candidates started making noises about banning contraceptives that “cause abortions.” Then we got the “Hobby Lobby bill” which exempted employers with “religious convictions” from having to cover “abortion causing” contraceptives in their insurance plans. Thank you, Supreme Court. Apparently, Trump and the religious right want to expand this. Of course, covering Viagra is fine. For a long time I thought we were OK – the public would never let Roe be overturned. At this point I don’t think we should take anything for granted. States have chipped away at the regulations, and quite a few areas now have no or greatly reduced services. Planned Parenthood and other contraceptive clinics are constantly under attack. If you believe in the right to access and choice, keep resisting!

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