I am writing a book called Coat Hangers and Knitting Needles that I will self publish and send to every judge, legislator or campaigner against abortion. It is not that I think abortion is a good thing, but millions of women died from back alley abortions prior to Roe v. Wade. A woman who wants an abortion will get one. The rich will go to where it is legal. The poor will do it to themselves or submit to dangerous solutions. The only question: how many women will die along with fetus?
From 27 August-10 October 2017
Because abortion is closely related to birth control, I realized that I needed at least a chapter if not two on the history of the Comstock Laws and Margaret Sanger. The Comstock laws prohibited birth control, abortion, information about either. Margaret Sanger spend much of her life fighting for women to be able to get birth control, reducing the need for abortion or having children they did not want and could not support.
I’d already planned a chapter on Bill Baird. If he had not successfully challenged the law, unmarried people would still not be able to get contraception information. Placement is still unsure whether to put him with Comstock/Sanger section or with legal cases such as Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade. I am leaning to the later with maybe a mention in the Sanger chapter and a (see Chapter 0).
In my research some things seemed as relevant today as it was a century of more in the past such as hypocrisy. Tom Murphy, who has fought against abortion in the House of Representatives and was a member of the Pro-Life Caucus, wanted his pregnant mistress to get an abortion, has resigned.
If he truly thought abortion was killing, would he have been willing to kill his own child? If his mistress went through with it, would he have wanted her to go to a medical facility that was clean and safe, or would he have been happy to have her go to a back alley, perhaps lie down on newspaper and have a knitting needle stuck up her vagina hoping to hit the right spot?
What about painting her vaginal area with a chemical that would turn the area black and melt some of her internal organs as the baby was expelled?
If this sounds gross, it is just a few of the methods used before Roe v. Wade and are used by women where the nearest abortion clinic is so far away that they have to resort to local measures.
There was a judge in the early 1900s who ruled that women did not have the right to pleasure in sex without the worry about conceiving a child. Not his phrasing but the substance of what he said. I guess he thought one had to pay for pleasure with worry.
The idea of shipping a diaphragm thru the U.S. mails could have meant the person would end up in jail. Even writing about it and then mailing it could lead to jail time.
The story of a woman in the 1920s who mailed materials and was sent to a workhouse as punishment and force fed while there is horrible.
The material on Anthony Comstock was easy to find. As tempting as it would be to play psychiatrist on what made him care so much about other people’s sex lives, I do not have the credentials or the knowledge to do so.
Sanger was harder to write because of dating of the material I could gather. Good thing I enjoy editing and rewriting.
I’ve also decided to have an explanation between sections in italic, a short paragraph.
There is much polishing to do, but I am beginning to standardize the format.
I’ve been surprised, even though we are in Edinburgh for a month, and my daughter is with us, how much I’ve been able to get done while enjoying this fantastic city.