is the fall of
. I just walked into a room in the basement of the church where there was a meeting of the National Association for the Abolition of Abortion Laws (NARAL), which was founded by Betty Friedan two years ago. Although abortion is legal in New York 81, it is still illegal in most states.
I moved to Syracuse – my first time living outside the New York metropolitan area. I feel a little lost, not at home in my MFA program, and miss the political engagement I experienced as a college student at Barnard and Columbia.
When I saw my attendees, I knew, just as Dorothy knew she wasn’t in Kansas, I wasn’t in New York City anymore . There were only two women who looked like anyone I had ever practiced talking to. Must be a student like me: she was wearing jeans and a peasant shirt. The other was a black woman with gorgeous black hair, a jade green turtle necklace, black skirt and boots. Others look like strangers. I don’t believe I’ll be with anyone who wears flesh-colored pantyhose, or has their hair slicked into a so-called pixie cut, but here I am. We are all here.
The meeting consists of one Small, dark, lean, fast-talking ladies call. Soon we started discussing strategies, including organizing trips to Albany and Washington. Despite the legalization of abortion in New York, pro-abortionists are tirelessly picketing the state legislature with horrific photos of deformed fetuses. We signed up for counter-protests and spoke to local lawmakers in person. Neighboring Pennsylvania will be another target of our lobbying. We will be wary of Washington DC’s actions against the Supreme Court.
So far, so easy. But then our leader said, “We need to talk about why we’re all here. The problem is that no one wants to talk about abortion. But I think it’s important to make things personal.”
she described growing up in an Italian community in Buffalo. “You’ll hear whispers between women, ‘
enceinta, enceinta…’ and not in a happy way. When I was pregnant . An older cousin forced himself. He made more money than anyone in the family, was seen as successful, and said if I said something happened, no one would believe it Me. He said to remember the money he lent my family so my brother could go to college. I was scared and ashamed, but I told my sister she was older, married, and had kids. She said Everyone in the neighborhood knew there was a woman who would take care of things. She came with me to the woman’s apartment. We didn’t speak. The woman covered her kitchen table with a white sheet and took it out from a pot of boiling water. Some kind of medical device, after excruciating pain, she took me to her bedroom, where I rested. My sister handed her the money and we left.”
The next woman to speak was older and the most elegant in the room. She was wearing a tweed suit; her silver hair was French, and her accent was delicate, though not objectionable. It reminded me of someone, and then I realized who it was: Julia Child. “it is300. I was and worked for a newspaper in Washington. I was in a relationship with a fairly aristocratic Englishman who was separated from his family overseas. It was a pleasant relationship, but not serious. In his words, I was pregnant , or “pregnant”. We couldn’t possibly get married. He told me not to worry: many of his friends in London had experienced it and there was an easy way to deal with it. A renowned Harley Street doctor Opened a nursing home in the country where trendy girls who needed an abortion could go. It was safe, not, he assured me, distressing. We flew to London. As he said: clean, pleasant, and even a little idyllic Scenery. It would never happen here, and if he wasn’t rich, it wouldn’t happen.”
Next is the young woman I thought was a student. “I was pregnant and told my best friend. She said she would talk to her dad, who is an obstetrician. He was kind and said he would help me, but we had to say I was in Threatened suicide. I’m ashamed, but I know I’m safe.”
We are empowered to know that what happens to us also happens to many, many women – we admire, love, Mourning Woman
“I’m from California,” said a woman who seemed to be somewhere in her s. She was wearing what I thought might be a Laura Ashley dress: pastel little flowers on a pink background. “I got married very early. My husband is a high school teacher, money is tight, and we have three kids. I just , we agreed that I could go back to college when the youngest went to school. Then I got pregnant. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we all knew that another child would bring the family Horrible burden to come… This will be the end of my chance to get an education and a job dream. There is a group in California that connects women with doctors in Mexico who will perform abortions safely. A lady in the group accompanies you to make sure Everything was in order. We used all our savings to make it happen… Of course I’m sad but I never regret it.”
A very Pale Woman A banged valet said: “I’m from Gary, Indiana. I’m a nurse. There’s a great female doctor, very distinguished, and she’s known to do abortions. I volunteered to help her, Because at the hospital where I work, a lot of women have had failed abortions – the part where they’re taken to the hospital is called the “septic tank.” The doctor I volunteered for was found and sentenced to a year in prison. She lost her medical license. A year later, she died, shunned by the community, and deprived of her job.”
in the room A black woman spoke next. “It was my sister. She came home one night and passed out as soon as she walked in the door. She miscarried with a knitting needle. We called an ambulance, but it took a long time for the ambulance to come near us. She was on the bathroom floor. Bleed to death.”
“I have two children,” she continued, “a good husband, but I have a child of mine Between miscarriages, just weeks. I lay in bed, Been through some of what I thought might be a heavy period. I collected what I passed and took it to the doctor. He said I had a miscarriage. I thought of my sister, people say people like her committed murder, I knew it wasn’t a child, it wasn’t a human being that came out of me, and I’ve been so angry since then that I had to do something.”