Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion before and after Roe v. Wade


"The battle for legal abortion in the United States may have been won, but access to safe medical abortions is rapidly narrowing. Some 84 percent of all U. S. counties are now without abortion facilities, and the situation is growing worse. How are we to explain the crisis of abortion access? In Doctors of Conscience, Carole Joffe argues that in addition to the violence and disruption of the anti-abortion movement, the medical community itself must share the blame. Joffe traces the ways mainstream medicine has marginalized abortion even after Roe vs. Wade, by failing to establish needed training and services and by stigmatizing and penalizing doctors who perform abortions. The costs have been high - not only for women with unwanted pregnancies, but also for doctors committed to providing safe medical abortions. Based on in-depth interviews with forty-five physicians who have provided or facilitated abortions, Doctors of Conscience recalls the days before Roe, when emergency rooms were filled with women maimed and infected by botched abortions. Witnessing the desperation of women seeking illegal abortions was a turning point in the careers of many of the doctors interviewed. After Roe, they continued to be haunted by their experiences." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Boston
Publication year:
  • 1995


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