Abortion without Apology: A Radical History for the 1990s

By Ninia Baehr | Go to book overview

1
The Army of Three

Making Abortion Public

The radical U.S. movement for abortion began in 1959 when a woman in California named Patricia Maginnis got pregnant for the third time.Pat Maginnis was a very fertile woman, but she did not want to have children. The first time her contraception failed, she went to Mexico, where abortions were illegal but relatively available. When she came back, she swore she would never again leave this country for medical care she considered to be her right.

One year later, Pat's contraception failed again. Pat didn't know how to find a safe illegal abortionist in the United States, but she did know enough about her own body to figure out how to try to end her pregnancy herself. She stuck a catheter—a hollow piece of plastic tubing—up her vagina, through her cervical os, and into her uterus. She gave herself a terrible infection and nearly died in the process, but in her sixth month she did finally miscarry.

The very next year, Pat's contraception failed again. She still didn't know how to find a good illegal abortionist, but she did have a better idea of how to end her pregnancy herself. She didn't want to run the risk of poking a catheter into her uterine walls again, so this

-7-

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Abortion without Apology: A Radical History for the 1990s
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Abortion Without Apology - A Radical History for the 1990s *
  • Illustration Credits *
  • Table of Contents *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The Army of Three - Making Abortion Public 7
  • 2: Woman-Controlled Abortion - The Self-Help Health Movement 21
  • 3: Speak Truth to Power - The New York Fight 31
  • 4: Lessons for the 1990s 51
  • 5: Organizing for the Future 61
  • Resources 63
  • Bibliography 65
  • About South End Press *
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