Creating Choice / Edition 1

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In this oral history, David P. Cline gathers the personal stories of people who sought abortions and birth control and the health care professionals, clergy members, and feminist activists who helped them. Focusing on one Massachusetts community, Cline uses these stories as a lens through which to reexamine the contentious history of reproductive rights in America over the last thirty years. Cline demonstrates that fighting for abortion rights was not just the province of feminist radicals, but was embraced by the mainstream of small town communities, including doctors and clergy members. This fascinating history is a much-needed contribution to recent scholarship on the reproductive rights movement as well as an important new work of community oral history. The text will be essential reading to students of reproductive rights, women's studies, religious history, and to people on both sides of the abortion issue.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An important collection of edited interviews . . . By recovering the participation of clergy and medical practitioners in the reproductive choice struggle, Cline reminds readers of the many kinds of people, organizations, and activities that combine to make a social movement."
--Oral History Review

"David Cline has assembled an amazingly rich repository of testimonies chronicling a community's efforts to facilitate reproductive autonomy at a time when the state prohibited such activities. This work is a major contribution to the project of preserving and disseminating the histories of activism, feminism, and reproductive politics in the United States."
--Rickie Solinger, author of Pregnancy and Power: A Short History of Reproductive Politics in America (2005) and other books

"A powerful document of the history of abortion before and after legalization, this book offers a compelling collection of oral history interviews that weave together the story of abortion in an entire community. Creating Choice gives voice to a group of people whose stories are crucial to our understanding of women's history but who have so far not been heard. This collection is not only crucial to students of the history of abortion. It provides an equally rare look into the history of the sexual revolution and the women's health movement on college campuses. Creating Choice is wonderfully accessible, an important collection for anybody trying to understand the history of women and sexuality."
--Johanna Schoen, University of Iowa

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403968135
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 2/1/2006
  • Series: Palgrave Studies in Oral History Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

David P. Cline is an oral historian and journalist. He has worked for American Radio Works, the documentary division of National Public Radio, and currently serves as a Research Assistant at the Southern Oral History Program at the Center for the Study of the American South, University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The women : survivors of illegal abortions 19
1 Elizabeth Myer 29
2 Dr. Robin Dizard 33
3 Jean Baxter 37
4 Carol C. Wall 45
5 Dr. Meredith W. Michaels 51
6 Dr. Susan Tracy 55
Pt. 2 Providers of reproductive health care doctors, health educators, and illegal abortionists 59
7 Dr. Merritt F. Garland, Jr. 67
8 Dr. Sam Topal 75
9 Dr. Robert Gage 83
10 Dr. Jane Zapka 91
11 Dr. Lawrence Siddall 99
12 Lorraine Florio 103
Pt. 3 The clergy and their allies : clergy and affiliate lay abortion counselors 113
13 Reverend Richard Unsworth 125
14 Reverend Samuel M. Johnson 135
15 Reverend Franklin A. Dorman 145
16 Rabbi Yechiael Lander 151
17 Elaine Fraser 161
18 Ruth Fessenden 171
Pt. 4 The feminists : feminist lay abortion counselors 181
19 Amherst Women's Liberation's abortion and birth control group 191
20 Springfield Women's Health Collective 209
Pt. 5 The connectors : uniting medical care, activism, and feminism 221
21 Merry Boone 227
22 Ellen Story 235
23 Leslie Tarr Laurie 241
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