Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room

( 29 )

Overview

Merle Hoffman's life story is riveting. A former classical pianist, a self-made millionaire, and a feminist who found her life's work providing abortions, she has been a fearless crusader for women's right to choose.

Over the years, Hoffman has used her entrepreneurial spirit to build one of the most comprehensive women's medical centers in the country. In 1971 (two years before the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion nationally), Hoffman founded Choices, an ...

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Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room

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Overview

Merle Hoffman's life story is riveting. A former classical pianist, a self-made millionaire, and a feminist who found her life's work providing abortions, she has been a fearless crusader for women's right to choose.

Over the years, Hoffman has used her entrepreneurial spirit to build one of the most comprehensive women's medical centers in the country. In 1971 (two years before the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion nationally), Hoffman founded Choices, an abortion clinic in New York. As a medical provider, she pioneered "patient power," encouraging women to participate in their own health care decisions. And going against even her own expectations for her life after fifty, she adopted a child and writes about her experience as a mother.

Whether addressing the murder of abortion providers like Dr. George Tiller or challenging women to understand their own power over their bodies and the language used to wield such power, Merle Hoffman has been on the front lines of the feminist movement, a fierce warrior in the battle for choice.

Merle Hoffman is an award-winning journalist, activist, and women's health care pioneer. In 1971, she founded Choices, one of the first ambulatory abortion centers, which has become one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive women's medical facilities in the United States. She is also the publisher of On the Issues, an online feminist magazine.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As director of one of the nation’s first ambulatory abortion clinics, activist and journalist Hoffman implemented “Patient Power” to ensure that the staff did not demean women seeking abortions. Characterizing abortion as “often an act of love, and always an act of survival,” she eloquently chronicles more than three decades of struggles to keep abortion legal. Although replete with intimate details, such as her erotic teenage attachments to teachers, an affair with the married physician she persuaded to leave his wife for her, and her decision in her 60s to adopt a child, her memoir lacks introspection. Readers will wonder why she is so aggressive, competitive, and self-centered—referring to “my clinic,” “my counselors,” “my staff,” and describing how she “imperiously” entered a formal dance with her married lover and “answered for him” when he was asked about his wife’s absence. Hoffman’s arrogance contrasts sharply with her compassion for patients. Hoffman’s lack of self-observation mars the book, but readers will learn much about her drive to recast “reproductive freedom as a positive moral value.” 24 b&w photos. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Activist Hoffman (publisher, OnTheIssues.org) has played a significant role on the front lines, making abortion and basic health care accessible to women in the United States. A chance job with a doctor who worked to set up one of the first legal abortion clinics in New York City introduced Hoffman to abortion services; she eventually became the executive director of the clinic (and the wife of the internist). The creation of the National Abortion Federation in 1977 provided her a national stage for advocacy; she later also undertook international work. The success of the first clinic generated resources that allowed Hoffman to open a larger facility in 1978 that served some 500 patients a week. She writes how the backlash of the 1980s and the violence and intimidation practiced by anti-abortion activists took its toll, but she maintained the clinic in the face of incessant harassment and continued to be a prominent advocate. Finally, at almost sixty, widowed, Hoffman fulfilled her desire to have a daughter; she writes of the process of adopting a three-year-old girl from Russia. VERDICT Deeply personal, this title will appeal to readers interested in women's memoirs, the history of U.S. feminism, and abortion rights.—Cynthia Harrison, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC
Kirkus Reviews
A searingly honest debut memoir by a leader in the fight for a woman's right to "legally gain and exercise reproductive choice—the power of life and death." Hoffman—founder and CE0 of Choices, one of the largest women's medical facilities in the country and editor of the quarterly magazine On The Issues—writes about how stultifying she found the expectations for women as she was growing up. She explored the idea of living an artistic life but lacked a true calling until, by chance, in 1970, she answered an ad for a part-time job as assistant to a New York City family doctor. New York State had just legalized abortion, and her employer, Dr. Martin Gold, saw this as an opportunity to position his HMO as a leader in providing abortion services to women. He and his partner opened the Flushing Women's Medical Center, one of the first ambulatory abortion facilities in the country, and she managed the office for them. The next year, she and Gold established Choices, with her as director. The clinic pioneered in the new field of women's-health services, offering alternatives to mastectomy as well as abortion services. She writes animatedly of the exciting first few years when the trajectory of the women's-rights movement was on the upswing and she became one of its leaders as her relationship with Dr. Gold deepened—ultimately leading to marriage. Then the right-to-life movement regrouped. By 1985, there had been 150 attacks on abortion clinics, and the author received numerous death threats. An inspiring story of a woman who participated in "one of the greatest revolutions in history"—and is still at the forefront of the struggle.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558617513
  • Publisher: Feminist Press at CUNY, The
  • Publication date: 1/10/2012
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Merle Hoffman:
Merle Hoffman is an award-winning journalist, activist, and women’s health care pioneer. In 1971, she founded CHOICES, one of the first ambulatory abortion centers, which has become one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive women’s medical facilities in the US. She is also the publisher of On the Issues, an online feminist magazine.

Website: merlehoffman.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(20)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 17, 2011

    A Modern Day Hypatia

    This brave, raw and fascinating memoir is, at its core, about the journey towards self-actualization and the freedom necessary to master one's life. Fortunately for countless women, the book¿s heroine, Merle Hoffman, used her brilliance and immense talents to provide them with safe, affordable reproductive healthcare. The author uncomplainingly describes for her readers the terror and abuses she has endured at the hands of anti-abortion fanatics in order to provide abortion services. All who believe that abortion and birth control create an equal playing field for women that enables them to control their health and very lives will feel indebted to Ms. Hoffman after reading this book. For decades she has held the torch of freedom, often a heavy burden to bear, in order to light the way for others.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2012

    Beautiful! - Highly Recommended

    I met Merle Hoffman myself and I have to say, the way she is in person is the same way she resonates in her book. She's funny, insightful, bright but most of all passionate about the work that she does. Even if pro-choice is "not your thing," pick this book up and read it. It won't change your beliefs but it will definitely change your perspective.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2011

    Warrior for Social Justice

    "Intimate Wars" is a passionate philosophical memoir in which Merle Hoffman,a leading feminist theoretician, moves effortlessly from touching personal revelations about the loneliness of being a warrior for social change to the politics of the abortion struggle. It is a brilliant narrative of love and revolution. There are many loves: for husband mentor, for music, for cultural heritage, for patients whose hands she held as they underwent abortions, and for an enchanting daughter adopted from Russia. And there are two equally compelling revolutions! One is in the life of the author as she is transformed from budding concert pianist to relentless champion of women's reproductive freedom. The other is in the radically changed healthcare and abortion services created through Hoffman's vision and courage. Anyone who shares her passion for social justice will love this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2011

    Excellent

    This inspiring and evocative memoir will appeal to anyone who has ever wanted to make a difference in the world. Hoffman's well-written and moving memoir is full of passion and verve.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2011

    Merle Hoffman, a pioneer in the reproductive rights movement

    Merle Hoffman's story is an inspiration for all the young feminists! She has been in the front line of reproductive rights and women's health movement for more than forty years! An extraordinary woman and an amazing story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    Not Recommended!

    Not Recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    WORST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    WORST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    I fully support the unfortunate in our society who suffer from m

    I fully support the unfortunate in our society who suffer from mental illness. However, I cant support this author who is unfortunately severly mentally disturbed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    I went to her clinic a few months back, it was a horrible experi

    I went to her clinic a few months back, it was a horrible experiece. She walked around looking like she didnt take her medication berading her staff. Cant support her or her crappy book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    It appears that Merle Hoffman paid a lot of money to have her te

    It appears that Merle Hoffman paid a lot of money to have her team post these five star reviews, but I give her and her god awful book one star. I had the terrible misfortune of working for this lunatic at her Queens clinic and it was without a doubt the worst professional experience of my life. Nothing more than unorganized chaos and hysteria promoted by Merle Hoffmann crazy ass. It's comical how she refers to herself as one of the greatest feminist that ever lived, when I personally witnessed her attempt to destroy the self esteem and self worth of many young women who worked at get clinic, including myself. Thankfully I have enough sense to recognize crazy and would never let a mentally ill person to ruin me in any way. In closing, Merle please take your prescribed medication for your mental demons because you truly are a very disturbed and frighting individual.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! these reviews are hilarious. I par

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! these reviews are hilarious. I particarly favor "NOT WORTH THE PAPER USED TO PRINT"

    SO TRUE!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Schzophrenic Madness!!!

    Schzophrenic Madness!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Bipolar Hysteria!!!!!!!!

    Bipolar Hysteria!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Bland and Boring

    Bland and Boring

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    I need a refund as well. I'll be returning this book the first

    I need a refund as well.
    I'll be returning this book the first chance I get!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2013

    ?????????????????????????

    ?????????????????????????

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Very Disturbing!

    Very Disturbing!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    REFUND PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

    REFUND PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2013

    Cant be taken seriously!

    Cant be taken seriously!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2013

    A ridiculous life lived by a ridiculous women!

    A ridiculous life lived by a ridiculous women!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews

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