So, having just encountered/been exposed to some astoundingly backwards beliefs regarding women, women’s rights, vasectomy (“nobody’s getting anywhere near my PENIS!” –yes, because vasectomy is really a secret conspiracy to castrate men and turn them all into penis-less eunuchs. *rolls eyes*), reproductive choices and freedom, birth control and all that lot here (and in the national news, of course), I decided to dedicate this blog to a history of abortion in the US. I recently read a fantastic book titled “Gotham: A History of New York to 1898” that introduced me to abortionist Madame Restell, of whom I have, sadly, never heard of. It’s an absolutely marvelous read–covering everything from women’s rights, class struggles, lives of both the working class, the poor, immigrants, the “upperten”, industry, architecture…you name it–it’s so comprehensive. Would recommend it, completely! This book, of course, also illustrates that, in the YEAR 2014, humans have made remarkably little progress on the social evolutionary front in regards to awareness, tolerance and respect for women’s rights and autonomy. Zero, actually, as the related history of events in this book about New York tells us. I wish I could say that I find it hard to believe that such a debate is still going on in this day and age, but it’s not really a surprise that men continue to attempt to subjugate and control women, and remove women’s autonomy and authority to make decisions for themselves and their own bodies and health. If men could get pregnant, I bet the story would be entirely different.
It’s my opinion that it’s none of your business what I want to do with my own body, and that I have the capability to make my own decisions regarding my reproductive choices. Furthermore, which you think should be elementary, I think women also have EVERY right to demand that their partners undergo testing for sexually transmitted diseases and demand that men, especially, take joint responsibility in accommodating women in their desire that sex is safe for women as well, in regards to prevention of pregnancy as well (as I’ve researched in the past, vasectomies are much less invasive, cheaper, and safer, relatively, than tubal ligation. Not to mention vasectomies can be reversed. I’m not really that knowledgeable about it, given my own sexual lifestyle/choices, but that’s what I found, courtesy of groups like Planned Parenthood). All of this (male, white, conservative) hoopla over abortion simply underlines the continued presence of an institutional, social, and political disrespect of women that continues to be inherent and endemic in society today. WAKE THE “F” up…it is 2014! Evolve, already. (The recent campus rapes by men against women in the news as of late are, disquestingly and sadly, the perfect example of such mentality.) I won’t have people in my life that support and condone such sexist, outdated beliefs, and have recently (and will continue to do so) backed that up with action, more than once. It’s proven to be challenging and exhausting at times, especially without a a large support group of peers (most of the women, unfortunately, I’ve come in contact with here, seem to condone, excuse, and even outright support and encourage this sort of behavior in these types of men.)
So, finally, onto the links. And check out that great book! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/217329.Gotham
Madame Restell: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madame_Restell
Another interesting article re: Madame Restell, courtesy of The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/article/176569/notorious-life-nineteenth-century-abortionist# (and, more about the book by Kate Manning, here:http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/08/30/call-the-midwife-old-new-york-style.html)
General articles about the history of abortion in the US (some have an occasional mention of abortion outside the US):
History of birth control around the world, and throughout history (It’s ironic that one of these links lists that one of the first recorded mentions of any kind of birth control attempt is in the frickin’ bible *laugh*):
I’m sure there’s lots more, and I definitely plan to educate myself some more on this fascinating and tumultuous history.
And, of course, in case it needs to even be said, both women and men can, and should, be (and have been, in history) feminists and supporters of women’s rights and equality. Educate yourselves, expand your mentality, change your social behavior, fight against gender-biased indoctrination, and continue to raise awareness–in yourself, in others!