Few women were involved in making abortion legal in California

Kristin Luker, historian on abortion:

“The reaction of state legislators of the 1960s, when asked what role women had played in securing passage of the Beilenson bill [which legalized abortion in California before Roe V Wade], could best be epitomized as a blank stare. All of them could name individual women who had been active in the reform group California Committee on Therapeutic Abortion (CCTA), but none of them believed that women as a constituency were central to the issue.”

Kristin Luker Abortion in the Politics of Motherhood (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984) 93 [emphasis in original]

Share on Facebook

Psychiatrist admitted to writing “fraudulent” letters to help women get abortions

Before Roe v. Wade, many states allowed abortions to save a woman’s life. Abortionists used to consider a woman’s threat of suicide as a legitimate reason for abortion. They would send a woman to a psychiatrist, who would certify in writing that the woman would kill herself if an abortion were not performed, and then the abortion would be authorized and done.

One psychiatrist who took part in this said:

“I write letters recommending abortion that are frankly fraudulent, because I am satisfied to be used so that someone may obtain what our society otherwise would deny her.”

L Eisenberg “Abortion and Psychiatry” Abortion in a Changing World The proceedings of an International Conference on Abortion Convened by the Association for the Study of Abortion, at Hot Springs, Virginia. November 17 – 20th, 1968 (Columbia University Press)

Share on Facebook