Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Traveling Back to a Time Before Abortion Was Legal

Blogging will likely be a bit sparse for the next few days. I am flying out with a talented team to interview two of the surviving children of an abortion doctor who went to jail before Roe v. Wade. Before this physician died, he wrote a manuscript trying to explain why he had chosen to become an abortionist in an era when jail sentences and public ruin of your career was a likely outcome.

The stories he tells of the patients he treated, who finally compelled him to defy the unjust laws that criminalized abortion are unbelievable. There is the woman who got pregnant during an affair, and was so horrified by how by her small town would ostracize her that she drove her speeding car into a ditch. Then, there is a couple who actually opposed abortion, and yet had to seek out an illict abortion because of a dangerous pregnancy. The woman was near death after an opportunist butcher performed a back alley abortion. She was saved only because of the fortuitous intervention of our heroic doctor.

I will be digitizing many of the notebooks this doctor kept while in prison in addition to interviewing family members.

The timing of this trip is fateful. While Judge Alito is being considered as Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement, and women's reproductive freedom is in jeopardy, I will be traveling back to a time before abortion was legal. I hope that I only have to make voyage in my imagination and not actually find myself living in a country that returns to the barbaric times of criminalized abortions.