This eye opening look at the abortion process prior to the Supreme Court s landmark Roe v Wade decision ofis now relevant than ever, with a new introduction by the author revisiting history that is still salient half a century laterIn the years before Roe v Wade, women seeking to end their unwanted pregnancies had limited options many of them dangerous, even potentially fatal, and nearly all of them illegal This groundbreaking work by sociologist Nancy Howell Lee, first published in , takes an intimate look at the entire abortion process from the initial decision to terminate a pregnancy through the procedure itself and the aftermath providing an incomparable view of what is still one of the most controversial and divisive issues in America Based on interviews with one hundred fourteen women who had illegal abortions, Howell Lee s book reveals how the abortions were procured and paid for, and looks at the lasting effects the experience had on the participants The interviewees were open and honest about what influenced their decisions, how they conducted their search for someone to perform the procedure, and the physical and emotional aftereffects With many state governments across America currently passing new legislation that restricts and, in many cases, effectively bans abortion, an eventual return to the pre Roe days threatens the well being of millions of women, making Nancy Howell Lee s pioneering study relevant than ever It is a must read for pro choice and pro life adherents alike


10 thoughts on “The Search for an Abortionist: The Classic Study of How American Women Coped with Unwanted Pregnancy before Roe v. Wade

  1. Christine Christine says:

    Disclaimer Read via Netgalley This book is part of Open Road s Forbidden Library, out of print books that shook up the world or the news in some way, shape or form I think it s great that they are doing this Normally when I get approved for a book via Netgalley, I feel obligated to write a thoughtful, in depth review But if this book, I don t think I can I have been so angry about people, mostly certain politicians, and how they treat woman parts that I m sorely tempted to simply say that Disclaimer Read via Netgalley This book is part of Open Road s Forbidden Library, out of print books that shook up the world or the news in some way, shape or form I think it s great that they are doing this Normally when I get approved for a book via Netgalley, I feel obligated to write a thoughtful, in depth review But if this book, I don t think I can I have been so angry about people, mostly certain politicians, and how they treat woman parts that I m sorely tempted to simply say that THEY SHOULD READ THIS BEFORE THEY OPEN THEIR STUPID MOUTHES Because it s true Even though this study of women and abortion was first published in 1969 it is vitally important to understand how then worked when so many law makers and various groups want to draft and enforce laws that make access to abortion or even birth control near to impossible, you can smack them upside the head and call them on it They need to read it to simply understand that the issue isn t as simple, as black and white as they would like to believe It isn t simply that bike spoke stories It is a study, a scientific study in numbers that shows the whole process worked for the women involved I know that my reaction to this book everyone should read it is based in part on my reaction health issues and hiccup with my healthcare provider in terms of coverage of a birth control device Let me say here, that my doctor, doctor s billing office, and the individual people on the phone have been helpful, polite and have made the whole situation less stressful Incidentally, the device was needed to control bleeding and cells, put that in your pipe and smoke Rush Limbaugh But abortion and birth control are linked, and this study does much in illustrating that as well as why abortion should be legal I m sorry Open Road Media that I can t give this book the detailed and passionate review that it deserves It strikes too close, it s too important Honestly, read it and then send it along to your representative.Crossposted at Booklikes


  2. Lorie Lorie says:

    This book is a summary of a research project related to women seeking abortions prior to the Roe v Wade decision, as the title of the book implies I believe that folks on either side of the abortion legalization debate and those who walk the middle could gain perspective from reading this book, though it s not an easy read Personally, I found its content revealing of American society at the time I am not giving this book five stars due to enjoyment I found that I gained some insight from This book is a summary of a research project related to women seeking abortions prior to the Roe v Wade decision, as the title of the book implies I believe that folks on either side of the abortion legalization debate and those who walk the middle could gain perspective from reading this book, though it s not an easy read Personally, I found its content revealing of American society at the time I am not giving this book five stars due to enjoyment I found that I gained some insight from reading it but wouldn t describe it as enjoyable at allperhaps depressing rather the five stars reflects that the book is exactly what it claims to be


  3. Alisa Harris Alisa Harris says:

    The question was never should I get an abortion, but would I be able to find someone safe This book, originally published in 1969, is a quantitative study of what a woman went through pre Roe to get that abortion whether it was safe or not Sociologist Nancy Howell Lee studies 114 woman to find out how many people they spoke to to find an abortion doctor, who they spoke to, what kind of abortion they got, the aftermath for their health and relationships, who they told afterward, how informat The question was never should I get an abortion, but would I be able to find someone safe This book, originally published in 1969, is a quantitative study of what a woman went through pre Roe to get that abortion whether it was safe or not Sociologist Nancy Howell Lee studies 114 woman to find out how many people they spoke to to find an abortion doctor, who they spoke to, what kind of abortion they got, the aftermath for their health and relationships, who they told afterward, how information about illegal activities flows through networks, and so on Pre Roe, women risked serious danger and had few choices for their care, but it s clear from the book that the dangers were never going to stop them Despite the fact that 20% of the abortions were septic or incomplete leading to hospitalization and even near death because of these unsafe abortions, only one woman expressed regret and most of the woman said they would go out of their way to help a stranger have an abortion This is a really fascinating look let s hope a look at the past, not the future at the logistics of finding an illegal abortion


  4. Ava Ava says:

    Rather heavily statistical in parts but a very informative snapshot of abortion in 1960s America.


  5. Laura Laura says:

    NEVER again.