Chapter 2America’s Abortion Conflict

Our country has never really talked about the personal experience of abortion.

For a long time, abortion was an open secret—illegal yet something everyone knew existed even though it was never discussed. When legal cases started making the news in the 1960s, the topic of abortion came out of the closet. But it wasn’t the voices and experiences of women who were having abortions that were making the front page. It was most often stories about providers and local efforts to crack down on the procedure.

After LaVange Michael, a 68-year-old widow, was arrested for providing women with illegal abortions in her home in Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1962, the New York Times noted that it was no longer so easy to sweep ...

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