Abortion Then and Now

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Abortion Then and Now

Margaret Sparrow

Publisher:Victoria University Press

When women publicly acknowledge they have had an abortion it makes other women realise abortion need not be a shameful secret, associated with feelings of guilt. At the heart of this groundbreaking book are personal stories from women who have had abortions. Their experiences - which encompass suffering and resilience, isolation and community - are deeply moving, and vividly convey forty years of change. These stories are supplemented with others from the police, doctors, and some of the pro-choice activists and advocates who worked to bring about much-needed change. In the 40s deaths from septic abortions were an ever-present fear. In the conservative 50s deaths from sepsis were less common but there was a network of clandestine abortionists in every community. The 60s brought the contraceptive pill, feminism, and towards the end of the decade, safer abortions in Australia. The 70s saw abortion catapulted into the public domain, with protest and debate culminating in significant law reform in 1977, after which the medical profession finally took responsibility for the introduction of safe abortion services.Since 1978 women seeking abortion may still have had personal difficulties, but the legal situation has been indubitably better for patients, doctors and police. After more than 30 years it is time to review the present system and the need for legislative change. The wealth of information and insight provided by this book is an important first step.

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