Abortion at work: ideology and practice in a feminist clinic by Wendy Simonds

By Wendy Simonds

How do feminist id and abortion politics intersect? particularly, what does feminism suggest to ladies operating to feminist well-being care and abortion prone within the overdue Eighties and early Nineties? What are the ideological results and emotional tolls of doing such paintings in a opposed socio-cultural surroundings? Can feminism and paperwork coexist productively? How do feminists confront the anti-feminist competition, from anti-abortion protesters outdoors to racism inside feminist organizations?

These are the questions that force Wendy Simonds' Abortion at Work. Simonds records the methods in which employees at a feminist hospital build compelling feminist visions, and likewise watch their beliefs fall brief in perform. Simonds translates those women's narratives to get at how abortion works on feminism, and to exhibit what feminism can achieve by way of rethinking abortion using those activists' phrases. In completely enticing prose, Simonds frames her research with a relocating account of her personal own knowing of the issues.

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The isolation I felt spending most of my time reading made me long for an immediate way to express my feminism in activism. I began at the clinic by learning how to do "contraceptive counseling" and then advanced to abortion counseling. My prescribed goal was to describe the abortion to each client; to make sure she was certain she wanted to have an abortion; to take her blood pressure, temperature, and pulse; and to guide her through the signing of various informed-consent formspreferably in under twenty minutes.

Ours was about growing breasts, pubic and armpit hair, and about menstruation. " I had seen breasted and pubichaired women in my father's Playboy magazines. None of these representations felt as though they had anything to do with me. I can't remember how menstruation was depicted in the film. I already knew all about puberty from my mother, who always told me well in advance about what might happen to my body. When we reconvened, everyone was all giggly and red-faced; we didn't tell the boys what was in our film, and they didn't tell us about theirs.

When I hung up the phone my hand was shaking. After the first couple of tests, I stopped feeling so anxious, and eventually I would not even worry when my period took two months to come. During my last year of college, I took a course called Psychology of Women, in which I remember an older woman discussing her past abortions with regret. She thought about how old her aborted "children" might be had she continued her pregnancies. And now that she had children of her own, she couldn't imagine having an abortion ever again.

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