". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The History of Women's Reproductive Health and Control in the U.S.

Is bloody as a Civil War battlefield, though not every victim died. However uncounted millions did die, in prolonged bloody agony from lack of contraception, too many pregnancies, too early pregnancies, too late pregnancies, and from the unsanitary practices of male doctors who had seized the lucrative childbed from midwives for their own.* Many victims died of 'shame,' socially and economically, along with their children, after being coerced by their employers to providing them sexual services along with doing scullery duties, scrubbing floors and emptying chamber pots and laundering their dirty clothes. Many died socially and economically because their brothers, cousins, fathers, uncles, grand-dads, neighbors, friends of the family coerced or seduced them. We will not even mention the emotional trauma.

Second wave feminists know this history as a matter of course. Third and fourth generation feminism often does not.

Here's a bit of it, in today's NY Times, featuring as villain, of course, that constant warrior against anything that hinted of sexual activity, and particularly anything that would interfere with women's god-ordained destiny to be pregnant until she died of it, Anthony Comstock. Our Heroine is the great predecessor to Margaret Sanger, Ann Lohman, who called herself Madame Restell. Comstock hounded her to death.

*The male physicians even made it illegal for anyone but themselves to purchase or acquire forceps.

Abortion Wars, the First Time Around

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