Abortion in 1966: Three Men Weigh in On Women’s Rights
Thursday, July 12, 2012 – 04:30 PM
Abortion was the topic of this 1966 broadcast of Main Currents, hosted by Lee Graham. Three panelists (all men) used the recent introduction of a bill that would “liberalize” existing abortion restrictions as a springboard for a wide-ranging discussion of the practice both in the United States and abroad, and for exploring the historical basis for such restrictions and what the future may hold.
There were no abortion opponents present. Indeed, the only opposition mentioned was the Roman Catholic Church, and even that institution, one of the participants assures, is “approaching a state of fluidity greater than what we’ve seen in previous years.” This sober, for the most part reasoned, conversation is striking in its contrast to the fanatic rhetoric to come.
The three panelists were Alfred Julien, a trial lawyer conversant with the abortion law and how the proposed bill (introduced by State Senator Percy Sutton) would change access to abortions; Dr. Robert Hall, an obstetrician; and Lawrence Lader, a journalist who would become well known as a crusader for women’s reproductive rights. Currently, Hall explains, a legal abortion can only be performed to preserve the life, but not the health, of the mother. This crucial distinction, he argues, “prevents us from practicing good medicine.” Julien, the lawyer, calls the present law “harsh and restrictive.” Lader, instead of focusing narrowly on the legal or medical aspects of the debate, sees abortion as a civil rights issue. He quotes Margaret Sanger, who said, “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body.”
Lader was a major voice in the abortion debate for four decades, becoming a lightning rod for its critics as well as a beacon for its proponents. He wrote influential books and articles on the subject, organized ministers to refer women wanting abortions to doctors as well as referring 2,000 himself, helped found what was long known as the National Abortion Rights Action League and helped win New York State’s repeal of abortion restrictions in 1970.
10:00– Keeping Birth Rate DOWN !
In Japan for ex, an easy abortion is their method of keeping the birthrate down…
The law is called the Eugenic Protection Act, the law was not passed as a birth control act.
the fact that in some places they have controlled populations is in fact inconsequential
ILLEGAL ABORTIONS: 11:40
Dr. Hall asked about 1 million illegal ab’s, moderator asks, how is that figure arrived at?
Kinsey Research Inst 11:40– which in surveying thousands of women found …explains illegal abortion reporting…we don’t know exactly how many illegal legal abortions are done of course we never will know for the reasons you say..8 or 10,000 a year…
“Difficult to know because the Kinsey Group is a little biased” – about 100 to one illegality
People who need abortions most Negroes, Puerto Ricans
15:00—Huge disparity between … particularly in NY City,people who need abortions most, the percentage of Puerto Ricans , Negros other minority groups who secure hospital abortions very minor…. I abject to the word Illegal abortion, we do not know what illegal abortion is …