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The Worst of Times: Illegal Abortion : Survivors, Practitioners, Coroners, Cops and Children of Women Who Died Talk About Its Horrors
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The Worst of Times: Illegal Abortion : Survivors, Practitioners, Coroners, Cops and Children of Women Who Died Talk About Its Horrors

4.47  ·  Rating Details ·  49 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Laura: "My whole body was twitching. I remember thinking, At nineteen, this linoleum is the last thing I'm ever going to see, because I'm dying." Marilyn: "Let me tell you about my pretty, wonderful, talented mother. She died from an illegal abortion when she was thirty-four and I was six." Bruce: "I really don't remember much about the first illegal abortion I did, becaus ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published February 2nd 1993 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1993)
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Laura Elliott Monroe
Jan 29, 2012 Laura Elliott Monroe rated it it was amazing
An absolute MUST READ for those who are concerned about women's reproductive rights and how they affect anyone who cares about women.
Apr 01, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, health, race
A powerful collection of interviews of people who dealt with abortion while it was illegal in the US, from doctors who remember wards full of septic cases dying every day, to people who provided abortions to desperate women, to the police who prosecuted them. In addition, there's a short but comprehensive overview of the history of abortion in the US and basic morbidity and mortality statistics associated with abortion. I felt that Miller took an even-handed, un-biased approach to her interviews ...more
A very chilling read, but not nearly as grisly as I expected based on the jacket copy. This is an oral history of life before "Roe vs. Wade," as seen by women who needed abortions, by the men who may or may not have loved them, by the doctors who turned down their pleas for help, by the abortionists themselves and by the police who hunted them down.
Jul 20, 2009 Kess rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-studies
This book discusses the experience of different stakeholders in the abortion discussion prior to the passing of Roe v. Wade. I strongly recommend this book to people who are actively considering the abortion issue. It provides a personal and powerful account of the pain illegal abortions can bring and the universal relief sought by women seeking abortion.
Great oral history of the pre-Roe days that illustrates what happens when abortion is illegal. Spoiler alert: women die (or get sick or shamed). Banning abortion doesn't stop abortion - it drives abortion underground, and illegal abortions tend to be dangerous and unsafe. (And thus is the label "pro-life" horrifically ironic. If you hear anyone talk about making abortion illegal or inaccessible, don't be civil with them.)

here's a quote from a doctor remembering a patient who died in 1948/49:

Nov 19, 2008 Katie_marie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women
Patricia Miller makes her case solidly in this book. Through a series of interviews with women who had abortions before it became legal, with underground 'abortionists' and investigators she creates a scary image of what would happen if women lost the right to control their reproduction. The stories of the women are heartbreaking; each one of them desperate and risking their lives, some of them dying, by trusting anyone who would help them. One theme that was almost entirely missing from the acc ...more
Feb 14, 2015 Diane rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book about the realities of illegal abortion. It includes many of the stories which society as a whole would just like to forget, and presents real people talking about their dilemma and their choices, as well as the ramifications of those choices. Abortion is not a cut and dry issue. This makes that statement a real with its portrayals of real people, real situations, real consequences.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
The author is a Pittsburgh resident, and so much but not all of this book presents stories of illegal abortion from the Western Pennsylvania area. The author consulted various officers of the law, people who performed abortions, and women who sought illegal abortions (and their survivors), so I would say that it is probably a fairly balanced portrayal. (This came out of the free books pile.)
Jerra Runnels
Jan 08, 2017 Jerra Runnels rated it it was amazing
These stories are so powerful and sad. It gives the reader the sense of desperation women felt, who would go to great lengths to control their own body. Roe v. Wade has helped save so many women's lives. We can not go back to these days!
May 14, 2008 Stacy rated it it was amazing
I wish every member of the house, senate, and supreme court had read this book ... Haunting and immediate, even now, a decade after it was written.
Nov 26, 2012 Fay rated it liked it
Very well researched but too repetitive.
Oct 23, 2008 B rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
363.46 Explicit accounts of abortions by desperate women before abortions became legal. This kind of information is generally not out there so it's eye-opening.
May 14, 2014 Gillian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, feminist
A harrowing read and necessary read. Few people understand the horrible reality of a country where women were denied safe, legal abortions.
Dec 08, 2008 Angela rated it it was amazing
A phenominal book that chronicles viewpoints of a variety of people who where impacted by the difficult era before abortion was legalized.
Mar 18, 2012 Kara rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I'm not saying this book is going to change anyone's mind, because nothing seems to change people's minds on the issue of abortion, but it's an important book anyway.
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