A 1992 documentary that includes testimonies from women and doctors skirting abortion laws before the Roe v. Wade ruling highlights the horrific reality that women who needed or requested abortions faced. You won’t believe what trying to save your life could lead to. These are their stories.
Lana explains that after birthing her first child, the doctor told her that another pregnancy would probably kill her. Birth control was not very advanced at the time, but to use it at all was seen as immoral. Lana became pregnant shortly after the birth of her first because she didn’t know how to avoid pregnancy when she was married. She feared that she wouldn’t be around to raise her first child, and she found an abortionist for $50. The woman who dwelled in a shack put a piece of bark in her uterus saying that it would swell and cause a miscarriage. Lana had a high fever for days, and the abortionist told her, “Did you think that it was so easy to be a woman?” Lana states that she’ll “never forget the kindness of that woman, even under those terrible circumstances.” When Lana went back to her doctor and told him that she had “done something,” he said that he figured a smart kid like her would figure something out. Lana says, “How could he? This was a man trained and licensed, and he turned me away. I had to find someone to do this, and it was to save my very own life.”
Rosalie was impregnated at a young age. Her family decided to get her an abortion and took her to a small motel where a female abortionist was waiting. The woman punctured her cervix and told her that it was done. The pregnancy didn’t end, and she was bleeding heavily and had an infection. A doctor finally gave her meds to induce abortion, but she had to take them at home so that no one could trace it back to him. He wanted to continue secretly helping women.
Rosalie was raped at 17 and became pregnant again. She refused to have another abortion so she was sent to a home for unwed mothers. She was forced to give the baby up for adoption.