On February 13th, 1969, New York’s legislature held a hearing on the matter of abortion reform. Under what conditions would abortion be permitted, if any? Fifteen witnesses were called to help answer this question: fourteen of them were men; the fifteenth was a nun. Then, young radical feminists, the “real experts” broke in, and seized control of the conversation. These women testified to their own experiences with abortion and called for the repeal of all laws.
At last month’s birth control coverage hearing, the Senate’s row of white male contraception experts didn’t even bother with a nun. Representative Darrell Issa turned law student Sandra Fluke away on the grounds she was unqualified to speak about the subject at hand, which was not contraception or reproductive health but, as one male speaker after another agreed, “religious freedom.”
The time has come to take back control of the conversation and foreground women. The present is unacceptable; so let’s make it impossible. We can begin by reclaiming our radical past, by learning from the women whose voices forever changed the tone of the dialogue about abortion in the United States, and from the activists, artists, and health care providers who have kept up that tune even when others tried to drown it out.
Keynote panels at Urgent! will feature veteran radical feminists and pioneer abortion activist Rosalyn Baxandall; abortion activist and provider Merle Hoffman, founder of Choices; Lynn Paltrow, founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women; Miriam Perez, aka Radical Doula; Loretta Ross, co-founder of SisterSong; Alix Kates Shulman; Barbara Winslow; and Nona Willis Aronowitz.
Scheduled breakout sessions include a conversation with The Doula Project, a workshop on manual aspiration abortion led by the Reproductive Health Access Project, film screenings, skill shares, and much more!
Saturday, March 17th
The New School // 66 West 12th Street
10 AM – 6 PM sponsored by the New School’s Gender Studies Program
Produced by the I Had an Abortion Project/Soapbox Inc. and the n+1 Research Collective //
All Urgent! events are free and open to the public; advance registration is encouraged (although not required).