Nearly a half century ago, women with unwanted pregnancies would cross state lines seeking abortions that were legal in New York but banned in many other states across the country. Now new restrictions on abortion access are forcing women in several states to take similar measures and travel far from home to end pregnancies, health-care providers and supporters said. “We’ve had patients from Texas, from Georgia. We’ve had a patient from Alabama,” said Merle Hoffman, who runs Choices Women’s Medical Center, which provides abortions, in New York City.
When some members of the New York City Council heard about all the abortion restrictions being passed by other states, they wanted to do something. One Councilmember, Carlina Rivera, told the NY Times that many in NY felt “helpless.”
The act of abortion positions women at their most powerful, and that is why it is so strongly opposed by many in society. Historically viewed and conditioned to be passive, dependent creatures, and victims of biological circumstance, women assume the power over life and death with the choice of abortion—it is THEY who decide when and whether to bring new life into the world.
Statistics often put people to sleep. But any one of the new laws should be enough to cause waking nightmares for everyone concerned about women’s
March 8, 1908: Women demanded dignity and respect.
March 2019: So where are we today?
On March 8, 1908, many thousands of women garment workers poured out of New York City’s firetrap factories and demanded decent working and living conditions. Their bold action inspired March 8 to be celebrated all over the world. Some of the specifics of women’s lives may have changed since then, but their cry to be treated like human beings with dignity and respect, a cry for justice and freedom, is just as relevant and just as necessary today as then.
For decades, Merle Hoffman has taken great interest in the state of reproductive care in Russia. On her last trip, she brought a delegation from Choices, state-of-the-art abortion technology, and her profound concept of Patient Power. Years later, she is still encouraging women to embrace themselves as experts of their own experiences.