Untold Stories

by
 Dorothy Fadiman
When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories illuminates a largely undocumented era, from the end of the 19th century through the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973.  

This Academy Award-nominated film features compelling first person accounts, which reveal the physical, legal, and emotional consequences during the era when abortion was a criminal act. Until recently, the era of illegal abortion had been a “sealed chapter” in U.S. women’s history.

The aura of shame surrounding unwanted pregnancies and abortion before Roe v. Wade kept most women from ever admitting that they had had illegal abortions – an experience which many had faced, but about which few ever spoke.

Women suffering complications from back alley or self-induced abortions avoided admitting what they had done. As a result, many women died from untreated infections while some hemorrhaged to death. Candid interviews reveal the tragedies, as well as the courage and heroism of a shrouded time. This poignant oral history weaves together the untold stories of these women with the work of individuals who risked arrest in order to help them.

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