Friday, July 9, 2010

In the days before Roe v. Wade; a mother's self abortion with a knitting needle during the Depression



In the 1930's, during the Great Depression, a young woman, the mother of three (3) children, was putting her children to sleep hungry every night.

The pain she felt in her heart was great.

Her husband was unable to find or keep any kind of job with a living wage, and there simply was not enough money for food.

So the family, including the children, were in constant hunger.

Due to poor family planning, she became pregnant.

Unable to bear the thought of bringing yet another child into the world to live in hunger, and the thought of her three children having even less to eat, and being a poor person unable to secure a safe medical abortion -- she took a knitting needle and aborted herself with it.

She could well have killed herself doing that, leaving all her children as orphans.

That was the kind of risk people had to take in those days, before Roe v. Wade. People with money could and did get safe medical abortions, poor people had to fend for themselves.

Eventually times got better, her children grew up, she became a grandmother and great grandmother and lived to attend bar and bas mitzvahs of some of her great grand children, and died at a very old age.

She was at the epicenter of a large and growing family, and gave much to many people, both in and outside of her family, even raising some children who were not her own.

She was the kind of person who attended funerals of people she did not know, if the deceased did not have large families to remember them.

I know about this lady, because she was my paternal grandmother, the mother of my father, who was one of the children who went to bed hungry every night.