Abortion at work: ideology and practice in a feminist clinic by Wendy Simonds

By Wendy Simonds

How do feminist identification and abortion politics intersect? in particular, what does feminism suggest to girls operating to feminist wellbeing and fitness care and abortion prone within the past due Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties? What are the ideological outcomes and emotional tolls of doing such paintings in a antagonistic socio-cultural surroundings? Can feminism and forms coexist productively? How do feminists confront the anti-feminist competition, from anti-abortion protesters outdoor to racism inside feminist organizations?

These are the questions that force Wendy Simonds' Abortion at Work. Simonds records the methods in which staff at a feminist health center build compelling feminist visions, and in addition watch their beliefs fall brief in perform. Simonds translates those women's narratives to get at how abortion works on feminism, and to exhibit what feminism can achieve via rethinking abortion using those activists' phrases. In completely attractive prose, Simonds frames her research with a relocating account of her personal own realizing of the issues.

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No doubt this comfort was facilitated by the fact that it was not my workplace. Though I held women's hands during some abortions and made small talk with them, and "swooped" (cleaned) an occasional room between clients, I wasn't doing work that was visible to the staff when I was at the Center. And no doubt my popularity was, in part, a function of my availability as a listener when individual workers wanted to let off some steam. Center women often did vent their frustrations openly on the job, but, as someone who did not have competing complaints of my own, I may have offered a more welcome ear than co-workers did.

It was fun. I came to like the women and to feel welcome and comfortable in their workplace. No doubt this comfort was facilitated by the fact that it was not my workplace. Though I held women's hands during some abortions and made small talk with them, and "swooped" (cleaned) an occasional room between clients, I wasn't doing work that was visible to the staff when I was at the Center. And no doubt my popularity was, in part, a function of my availability as a listener when individual workers wanted to let off some steam.

A "value-free" interpretation of abortion may even slideperhaps unwittinglyinto endorsing the anti-feminist position. Celeste Condit slips over the edge, in my view; she writes: Even if we dismiss, at least for now, the pro-Life claim that a fetus is a person with a Right to Life, we should not dismiss the grounds they ["pro-Lifers"] offer us. . " . . The pro-Life argument forces us to face the real violence in abortion, and their truths are necessary to keep us morally responsible. (1990: 214-215) Similarly, Kathleen McDonnell suggests that feminists need not support abortion.

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