Abortion has been a topic before and is difficult to avoid in a course like this. Typically, you see the opposing sides battling it out, the “Pro-Choicers” accusing the “Pro-Lifers” of disregarding the rights of the woman and the “Pro-Lifers” rebounding with considering the “Pro-Choicers” to be neglecting a life. Something less seen, however, are advertisements for abortion, strictly outlining details from the clinics hours of operation all the way down to prices according to length of pregnancy. Well, apparently, the Emory Wheel in the early seventies was not afraid to share these details.
This could be a result of the political forecast at that time. One of the most famous court cases in recent American history, Roe v. Wade concluded that a person has the right to an abortion. The main stipulation regarding this decision was that the abortion could only take place before the point of viability, defining viable as being able to survive outside of the mother’s womb. This 1973 case was one of the largest rulings on the topic of abortion. It is understandable, then, how the way in which people within society spoke about abortion began to shift and evolve.
The ad in the Emory Wheel for T.L.C Abortion stated “Abortion is legal; Abortion is the right of women, DON’T WAIT…ACT NOW.” Clearly this seems to be a response fueled by the relief of the Roe v. Wade ruling. However, with such a blatant advertisement, its hard to ignore the fact that these people have been waiting for a while for the opportunity to broadcast this message. What, then, was the environment like before the ruling? If there were organizations and groups with these views just waiting to seize the chance, the social tension had to be nearly tangible.
But wait, in 1971, there was an even more seemingly controversial ad in the Emory Wheel. Wickersham Women’s Medical Center in October of 1971 listed the prices for an abortion according to how many weeks into term the woman was. It is 2012 and I did not even know how much an abortion would cost today. Yet , in 1971, here in the newspaper is a list outlining it as clear as day…and this is two years before the Roe v. Wade ruling
There were multiple organizations and groups in this era advertising and supporting abortion. The next page over from the Wickersham price list held a small box titled “Pregnant? Need Help?.” Surely this is an adoption agency suggesting that there is always a home for a child that a mother may not feel adequate to raise, right? Nope. According to this ad, “an early abortion is more simple and less costly, and can be performed on an out patient basis.” So why wait?
Perhaps the abortion discussion of previous decades has been underrated. Here we are today, still fighting over the matter and still speaking about it carefully. Yet in the seventies, you could check the price for an abortion at the same time you see where the best denim sales are.
I believe there could be a few different reasons to why we speak about it in more subtle manners now. First off, we can see from the recent elections that people will literally stop talking to each other over such controversial issues. We could potentially be living in a time where we as humans have learned that in order to maintain civility that we just do not speak about it (or if we do it is not as open). Secondly, there are so many laws out today, especially on advertising, it could just be difficult to construct such an ad nowadays. Third, I believe it is a reflection of increased technology. The ease to which a woman can receive an abortion is much simpler today. Nonetheless, all of the information you found in the ads about how much an abortion can be readily accessed through a quick Google search….below are a few links from my search.
My search yield that the abortion pill can range from $300-$800 . While at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s only remaining abortion clinic, a surgical abortion costs $405 if the pregnancy is in the first trimester, $495 at weeks 13-14, and $640 at weeks 15-16 . But in 2001 the Guttmacher Institute found that the average overall cost of an abortion in the United States was $468 .
Thanks for the extra research Team STI and great job commenting.
JSmit: Great job taking several artifacts you found in the archives and theorizing why such ads for abortions may have been more prevalent 40 years ago then they are today. Your post is accessible and sharp. Great job!
Jsmit: I can’t access your images here. At first I thought I couldn’t access them because I was on my laptop when I first read this but not I am in ECIT and I still can’t access them. Can you double check and make sure you uploaded them correctly? Thanks!