abortions in dc before roe v. wade
happy anniversary, Roe v. Wade!!!
What did women do in DC before Roe v. Wade?
According to an article in the New York Times, the DC abortion law, "which dated to 1901, differed from most others in permitting abortions necessary to preserve a pregnant woman's life or health. Most other jurisdictions at that time had prohibitions with life-saving expectations but did not mention health."
Apparently, "health" was an opening that enabled the possibility of legal abortions but it also "subjected doctors to criminal prosecution without providing sufficient guidance on what the "health" exception meant."
One doctor who continually pushed the interpretation was Dr. Milan Viutch (born in Serbia and immigrated to the U.S. in 1955), who provided abortions for women in DC (MD & VA). He was arrested more than a dozen times for doing so. "In 1969, he responded to one arrest by challenging the constitutionality [of the 1901 law]." A judge in the Federal District Court agreed with Vuitch but the judge's decision was overturned in the Supreme Court decision, United States v. Vuitch, in April 1971.
Who were the women involved in abortion rights in 1968?
I know that NOW created a 1968 Bill of Rights, which included "the right of women to control their own reproductive lives by removing from penal codes the laws limiting access to contraceptive information and devices from laws governing abortion."
Who were the women organizing to change the abortion law in DC?
Please comment below or share information here.
Photo source: Evening Star newspaper, 15 July 1968, p. 1. [Note: the Evening Star and Washington Post digital archives can be accessed for free with a DC library card.]