Fran Johns: Perilous Times Before and After Roe V Wade

My guest today on KOWS 107.3FM’s Wise Woman Storytime was activist, blogger, and author Fran Johns. Fran’s latest book, Perilous Times: An Inside Look at Abortion Before and After Roe V Wade was the focus of today’s show.

1973 was a turning point for women across this country.  Roe v Wade became the law of the land and women could now end their pregnancies in a medically safe environment with trained doctors and staff…….Pregnant women would no longer have to resort to dangerous methods and life threatening methods to self induce a pregnancy.  No longer would women have to pay exorbitant amounts of money and take solitary trips to foreign countries or blindfolded drives to darkened buildings or apartments in questionable or remote areas to have  this medical procedure performed in unsanitary conditions by untrained and often times unscrupulous people. 

It is estimated that before Roe v Wade became the law of the land, 1.2 million women resorted to an unsafe abortion each year. 

Today, 40 years later, in state after state, laws are being passed that are medically unnecessary and scientifically inaccurate in the name of “protecting” women or protecting the rights of the “unborn.” 

These laws are chipping away at making legal abortions unavailable to women-  particularly poor women and women who live in rural areas. And just like pre Roe v Wade,  women are once again  taking the matter into their own hands increasingly buying inducing abortion drugs on the internet and trying to end pregnancies on their own.

Safe abortion clinics are disappearing and the few that are still open for business, face a constant bombardment from hostile, angry protestors. Women and yes, men, seeking medical advice on contraception, testing and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, cancer screening and prevention,  women related health issues and the 3% seeking abortions are often bombarded with hostile protestors. The anti-choice movement has turned its attention to abortion doctors attempting to make it difficult for them to continue practicing.

Today’s show will introduce you to the realities and roadblocks many women face in 2015 when they  seek access to a safe and LEGAL abortion. You will hear Fran John’s very personal story of getting an illegal abortion in 1956 and you will see the painful parallels between pre Roe V Wade times and today.  Unless we can turn this tide around, we are going to be witnessing a resurgence of back alley and self induced abortions. Desperate women will find ways to abort – legally or not. 

We must remember that Roe V Wade was not the beginning of women having abortions.  Roe V Wade was the end of women dying from abortions. Pro choice and the right of women to legally have a safe abortion is as pro life as you can get.

Thank you, Fran Johns for sharing your personal story and the stories of women from the1940”s to modern times. We must NEVER forget what our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and aunts went through and we must find ways to help our peers, sisters and granddaughters so they may get the medical care they are entitled to by our constitution.

Young and old must read Perilous times. As George Santayana said,   Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

We cannot go back……..


By Roberta Teller