Remembering an Abortion Rights Activist Who Spurned the Spotlight

Remembering an Abortion Rights Activist Who Spurned the Spotlight
Remembering an Abortion Rights Activist Who Spurned the Spotlight

Remembering an Abortion Rights Activist Who Spurned the Spotlight

Patricia Maginnis, who was 93 when she died on August 30, may have been the first person to publicly call for abortion to be completely decriminalized in America. Despite her insistence on direct action on abortion-rights at a time when many were uncomfortable even saying the word “abortion,” Maginnis is not a bold letter name of the movement. That may be because she didn’t seek the limelight and she cared more for action then self-presentation.

Guests include Lili Loofborow, who profiled Maginnis for Slate; Professor Leslie J. Regan, who wrote the book When Abortion Was a Crime; and the artist Andrea Bowers whose video piece, Letters to An Army of Three recreated the messages people would send Maginnis when they were desperate to access abortion services.

Special thanks to the Schlesinger Library, where the 1975 oral history of Pat Maginnis is housed.

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