The World of Botched Abortions

Ward 41 of the old Cook County Hospital in Chicago was home to the department of “septic obstetrics,” which was code for the botched abortions women underwent in the 1960s. Between 1961 and 1965, doctors treated over 20,000 women after their illegal abortions. Their patients were desperate, and they had no other options.

Sixty years later, the U.S. Supreme Court has placed us in a new, horrific scenario. Medication abortion is available and safe, but people who seek and doctors who provide abortion care could be risking jail in some states. The court has turned this issue over to extremist state legislators who are increasingly removed from the voters’ will, representing districts drawn for their own political benefit. Women have lost control of their own uteruses to some politicians, who are attacking our freedom to vote and our reproductive freedom because all they care about is staying in power.

I fear that too many pregnant people will feel the same desperation and powerlessness the women in Ward 41 felt. We don’t need any modern horror stories. Protect the freedom to vote and the freedom to define our own path in life.