Remembering the Decades-Long Abortion Fight You Weren’t Alive to Witness
These women demanded a voice, and the force of their impact is perhaps best illustrated through this one example of a representative who spoke up. Let’s consider the case of Michigan State Senator Lorraine Beebe, who in 1969 did something we now might consider a relatively commonplace heartwarming viral moment:
Michigan’s only woman state Senator stood brushing tears from her face today while her male colleagues applauded after she told of her own abortion in a dramatic but futile attempt to win passage of legislation liberalizing the state’s 100-year-old abortion statute.
“Can you say, ‘I am pregnant’ and be desperate about it? You don’t know what it’s all about,” Senator N. Lorraine Beebe, a Republican of Dearborn, who is the mother of two children, said:
“You do not have the right to impose your morals or religious convictions on us,” said Mrs. Beebe in reply to critics’ statements that abortion was tantamount to murder and a denial of the unborn child’s civil rights. “We have religious freedom in this country.”
“I am a woman who had a therapeutic abortion in a Catholic hospital,” Mrs. Beebe told a silent audience. “And don’t think I didn’t come face to face with my conscience. But I never, never would have had the opportunity to have children if I didn’t have this.”
According to the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, Beebe’s speech “marked the end of [her] political career. Defeated for re-election in 1970, her family was threatened, her house was fire-bombed, and her tires were slashed.”