Letters From Women Pleading for Abortion, Sent in 1917, Mirror Emails Sent Today
In the early 1900s, desperate American women wrote letters to the founder of Planned Parenthood begging for help with unwanted pregnancies. A century later, they’re sending eerily similar messages to an international abortion-by-mail service.
“I’m in the family way again, and I’m nearly crazy, for when my husband finds out that I’m going to have another baby, he will beat the life out of me… Please write to me and help me.”
“I am in need of help desperately. I am pregnant and cannot have this baby. My husband is very abusive and did it on purpose because I want to leave. I need help… Please help me.”
Both of these pleas come from American women—both of them pregnant against their will, with few options, and fearing for their lives and safety. The first was written in 1917 and published in Birth Control Review, a twentieth-century magazine devoted to extolling the virtues of contraception. The second was written almost a full century later. It’s one of countless frantic emails sent by American women to Women on Web, an abortion-by-mail service located in the Netherlands.