Journalism

“What was Abortion like in the 19th Century” Elle, October 22, 2014

In the 1800s, unmarried pregnant girls like Maria were in deep trouble. Religious ideas about sin held that a woman’s “virtue” was ruined if she had sex outside of marriage. Thus disgraced, a woman had few options if her “seducer” refused to marry her. Often she was banished…

 

Book Review: “The Birth of the Pill,” by Jonathan Eig Washington Post, August 14th, 2014

Crocodile dung, weasel bone, beaver testicles: These are just three of the unlikely ingredients humans have used in attempts to prevent pregnancy over the centuries…

 

Book Review: “In the Wolf’s Mouth,” by Adam Foulds

Look out your window now, at your ordinary street, your patch of lawn, and imagine soldiers — foreigners or fellow citizens — who want to kill you. Imagine yourself in a battle out by the barbecue grill with firing and dying going on. Meanwhile, the sun shines, the dog goes about its doggy day and there is still dinner to cook as the missiles drop…

 

“America’s Old and New Abortion Debate,” Q&A with Ron Charles Washington Post Style blog, August 1st, 2014

To understand what it was like for women in the late 19th century, all you have to do is read a few of the 250,000 desperate letters that mothers wrote to Margaret Sanger, the birth-control pioneer, asking for help to keep from getting pregnant…

 

Book Review: “What is Visible,” a novel by Kimberly Elkins Washington Post, June 26th, 2014

Laura Bridgman, one of the most celebrated women of her time, has been mostly lost to ours. Now, Kimberly Elkins’s wonderful novel salvages her story from the sunken wreckage of history and tells it anew in riveting, poignant detail…

 

“Fact in Fiction” Writers & Artists, UK, March 14, 2014

The strength of female characters resides not in their imperviousness, but in their indelible voices and stories.

 

“The Lost Slumgullions of English” New York Times, September 21, 2013

A “slumgullion” is a stew of leftovers, and while the dish has been described as “watery,” the word itself is delectably unusual and juicily descriptive. Alas, you won’t find many people cooking up anything with that name these days, so we’re denied the pleasure of rolling the lovely sounds of slumgullion — let alone its more questionable flavors — on the tongue…

 

“Leeches, Lye and Spanish Fly” New York Times, January 21, 2013

Women’s historical willingness to endure dangers… and pain tells us something important about female desperation and determination…

 

“Abortion Wars, the First Time Around” New York Times, June 5th, 2009

AT first glance, the recent killing of the abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in Kansas appears to be a modern phenomenon, the heinous byproduct of the politics of the last several decades. In fact, Dr. Tiller is just the latest in a line of brave people who have died for providing abortions. Perhaps the most infamous of these was a midwife named Ann Lohman, who killed herself in New York in 1878 after decades of harassment…

 

“How the media sensationalizes abortion” The Guardian, June 24, 2013

When Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was convicted in May of the murders of a woman and three babies, news reports focused on the grislier aspects of the case: the horrifically snipped spines of infants born in illegal, late-term abortions. Such details have emboldened anti-abortion forces, with many using news outlets to argue that all abortion is this ghoulish and deadly. “No matter what your stance on abortion, this case is telling people ‘this is what abortion is’,” said Peter Boyer, a Fox News editor…

 

“‘If Only We Knew Something…’ The Nineteenth Century Beginnings of Birth Control Advocacy” Pathfinder International, September 10th, 2013.

In 1839, ads began appearing in New York papers advertising “Female Pills,” which claimed to be an “infallible regulator of ******.” This medicine—also advertised as “French Lunar Pills,” or “Tablets for the Relief of Female Complaint”—was understood as something that would cause a miscarriage. The enormous popularity of such “remedies” was one of the first signs that birth control was widely desired by couples seeking to limit the size of their family, eagerly sought by women who did not wish to become or stay pregnant…

 

“Crossing the color line” Los Angeles Times, March 30th, 2003.

until recently, intimacy across the color line was a transgression…