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Houston Breakthrough 1976-10
Page 4
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Houston Breakthrough 1976-10 - Page 4. October 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 21, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3590/show/3573.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(October 1976). Houston Breakthrough 1976-10 - Page 4. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3590/show/3573

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough 1976-10 - Page 4, October 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 21, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3590/show/3573.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough 1976-10
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date October 1976
Description Vol. 1 No. 8
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 20 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 4
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_521d.jpg
Transcript attending an anti-abortion assembly sickness all da/ long By Karen Barrett Thin soup and Welsh rarebit at a table in the Emerald Room of the Shamrock Hilton. There were three male students from the University of St. Thomas, a University of Houston art instructor, a gynecologist who has her office in the Montrose area, and two high school girls. I chose to eat my lunch at this particular table because I was curious about the young women. I wondered about their youthful support of the anti- abortion movement. But the Of course, if married couples asked the dbctor to supply them with contraceptive methods, she admitted, she would discuss it with them. She realized after all, "only the most refined men arecapableof controlling it. . ." What was ft? I was still more intrigued, j Someone' asked if abortion had been a problem when she was j>oing jto medical school. Heavens, no! She'd never even heard of it back then. Not until after she had graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in 1952 and become a resident at a Boston hospital. finitely more shameful^nd unmentionable than a woman blinded by a roto-rooter abortion. [Dr. Kenneth Edelin was the Boston doctor who was recently convicted of manslaughter of a fetus.] Anyway, when this local gynecologist's unspeakable practices came to light, he was defrocked, well, he was asked to resign from his hospital-after all, you never lose your license, the physician told us. Here I remarked that I was frightened as a patient to think the apparent double suicide in a squalid apartment. The only truly significant feature of the case, however, was the revelation that both doctors had been barbiturate addicts for years, had been prone to bizarre behavior and had been allowed to treat thousands of women before any glimmerings of a possibility of disciplinary action had become evident. Everyone looked uncomfortable. I had thought I was making an earnest observation with which all these right- minded people would concur. But it seemed I had stolen the luncheon was short on such insight; both girls were shy and diffident. The doctor, a very vocal woman, proved to be the most fascinating person I encountered all day. The St. Thomas students, certainly the most wholesome youths I'd encountered in years, were deferential and ingenuous to the gynecologist. When one student asked her about her activity in the movement, she said without a trace of self- consciousness that it had all started when St. Joseph's Hospital set out to find "a White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant woman gynecologist" to give Pro-Life speeches around the city. She smiled sweetly at the Catholics at the table and said that as for the Protestant part, she didn't really feel, being a Baptist, she had ever exactly protested the Catholic faith. Although her own religion did not forbid contraception, she didn't think much of it. Her parents hadn't used contraception ever and had only had three children. Right away I was intrigued. But I bit my tongue to keep from asking unseemly questions about her parents' sex life. There was no need for population control, she said, what with all the floods and earthquakes and famines and wars and such which had controlled populations naturally since the dawn of time. The art teacher tentatively interposed that war wasn't exactly natural, but that didn't give anyone pause. Karen Barrett covered the Third Annual Texas Right to Life convention, September 10-12, in Houston, from the perspective of "a pregnant pro-abortionist/' "Then, of course, Massachusetts was d strongly Catholic state, contraception was totally illegal, and so I found myself cleaning up after hundreds and hundreds of criminal abortions." The doctor sailed on majestically, smoothing out any ripples her narrative might have caused. "Of course, you always hear about all those girls dying from kitchen-table abortions. But don't you believe it. They rarely do. I saw a girl just two years ago in Houston who'd had a man-he wasn't even a doctor, he was a plumber-squirt Phiso- hex into her uterus. Now, Phisohex gets into the bloodstream; it has a peculiar affinity for the optic nerve—that abortion caused her to go totally blind. But it didn't kill her." "Tell them about the suicide," said the art teacher. "Oh no, not while they're eating..." "Do tell us," I insisted (what after all could be more disturbing to our digestion than a uterus full of Phisohex?). It seemed there was a local gynecologist, a former classmate of hers and performer of numerous abortions, with whom the doctor had many times debated the issue in public. Well, it had lately come to light that this man was guilty of things like the Edelin case. "The who case?" I asked innocently. Everyone looked embarrassed. The art teacher whispered something about suffocating premature infants. It was obviously something in- that a doctor could be guilty of flagrantly unethical practices for so long without losing his/her license or being called to account, the Marcus brothers case being the classic example. Everyone looked blank, so I hastened to explain: Cyril and Stewart Marcus were a pair of twin doctors who both specialized in gynecology, and were regarded as fertility experts in New York. They made national headlines last year when they were found dead under lurid, mysterious circumstances. The yellow journalists made much of spotlight in order to mutter treason against the medical profession or against fertility experts or something. The doctor went back to her story: After his dismissal, her old school chum/adversary attempted suicide unsuccessfully, leaving a note addressed to her which said, ". . I love you; keep up the good fight. . ." She related how she had discussed the poor man at great length with his psychiatrist, who told her how guilty the other doctor had felt about aborting all those babies. This story was told with so much glee that I had to refrain from grinding another ax with respect to the medical establishment-the issue of confidentiality. What the hell business did that shrink have discussing his patient's guilts and fears with her, anyway? The population explosion was of no consequence to this gynecologist. "It's a new thing," she pronounced, " ... and, magine, they're trying to legislate the number of children a woman can have in India now. What if a woman likes large families and decides to have fifteen children? It's her decision, even if the neighbors are bothered by their noise or by toys in the yard. . ." "In India, it isn't so much a problem of toys in the yard," I interrupted. "Children are dying in the streets, daily!" She looked baleful. "Well even so, how can we claim to be a democratic country and then go tell them how many children to have?" "Oh, did we propose that legislation? I could have sworn it was the Indian government," I responded with just a touch of nastiness. The art teacher hastily pointed out that it was all highly academic-they are so disorganized over there that they can't even manage a census, she said. How can they hope to enforce population control? The mounting tension at the table was eased by the introduction of the speaker, Father Paul Marx, professor of theology at St. John's University in Minnesota and author of The Death Peddlers. One of the St. Thomas students murmured confidentially that he was glad we were going to get to hear one 3- CD n 7T </> O D of Father Marx's good, strong speeches in the privacy of the convention banquet hall, ". . the kind of stuff he wouldn't feel like he could get away with saying in public. . ." Marx proceeded, with some measure of eloquence and wit, to expose the synonymity of promiscuity, contraception, abortion and euthanasia. Abortion, he reiterated, was not just one issue, but all of the above and more. Abortion "reflects sex run rampant as it did in pre- Christian times. . ruins womanhood. . ruins sexuality. . . prostitutes both the legal and medical professions." Abortion was a symptom of recreational sex, which contributed to the increasing incidence of homosexuality, sex change operations, anal intercourse and oral intercourse (the crowd hushed at these abominations!) There were many quaint and curious contradictions. The chauvinistic (make that good, old-fashioned nationalistic chauvinism) notion that we weren't producing enough children to replace ourselves, that we might someday soon be reduced to doing what the Swiss and numerous other European countries were doing-hiring, gasp, foreign workers. The specter of our race dying out was constantly juxtaposed with the notion of thoughtless extermination of the old, discarded by the young. I kept wondering, if the average national age was indeed rising yearly due to an insufficient birth rate, why this majority of the elderly would sit back and allow itself to be exterminated?