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Author to tell history of abortion prior to 1973

Author Laura Kaplan will speak tonight on campus at 7 p.m. in the Kiva Lecture Hall about the controversial history of abortion prior to the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize it.

Kaplan, who wrote “The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service,” has worked as a midwife and an advocate for a nursing home residence and has also established a shelter in rural Wisconsin for domestic violence victims.

Shelli Rosenfeld, Student Special Events speakers director, described Kaplan as a “feminist and old hippie who’s coming to share her story with us.” Rosenfeld said Kaplan’s speech will focus mainly on the history of women’s choices about abortion and some of the practices and events that took place before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973 with its landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling.

She said Kaplan’s book is about an underground Chicago women’s health care center called Jane that women called when they needed to find someone to perform an abortion. Rosenfeld said Jane was supposed to recommend women to better places to avoid the “back alley butchers” that killed many women.

“These were supposed to be healthier and cleaner places,” Rosenfeld said. “But in essence, they probably weren’t.”

Rosenfeld stressed that the speech is not pro-choice or pro-life. She said she spoke to a representative of the College Republicans who expressed concern about the issue, but people should not think the event is to sway them to either side.

She said a question-and-answer session will be held after Kaplan has finished speaking and those who wish to address any special concerns can do so then.

Rosenfeld said this is one of the many events ASUNM’s Student Special Events is sponsoring to challenge people’s thoughts. She said the speakers have talked about history, but not things that one would normally find in history books.

She said people might not see Kaplan because they feel she will try to change their opinions, but they should just keep an open mind. Rosenfeld said that no matter how they feel, Kaplan will answer their questions.

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