Photo Credit: Mr.TinDC

How Abortion Storytelling Was Born

January 22, 2016
(Photo Credit: MrTinDC)

In 1970, Emily Jane Goodman was a young attorney who got pulled into a landmark case challenging New York’s abortion ban.

The case, Abramowicz v. Lefkowitz, had an unusual legal team for the time (all women, many of them with only a few years of lawyering under their belts) and a radical premise: that the most important testimony came from women who experienced illegal abortions, lack of contraceptive access, and painful experiences with adoption or forced motherhood. Those attorneys, including Goodman, and those women telling their truths became the foremothers of the contemporary abortion story-sharing trend.

Now, more than 45 years later, Goodman is once again participating in a legal instance of abortion storytelling. Earlier this month, she was one of more than 100 women lawyers who filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief for an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court abortion case. The brief’s summary begins: “To the world, I am an attorney who had an abortion, and to myself, I am an attorney because I had an abortion.”


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