Records of the Society for Humane Abortion, 1962-1979 (inclusive) 1963-1975 (bulk)
- Majority of material found within 1963-1975
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
3.55 linear feet ((8+1/2 file boxes) plus 6 audiotapes, part of reel of microfilm (M-100) 1 oversize folder)
The bulk of the collection was generated by Patricia Maginnis' Association to Repeal Abortion Laws activities. There is some material from her abortion classes, but most of the papers concern abortion specialists; these papers include several versions of the specialist kit and correspondence between Association to Repeal Abortion Laws and either other referral agencies or individual specialists.
One half of the entire Society for Humane Abortion/Association to Repeal Abortion Laws collection consists of requests for information about abortion specialists from or on behalf of pregnant women and evaluations of the abortion experience, which are useful for their candid and personal views on the subject of abortion. Because of the sensitive nature of these papers, names, street addresses and telephone numbers have been removed. The specialists and their assistants have each been given a number; the same number is used wherever a name appears: on kits, lists, correspondence, and evaluations. All requests and evaluations have been filed separately in chronological order to give a clearer indication of the number of people who contacted Association to Repeal Abortion Laws in a given period. In a visit to the Schlesinger Library in April of 1979, Patricia Maginnis said that space limitations had forced her to discard even more requests and evaluations than she was able to keep. This collection should therefore be considered a sample of the material generated by Society for Humane Abortion/Association to Repeal Abortion Laws from 1965 to 1975.
Audiotapes of a 1964 panel discussion on abortion, a speech given by Patricia Maginnis in 1965, and the 1966 Conference on Abortion and Human Rights are shelved as T-37.
For further information about Patricia Maginnis and Society for Humane Abortion/Association to Repeal Abortion Laws, see the oral interview with Patricia Maginnis conducted by Dr. Jeannette Cheek for the Schlesinger-Rockefeller Oral History Project in November 1975.
Society for Humane Abortion was incorporated in California as a non-profit educational organization in 1965. Its members endorsed "elective abortion," believing that every woman seeking an abortion is entitled to proper medical care without harassment; Society for Humane Abortion supported the repeal, rather than the reform, of all abortion laws. The Society sought to educate the public by sponsoring symposia on abortion procedures for physicians; providing speakers and literature to libraries, medical schools, physicians, family planning agencies, and individuals; and publishing a quarterly newsletter. In 1968 and 1968, Society for Humane Abortion maintained a free Post-Abortion Care Center (PACC), which was sponsored by the American Humanist Association. Society for Humane Abortion disbanded in 1975, two years after the Supreme Court voided California's 1963 "Humane Abortion Act."
In order to safeguard Society for Humane Abortion's tax-free educational status, Patricia Maginnis set up a parallel organization, the Association to Repeal Abortion Laws (ARAL), in 1966 to carry on underground activities: making referrals to abortion specialists; preparing and disseminating printed material about specialists and about self-induced abortion; and holding classes on abortion-related laws, Mexican abortion specialists, and self-induced abortion techniques. For a small donation, pregnant women received a kit prepared by Association to Repeal Abortion Laws containing annotated lists of abortion specialists in Mexico, Japan, Puerto Rico, and other countries, instructions for going through customs, an evaluation form to be returned to Association to Repeal Abortion Laws after completion of the abortion, summaries of laws, and directions for self-induced abortion. The evaluations were used to update the list, and many specialists were visited by a member of Association to Repeal Abortion Laws before they were listed.
- I. SOCIETY FOR HUMANE ABORTION. 1-61.
- ___A. Organizational Records. 1-7.
- ___B. Office Files. 8-61.
- II. ASSOCIATION TO REPEAL ABORTION LAWS. 62-181.
- ___A. Office Files. 62-64.
- ___B. Classes. 65-67.
- ___C. Abortion Specialists. 68-181.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The records of the Society for Humane Abortion/Association to Repeal Abortion Laws were given to the Schlesinger Library in 1976, December 1977, and February 1978 by Patricia Maginnis and Lana Clarke Phelan.
- Box 1: 1-21
- Box 2: 22-23, 25-38
- Box 3: 39-61
- Box 4: 62-63, 65-66, 68-82
- Box 5: 83-91, 93-106
- Box 6: 107-129
- Box 7: 130-147
- Box 8: 148-169
- Box 9: 170-181
By: Zephorene L. Stickney
- Abortion counseling
- Abortion--Law and legislation
- Abortion--New York (State)
- Abortion--Religious aspects
- Association to Repeal Abortion Laws
- Gurner, Rowena
- Maginnis, Patricia Therese
- Phelan, Lana Clarke
- Pregnancy, Unwanted
- Women--Health and hygiene
- Society for Humane Abortion. Records of the Society for Humane Abortion, 1962-1979 (inclusive), 1963-1975 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- The papers were processed under grant number 79-4 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
- EAD ID
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