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News Link • Government

Our Bodies, Their Politics

•, BY Marilyn Katz

The first “women’s group” that I was involved in was not born out of feminist theory or organized by intellectual women on campus. Rather it was in 1966 in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, and its members were poor African-American moms on welfare and thirtysomething (looking 50) Appalachian women, newly arrived from Kentucky and West Virginia.

Not much older than me, many of the women in the group provided physical testament to the possible effects of multiple childbirths while young and poor. The work of the group ranged from food co-ops to welfare reform, from rent strikes to learning to read. The impetus for the group, however, was a clear-eyed view that welfare was a “women’s issue,” and the need – among the Appalachian women in particular – for protection and camaraderie in the face of their husbands’ explosive anger upon learning that “their” women were seeking information about birth control from government VISTA volunteers. Back then the outraged cry from men was not about “religious freedom,” but about male prerogative and the duties of women.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

Nice jingoism.  And I agree with it, but not in the way the left does.  To the left, this is an abortion platform.  To me this is an obvious truism:  Everyone owns themselves.  But the left would hardly agree to the elimination of taxation, eminent domain, RICO, arrest for malum prohibitum "crimes,"  and ignoring a government altogether if desired.  Neither would the right.  Do you own yourself?

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