Past Event

Lecture: 'Prescribing Reproduction: Abortion, Female Monthly Pills and Tacit Acceptance in the late 19th Century'

This lecture will be presented by Jeannie Ludlow, coordinator of women’s studies at EIU.

The late 19th century saw great changes in women’s real-life experiences with birth control and abortion. While the American Medical Association worked toward medicalization of women’s reproductive options and criminalization of abortion, many practitioners — both lay and professional — continued to help women realize their own reproductive decisions. This presentation will look at the political, medical and social contexts of women’s reproductivity, as well as the practices of birth control and abortion during Gilmans adulthood.

Jeannie Ludlow is associate professor of English and coordinator of Women’s Studies at Eastern Illinois University and a former abortion care worker. Her publications include “Sometimes, It’s a Child and a Choice: Toward an Embodied Abortion Praxis” in the National Women Studies Association Journal and “Love and Goodness: Toward a New Abortion Politics” in Feminist Studies. Her research focuses on discourses of abortion and reproductive justice activism in the U.S. Ludlow is also secretary of the board of the Abortion Conversation Project and a member of the Abortion Care Network. She has a Ph.D. in American culture studies from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

This event is part of the exhibit “Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper'” that Booth Library will host from Sept. 23-Nov. 2.

More about the Exhibit
The exhibit examines a 19th-century writer’s challenge to the medical profession and the relationship between science and society. Artist and writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who was discouraged from pursuing a career to preserve her health, rejected the ideas in a terrifying short story titled ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper.’

The famous tale served as an indictment of the medical profession and the social conventions restricting women’s professional and creative opportunities.

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