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International Socialist Review, Winter 1963


Martha Curti

“A Hatred of Women”


From International Socialist Review, Vol.24 No.1, Winter 1963, p.27.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The Abortionist
by Dr. X as told to Lucy Freeman
Garden City, New York. Doubleday & Company. $3.95.

When it comes to the cruelty of society to individuals, there are millions of examples. Of these, the topic of abortion provides some of the best. To cite the most obvious, the refusal of the law to grant abortions when the baby will doubtless be deformed (as if life weren’t tough enough already for healthy children); or to terminate pregnancies caused by rape – can be regarded as nothing but the survival of medieval torture.

Dr. X’s attitude toward this is revealing:

“Society’s present attitude toward abortion stems from hatred, a hatred of women. Why else would it force them to submit to such terror and degradation in the seeking of an abortion ...? Society wants to punish these women, not help them to become better mothers someday. Society is afraid to look sanely at sexual problems.”


“Significantly, it is men who make our abortion laws. If women had a voice in shaping them, we would assuredly see quite different words on the statute books, if, indeed, there would be any laws at all restricting abortion.”

Unfortunately, Dr. X is a rare man. Possessed of a keen sense of social justice, a sensitive understanding of human beings, and a high quality of medical skill, he has devoted his life to the dangerous practice of abortion. After several narrow escapes from the police, Dr. X was finally caught and spent four years in prison, after which he reestablished himself in practice.

The dozens of case histories in this book provide such a panorama of humanity – of cruelty, pathos, misery, betrayal, on the one hand; and courage and compassion, on the other – that one might almost be inclined to suspect their veracity, except that Lucy Freeman is known to be a writer of integrity. A summary of existing abortion laws in this and other countries, and a chapter entitled, The Facts of Life, Abortionwise, in addition to the story of Dr. X’s personal development, combine to make this a most worthwhile book.

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