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The Essential Ellen Willis$
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Ellen Willis and Nona Willis Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816681204

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Talk of the Town

Talk of the Town


(p.43) Talk of the Town
The Essential Ellen Willis

Nona Willis Aronowitz

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on the abortion hearing held by the New York State Legislature in 1969. State Assemblyman Albert H. Blumenthal introduced a bill that would reform the state’s eighty-six-year-old criminal-abortion statute, which permits an abortion only when the operation is necessary to preserve a pregnant woman’s life. The Blumenthal bill would amend “life” to “health,” and give relief to women who are physically or mentally unequipped to care for a child or who risk bearing a deformed child, to victims of rape and incest, and to the very young. A second bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Constance Cook, would repeal the abortion law entirely and make abortion available on the same basis as any other medical treatment. Whatever their ideological differences, feminists have put up a united front in opposing Blumenthal’s reforms—or any reforms—and demand total repeal. Three women were permitted to speak at the hearing. They talked about their experiences and demanded a public hearing that would be devoted entirely to the expert testimony of women.

Keywords:   abortion, New York State Legislature, Albert H. Blumenthal, women, Constance Cook, abortion law, feminists, public hearing, expert testimony

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