Join Leslie Carol Botha when she interviews feminist activist Merle Hoffman, author of Intimate Wars – the Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room on Monday night, April 30 from 6 to 7 pm MST on KRFC FM, community radio in Fort Collins, CO.
For over four decades, Hoffman who has “never turned away from the harshest battles or denied the most painful truths,” has played a key role in defining and defending women’s human and reproductive rights.
Hoffman helped to found one of America’s first ambulatory abortion centers — the Flushing Women’s Medical Center (since renamed Choices). She is the co-founder of the National Abortion Federation (1976) and founder of the New York Pro-Choice Coalition (1985). In addition to continuing to serve as the CEO of Choices, now one of the nation’s largest women’s medical facilities, Hoffman is the publisher of On the Issues Magazine, an online feminist magazine of independent, critical thinking.
Hoffman began helping at the Flushing Women’s Medical Center (now Choices) in the spring of 1971, two years before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide. She considered many standard medical practices of the day sexist, invasive, and paternalistic.
In response, Hoffman developed many of the patient-centered tenets and practices that have since become standards of female and feminist healthcare, and implemented them at Flushing Women’s.Hoffman’s theory of ‘Patient Power’ led to such now-standard practices as having another staff member in the room with the doctor and patient at all times,having other women counselors rather than doctors provide emotional support and answer patients’ questions during abortions,and using patients’ abortion-based clinic visits as an opportunity to provide sexual health education as well as counseling on birth control options.Hoffman was also among the first to urge women to question their doctor about everything from their training and background to the reason for prescribing certain medications.
Her memoir, Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room, is a fascinating must-read for anyone interested in not only Hoffman’s inspiring life and her journey to abortion rights activism, but also a historical account of the anti-women movement still being waged today.