Veteran activists say the overthrow of Roe v Wade would...Read More
“The act of choosing whether or not to have a child is often an act of love, and always an act of survival.” – Merle Hoffman
Merle Hoffman is an internationally known leader in the struggle for women’s rights, a healthcare pioneer, founder of women’s health, political, and reproductive rights organizations and a prize-winning writer and publisher. Her work spans 50 years and continues today, proving to be more essential and relevant than ever in the ongoing fight for women’s human rights, including the ability to make their own reproductive choices.
“As long as women’s sexuality and reproductive capacities are controlled and defined by men either as lovers, husbands, doctors, legislators, or judges, ‘women’s health’ will remain an oxymoron..” – Merle Hoffman
Nearly 50 years since Roe vs. Wade became the law of the land, legislators in many states are trying to overturn it, and the U.S. Supreme Court itself is sending ominous signals that it may overthrow it completely.
The years of the pandemic have made us all understand the importance of resilience and empathy toward others, particularly the health care workers who have been on the front lines of service for all this time. Now we must focus our strength and commitment to the battle for women’s very humanity, expressed through the fundamental right to make her own decisions about childbearing and what her own life will be. Through all of this struggle and challenge, we must continue to keep our eyes and actions focused on bringing the future into being. A future where women are full moral agents and are free to make choices they and their families need without coercion or fear.
“Everyday we bear witness to each women’s knowledge of holding the profound power to decide whether or not to allow the life within her to come to term. The sharing of those moments makes abortion work sacred.” – Merle Hoffman
The papers of Merle Hoffman span the years from about 1944 to 2001, with most of the papers dating between 1961 and 2001. The collection is arranged in the following series: Choices, On the Issues, Personal Files, Photographic Materials, and Audiovisual Materials. The bulk of the materials consist of the records of Choices Women’s Medical Center, a New York City women’s health clinic and abortion clinic co-founded by Hoffman in 1971, and the organizational records for On the Issues, a feminist magazine owned by Choices and overseen by Hoffman. The remainder of the collection consists of Hoffman’s personal papers, mostly related to her pro-choice activism.
In addition to her pro-choice activities, Merle Hoffman has been a vocal proponent of patient self-empowerment; an active supporter of various political candidates in New York City; and a feminist activist. The collection reflects these interests to varying degrees. The records of On the Issues magazine are especially useful as a source of writings on a broad range of feminist and other issues.
To access the collection, visit:
Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History & Culture
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