The guest speaker at the March GM will be Professor Wendy Savage, who will talk on “The practical politics of abortion law reform in the 1960s”.
Professor Savage, who is a member in Bunhill ward, read medicine at Cambridge and qualified in 1960. The first woman consultant to be appointed in obstetrics and gynaecology at The London Hospital, she was an elected member of the General Medical Council for more than 16 years. She is President of the pressure group Keep Our NHS Public and, since 1977, has been Press Officer for Doctors for a Woman’s Choice on Abortion.
She will talk about the campaign to legalise abortion, which began in 1935 when the British Medical Association – appalled by the high death rate from illegal abortion – called for reform of the law. In 1936, the Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRA) was founded by three feminists, including Dora Russell.
The tragic results of the drug thalidomide became obvious in 1962 and that, combined with evidence that illegal abortion had been the leading cause of maternal death in the 1950s, reinvigorated the ALRA. A campaign in the press and Parliament eventually culminated in 1967’s Abortion Act.
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