Monday, May 19, 2008

Harvey Karman, developer of a certain soft, flexible tube

There is so much to say around the experiences of women exercising our right to decide and direct what happens to our own bodies after an evening of misjudgement, contraceptive failure, or rape. It's an issue that's close to my heart and the topic of the middle section of my poetry thesis. I think that poetry is the best genre for such discussions because poetry is a such a good form for nuance and ambivalence.

This morning I read an obituary of a psychologist who helped many women out of their difficult situations. I particularly appreciate this article because it paints his activities as humanitarian, which they were. It reads, in part:

"He became interested in abortion when he was conducting research at UCLA on the emotional aspects of therapeutic abortion. During this time a student with an unplanned pregnancy committed suicide and another died from a botched abortion. Karman responded by helping women obtain illegal abortions in Mexico. Unhappy with the high prices and poor care some of the women received, he began performing abortions himself."

Here's a link to the full article.


  1. I remember the time before abortion was legal. And then, all of a sudden, it was. The problem with that is, all of a sudden, it might not again.

  2. Do you know what he did to those rape victims in Bangladesh during his "humanitarian" visit? He stuck them full of plastic springs and balsa wood. Yup. Model airplane parts. He left them with pieces of wood and plastic stuck in their uterine walls. He left them with hemorrhage and infection. God only knows how many of them were sent back to their villages to die for want of aftercare.

    He also killed Joyce Johnson in 1955, right home in California, when he got it into his head that a NUTCRACKER would make a good abortion instrument.

    He treated women like lab rats. He injured them. He killed at least one. But he's a hero, an icon. Why? Because of his unbridled enthusiasm for abortion. That's all it takes for some people. Kill babies and you're a hero, even if you injure and kill the mothers as well.

    Then they have the gall to claim that it's all about the well-being of women.