Sunday, April 06, 2008

Murder and Serial Infanticide Were More Acceptable Than Women Owning Their Bodies by Anthony McCarthy

Our local paper has a 25-year's ago article about the case of likely serial infanticide and possibly the death of a public health nurse from the 1950s, the topic of this post from two years ago. It contains some more information giving a picture in what this country was really like in the period before Roe and when effective birth control was either illegal or unavailable.

Aside from the picture it gives of the hypocrisy of the time, including the real possibility of political corruption, you might read it with an eye to the consequences in womens lives and their ability to have a job.

Boyle interviewed Osgood in June of 1983. Osgood supervised Thomas from June 11, 1952 to Sept. 11, 1953. Osgood told Boyle he remembered "Shirley (Thomas) being pregnant on two occasions. On the second time, (Osgood) questioned her about it, and she stated she had a water tumor. She would leave work appearing pregnant and would come back in a few days not appearing pregnant."

When Walter Osgood suggested Thomas get a physical, she refused and left G.E.

Osgood's recollections to Boyle were corroborated by statements made by a G.E. nurse that same June. The nurse had worked at G.E. at the time of Thomas' employment.

Another employee named Muriel Gesis told Boyle she recalled Thomas being pregnant at least four times. Gesis said Thomas took few enough days off that she would not have to take a physical before returning to work. Contrary to company policy, she always worked to full term, angering other working women who followed the rules and left after their first trimester

The consequences of women not being able to control their bodies go a lot farther than being able to choose to have an abortion. This story shows the real risks that will come with the overturning of Roe, it tells us the real cost of abortion being dangerous and illegal, of contraception being prohibited. So many aspects of women's ownership of their lives are at stake with the prospect of abortion and birth control being illegal or unavailable.