- Articles of Faith A Frontline History of the Abortion Wars
Nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Articles of Faith is a powerful exploration of one of the most divisive issues in our recent political history, and the only book to portray the passion of both sides of the abortion conflict.
Drawing from more than five hundred interviews as well as previously unseen archival material, Cynthia Gorney has written a compelling narrative that explores the years between Roe v. Wade (1973) and William L. Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989), the first case to challenge the Roe decision before an anti-Roe court.
Meet Judith Widdicombe, the registered nurse who runs the abortion underground in 1960s St. Louis and then the first legal clinic after Roe v. Wade. And meet Samuel Lee, a young pacifist and would-be seminarian whose provocative abortion bill becomes the centerpiece of William L. Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. The Supreme Court case brings the two advocates head-to-head.
If you weren’t around in the years before the American Supreme Court legalized a woman’s right to choose abortion–in consultation, always, with her doctor–you may not understand how liberating the 1973 ruling was for women who wanted that choice, and how outrageously vile it seemed to people who believed abortion was murder, plain and simple. In the 25 years since, a battle royal has been fought in America, state by state. One side works feverishly to tie up abortion by any means possible; the other struggles to undo the knots. The combatants are bitter and entrenched, not above slinging mud and, sadly, much more violent acts. By anchoring Articles of Faith in Missouri and colorfully crafting it around a handful of people who fought hard for contradictory visions, journalist Cynthia Gorney forcefully illustrates the missionary zeal abortion inspires–even if her fluid prose occasionally bogs down in minutiae that’s mainly of interest to court watchers or those who were at the scene.