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After the operation it was confirmed...
August 26, 2006 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Sherri Finkbine --as reported by BBC News, on this day in 1962 (video clip too)--her travails and travels, the law, publicity, and what happened afterwards. (more here from American Prospect in 05: ...A Gallup Poll taken that year showed that the majority of Americans supported Finkbine, and her case was a turning point ...)
posted by amberglow (16 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, I had never heard of the Finkbine case, thanks for the post. A buddy of mine recently reminded me that abortion is no longer legal in all 50 states.
posted by toma at 3:57 PM on August 26, 2006


A buddy from South Dakota, that is...
posted by toma at 3:58 PM on August 26, 2006


After the operation it was confirmed that the foetus had no legs and only one arm.

It looks like very little has changed since 1962. They'd rather see a deformed baby born than the mother have an abortion.
posted by mike3k at 4:46 PM on August 26, 2006


SHERRI: 01:53:40 When we came back from Sweden// 01:43:08 then we heard// 01:43:15:13 that somebody else was now doing Romper Room, and they would keep her on doing it. I was told--and I remember the words exactly—that they felt I was unfit to handle children.//01:53: 42:26 We had received so many death threats that the FBI was called. //01:53:50:26 They came because we had two children who went to school; it was only about a half a block away, but, there were these big FBI agents who would take these little kids and walk them to school// 01:54:05:18 because//01:54:06:26 people threatened to cut off the arms and legs of my existing children.
...from this partial transcript of When Abortion Was Illegal.


From the Back Alleys to the Supreme Court & Beyond has audio links to this and other programs that talk about what it used to be like. Chilling stuff to listen to. Thanks for the post, amberglow. There are a lot of women then and now who could get on a plane if desperate enough. The young and the poor are increasingly being denied options.

For those who haven't see it, Frontline's excellent The Last Abortion Clinic is viewable online.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:33 PM on August 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Very interesting, I hadn't heard this story before. Thanks madamjujujive for you additional links, they made this post for me.
posted by Eekacat at 5:47 PM on August 26, 2006


Any thalidomide victims post here? I'd love to hear their take.

Years ago I went to church with a lady who had the characteristic "flipper" hands. She seemed happy enough.
posted by konolia at 5:50 PM on August 26, 2006


Even though I work with the local Planned Parenthood, I had not heard of this case. Very good post.

As far as legality of abortion at the state level, there are a laws in a few states outlawing abortion. These were never repealed after Roe, and are unenforeable now. Many people think that if Roe were overturned these laws could be enforced again, making abortion immediately illegal in a number of states.

In at least seven of these eleven states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin), the draconian abortion bans have never been blocked by state courts as violations of state constitutional rights, and therefore could, in theory, be immediately enforced

(from The Day After Roe in The Atlantic Monthly, which is available to subscribers only online)
posted by TedW at 5:56 PM on August 26, 2006


TedW wrote:
"As far as legality of abortion at the state level, there are a laws in a few states outlawing abortion. These were never repealed after Roe, and are unenforeable now. Many people think that if Roe were overturned these laws could be enforced again, making abortion immediately illegal in a number of states."

Frighteningly, South Dakota's law banning abortion is brand new. It bans all abortions. Even those seeking abortion because of rape, incest, or even maternal health risks are unable to have one.

Just reading over the law again in that article makes me shudder.
posted by batmonkey at 6:11 PM on August 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


I first learned about this case while watching the HBO movie A Private Matter, which stars Sissy Spacek as Sherri Finkbine.
posted by jrossi4r at 6:20 PM on August 26, 2006


Years ago I went to church with a lady who had the characteristic "flipper" hands. She seemed happy enough.

Then clearly abortion should be outlawed. If that lady was happy "enough," then as the pro-life people tell me "there's always a chance." You have totally convinced me.

Lets burn those baby-killers where they stand! Pro-Life or else, bitch. That's how I fucking roll, now.
posted by illovich at 8:30 PM on August 26, 2006


thanks juju and everyone--I had never heard of Sherri either.
posted by amberglow at 8:32 PM on August 26, 2006


She was the one who did Lambchop.
posted by brujita at 11:00 PM on August 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


brujita, Shari Lewis voiced Lambchop.
posted by killy willy at 4:11 AM on August 27, 2006


illovich, I still think that there is a point to be addressed. What is "right" for a mom might not be "right" for the child.

Right now there are parents who choose abortions when the tests come back and their child has spina bifida. Yet I know an eleven year old with the condition-in a wheelchair, happy kid, participates fully in life, and his family enjoys him. I have also heard of plenty of cases where a test comes back saying a baby has severe problems and then the child is born healthy.

Whether or not one is in favor of abortions being available (I am not unless the mother is literally going to die unless it happens-and even then if it had been me I don't know if I could do it) one still has to address that this is an ethical/moral issue -are we saying that people with disabilities and handicaps don't have a right to live? If death is a way out of things why isn't it applied more across the board-if it is right to terminate a pregnancy why isn't it right to "put granny to sleep" if she has alzheimer's? Isn't caring for someone with that just as hard as dealing with a child with a disability?

For me it always goes back to God being the one in control of life and death. But even for an atheist these are questions worth pondering. What does it mean to be human, and does human life have intrinsic value? Why or why not, and where is the line drawn?
posted by konolia at 1:51 PM on August 27, 2006


God put us in control of our bodies and God gave us brains and free will, konolia--babies are not made because God sends a fertilized egg down and shoves it into a woman's womb, but because 2 humans have sex and an egg is fertilized by sperm. God does not create new life, but put us on Earth with the capacity to do so ourselves (or not) built in. There's no possible good or loving God that would intentionally make a young girl pregnant by her father, or as a result of rape--it's not what God does--it's what people do to each other. Every single day all over the planet, women who do not know they are pregnant are ingesting or absorbing substances that could hurt the fetus--from hairdye to alcohol to drugs to otc medicines. Whether they continue with the pregnancy after learning of it is not a God thing but a person thing.

I find Sherri's case interesting because of those questions tho--i think many of us have known Thalidomide babies too (i had a student teacher in elementary school who was one), and it's not a death sentence but leads to a harder life.
posted by amberglow at 3:05 PM on August 27, 2006 [2 favorites]


I went back and re-watched some of the links I posted, and something that amazed me and that I had completely forgotten is that many religious leaders were in the forefront of legalizing abortion. Seems hard to believe today.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:56 PM on August 27, 2006


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