The year was 1964 and Santoro was living in the state of Connecticut, USA, where abortion was not yet legal.
The right of women to control their own reproductive choices is still hotly contested territory across the world.
Despite the 1973 decision, most US states carry abortion restrictions.
But let’s be clear: abortions are still carried out in countries where there is an abortion ban. They are carried out at the same rate as countries where abortion is completely liberalized.
The only thing abortion bans do is move the location of the abortion from a sanitised clinic to a hotel bathroom. Bans mean the people who perform abortions are not caring professionals, but frightened women, opportunistic quacks, and controlling men.
n fact, in the time it has taken you to read from the beginning of the article to the end of this sentence, it is likely that another woman will have died from complications arising from an unsafe abortion.
This issue must surely unite feminists across the world, regardless of social class, race, ethnic background or nationality.
And despite the stereotype of abortion as the preserve of reckless teenagers, most abortions in the U.K. for example are administered to women in their 20s, and nearly half of those who have abortions are in a relationship.
In other words, the puritanical rhetoric that often accompanies abortion debates obscures the fact that – for women in countries where abortion is legal – it is moderately common, chosen carefully and is not usually a source of regret or trauma.
In that respect, women across the world must forge a global pro-choice movement whose focus must begin with ending outright abortion bans across the world.
In Chile, where Michelle Bachelet has shown herself to be open to abortion reform, there is a growing movement of women attempting to end the ban that was first introduced by dictator Gen. Pinochet. The governments of Uruguay and Cuba, have already liberalized abortion.
The choice we are presented with; that we either end abortion or permit it; is false. The only real choice is whether we make abortion safe or dangerous – whether we are brave enough to put women’s lives first or not.
Feminists across the globe must force governments to face up to this reality, and make an honest choice about how to proceed. Restrictions to abortion are nothing more than a devaluing of women’s lives, and right now the governments that institute them are evading responsibility for the consequences.