Deep Care: The Radical Activists Who Provided Abortions, Defied the Law, and Fought to Keep Clinics Open

Deep Care Book Cover

Deep Care: The Radical Activists Who Provided Abortions, Defied the Law, and Fought to Keep Clinics Open

Angela Hume
Berkeley Book Chats

Deep Care (AK Press, 2023) follows generations of activists and health workers who orbited the Women’s Choice Clinic in Oakland from the early 1970s until 2010. Grounding her study in interviews with activists sharing details of their work for the first time, Angela Hume (College Writing Programs) reveals this critical, under-recognized story of the radical edge of the abortion movement.

Starting in the 1970s, small groups of feminist activists met regularly to study anatomy, practice pelvic exams on each other, and learn how to safely perform a procedure that can end a pregnancy, using equipment easily bought and assembled at home. This “self-help” movement grew into a robust national and international collaboration of activists determined to ensure access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, at all costs — to the point of learning how to do the necessary steps themselves. 

Even after abortion was legalized in 1973 with Roe v. Wade, activists continued meeting to teach and study these skills, reshaping their strategies alongside decades of changing legal, medical, and cultural landscapes such as the legislative war against abortion rights, the AIDS epidemic, and the rise of anti-abortion domestic terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s. From the self-help movement sprang a constellation of licensed feminist clinics, community programs to promote reproductive health, and the nation’s first known-donor sperm bank. The movement’s drive to keep abortion accessible also led to the first clinic defense mobilizations against anti-abortion extremists trying to force providers to close their doors.

The lessons explored in Hume's book are more pertinent than ever following the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson decision and its destruction of abortion access nationwide.

Hume is joined by Patrice Douglass (Gender and Women's Studies). After a brief discussion, they respond to questions from the audience.