The Sexing History podcast, co-written and co-hosted by UT AMS Assistant Professor Dr. Lauren Gutterman, as well as Dr. Gillian Frank, has a new episode: “Sherri.” Dr. Gutterman and Dr. Frank tell the story of Sherri Chessen whose highly publicized 1962 abortion helped to shift Americans’attitudes toward abortion. You can listen to the episode here.
In August of 1962, Sherri boarded a flight to Sweden in order to getan abortion after she was unable to obtain one in the United States. Sherri had accidentally taken medicine containing thalidomide, a drug that caused children to be born with internal injuries and shortened limbs. Thalidomide also caused women to miscarry, deliver stillborn babies, or have children who died during their infancy. Her decision to terminate this risky pregnancy and her journey abroad attracted international attention fromjournalists, politicians, and religious leaders. Sherri’s ordeal made public what countless American women experienced when they sought to terminate their pregnancies. Her widely shared story changed the way many Americans thought about abortion laws and even about abortion itself.