A General Survey of the Problem of Criminal Abortion, and Material from an Interview with a Criminal Abortionist
Storage: Preventive Medicine Dissertations McA
‘In 1976, Professor Cyril Dixon, Head of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago, handed me this Preventive Medicine Dissertation. I was 21, working on a History dissertation on abortion in the 1930s. Donald McAllister’s dissertation, written in 1942, provided a source I never imagined existed: an interview with a "backstreet" abortionist. Through it, I learnt of the desperation of the mainly married women who would have abortions performed in the back of the abortionist’s car. The abortionist knew his anatomy, about sterilising his implements, (a no.8 gum elastic catheter, slightly modified), and how to protect his identity (by performing his services in the dark). I spoke to Dr McAllister and I was fascinated by his insights into the murky, undercover world of backstreet abortion. I will always be grateful for Dixon’s recommendation of the Preventive Medicine dissertations, which provide unparalleled insights into many aspects of everyday life. McAllister’s work opened up a new world to me. I went on to publish my PhD as Abortion in England, 1900-1967 (1988).' This item was chosen by Professor Barbara Brookes, University of Otago
Donald McAllister, “A General Survey of the Problem of Criminal Abortion, and Material from an Interview with a Criminal Abortionist,” ourheritage.ac.nz | OUR Heritage, accessed January 22, 2022, https://ourheritage.ac.nz/items/show/11032.
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