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Intimate Wars

The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion From the Back Alley to the Boardroom.

Merle Hoffman

Publication Year: 2012

Merle Hoffman's life story is riveting. A former classical pianist, a self-made millionaire, and a feminist who found her life's work providing abortions, she has been a fearless crusader for women's right to choose. Over the years, Hoffman has used her entrepreneurial spirit to build one of the most comprehensive women's medical centers in the country. As a medical provider, she pioneered Patient Power, encouraging women to participate in their own healthcare decisions. Whether addressing the murder of abortion providers like Dr. George Tiller or challenging women to understand their own power over their bodies and the language used to wield such power, Merle Hoffman has been on the front lines of the feminist movement, a fierce warrior in the battle for choice.

Published by: The Feminist Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. 7-8

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pp. 9-14

As an only child growing up in 1950s Philadelphia, I occupied myself with warrior fantasies. My imagination soared with visions of knights, kings, and queens who populated the English history books I would get from the library. The dramatic tales of battles driven by focused energy and heightened danger excited me. ...

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My Beginnings

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pp. 15-36

We stayed for lunch, and as my parents sat smoking and talking with Vuluga, Natasha took me conspiratorially out into her small garden. She was quite old, with silver hair and light blue eyes. The soft edges of her accent caressed me as she proudly showed me the lilac trees in her garden, telling me ...

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The Roads Not Taken

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pp. 37-55

While the rest of country was enmeshed in the second wave of feminism, the turmoil of the Vietnam War, the deaths of Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King, and the hedonistic chaos of Woodstock, I found I could not be admitted to college because I’d been traveling through Europe instead of taking the SAT. ...

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Patient Power

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pp. 56-87

Before the legalization of abortion, before the battles, before the word became flesh and translated into thousands and thousands of women lining up for services, abortion had a particular place in hell. The word was whispered, a shared secret knowledge among women, a lurking, beckoning danger ...

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pp. 88-114

I remember the moment I became political. It was a rainy Sunday morning, 1976, and I’d allowed myself to stay in bed a little longer than usual. Monotonic radio voices intruded on my sleep . . . something about Henry Hyde and abortion. I sat up in bed, all ears. Republican Congressman Henry Hyde ...

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Abortion as a Mother's Act

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pp. 115-138

We had a wonderful wedding in Garrison, but even on that night, differences permeated our union. We would always love each other, but our expression of that love began to change, to grow complicated. Ours was not to be anyone’s traditional definition of happily ever after. We had our joint empires and our two homes ...

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The Politcs of Courage

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pp. 139-175

A woman in the audience rose, obviously distraught, her voice shaking. She relayed her own experience with abortion: the guilt still with her, the doctor’s coldness, how “they”— the abortion doctors—would not let her see her child. She extended her hand, pointed an accusing finger at me, and declared, ...

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The Russian Front

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pp. 176-201

By the late 1980s I’d had my hand in almost every theater of the war for reproductive rights, including legal, political, medical, academic, media, activist, and personal spheres. As Reagan’s conservative reign came to an end, I felt the need to get involved in yet another: electoral politics, one of the most ...

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The Loaded Gun

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pp. 202-232

Dr. David Gunn was shot three times in the back by prolifer Michael Griffin as he was ariving at a Pensacola, Florida, abortion clinic in March of 1993. Griffin yelled, “Don’t kill any more babies!” before gunning the doctor down as he stepped out of his car. He was the first provider to be killed ...

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Amazing Grace

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pp. 233-256

”Welcome to my world.” My words were published in the New York Post on October 17, 2001, just a little over a month after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. It was a controversial statement, but it was the truth. Envelopes filled with anthrax were sent to television stations and five US senators ...

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pp. 257-259

My first thanks go to three women deeply loved and so recently lost: Ruth Hoffman (1917–2008), Mahin Hassibi (1937–2009), and Cynthia Colquitt-Craven (1941–2009). Vividly present by their absence, they infused my creative process with demands for clarity and truth. ...


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pp. 260-265

Works Cited

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pp. 266-269

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About the Feminist Press

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The Feminist Press is an independent nonprofit literary publisher that promotes freedom of expression and social justice. We publish exciting writing by women and men who share an activist spirit and a belief in choice and equality. Founded in 1970, we began by rescuing “lost” works by writers such as Zora Neale Hurston ...

E-ISBN-13: 9781558617575
Print-ISBN-13: 9781558617513

Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: First Edition