Unity Books was very proud to host the launch of Margaret Sparrow’s new title Rough On Women: Abortion in 19th-Century New Zealand (Victoria University Press) on Tuesday evening, 1st of July.
Margaret’s book is an important acknowledgement of the many women in New Zealand who have paid the ultimate price as a result of no legal recourse to abortion in this country.
Fergus Barrowman from VUP introduced Alison McCulloch, journalist, prochoice activist and author of Fighting to Choose: The Abortion Rights Struggle in NZ (VUP) who launched Margaret’s book with the message that termination must be regarded as a health issue and not from a moral or spiritual standpoint.
Since the late 1960s Dr Sparrow has been instrumental in promoting effective family planning and safe legal abortion for all New Zealand women. Margaret’s commitment has been such that the Wellington Family Planning Clinic was named in her honour.
Though for a serious topic, the evening had an atmosphere of snug camaraderie as people who have stood up on this issue over many decades came together to celebrate the publication. Margaret’s book brings much to the conversation on abortion past and present and it is this understanding that is so important in moving today’s debate forward.
Reviewed by Vanessa Williams
All photos © Matt Bialostocki