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Abortion Action Coalition records

 Collection
Identifier: M021

Scope and Content Note

The Abortion Action Coalition collection (AAC) consists of records collected by Leslie Cagan, Marla Erlien, Madge Kaplan and Clare Sheridan, members. The collection includes material that traces the founding and development of AAC. Because the Coalition worked with many other Boston area and national groups, this collection provides an insight into the problems women faced as federal and state legislators tried to curtail their abortion rights.

AAC records comprise approximately 2.3 cubic feet of material. The majority of the records date between 1977 and 1980. The records include AAC brochures, articles on abortion and women's health issues, clippings, contacts and membership lists, correspondence, flyers, how to media packets, information on clinics, minutes, organizing material on the International Day of Action in 1979 (Box 1), pamphlets, and speeches. The collection includes data about abortion and women's health legislation during the 1970s, both national and from Massachusetts, which can be found in the Legislative Liaison Committee folders (Box 1).

There is information on anti-abortion groups, abortion, birth control, and sterilization. Newsletters and pamphlets from other groups concerned with abortion and women's reproductive rights are also included (Boxes 2 and 3).

Dates

  • 1970-1982

Creator

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.

Historical Note

The Abortion Action Coalition (AAC) was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in the summer of 1977 to actively oppose the Doyle-Flynn anti-abortion amendment. The bill was an attempt to cut state funding for abortions following the national adoption of the Hyde Amendment, which allowed states to restrict Medicaid payments for abortions.

In the fall of 1977, the ad-hoc group decided to establish goals and a formal structure. AAC ran community activities and held discussions and educational meetings. By 1979 the Coalition was reaching out to unions and other community groups to create a wider action network. Members spoke at demonstrations, on talk shows, and to other groups. In 1979 AAC members organized a large rally as part of an International Day of Action. The original focus on abortion rights naturally grew to encompass issues intimately linked to women's rights, including birth control, child care, maternity leave, reproductive rights, and teenage pregnancy.

The Coalition was structured into four committees, all of which were coordinated by an elected steering committee. Most of the work was done by volunteers. The Legislative Liaison Committee acted as a watchdog for legislative and judicial issues and also coordinated efforts with other pro-choice groups. The Community and Labor Outreach Committee was the educational arm of the Coalition. Its function was to provide speakers and information to third world, labor, and community groups, both to help those groups and to link abortion and women's issues to the concerns of these groups. The function of the Health and Hospitals Committee was to learn about abortion policies at these institutions through contacts who worked at them. AAC also gathered information about other services provided (such as day care and family planning) and reached out to people who used the clinics and hospitals. Finally, the Media Committee was responsible for drafting press releases, writing letters or contacting the media, and generally keeping the Coalition's activities publicized. AAC were a member group of the Reproductive Rights National Network (R2N2). The Abortion Action Coalition disbanded in 1980.

Extent

2.30 cubic feet (4 containers)

Overview

The Abortion Action Coalition, a project of the Women's Educational Center (Cambridge, MA), was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1977 to oppose the Doyle-Flynn anti-abortion amendment, which proposed cutting state funding for abortions. The Coalition organized community activities and held discussion forums and educational meetings. The Coalition also worked with local unions and community groups to create a wider action network. Members spoke at demonstrations, on talk shows, and to other concerned groups. The original focus on abortion rights grew to encompass issues linked to women's rights, including birth control, child care, maternity leave, reproductive rights, and teenage pregnancy. The Coalition was structured into four committees: Legislative Liaison, Community and Labor Outreach, Health and Hospitals, and Media. These committees were coordinated by an elected steering committee. Most of the work was done by volunteers. The Abortion Action Coalition was a member of the Reproductive Rights National Network. The Abortion Action Coalition disbanded in 1980.

Overview

The collection documents the founding and development of the Abortion Action Coalition. Because the Coalition worked with many other Boston area and national groups, the collection provides insight into the challenges women faced as federal and state legislators tried to curtail abortion rights. Records include Abortion Action Coalition brochures, articles on abortion and women's health issues, clippings, contact and membership lists, correspondence, flyers, "how to" media packets, information on clinics, minutes, organizing materials, pamphlets, data about abortion and women's health legislation during the 1970s, and speeches. In addition, this collection includes correspondence with, information about, reports by, and publications of other organizations working on the same issues.

System of Arrangement:

The collection is alphabetically arranged into four series: 1) Administration, 2) Public Relations, 3) Subject Files, and 4)Non-AAC Materials.

Physical Location

71/1
Title
Finding aid for the Abortion Action Coalition Records
Author
Finding aid prepared by Jane Fitzpatrick
Date
November 1993
Language of description
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US