Madame Restell: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Old New York's Most Fabulous, Fearless, and Infamous Abortionist
This is the story of one of the boldest women in American history: self-made millionaire, a celebrity in her era, a woman beloved by her patients and despised by the men who wanted to control them.
An industrious immigrant who built her business from the ground up, Madame Restell was a self-taught surgeon on the cutting edge of healthcare in pre-Gilded Age New York, and her bustling "boarding house" provided birth control, abortions, and medical assistance to thousands of women--rich and poor alike. As her practice expanded, her notoriety swelled, and Restell established her-self as a prime target for tabloids, threats, and lawsuits galore. But far from fading into the background, she defiantly flaunted her wealth, parading across the city in designer clothes, expensive jewelry, and bejeweled carriages, rubbing her success in the faces of the many politicians, publishers, fellow physicians, and religious figures determined to bring her down.
Unfortunately for Madame Restell, her rise to the top of her field coincided with "the greatest scam you've never heard about"--the campaign to curtail women's power by restricting their access to both healthcare and careers of their own. Powerful, secular men--threatened by women's burgeoning independence--were eager to declare abortion sinful, a position endorsed by newly-minted male MDs who longed to edge out their feminine competition and turn medicine into a standardized, male-only practice. By unraveling the misogynistic and misleading lies that put women's lives in jeopardy, Wright simultaneously restores Restell to her rightful place in history and obliterates the faulty reasoning underlying the very foundation of what has since been dubbed the "pro-life" movement.
Thought-provoking, character-driven, boldly written, and feminist as hell, Madame Restell is required reading for anyone and everyone who believes that when it comes to women's rights, women's bodies, and women's history, women should have the last word.