The women's movement sort of drew me back a lot to my social issues roots as a child. Seeing the connections with the civil rights movement, but also seeing the connections with economic analysis of things. One of the lessons that we learned with the women's health movement was that things seemed to do really well when we could create these small collectives, these islands, and we could handle things like abortion and infection... but the minute that people got cancer or there were complications in childbirth, it seemed like we ran up against economic vested interests and it collapsed.
And almost nothing was more emotionally illustrative of this than Renner and I attending the home birth of a member of the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, her first birth... She ran into uterine fatigue and a transverse presentation. So Renner and her husband carried her down the stairs and we ended up going to the emergency room of Cambridge City Hospital.
Well, we get there and somehow the chief obstetrical surgeon was on call then and he somehow figured out that this was a member of the Boston Women's Health Book Collective and that we were out there. But the guy was wearing a Superman cap and did one of the most interventionist births and he kicked the husband out...
She did run into trouble and it would have been irresponsible for us to stay in the closed world of feminist non-hospital care and that here we were at the medical establishment and they were lording it over us, that doctor was just so thrilled that was what happened. It was experiences like that that kind of kept pushing me not to lose my women's focus but to start looking at the other 'isms' that were in operation at that time.