Self Help

In this episode of High Theory, Angela Hume tells us about Self Help, not the neoliberal strategy of self-actualization through consumer choices, but the radical political movement of gynecological self-help, that flourished in the late twentieth century and created a set of portable political tactics based in anarchist feminist philosophy. 

In the episode, she references Alondra Nelson’s book Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination (Minnesota UP, 2013); Michelle Murphy’s Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Entanglements of Feminism, Health, and Technoscience (Duke UP, 2012); and several health activist organizations, including the Women’s Choice Clinic in Oakland, CA; AidAccess which provides mail order medication assisted abortion; and MYA Network, a group of clinicians seeking to expand abortion access in primary care settings. 

Angela suggested we include three links that everyone should have at their fingertips, PlanC ( which helps people access abortion pills, AidAccess ( the pill fulfillment service described above, and I Need an A (, a clinic locator. 

In our longer conversation, she also named the Keep Our Clinics campaign, a fundraising effort to support independent abortion clinics, to which pre-sales of her book contributed. We’re sorry we didn’t get this up early enough for you to participate in the pre-sale! But now the book is out in the world, you can even read a review of it in The Guardian

Our conversation is based Angela’s new book, Deep Care: The Radical Activists Who Provided Abortions, Defied the Law, and Fought to Keep Clinics Open(link is external) (AK Press, 2023). A work of public scholarship and a history of medicine, the book tells a story of Bay Area abortion defense—from feminist clinical practice, to underground abortion provision, to street politics and clinic defense—from the 1970s to 2000s. You can read an excerpt from the book in the Post45 contemporaries collection “Abortion Now, Abortion Forever,” which was the starting point for our conversation on High Theory. 

Angela Hume is a feminist historian, critic, and poet, who teaches at UC Berkeley. Her creative and expository writing classes address environmental and health justice, working-class and multiethnic American literatures, feminist and queer storytelling, and more. Beyond Deep Care, Angela is co-editor of Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field (U of Iowa P, 2018). Her full-length books of poetry include Middle Time (Omnidawn, 2016) and Interventions for Women (Omnidawn, 2021).

The image for this episode was made by Saronik Bosu in 2023.

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