Mary Summers

Before becoming a co-director of ABORTION AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS 1970, Mary Summers participated in the civil rights and anti-war movements, SDS and the Harvard student strike of 1969. As a senior in college, she became interested in filmmaking and joined the collective making the “Abortion Film.” After they finished the movie, Summers sought jobs in health care. She became a Physician Assistant and worked in community health centers in Boston and a community hospital in Cleveland, while continuing to be involved in political organizing. She was also a speechwriter for Jesse Jackson’s 1984 presidential campaign and Harriett Woods’ 1986 campaign for Senate in Missouri. Impressed by the Family Farm Movement’s mobilization for more sustainable agricultural policies in those years, she studied the history of farmers’ organizing efforts, when she decided to go to graduate school in political science. She is now a Senior Fellow with the Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania, where she taught service-learning courses on the politics of food and agriculture, and schools, health, and inequality for many years. She also serves on the board of Philadelphia Jobs with Justice. She has written articles for The Nation, Urban Affairs Quarterly, Political Science and Politics, the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Agricultural History and several edited volumes. (3/23)

Available Title(s):

Abortion and Women's Rights 1970

A film by Mary Summers, 1970, 28 min, B/W

One of the first films ever made about the struggle for abortion rights, this powerful archival piece documents women’s voices from a pre-Roe v. Wade era. This unique film, available for the first time digitally, tells the story of two women's illegal abortions before the Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to abortion in Roe…

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