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A History of Abortion in Utah

Collage of vintage pillbox that says Penny Royal Pills, a sketch of the Mormon temple and a beehive.
Amanda Hendrix-Komoto/Wikimedia Creative Commons/Renee Bright

With the future of Roe v. Wade in jeopardy, we’re looking to the history of abortion in Utah for some perspective. It’s more complicated than you might think.

In a thoroughly red, deeply religious state like Utah, you’d be forgiven for thinking abortion had always been frowned upon. But that isn’t the case. Not so long ago, pregnancy and menstrual cycles were considered women’s matters — things that women would manage on their own. It wasn’t uncommon for women to share recipes for multi-purpose teas that could terminate pregnancies. Pills that restored menstrual cycles were readily available — some were even sold by the LDS apostle Reed Smoot.

This Friday at 11am, historian Amanda Hendrix-Komoto joins us to talk about the history of abortion in Utah. Her essay"The Other Crime: Abortion and Contraception in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Utah" appears in the Spring, 2020, issue of Dialogue.


  • Dr. Amanda Hendrix-Komoto, Assistant Professor of History and Philosophy | Montana State University

Airdate: May 6, 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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