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Vital Signs

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Two Boston policemen in black leather jackets tower over either side of her hospital gurney at Massachusetts General Hospital. Their presence is in stark contrast to the sea of white sheets draped over other ER patients lining the walls. Their deep voices draw attention, “Who performed the illegal abortion on you?” they ask repeatedly despite her moaning in pain.

Deeply personal, Vital Signs follows a young woman navigating the life-threatening times of 1968. She struggles to forge the right to her own life as well as to the sexual freedoms afforded with the advent of birth control pills. Soon, in 1973, the Roe v Wade decision will legalize women’s reproductive rights.

Currently, long-established gains continue to be chipped away.

Sharing our stories is a political act.


Gay Bishop Brorstrom has written for literary magazines: Afterwords, First Leaves, Spirit Matters, and the Dickens. She is author of Miss Hallberg’s Butterfly Gardens and Pacing the Cage, A Zoo Memoir. She was a Respiratory Therapist at teaching hospitals and also a Veterinary Nurse at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo Hospital. She currently lives withher family on Full Bloom Flower Farm in Northern California.

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