A black and white photo of women in a office working. They are on the phone with paperwork everywhere.
Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland State University

The last safe abortion

The last safe abortion

August 5, 2023 - December 31, 2023
Perlman Gallery
Free Exhibition

In “The last safe abortion,” artist Carmen Winant considers the labor of women’s health clinics and abortion providers in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, North Dakota, and Ohio. Drawing upon thousands of historical photographs from archives across the Midwest, as well as photographs made by Winant since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the artist studies what physicians and staff refer to as “the work of the work”: answering phones, holding training sessions, scheduling appointments, and handling logistics. In assemblages made with print photography and ordinary office supplies, the everyday nature of Winant’s materials—as well as the activities they embody—contrasts with their vast individual, social, and political impact, creating a visual language that recognizes and honors abortion work.

The artist extends her thanks to the following organizations and individuals for sharing photographic and archival materials integral to this project:

Chicago Sun-Times collection, Chicago History Museum
Betsey Kaufman, former Director of Planned Parenthood of greater Cleveland
Bonnie Bolitho, former Vice President of Development at Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio
Emma Goldman Clinic, Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Libraries
Planned Parenthood North Central States
Preterm, Cleveland
Red River Clinic, Moorhead, Minn., and Stanton, Ky.
Social Welfare History Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries
Special Collections, Cleveland State University
Special Collections, Smith College Libraries, Northampton, Mass.
Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland
Whole Woman’s Health of Minnesota (Bloomington)
Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend (Ind.)

Artist Talk

Courtesy of Special Collections, Cleveland State University