adventures in feministory
A comic about Dr. Dorothy Brown.
Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown was the first woman surgeon to graduate from Meharry Medical College in Tennessee. The state's law made almost all abortions illegal except in cases where it was required to save a woman’s life.
She operated on women with injuries from botched abortions, and saw the damage inflicted by these laws. After growing up as an orphan, she believed that every person should choose when or if to be a parent. Dr. D was elected to the Tennessee Assembly as the state’s first Black woman legislator and, in 1967, she introduced a bill that would have allowed abortions in rape or incest—six years before Roe v. Wade. It didn’t earn her friends, and it angered allies, who said her days were numbered as a lawmaker. “You would have thought I opened up the gates of hell.” Dr. D continued her medical practice, advocated for “Negro History Month” in the state, and was the first unmarried woman to become a foster parent in Tennessee. For more about Dr. Dorothy Brown, read the full version of this comic published in the anthology by Comics for Choice, and online at bitchmedia.org.