The Racket: How Abortion Became Legal in Australia

racketby Gideon Haigh

History (Australia), 288 pages
Publisher: Melbourne University Publishing, April 1, 2009
ISBN-10: 0522855784
ISBN-13: 978-0522855784

Chronicling the rise and fall of an extraordinary web of influence, this account documents the events that culminated in the landmark ruling that made abortion legal in Australia and caused a public inquiry that humiliated a powerful government and glamorous police force. With forensic skill and psychological subtlety, this is a story of corruption, suffering, murder, suicide, courtroom drama, and political machinations. Artfully combining cultural history, investigative journalism, and true crime, this analysis examines the full spectrum of people involved, from the women themselves to the lawmakers, police, campaigners, and abortionists—who included a multimillionaire philanthropist, a communist bush poet, a timid aesthete, and a bankrupt slaughterman. A fascinating and disturbing backstory to an issue that remains ever divisive, this compelling narrative is an important contribution to the ongoing abortion debate.