Women Hex Prosecutor


Fifth Estate # 101, March 19-April 1, 1970

Members of the Women’s Liberation Coalition of Michigan staged a protest march in downtown Detroit March 7 to “dramatize the atrocious deaths of our sisters who, in their desperation, have had butcher abortions.”

About fifty women dressed in black with their faces shrouded to symbolize their mourning marched silently through the streets carrying coat hangers, safety pins and other devices often used in illegal abortions. They proceeded to the City Morgue on Brush and Lafayette “where thousands of our murdered sisters have been taken, victims of those who oppose a woman’s right to control her own body and bear the children she wants.”

From the morgue the group proceeded to the police headquarters office of Wayne County Prosecutor, William Cahalan, where he was symbolically hexed. The hex read in part: “Cahalan, for you we made this hex. The souls of our sisters call forth the moon to cover the sun and bring on your doom.”

The prosecutor was hexed because he is the symbol of the law which prohibits abortions in the state and he issues warrants for those engaged in helping women with unwanted pregnancies.

The women left the hex under the door of Cahalan’s deserted office and left to participate in an abortion conference at Wayne University.

In other abortion news, a Royal Oak couple charged under the Michigan statutes prohibiting abortions, are contesting their prosecution on the grounds that the law is unconstitutional.

District Judge Clarence Reid in Southfield will decide March 30 whether Dr. Jesse and Judith Ketchum must stand trial. Opposing attorneys concede that the final decision could rest with the Federal Courts.

The Ketchums were arrested Jan. 5 by a State Policewoman acting as a decoy and broke what Oakland County Prosecutor Thomas Plunkett called “an international abortion ring.” Plunkett himself opposes the Michigan abortion laws and has spoken against them at reform meetings.