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Emma Goldman Clinic



The Emma Goldman Clinic for Women opened on September 1, 1973, at 715 N. Dodge Street in Iowa City, nine months after the passage of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States. The Emma Goldman Clinic was the first outpatient abortion clinic in Iowa and the first feminist health clinic in the Midwest.

The idea for a feminist clinic began with a group of approximately twelve young women in Iowa City who were active in the Women's Center and had been providing abortion referral information to area women since the early 1970s. At the early meetings, members discussed their plans to open a clinic based on feminist ethics and funding for the project.

The Emma Goldman Clinic was organized as a non-profit feminist health collective. Its original structure reflected the feminist movement of the 1970s, and emphasized collective action and group effort. Conceptually, the clinic was grounded in a body positive, self-help model intended to empower women to be active participants in their own health care. The clinic provided abortions, birth control information, gynecology services, and counseling. It was staffed by physicians, laywomen trained as para-medicals, and counselors.

The clinic has been restructured several times and has adapted to social and political changes. Initially, the collective consisted of twelve women who made all decisions. The original organizational structure remained in place until 1977, when it was replaced with a modified collective structure. The modified collective structure consisted of committees led by co-directors, who took committee recommendations to a central committee that made decisions and set policy. This modified organizational structure maintained the spirit of the collective but in a more manageable fashion. It defined the clinic until 1995, at which time an external board of directors and executive director replaced the modified collective.

In 1991, the central committee enlisted an outside consultant to evaluate the clinic operation. Per the recommendation of the evaluator, the central committee recognized that another organizational change was necessary in order for the clinic to continue and thrive. Seeking voices outside the collective, the central committee established an advisory board comprised of Iowa City community members and Emma Goldman Clinic co-directors. The long-range goals, organizational planning, and policy making were determined by the board of directors and implemented by the executive director.

The Emma Goldman Clinic moved to its current location on Dubuque Street, Iowa City in 1985. Since its founding, the clinic has provided abortions, gynecological care, and testing for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. The clinic has offered healthcare to women of all ages; these services include artificial insemination, a trial of the cervical cap birth control method, and treatments for the symptoms brought on by menopause. During the 1980s, the clinic added outreach services to teenagers and began to offer HIV services. While most of the feminist health clinics that formed in the 1970s have closed, the Emma Goldman Clinic continues to empower women and their families by providing educational services and healthcare.

Found in 5 Collections and/or Records:

Emma Goldman Clinic (Iowa City, Iowa) records

Identifier: IWA0466

Feminist health clinic.


Administration Boxes 1-30 and 66

EGC projects Boxes 30-48 and 67

Anti-abortion movement Boxes 48-50 and 67

Pro-choice movement Boxes 50-53 and 67

Publications, EGC Boxes 53-54

Publications, non-EGC Boxes 54-56 and 67-68

Newspaper clippings Boxes 56-57 and 68

Photographs Boxes 36, 59-50, and 58-60

Scrapbook Box 61

Artifacts Boxes 38, 62-63, and 69

Audiovisual [audiocassette and videocassette collections]

Dates: 1971-2013

Iowa City Feminist Reunion 2017 records

Identifier: IWA1260

An event held at the Iowa Women’s Archives in 2017 celebrating the achievements of Iowa City feminists from 1965-1985 and collecting their history.

Dates: 1971-2020

Jo Rabenold papers

Identifier: IWA0191

Iowa City activist who collected lesbian and feminist publications during the 1970s and 1980s.

Dates: 1965-1983

LeAnn Erickson papers

Identifier: IWA0872

Filmmaker whose documentary, From One Place to Another: Emma Goldman Clinic Stories, explores the history of the Emma Goldman Clinic.

Dates: 1996

Reproductive Rights Coalition of Iowa City records

Identifier: IWA0539

The Reproductive Rights Coalition of Iowa City (RRCIC) formed in January 1989 in response to Operation Rescue's attempt to shut down a local abortion clinic.

Dates: 1988-1991

Additional filters:

Archives (groupings) 4
Iowa City (Iowa) 4
1981-1990 3
1991-2000 3
1971-1980 2