She herself was delighted with her large family and would have been glad to have had a few more. But she had seen enough of life and the tragedy of poverty-stricken mothers worn out by childbearing and overwhelmed by too many children not to be outraged on their behalf.
...In her old age, she became something of an old-fashioned fanatic, traveling to the Philippines, India, and Israel, visiting clinics, and exchanging "lore." As a spry old lady of eighty-four, shod in blue sneakers and leaning on a cane, she went with my sister Linda, at that time head of an adoption agency in Washington, D.C., to an International Conference of Social Work in Rome. They stopped in London, then flew on to Istanbul, Tel Aviv, and Athens, but not until they reached Belgrade did my sister, much to her horror, discover as my mother's battered old suitcase fell open that it was stuffed with contraceptives of all sorts and sizes. As my sister rather bemusedly remarked to my mother, "Why, Mother, you never taught me to travel that way!"
...Abortion clinics seemed to be the chief answer to the birth control problem in Yugoslavia. My mother insisted on visiting various examples of the clinics, leading my long-suffering sister through malodorous back alleys and up fetid back stairs into these sordid establishments where she spread the word and apparently the contraceptives, for my sister remarked that when they reached Rome, my mother's suitcase was empty.
- Marian Cannon Schlesinger, Snatched from Oblivion: A Cambridge Memoir (Little, Brown, 1979)