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Merle Hoffman | February 2019
February 11, 2019
Mary Beth Whitehead joins a group of women demonstrating on her behalf on March 12, 1987, after the lawyers in the "Baby M" custody case delivered their summations. Photo from: Bettmann—Getty Images
What’s Love Got to Do With It?
February 11, 2019

Merle Hoffman and Choices Women’s Medical Center attend “Wickedest Woman”

Left to right: Merle Hoffman, Playwright Jess Bashline, Executive Vice President of Spence-Chapin Antoinette Cockerham and Sammy Chadwick. Jessica O'hara Baker in the lead role of Ann Trow Lohman, alias Madame Restell.

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Jessica O’hara Baker in the lead role of Ann Trow Lohman, alias Madame Restell. Photo by Braddon Lee Murphy of TheaterScene.net.

On January 31st, Merle Hoffman and Choices Women’s Medical Center attended Wickedest Woman, an original play by Jessica Bashline. Wickedest Woman tells the story of Ann Trow Lohman, an entrepreneur, midwife, abortionist–and eventually, a millionaire–who lived in New York City in the 1800s. Using the alias “Madame Restell,” Ann began performing abortions legally in 1838. After a 40-year career, abortion had become illegal making her life’s work criminal. To avoid prison, she killed herself by slitting her throat at age 68.

Choices CEO and founder Merle Hoffman and Executive Vice President of Spence-Chapin Antoinette Cockerham led a post-show discussion on the 31st. They discussed what it’s like to be modern crusaders for controversial topics like abortion and adoption and the parallels between Ann’s life and Merle’s.

Reviewer Leah Richards wrote, “Wickedest Woman deftly strikes these sorts of balances, whether it be in depicting Ann’s personal and professional triumphs and struggles or demonstrating the relationship of her individual story to larger social currents.”

Merle Hoffman (center) shares her thoughts on the story during the post-show discussion at Wickedest Woman.

Merle Hoffman (center) shares her thoughts on the story during the post-show discussion.

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