She Performed 50,000 Abortions and Went Toe to Toe with Jerry Brown's Dad

9 min
Inez Burns (L) performed 50,000 illegal abortions in San Francisco in the early and mid-20th century. That made her a target for then-district attorney and future governor, Pat Brown (R). (Courtesy of Scott Merritt/San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library)

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Here are a few of the stories that caught my eye this week.

1. Inez Burns: the woman who performed 50,000 illegal abortions in San Francisco

Inez Burns at a family wedding, standing third to left, 1966.
Inez Burns at a family wedding, standing third to left, 1966. (Courtesy of Scott Merritt)

There aren't many things that can get people as riled up (or uncomfortable) as talking about abortion. Nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court legalized a woman's right to have an abortion in Roe v. Wade, the debate continues to rage in courts, state legislatures and the streets.

But this story is much older than today's pro-life vs. pro-choice discussion. KQED's Chloe Veltman takes us back to the early 20th century to meet Inez Burns, the woman who performed 50,000 illegal abortions in San Francisco and caught the attention of then-district attorney and future governor, Pat Brown.

2. It's not just Facebook you have to worry about

Facebook is being criticized over how it handles user data.
Facebook is being criticized over how it handles user data. (Joel Saget/AFP/GettyImages)

People have been in a tizzy for weeks about Facebook playing a bit fast and loose with its users' data. But here's the thing: everybody does it.

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Facebook might be in the spotlight (and in front of Congress) for its privacy faux pas, but it's pretty much impossible to use the internet and not have your data spread around. But KQED's Lisa Pickoff-White does have a few suggestions if you want to limit how much of your data is an open book.

3. Seal pup selfies are not OK

Horchata, a male northern elephant seal pup, was rescued this March near Half Moon Bay. Beachgoers with dogs crowded the animal and began pouring water on it, which is never recommended. Though the beachgoers were well-meaning, Horchata had to be rescued by trained responders and brought to The Marine Mammal Center for rehabilitation. Veterinarians diagnosed Horchata with malnutrition and maternal separation. Horchata is steadily gaining weight and beginning to learn how to eat fish.
Horchata, a male northern elephant seal pup, was rescued this March near Half Moon Bay. Beachgoers with dogs crowded the animal and began pouring water on it, which is never recommended. Though the beachgoers were well-meaning, Horchata had to be rescued by trained responders and brought to The Marine Mammal Center for rehabilitation. Veterinarians diagnosed Horchata with malnutrition and maternal separation. Horchata is steadily gaining weight and beginning to learn how to eat fish. (Bill Hunnewell/The Marine Mammal Center)

Seal pups are adorable. I mean, just look at them! But it's crucial you look from a distance.

Turns out, if a mama seal sees a human or a dog getting too close to her seal pup, she'll just up and abandon the pup. One vet's rule of thumb for seal pup photography: if you don't have to zoom, you're too close.

4. Taking a trip to 'Long Lost Oakland'

Liam O'Donoghue's Long Lost Oakland map highlights pieces of the city's history that no longer exist.
Liam O'Donoghue's Long Lost Oakland map highlights pieces of the city's history that no longer exist. (Courtesy of Liam O'Donoghue)

Oakland, like the rest of the Bay Area, is changing fast. Buildings that are there one day can be gone the next.

"Over the many years I've lived there, I've watched buildings get torn down, I've watched new buildings go up. Part of this project is about sort of understanding the disorientation of living in a city where so much is changing so fast," says Liam O'Donoghue, the creator of the Long Lost Oakland map.

The map shows buildings, plants and animals that used to exist in Oakland, but don't anymore. The map is beautiful, the history is fascinating and the lessons to be learned could be priceless.

5. The great motorized scooter debate of 2018

Two scooters from Southern California startup Bird on a sidewalk near Fifth and Brannan streets in San Francisco.
Two scooters from Southern California startup Bird on a sidewalk near Fifth and Brannan streets in San Francisco. (Dan Brekke/KQED)

I never thought I would live to see the day when electric razor scooters were the cause of so much discord and debate among grown adults.

Electric scooters distributed by dockless bike companies LimeBike, Spin and Bird, are seemingly everywhere. Some people love them, but a lot of people, including many who are on the city's payroll, aren't huge fans. It reached the point this week where the city impounded 66 of the scooters off the streets.

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If you want to hear more about these scooters and what people think of them, check out this episode of KQED's The Bay podcast featuring our scooter expert, Dan Brekke.

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