I’ve been described as a tough and noisy woman, a prize fighter, a man-hater, you name it. They call me Battling Bella, Mother Courage, and a Jewish mother with more complaints than Portnoy. There are those who say I’m impatient, impetuous, uppity, rude, profane, brash, and overbearing. Whether I’m any of those things, or all of them, you can decide for yourself. But whatever I am —and this ought to be made very clear—I am a very serious woman.
Bella!, introduction (1972)
Just imagine for a moment what life in this country might have been if women had been properly represented in Congress. Would a Congress where women in all their diversity were represented tolerate the countless laws now on the books that discriminate against women in all phases of their lives? Would a Congress with adequate representation of women have allowed this country to reach the 1970s without a national health care system? Would it have permitted this country to rank fourteenth in infant mortality among the developed nations of the world? Would it have allowed the situation we now have in which thousands of kids grow up without decent care because their working mothers have no place to leave them? Would such a Congress condone the continued butchering of young girls and mothers in amateur abortion mills? Would it allow fraudulent packaging and cheating of consumers in supermarkets, department stores and other retail outlets? Would it consent to the perverted sense of priorities that has dominated our government for decades, where billions have been appropriated for war while our human needs as a people have been neglected?
Bella!, “February 7” section (1972)
The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be in the arrangement of your chromosomes.
Bella!: Ms. Abzug Goes to Washington, Saturday Review Press (1972), p. 80.
When I was a young lawyer, working women wore hats. It was the only way they would take you seriously.