Dr. Margie Sved

“The joke in my family, which is not true, that I was named Margie Sved so that I had the initials of Margaret Sanger [leader of the birth control movement]…So it [feminism] goes back, yeah.”~Margie Sved

Dr. Margie Sved grew up just outside of New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her mother and grandmother were both feminists. She moved to Durham to attend Duke in the fall of 1970. During her second semester at Duke (January 1971), Margie had a “pre-Roe v. Wade” abortion that her feminist physician of a mother helped to coordinate. She traveled to New York for the in-patient “dilation and curettage” procedure for which she received general anesthesia. At the time, she only told one close friend about her abortion. She remembers that she could not get birth control through student health, and so she coordinated with another student to drive to Raleigh (about 40 minutes) every month to pick up their prescriptions at the Planned Parenthood. Despite being involved with men, Margie was in love with her roommate and identified as a lesbian. She thinks she probably would have thought of herself as bisexual had that been a socially acceptable option. Social pressure, however, led her to call herself a lesbian. Towards the end of her Duke career (1974ish), she became an original member of the Triangle Area Lesbian Feminists (TALF). She graduated from Duke in 1975 and had plans to go to medical school. Lesbian feminist politics, however, made her think twice about her decision after she had been more or less told that she couldn’t be a lesbian and a doctor, because it was giving into the patriarchy. Two years later she decided to become a doctor anyway and today she is a psychiatrist. During the mid 1970s, Margie was very active in the Women’s Health Teaching Group, a group of women who taught medical students about giving pelvic exams to women by allowing the students to practice on them. She was never in a cr group, but she was very involved with the Durham Women’s Center and the YWCA and volunteered at the Harriet Tubman branch, which was located on the Black side of town (Durham was very much still segregated). Today, Margie resides in Raleigh.

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