Since the passage of Roe v. Wade, the debate over reproductive rights has dominated America’s courts, legislatures, and streets. The contributors to The Reproductive Rights Reader embrace reproductive justice for all women, but challenge mainstream legal and political solutions based on protecting free choice via neutral governmental policies, which frequently ignore or jeopardize the interests of women of color and the poor. Instead, the pieces in this interdisciplinary book—including both legal cases and articles by legal scholars, historians, sociologists, political scientists and others—favor a critical analysis that addresses the concrete material conditions that limit choices, the role of law and social policy in creating those conditions, and the gendered power dynamics that inform and are reinforced by the regulation of human reproduction.
The selections demonstrate that the right to choice isn’t an automatic guarantee of reproductive justice and gender equality; to truly achieve this ideal it is essential to recognize the complexity of women’s reproductive experiences and needs. Divided into four sections, the book examines feminist critiques of medical knowledge and practice; and the legal regulation of pregnancy termination, conception and child-bearing, and behavior during pregnancy.