Today abortion is America's most contentious political and religious rallying point. Yet 150 years ago it was a virtual non-issue, quietly performed for centuries by women and mid-wives. What changed? This thought-provoking reference work explores the evolution of America's abortion debate in a balanced selection of over 40 primary documents by doctors, feminists, religious leaders, politicians, extremists, and judges from the 19th century to the present day. This guide not only examines the key laws and court cases, like Roe v. Wade and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, that have determined abortion policy, but offers insight into America's changing attitudes towards women, race, the medical field, and the role of government in its citizens' personal lives. Memoirs of early abortion providers, excerpts from popular women's self-help books, the complete text of Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, and personal writings from key liberal and conservative figures on both sides of the debate provide a more complete picture of an issue that is deeply personal, deeply divisive, and anything but clear-cut. A straightforward and accessible book, ideal for both students and general readers looking to expand their understanding of one of the most complicated, and still unresolved, issues of our day.
Each excerpt is preceded by a brief explanation of its significance and followed by author analysis to help readers understand its implications and the historical context in which is it was written. Readers gain direct access to America's most important legal papers and transcripts on abortion, complimented by a well rounded view of the public beliefs and sentiments that have fueled abortion debates. Suggestions for further reading conclude each chapter, perfect for research or to guide interested readers in their search for material. The front matter includes a Timeline of major events in abortion history, and the back matter, offers a Bibliography of 50 titles on abortion and over 30 Web links.
With the White House acting in anti-choice lockstep with the majorities in both House and Senate, religious extremists are now in key decision-making posts, our federal judiciary is filled with recent appointees whose values are drastically out of step with the pro-choice sentiments of the majority of the American people, abstinence-only sex education is now the rule, ideology has trumped science in domestic and global health policy, and the Supreme Court balance in favor of reproductive freedoms is perilously close to toppling. But while many of the individual facts are known, no one until now has connected all the dots and drawn the Big Picture that shows exactly how radical and how successful this quiet revolution has been.
Judge by judge, law by law, and appointee by appointee, The War on Choice speaks the truth about what is happening, and also tells the stories of some of the women whose lives have been affected by these court decisions and federal policies. A keen analysis of current events, combined with a hands-on plan of action for those who want to raise their voices in protest, this book will be riveting reading.
And there is no one better equipped to write about the insidious, step-by step chipping away of rights, or about what we can do to fight back, than Gloria Feldt, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Her thirty years of work with the organization combined with her personal experience - as a woman who came out of the same West Texas political landscape as did George W. Bush but faced a very different economic and social reality as the mother of three children by the age of 20 make her the ideal spokeswoman for those who are alarmed by the current political climate.?
This book will be a wake-up call, describing in jaw-dropping detail the story of what the anti-choice movement is doing to the rights to birth control, abortion and privacy.?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In The Changing Voice of the Anti-Abortion Movement, Paul Saurette and Kelly Gordon suggest that the reality is far more complicated, particularly in Canada. Today, anti-abortion activism increasingly presents itself as “pro-women”: using female spokespersons, adopting medical and scientific language to claim that abortion harms women, and employing a wide range of more subtle framing and narrative rhetorical tactics that use traditionally progressive themes to present the anti-abortion position as more feminist than pro-choice feminism.
Following a succinct but comprehensive overview of the two-hundred year history of North American debate and legislation on abortion, Saurette and Gordon present the results of their systematic, five-year quantitative and qualitative discourse analysis, supplemented by extensive first-person observations, and outline the implications that flow from these findings. Their discoveries are a challenge to our current assumptions about the abortion debate today, and their conclusions will be compelling for both scholars and activists alike.
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.
* Includes a comprehensive chronology of key events and people related to the issue of reproductive rights from 1900 to the present
* Provides a glossary of medical and legal terms used in the text