Designed to introduce and inform the reader to this extremely difficult topic, Baer's ecumenical approach exposes us to a variety of opinions from support for current abortion policies to the building movement for fetal rights. Only reasoned opinions supported by hard evidence are included, and no attempt was made to mute the often incommensurable opinions expressed within. This book will be a valuable resources for students, scholars, and any person interested in learning about the multiplicity of perspectives on this important issue that is at the heart of our current culture wars.
Legislating access to birth control, sex education, and abortion is also not new. In 1873 the US Congress made it illegal to mail 'obscene, lewd, or lascivious materials'—including any object designed for contraception or to induce abortion. In some states in the 1900s, it was illegal for Americans to possess, sell, advertise, or even speak about methods of controlling pregnancy.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Margaret Sanger, Mary Ware Dennett, and others began to defy these laws and advocate for the legalization of birth control and for better women's reproductive healthcare. By 1960 doctors had developed the Pill, but it wasn't until 1972 that all US citizens had legal access to birth control. And in the landmark decision Roe v Wade (1973), the US Supreme Court ruled that women had a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.
Disputes over contraception, sex education, and abortion continue to roil the nation, leading to controversial legal and political rulings and occasionally violence. As society changes—and as new reproductive technologies expand the possibilities for controlling and initiating pregnancy—Americans will continue to debate reproductive rights for all.
A separate chapter looks at abortion politics throughout the world and places the United States in a global context. Biographies of major players, extensive data and documents, and a bibliography of important resources make this an essential resource on one of the most controversial topics in our national dialog.
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.
Alesha Doan's insightful interviews and observations powerfully portray anti-abortion activists' relationship to the objects of their protest. Her portrait is augmented by thorough quantitative analysis of harassment's role within the movement's multitiered strategy— a strategy that Doan shows has forced a decline in the availability and popularity of abortions. Using her unique study of the anti-abortion movement as a model, Doan extends her findings to propose a novel and valuable theory of the new politics of harassment.
"An interesting and sophisticated account. Seamlessly weaves narrative and analysis, tying local action to national strategy. Explores uncharted territory in the abortion controversy and expands our understanding of political action."
— Deborah R. McFarlane, University of New Mexico
"For 40 years, abortion politics have been endlessly fascinating to American scholars and journalists alike because they generate unique political phenomena that challenge traditional theories of political behavior. In this book, Doan goes straight to the heart of the matter by describing, evaluating, and explaining one of the most characteristic and complex of these phenomena— political harassment. In a well-written narrative that weaves qualitative and quantitative data, she gives us the first scholarly look at this political tactic, whose relevance and use go well beyond American abortion politics."
— Chris Mooney, University of Illinois at Springfield
"The book contributes to political theory and knowledge by adding new empirical data gathered from interviews with those in the front lines of the struggle over abortion. The author refines and develops a category of unconventional political participation— political harassment of nongovernmental actors— and explains why it is particularly effective in undermining the rights of women seeking abortions, as well as the rights of abortion service providers."
— Nikki R. Van Hightower, Texas A&M University
Alesha E. Doan is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Kansas.
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.
"A milestone. . . . Here she recounts with clarity and fervor the remarkable story of how she, her husband and a few other lawyers, supported by a handful of doctors and pro-choice advocates, researched and prepared briefs invoking the 'right of privacy' defense as a main argument to challenge the Texas anti-abortion law."—Publishers Weekly
On the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, women's reproductive freedom is just as contested as it was before abortion was made legal. Adding a new chapter to her celebrated book about the story behind that great legal challenge, Sarah Weddington brings up-to-date the status of choice and constitutional law.
Sarah Weddington is an attorney and lecturer from Austin Texas. She became a key figure in the reproductive rights movement when at the age of twenty-seven she successfully argued Roe v. Wade, the landmark court case that gave American women the right to abortion. She has served in the Texas house of representatives, and was a White House advisor to President Jimmy Carter. Weddington travels the country, lecturing on leadership and women's issues.