Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights

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A POWERFUL ARGUMENT FOR ABORTION AS A MORAL RIGHT AND SOCIAL GOOD BY A NOTED FEMINIST AND LONGTIME COLUMNIST FOR THE NATION

Forty years after the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, "abortion" is still a word that is said with outright hostility by many, despite the fact that one in three American women will have terminated at least one pregnancy by menopause. Even those who support a woman's right to an abortion often qualify their support by saying abortion is a "bad thing," an "agonizing decision," making the medical procedure so remote and radioactive that it takes it out of the world of the everyday, turning an act that is normal and necessary into something shameful and secretive. Meanwhile, with each passing day, the rights upheld by the Supreme Court are being systematically eroded by state laws designed to end abortion outright.

In this urgent, controversial book, Katha Pollitt reframes abortion as a common part of a woman's reproductive life, one that should be accepted as a moral right with positive social implications. In Pro, Pollitt takes on the personhood argument, reaffirms the priority of a woman's life and health, and discusses why terminating a pregnancy can be a force for good for women, families, and society. It is time, Pollitt argues, that we reclaim the lives and the rights of women and mothers.

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About the author

Katha Pollitt, the author of Virginity or Death!, is a poet, essayist, and columnist for The Nation. She has won many prizes and awards for her work, including the National Book Critics Award for her first collection of poems, Antarctic Traveler, and two National Magazine Awards for Essays and Criticism. She lives in New York City.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Picador
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Published on
Oct 14, 2014
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781250055842
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Abortion & Birth Control
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A Chicago Tribune "Best Books of 2014" • A Slate "Best Books 2014: Staff Picks" • A St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Best Books of 2014"

The fascinating story of one of the most important scientific discoveries of the twentieth century.

We know it simply as "the pill," yet its genesis was anything but simple. Jonathan Eig's masterful narrative revolves around four principal characters: the fiery feminist Margaret Sanger, who was a champion of birth control in her campaign for the rights of women but neglected her own children in pursuit of free love; the beautiful Katharine McCormick, who owed her fortune to her wealthy husband, the son of the founder of International Harvester and a schizophrenic; the visionary scientist Gregory Pincus, who was dismissed by Harvard in the 1930s as a result of his experimentation with in vitro fertilization but who, after he was approached by Sanger and McCormick, grew obsessed with the idea of inventing a drug that could stop ovulation; and the telegenic John Rock, a Catholic doctor from Boston who battled his own church to become an enormously effective advocate in the effort to win public approval for the drug that would be marketed by Searle as Enovid.

Spanning the years from Sanger’s heady Greenwich Village days in the early twentieth century to trial tests in Puerto Rico in the 1950s to the cusp of the sexual revolution in the 1960s, this is a grand story of radical feminist politics, scientific ingenuity, establishment opposition, and, ultimately, a sea change in social attitudes. Brilliantly researched and briskly written, The Birth of the Pill is gripping social, cultural, and scientific history.

This book narrates the harrowing and life-changing experiences of former abortion clinic workers, including those of the author, who once directed abortion services at a large Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. These individuals, whose names have been changed to protect their identities, left their jobs in the abortion industry after experiencing a change of heart. They have come forward with their stories, not for fame or notoriety, but to shed light on the reality of abortion. They want their stories to change the lives of others for the better.


These stories are difficult to read, because an abortion is an act of violence, harming not only the obvious victim—the unborn child-- but also the mother, the father, the doctor, and everyone else involved. But these stories also offer hope, for they show that anyone, no matter what part the person has played in an abortion, can start anew, can make amends for past mistakes. They demonstrate that the first step on that journey is telling the truth, as these courageous individuals do in these pages.

"Those of us that have worked in the abortion industry all live with a constant burden. We can't let our burden slide off of our shoulders; it is what keeps us on fire. It reminds us of why we fight so hard. We have seen death and evil in a way that most haven't—and we participated. But we are forgiven. He who has been forgiven much, loves much. And we love a lot. I am eagerly awaiting the day when we can call all abortionists and clinic workers former and repentant abortion providers."

— Abby Johnson, author

In her comic, scathing essay “Men Explain Things to Me,” Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don’t, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.

She ends on a serious note— because the ultimate problem is the silencing of women who have something to say, including those saying things like, “He’s trying to kill me!”

This book features that now-classic essay with six perfect complements, including an examination of the great feminist writer Virginia Woolf ’s embrace of mystery, of not knowing, of doubt and ambiguity, a highly original inquiry into marriage equality, and a terrifying survey of the scope of contemporary violence against women.

Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of eighteen or so books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, including the books Men Explain Things to Me and Hope in the Dark, both also with Haymarket; a trilogy of atlases of American cities; The Faraway Nearby; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Wanderlust: A History of Walking; and River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a columnist at Harper's and a regular contributor to the Guardian.

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author of Backlash—an unflinching dissection of the mind of America after 9/11

In this most original examination of America's post-9/11 culture, Susan Faludi shines a light on the country's psychological response to the attacks on that terrible day. Turning her acute observational powers on the media, popular culture, and political life, Faludi unearths a barely acknowledged but bedrock societal drama shot through with baffling contradictions. Why, she asks, did our culture respond to an assault against American global dominance with a frenzied summons to restore "traditional" manhood, marriage, and maternity? Why did we react as if the hijackers had targeted not a commercial and military edifice but the family home and nursery? Why did an attack fueled by hatred of Western emancipation lead us to a regressive fixation on Doris Day womanhood and John Wayne masculinity, with trembling "security moms," swaggering presidential gunslingers, and the "rescue" of a female soldier cast as a "helpless little girl"?

The answer, Faludi finds, lies in a historical anomaly unique to the American experience: the nation that in recent memory has been least vulnerable to domestic attack was forged in traumatizing assaults by nonwhite "barbarians" on town and village. That humiliation lies concealed under a myth of cowboy bluster and feminine frailty, which is reanimated whenever threat and shame looms.

Brilliant and important, The Terror Dream shows what 9/11 revealed about us—and offers the opportunity to look at ourselves anew.

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