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Abortion and Divorce in Western Law
Mary Ann Glendon
Harvard University Press, 1987

What can abortion and divorce laws in other countries teach Americans about these thorny issues? In this incisive new book, noted legal scholar Mary Ann Glendon looks at the experiences of twenty Western nations, including the United States, and shows how they differ, subtly but profoundly, from one another. Her findings challenge many widely held American beliefs. She reveals, for example, that a compromise on the abortion question is not only possible but typical, even in societies that are deeply divided on the matter. Regarding divorce, the extensive reliance on judicial discretion in the United States is not the best way to achieve fairness in arranging child support, spousal maintenance, or division of property—to judge by the experience of other countries. Glendon's analysis, by searching out alternatives to current U.S. practice, identities new possibilities of reform in these areas. After the late 1960s abortion and divorce became more readily available throughout the West—and most readily in this country—but the approach of American law has been anomalous. Compared with other Western nations, the United States permits less regulation of abortion in the interest of the fetus, provides less public support for maternity and child-rearing, and does less to mitigate the economic hardships of divorce through public assistance or enforcement of private obligations of support.

Glendon looks at these and more profound differences in the light of a powerful new method of legal interpretation. She sees each country's laws as part of a symbol-creating system that yields a distinctive portrait of individuals, human life, and relations between men and women, parents and children, families and larger communities. American law, more than that of other countries, employs a rhetoric of rights, individual liberty, and tolerance for diversity that, unchecked, contributes to the fragmentation of community and its values. Contemporary U.S. family law embodies a narrative about divorce, abortion, and dependency that is probably not the story most Americans would want to tell about these sad and complex matters but that is recognizably related to many of their most cherished ideals.

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Abortion and Unborn Human Life
Patrick Lee
Catholic University of America Press, 1996

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Abortion and Unborn Human Life, Second Edition
Patrick Lee
Catholic University of America Press, 2010
Patrick Lee surveys the main philosophical arguments in favor of the moral permissibility of abortion and refutes them point by point. In a calm and philosophically sophisticated manner, he presents a powerful case for the pro-life position and a serious challenge to all of the main philosophical arguments on behalf of the pro-choice position.
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Abortion at Work
Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic
Simonds, Wendy
Rutgers University Press, 1996
How do feminist identity and abortion politics intersect? Specifically, what does feminism mean to women working to feminist health care and abortion services in the late 1980s and early 1990s? What are the ideological consequences and emotional tolls of doing such work in a hostile socio-cultural environment? Can feminism and bureaucracy coexist productively? How do feminists confront the anti-feminist opposition, from anti-abortion protesters outside to racism within feminist organizations?

These are the questions that drive Wendy Simonds' Abortion at Work. Simonds documents the ways in which workers at a feminist clinic construct compelling feminist visions, and also watch their ideals fall short in practice. Simonds interprets these women's narratives to get at how abortion works on feminism, and to show what feminism can gain by rethinking abortion utilizing these activists' terms. In thoroughly engaging prose, Simonds frames her analysis with a moving account of her own personal understanding of the issues.
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Abortion, Choice, and Contemporary Fiction
The Armageddon of the Maternal Instinct
Judith Wilt
University of Chicago Press, 1990
In recent years, public debate has raged over the issue of maternal choice. While personal testimony and political argument have received widespread attention, artistic representations of birth and abortion have been submerged. Judith Wilt offers the first look at how contemporary writers tell and retell the stories that shape our perceptions about abortion. She reveals that the struggle to plot these painful, complex narratives of choice, control, guilt, loss, and liberation has preoccupied an astonishing number of our most distinguished novelists, male and female alike. Readers of twentieth-century novels are more likely to encounter plots centered on maternal choice than those dealing with the more traditional problems of courtship and marriage.

In the opening of the book, Wilt discusses real case histories of several women. After studying the ambiguities of their decisions, she turns to their counterpoints depicted in contemporary fiction. Working from a feminist perspective, Wilt traces the theme of maternal choice in works by Margaret Atwood, Margaret Drabble, Joan Didion, Mary Gordon, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Marge Piercy, Thomas Keneally, Graham Swift, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Barth, John Irving, and others.

Behind the political, medical, and moral debates on abortion, Wilt argues, is a profound psychocultural shock at the recognition that maternity is passing from the domain of instinct to that of conscious choice. Although never wholly instinctual, maternity's potential capture by consciousness raises complex questions. The novels Wilt discusses portray worlds in which principles are endangered by sexual inequality, male power and hidden male fear of abandonment, impotence, female submission, and covert rage, and, in the case of black maternity, the hideous aftermath of slavery.

Wilt provides a resonant new context for debates—whether political or personal—on the issue of abortion and maternal choice. Ultimately she enables us to rethink how we shape our own identities and lives.
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Abortion in Early Modern Italy
John Christopoulos
Harvard University Press, 2020

A comprehensive history of abortion in Renaissance Italy.

In this authoritative history, John Christopoulos provides a provocative and far-reaching account of abortion in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italy. His poignant portraits of women who terminated or were forced to terminate pregnancies offer a corrective to longstanding views: he finds that Italians maintained a fundamental ambivalence about abortion. Italians from all levels of society sought, had, and participated in abortions. Early modern Italy was not an absolute anti-abortion culture, an exemplary Catholic society centered on the “traditional family.” Rather, Christopoulos shows, Italians held many views on abortion, and their responses to its practice varied.

Bringing together medical, religious, and legal perspectives alongside a social and cultural history of sexuality, reproduction, and the family, Christopoulos offers a nuanced and convincing account of the meanings Italians ascribed to abortion and shows how prevailing ideas about the practice were spread, modified, and challenged. Christopoulos begins by introducing readers to prevailing ideas about abortion and women’s bodies, describing the widely available purgative medicines and surgeries that various healers and women themselves employed to terminate pregnancies. He then explores how these ideas and practices ran up against and shaped theology, medicine, and law. Catholic understanding of abortion was changing amid religious, legal, and scientific debates concerning the nature of human life, women’s bodies, and sexual politics. Christopoulos examines how ecclesiastical, secular, and medical authorities sought to regulate abortion, and how tribunals investigated and punished its procurers—or did not, even when they could have. Abortion in Early Modern Italy offers a compelling and sensitive study of abortion in a time of dramatic religious, scientific, and social change.

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Abortion in the American Imagination
Before Life and Choice, 1880-1940
Weingarten, Karen
Rutgers University Press, 2014
 The public debate on abortion stretches back much further than Roe v. Wade, to long before the terms “pro-choice” and “pro-life” were ever invented. Yet the ways Americans discussed abortion in the early decades of the twentieth century had little in common with our now-entrenched debates about personal responsibility and individual autonomy.

Abortion in the American Imagination returns to the moment when American writers first dared to broach the controversial subject of abortion. What was once a topic avoided by polite society, only discussed in vague euphemisms behind closed doors, suddenly became open to vigorous public debate as it was represented everywhere from sensationalistic melodramas to treatises on social reform. Literary scholar and cultural historian Karen Weingarten shows how these discussions were remarkably fluid and far-ranging, touching upon issues of eugenics, economics, race, and gender roles.

Weingarten traces the discourses on abortion across a wide array of media, putting fiction by canonical writers like William Faulkner, Edith Wharton, and Langston Hughes into conversation with the era’s films, newspaper articles, and activist rhetoric. By doing so, she exposes not only the ways that public perceptions of abortion changed over the course of the twentieth century, but also the ways in which these abortion debates shaped our very sense of what it means to be an American.   
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Abortion Rights as Religious Freedom
Peter S. Wenz
Temple University Press, 1992
"This excellent books is bound to stir debate on the abortion issue and to occupy a rather distinctive position." --R.G. Frey, Bowling Green State University With the current composition of the Supreme Court and recent challenges to Roe v. Wade, Peter S. Wenz's new approach to the ethical, moral, and legal issues related to a woman's right to elective abortion may turn the tide in this debate. He argues that the Supreme Court reached the right decision in Roe v. Wade but for the wrong reasons. Wenz contends that a woman's right to terminated her pregnancy should be based, not on her constitutional right to privacy, but on the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom, a basis for freedom of choice that is not subject to the legal criticisms advanced against Roe. At least up to the 20th week of a pregnancy, one's belief whether a human fetus is a human person or not is a religious decision. He maintains that because questions about the moral status of a fetus are religious, it follows that anti-abortion legislation, to the extent that it is predicated on such "inherently religious beliefs," is unconstitutional. In this timely and topical book, Wenz also examines related cases that deal with government intervention in an individual's procreative life, the regulation of contraceptives, and other legislation that is either applied to or imposed upon select groups of people (e.g., homosexuals, drug addicts). He builds a concrete argument that could replace Roe v. Wade. Reviews "In this important study of abortion and the Constitiution, legal philosopher Peter Wenz contends that Roe v. Wade was wrongly argued but well conlcuded. Wenz presents a substantial review of Supreme Court decisions on abortion, then critically exposes flaws, including the privacy justification for abortion as well as the trimester scheme. --Religious Studies Review "In this major work, Peter Wenz has analyzed the relation of the Constitution's religion clauses to the abortion controversy. His principal contribution is to shift the argument from the right of privacy (invoked, he believes, unsuccessfully in Roe v. Wade) to the Establishment Clause. The Court's concern in Roe was whether the statute unduly burdened a fundamental right. But tested by the Establishment Clause, statutes may violate the Constitution by implicitly endorsing a religious belief, namely, the personhood of the unborn. Wenz concludes that the Establishment Clause permits abortions prior to the twenty-first week of pregnancy." --C. Herman Prichett, Professor of Political Science Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara "This is an original and scholarly exposition of the view that abortion rights fall under the religion clauses of the First Amendment. The view defended is an important alternative to the privacy defense upon which the Roe v. Wade decision was based and should help to expand the ethical and constitutional debate about abortion rights." --Mary Anne Warren, Associate Professor of Philosophy, San Francisco State University, and author of Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection Contents Preface Introduction Roe v. Wade under Attack • Individual Rights and Majority Rule • Constitutional Interpretation • Preview of Chapters 1. The Derivation of Roe v. Wade Economic Substantive Due Process • Due Process and the Family • Contraception and Privacy in Griswold v. Connecticut • Contraception and Privacy in Eisenstadt v. Baird • Blackmun's Privacy Rationale in Roe v. Wade • Stewart's Due Process Rationale in Roe v. Wade • Tribe on Substantive Due Process • Conclusion 2. Potentiality and Viability The Roe v. Wade Decision • The Concept of Viability in Abortion Cases • Dividing the Gestational Continuum • The Genetic Approach to Personhood • Viability versus Similarity to Newborns • Two Consequentialist Arguments • Feminism and Viability • Conclusion 3. The Evolution of "Religion" Religion in the Abortion Debate • The Original Understanding of the Religion Clauses • The Evolution of Religion Clause Doctrine • Incorporation of the Religion Clauses • From Belief to Practice • Alleviating Indirect Burdens on Religious Practice • Expanding the Meaning of "Religion" • The Original Understanding View • Bork: Conservative or Moderate? • Conflicts between the Religion Clauses • The Elusive Meaning of "Religion" • Conclusion 4. The Definition of "Religion" The Adjectival Sense of Religion • Religious Beliefs Independent of Organized Religions • Religious Belief as Fundamental to Organized Religion • Secular Beliefs Related to Material Reality • Secular Beliefs Related to Social Interaction • Secular Facts versus Secular Values • The Court's Characterizations of Secular Beliefs • Secular (Nonreligious) Belief • The Epistemological Standard for Distinguishing Religious from Secular Belief • Judicial Examples of Religious Beliefs • General Characteristics of Religious Beliefs • Summary 5. "Religion" in Court The Epistemological Standard Applied • Cults and Crazies • Secular Religions • Tensions between the Religion Clauses • The Unitary Definition of "Religion" 6. Fetal Personhood as Religious Belief Anti-Contraception Laws and the Establishment Clause • Belief in the Existence of God • Belief in the Personhood of Young Fetuses • Distinguishing Religious from Secular Determinations of Fetal Personhood • Religious versus Secular Uncertainty • Environmental Preservation and Animal Protection versus Fetal Value • Greenawalt's Argument • The Reach of Secular Considerations • Secular versus Religious Matters • Conclusion 7. The Regulation of Abortion The Trimester Framework and Its Exceptions • O'Connor's Objections to the Trimester Framework • Superiority of the Establishment Clause Approach to the Trimester Framework • Required Efforts to Save the Fetus • The Neutrality Principle • Appropriate Judicial Skepticism • Undue Burdens and Unconstitutional Endorsements • Conclusion 8. Abortion and Others Public Funding of Abortion • The Establishment Clause Approach to Public Funding • The Court's Funding Rationale • The Court's Inconsistent Rationale • Publicly Funded Family Planning Clinics • Spousal Consent • The Court's Flawed Parental Consent Rationale • Information Requirements • Spousal and Parental Consent • The Establishment Clause Approach: Medical Dimension • The Establishment Clause Approach: Religious Dimension • Implications of the Establishment Clause Approach • The Court's Inconsistency • Equivalent Results • Parental Notification • Conclusion Conclusion Justice Scalia's View • The Fundamental Flaw in Roe • The Rationale for the Establishment Clause Approach • Advantages of the Establishment Clause Approach Notes Glossary of Terms Annotated Table of Cases Bibliography Index About the Author(s): Peter S. Wenz is Professor of Philosophy and Legal Studies at Sangamon State University.
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About Abortion
Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America
Carol Sanger
Harvard University Press, 2017

One of the most private decisions a woman can make, abortion is also one of the most contentious topics in American civic life. Protested at rallies and politicized in party platforms, terminating pregnancy is often characterized as a selfish decision by women who put their own interests above those of the fetus. This background of stigma and hostility has stifled women’s willingness to talk about abortion, which in turn distorts public and political discussion. To pry open the silence surrounding this public issue, Sanger distinguishes between abortion privacy, a form of nondisclosure based on a woman’s desire to control personal information, and abortion secrecy, a woman’s defense against the many harms of disclosure.

Laws regulating abortion patients and providers treat abortion not as an acceptable medical decision—let alone a right—but as something disreputable, immoral, and chosen by mistake. Exploiting the emotional power of fetal imagery, laws require women to undergo ultrasound, a practice welcomed in wanted pregnancies but commandeered for use against women with unwanted pregnancies. Sanger takes these prejudicial views of women’s abortion decisions into the twenty-first century by uncovering new connections between abortion law and American culture and politics.

New medical technologies, women’s increasing willingness to talk online and off, and the prospect of tighter judicial reins on state legislatures are shaking up the practice of abortion. As talk becomes more transparent and acceptable, women’s decisions about whether or not to become mothers will be treated more like those of other adults making significant personal choices.

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After Roe
The Lost History of the Abortion Debate
Mary Ziegler
Harvard University Press, 2015

Forty years after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision legalizing abortion, Roe v. Wade continues to make headlines. After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate cuts through the myths and misunderstandings to present a clear-eyed account of cultural and political responses to the landmark 1973 ruling in the decade that followed. The grassroots activists who shaped the discussion after Roe, Mary Ziegler shows, were far more fluid and diverse than the partisans dominating the debate today.

In the early years after the decision, advocates on either side of the abortion battle sought common ground on issues from pregnancy discrimination to fetal research. Drawing on archives and more than 100 interviews with key participants, Ziegler’s revelations complicate the view that abortion rights proponents were insensitive to larger questions of racial and class injustice, and expose as caricature the idea that abortion opponents were inherently antifeminist. But over time, “pro-abortion” and “anti-abortion” positions hardened into “pro-choice” and “pro-life” categories in response to political pressures and compromises. This increasingly contentious back-and-forth produced the interpretation now taken for granted—that Roe was primarily a ruling on a woman’s right to choose.

Peering beneath the surface of social-movement struggles in the 1970s, After Roe reveals how actors on the left and the right have today made Roe a symbol for a spectrum of fervently held political beliefs.

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Before Roe
Abortion Policy in the States
Rosemary Nossiff
Temple University Press, 2000
Few issues in contemporary U.S> politics have remained on the public agenda so long and so divisively as abortion policy. The landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Waade, which held that laws prohibiting first trimester abortions were illegal because they violated a woman's right to privacy, still generates heated controversy today, a quarter of a century after it was made. The seeds of that controversy were sown in the seven years immediately preceding Roe, when state legislatures tried to reconcile religious opposition to abortion and individuals' civil liberties.

In this groundbreaking book, Rosemary Nossiff examines the force that shaped abortion policy during those years, and the ways in which states responded to them. To provide in-depth analysis while still looking broadly at the picture, she studies New York, which passed the  most permissive abortion bill in the country, and Pennsylvania, which passed one of the most restrictive. That these two states, which share similar demographic, political, and  economic characteristics, should reach two such different outcomes provides a perfect case study for observing political dynamics at the state level.

Nossiff examines the medical, religious, and legal discourses employed on both sides of the debate, as well as the role played by feminist discourse. She looks at the role of the political parties in the campaigns, as well as such interest groups as the National Council of Catholic Bishops, the Clergy Consultation Service, the National Organization for Women, and the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. In addition, she analyzes the strategies used by both sides, as well as partisan and institutionalized developments that facilitated success or failure. Finally, in the Epilogue, she assesses the Roe decision and its aftermath, including an analysis of the pro-life movement in Pennsylvania.

As the author remarks, "Without question people's positions on abortion are shaped by a myriad of social, moral, and economic factors. But ultimately abortion policy is shaped in the political arena. This book examines how one of the most intimate decisions a woman makes, whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy, has become one of the most politicized issues in contemporary American politics.
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Behind Every Choice Is a Story
Gloria Feldt
University of North Texas Press, 2002

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Beyond Control
Medical Power and Abortion Law
Sally Sheldon
Pluto Press, 1997

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Changing Unjust Laws Justly
Pro-Life Solidarity with "The Last and Least"
Colin Harte
Catholic University of America Press, 2005
Changing Unjust Laws Justly is the first book to address systematically the practical, legal, and ethical problems that are encountered in well-intentioned attempts to restrict abortion. It will be of considerable interest not only to political, legal, and moral philosophers, but also to lawmakers and the pro-life movement generally.
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Choosing Life
A Dialogue on Evangelium Vitae
Kevin Wm. Wildes, SJ, and Alan Mitchell, Editors
Georgetown University Press, 1997

Evangelium Vitae, or "The Gospel of Life," Pope John Paul II's 1995 encyclical, addresses practical moral questions that touch on the sacredness of human life: abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and capital punishment. Tackling major moral and cultural ideas, the Pope urged "all men and women of good will" to embrace a "culture of life" instead of the prevailing "culture of death." In this book, scholars from a wide range of disciplines—law, medicine, philosophy, and theology—and various religious perspectives discuss and interpret the Pope's teachings on these complex moral issues.

The opening essays establish a context for the encyclical in the moral thought of John Paul II and examine issues of methodology and ecclesiology. A second group considers the themes of law and technology, which are crucial to the way the encyclical views the specific matters of life and death. The final section turns to the specific topics of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, medical experimentation, and capital punishment.

Seeking to promote discussion between the ideas of the encyclical and other points of view, this volume does not attempt to endorse Evangelium Vitae but rather to illustrate its relevance to both private choice and public policy. It will serve as a foundation for further dialogue and allow others to approach the pontiff's thought with new awareness and insight.

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Contested Reproduction
Genetic Technologies, Religion, and Public Debate
John H. Evans
University of Chicago Press, 2010

Scientific breakthroughs have led us to a point where soon we will be able to make specific choices about the genetic makeup of our offspring. In fact, this reality has arrived—and it is only a matter of time before the technology becomes widespread.

Much like past arguments about stem-cell research, the coming debate over these reproductive genetic technologies (RGTs) will be both political and, for many people, religious. In order to understand how the debate will play out in the United States, John H. Evans conducted the first in-depth study of the claims made about RGTs by religious people from across the political spectrum, and Contested Reproduction is the stimulating result.

Some of the opinions Evans documents are familiar, but others—such as the idea that certain genetic conditions produce a “meaningful suffering” that is, ultimately, desirable—provide a fascinating glimpse of religious reactions to cutting-edge science. Not surprisingly, Evans discovers that for many people opinion on the issue closely relates to their feelings about abortion, but he also finds a shared moral language that offers a way around the unproductive polarization of the abortion debate and other culture-war concerns. Admirably evenhanded, Contested Reproduction is a prescient, profound look into the future of a hot-button issue.

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Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance
John M. Riddle
Harvard University Press, 1992

John Riddle uncovers the obscure history of contraception and abortifacients from ancient Egypt to the seventeenth century with forays into Victorian England—a topic that until now has evaded the pens of able historians.

Riddle’s thesis is, quite simply, that the ancient world did indeed possess effective (and safe) contraceptives and abortifacients. The author maintains that this rich body of knowledge about fertility control—widely held in the ancient world—was gradually lost over the course of the Middle Ages, becoming nearly extinct by the early modern period. The reasons for this he suggests, stemmed from changes in the organization of medicine. As university medical training became increasingly important, physicians’ ties with folk traditions were broken. The study of birth control methods was just not part of the curriculum.

In an especially telling passage, Riddle reveals how Renaissance humanists were ill equipped to provide accurate translations of ancient texts concerning abortifacients due to their limited experience with women’s ailments. Much of the knowledge about contraception belonged to an oral culture—a distinctively female-centered culture. From ancient times until the seventeenth century, women held a monopoly on birthing and the treatment of related matters; information passed from midwife to mother, from mother to daughter. Riddle reflects on the difficulty of finding traces of oral culture and the fact that the little existing evidence is drawn from male writers who knew that culture only from a distance. Nevertheless, through extraordinary scholarly sleuthing, the author pieces together the clues and evaluates the scientific merit of these ancient remedies in language that is easily understood by the general reader. His findings will be useful to anyone interested in learning whether it was possible for premodern people to regulate their reproduction without resorting to the extremities of dangerous surgical abortions, the killing of infants, or the denial of biological urges.

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The Court vs. Congress
Prayer, Busing, and Abortion
Edward Keynes and Randall Miller
Duke University Press, 1989
Since the early 1960s the Supreme Court and its congressional critics have been locked in a continuing dispute over the issues of school prayer, busing, and abortion. Although for years the Court’s congressional foes have introduced legislation designed to curb the powers of the federal courts in these areas, they have until now failed to enact such proposals. It is likely that these legislative efforts and the present confrontation with the Court will continue.
Edward Keynes and Randall Miller argue that Congress lacks the constitutional power to legislate away the powers of the federal courts and to prevent individuals from seeking redress for presumed infringements of their constitutional rights in these areas. They demonstrate that neither the framers nor ratifiers of the Constitution intended the Congress to exercise plenary power over the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Throughout its history the Court has never conceded unlimited powers to Congress; and until the late 1950s Congress had not attempted to gerrymander the Court’s jurisdiction in response to specific decisions. But the authors contend this is just what the sponsors of recent legislative attacks on the Court intend, and they see such efforts as threatening the Court’s independence and authority as defined in the separation of powers clauses of the Constitution.
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Decoding Abortion Rhetoric
COMMUNICATING SOCIAL CHANGE
Celeste Michelle Condit
University of Illinois Press, 1990
Condit provides a close look at how pro-life and pro-choice arguments have helped shape the development of public policy and private practice. She offers readers an orderly way through the barrage of rhetoric and an opportunity to identify and clarify our own opinions on a very difficult subject.
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Doctors and Demonstrators
How Political Institutions Shape Abortion Law in the United States, Britain, and Canada
Drew Halfmann
University of Chicago Press, 2011
Since Roe v. Wade, abortion has continued to be a divisive political issue in the United States. In contrast, it has remained primarily a medical issue in Britain and Canada despite the countries’ shared heritage. Doctors and Demonstrators looks beyond simplistic cultural or religious explanations to find out why abortion politics and policies differ so dramatically in these otherwise similar countries.
 
Drew Halfmann argues that political institutions are the key. In the United States, federalism, judicial review, and a private health care system contributed to the public definition of abortion as an individual right rather than a medical necessity. Meanwhile, Halfmann explains, the porous structure of American political parties gave pro-choice and pro-life groups the opportunity to move the issue onto the political agenda. A groundbreaking study of the complex legal and political factors behind the evolution of abortion policy, Doctors and Demonstrators will be vital for anyone trying to understand this contentious issue.
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Down Ballot
How a Local Campaign Became a National Referendum on Abortion
Patrick Wohl
University of Illinois Press, 2024
When an obscure primary election met the culture wars

In 1990, a suburban Chicago race for the Republican Party nomination for state representative unexpectedly became a national proxy battle over abortion in the United States. But the hard-fought primary also illustrated the overlooked importance of down-ballot contests in America’s culture wars. Patrick Wohl offers the dramatic account of a rollercoaster campaign that, after attracting political celebrities and a media circus, came down to thirty-one votes, a coin toss to determine the winner, and a recount fight that set a precedent for how to count dimpled chads. As the story unfolds, Wohl provides a rare nuts-and-bolts look at an election for state office from its first days through the Illinois Supreme Court decision that decided the winner--and set the stage for a decisive 1992 rematch.

A compelling political page-turner, Down Ballot takes readers behind the scenes of a legendary Illinois election.

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The Empty Cradle of Democracy
Sex, Abortion, and Nationalism in Modern Greece
Alexandra Halkias
Duke University Press, 2004
During the 1990s, Greece had a very high rate of abortion at the same time that its low birth rate was considered a national crisis. The Empty Cradle of Democracy explores this paradox. Alexandra Halkias shows that despite Greek Orthodox beliefs that abortion is murder, many Greek women view it as “natural” and consider birth control methods invasive. The formal public-sphere view is that women destroy the body of the nation by aborting future citizens. Scrutiny of these conflicting cultural beliefs enables Halkias’s incisive critique of the cornerstones of modern liberal democracy, including the autonomous “individual” subject and a polity external to the private sphere. The Empty Cradle of Democracy examines the complex relationship between nationalism and gender and re-theorizes late modernity and violence by exploring Greek representations of human agency, the fetus, national identity, eroticism, and the divine.

Halkias’s analysis combines telling fragments of contemporary Athenian culture, Greek history, media coverage of abortion and the declining birth rate, and fieldwork in Athens at an obstetrics/gynecology clinic and a family-planning center. Halkias conducted in-depth interviews with one hundred and twenty women who had had two or more abortions and observed more than four hundred gynecological exams at a state family-planning center. She reveals how intimate decisions and the public preoccupation with the low birth rate connect to nationalist ideas of race, religion, freedom, resistance, and the fraught encounter between modernity and tradition. The Empty Cradle of Democracy is a startling examination of how assumptions underlying liberal democracy are betrayed while the nation permeates the body and understandings of gender and sexuality complicate the nation-building projects of late modernity.

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Ethics of Procreation and the Defense of Human Life
Contraception, Artficial Fertilization, and Abortion
Martin Rhonheimer
Catholic University of America Press, 2010
Building on the renewal of Thomistic ethics encouraged by key moral encyclicals including Humanae Vitae, Veritatis Splendor, and Evangelium Vitae, Swiss philosopher Martin Rhonheimer revisits some of the most difficult questions regarding the ethics of procreation and human life.
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Eve’s Herbs
A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West
John M. Riddle
Harvard University Press, 1999

In Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance, John M. Riddle showed, through extraordinary scholarly sleuthing, that women from ancient Egyptian times to the fifteenth century had relied on an extensive pharmacopoeia of herbal abortifacients and contraceptives to regulate fertility. In Eve’s Herbs, Riddle explores a new question: If women once had access to effective means of birth control, why was this knowledge lost to them in modern times?

Beginning with the testimony of a young woman brought before the Inquisition in France in 1320, Riddle asks what women knew about regulating fertility with herbs and shows how the new intellectual, religious, and legal climate of the early modern period tended to cast suspicion on women who employed “secret knowledge” to terminate or prevent pregnancy. Knowledge of the menstrual-regulating qualities of rue, pennyroyal, and other herbs was widespread through succeeding centuries among herbalists, apothecaries, doctors, and laywomen themselves, even as theologians and legal scholars began advancing the idea that the fetus was fully human from the moment of conception.

Drawing on previously unavailable material, Riddle reaches a startling conclusion: while it did not persist in a form that was available to most women, ancient knowledge about herbs was not lost in modern times but survived in coded form. Persecuted as “witchcraft” in centuries past and prosecuted as a crime in our own time, the control of fertility by “Eve’s herbs” has been practiced by Western women since ancient times.

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Fertility and Jewish Law
Feminist Perspectives on Orthodox Responsa Literature
Ronit Irshai
Brandeis University Press, 2012
This book presents, from the perspective of feminist jurisprudence and feminist and liberal bioethics, a complete study of Jewish law (halakhah) on contemporary reproductive issues such as birth control, abortion, and assisted fertility. Irshai examines these issues to probe gender-based values that underlie the interpretations and determinations reached by modern practitioners of halakhah. Her primary goal is to tell, through common halakhic tools, a different halakhic story, one that takes account of the female narrative and its missing perspective.
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From Abortion to Pederasty
Addressing Difficult Topics in the Classics Classroom
Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz and Fiona McHardy
The Ohio State University Press, 2014
This volume had its origins in a very specific situation: the teaching of ancient texts dealing with rape. Ensuing discussions among a group of scholars expanded outwards from this to other sensitive areas. Ancient sources raise a variety of issues—slavery, infanticide, abortion, rape, pederasty, domestic violence, death, sexuality—that may be difficult to discuss in a classroom where some students will have had experiences similar to those described in classical texts. They may therefore be reluctant to speak in class, and even the reading themselves may be painful.
 
From Abortion to Pederasty: Addressing Difficult Topics in the Classics Classroom, edited by Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz and Fiona McHardy, is committed to the proposition that it is important to continue to teach texts that raise these issues, not to avoid them. In this volume, classicists and ancient historians from around the world address how to teach such topics as rape, pederasty, and slavery in the classics classroom. The contributors present the concrete ways in which they themselves have approached such issues in their course planning and in their responses to students’ needs.
 
A main objective of From Abortion to Pederasty is to combat arguments, from both the left and the right, that the classics are elitist and irrelevant. Indeed, they are so relevant, and so challenging, as to be painful at times. Another objective is to show how Greco-Roman culture and history can provide a way into a discussion that might have been difficult or even traumatic in other settings. Thus it will provide teaching tools for dealing with uncomfortable topics in the classroom, including homophobia and racism.
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The Kukotsky Enigma
A Novel
Ludmila Ulitskaya; Translated from the Russian by Diane Nemec Ignashev
Northwestern University Press, 2016

Translated from the Russian by Diane Nemec Ignashev

The central character in Ludmila Ulitskaya’s celebrated novel The Kukotsky Enigma is a gynecologist contending with Stalin’s prohibition of abortions in 1936. But, in the tradition of Russia’s great family novels, the story encompasses the history of two families and unfolds in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the ruins of ancient civilizations on the Black Sea. Their lives raise profound questions about family heritage and genetics, nurture and nature, and life and death. In his struggle to maintain his professional integrity and to keep his work from dividing his family, Kukotsky confronts the moral complexity of reproductive science. Winner of the 2001 Russian Booker Prize and the basis for a blockbuster television miniseries, The Kukotsky Enigma is an engrossing, searching novel by one of contemporary literature’s most brilliant writers.

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Life-Altering
Abortion Stories from the Midwest
Angie Leventis Lourgos
University of Missouri Press, 2023
The demise of Roe v. Wade dramatically altered abortion access across the United States, igniting a new era of polarization over reproductive rights as roughly half of all states moved to ban or significantly restrict terminating a pregnancy. Yet even before the U.S. Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion on June 24, 2022, people across large swaths of the country were already facing enormous obstacles to ending a pregnancy, including mandatory waiting periods, early gestational limits, and a dearth of abortion providers. Life-Altering: Abortion Stories from the Midwest shares the narratives of women who have terminated pregnancies, despite these barriers, chronicling how laws and court cases can shape the lives and reproductive decisions of individuals.

Based on her coverage of reproductive rights for the Chicago Tribune, veteran journalist Angie Leventis Lourgos explores these personal accounts to delve into the most nuanced aspects of abortion, from life-threatening cases to terminations later in gestation to restrictions for minors. The reporting spans the time before Roe and continues through the first year after the landmark Supreme Court case’s stunning reversal, which spurred some of the most stringent abortion laws of the past half-century—as well as new and innovative means of access.

From interviews Lourgos conducted with women across the Midwest, Life-Altering examines different facets of abortion from the perspectives of those who ended their pregnancies, illustrating how court cases, state legislation, and religious beliefs can affect the lives and reproductive choices of ordinary people. By looking at myriad factors that influence the decision whether or not to abort a pregnancy— be they socio-economic, religious, legal, or medical—the accounts collected in this volume challenge the conventional labels of “pro-life” and “pro-choice .”
 
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Moral Issues
How Public Opinion on Abortion and Gay Rights Affects American Religion and Politics
Paul Goren and Christopher Chapp
University of Chicago Press

A new perspective on how beliefs about abortion and gay rights reshaped American politics.

Many believe that religious and partisan identities undergird American public opinion. However, when it comes to abortion and gay rights, the reverse may be closer to the truth.

Drawing on wide-ranging evidence, Paul Goren and Christopher Chapp show that views on abortion and gay rights are just as durable and politically impactful—and often more so—than political and religious identities. Goren and Chapp locate the lasting strength of stances on abortion and gay rights in the automatic, visceral emotions that the media has primed since the late 1980s. Moral Issues examines how attitudes toward these moralized issues affect, and can sometimes even disrupt, religious and partisan identities. Indeed, over the last thirty years, these attitudes have accelerated the rise of the religious “nones,” who have no religious affiliation, and promoted moral sorting into the Democratic and Republican parties.

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The Morality of Abortion
Legal and Historical Perspectives
John T. Noonan Jr.
Harvard University Press, 1970

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The Morality of Abortion
Legal and Historical Perspectives
John T. Noonan Jr.
Harvard University Press

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No Real Choice
How Culture and Politics Matter for Reproductive Autonomy
Katrina Kimport
Rutgers University Press, 2022
In the United States, the “right to choose” an abortion is the law of the land. But what if a woman continues her pregnancy because she didn’t really have a choice? What if state laws, federal policies, stigma, and a host of other obstacles push that choice out of her reach?  
 
Based on candid, in-depth interviews with women who considered but did not obtain an abortion, No Real Choice punctures the myth that American women have full autonomy over their reproductive choices. Focusing on the experiences of a predominantly Black and low-income group of women, sociologist Katrina Kimport finds that structural, cultural, and experiential factors can make choosing abortion impossible–especially for those who experience racism and class discrimination. From these conversations, we see the obstacles to “choice” these women face, such as bans on public insurance coverage of abortion and rampant antiabortion claims that abortion is harmful. Kimport's interviews reveal that even as activists fight to preserve Roe v. Wade, class and racial disparities have already curtailed many women’s freedom of choice. 
 
No Real Choice analyzes both the structural obstacles to abortion and the cultural ideologies that try to persuade women not to choose abortion. Told with care and sensitivity, No Real Choice gives voice to women whose experiences are often overlooked in debates on abortion, illustrating how real reproductive choice is denied, for whom, and at what cost. 
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An Open Secret
The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia
Natalie L. Kimball
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Many women throughout the world face the challenge of confronting an unexpected or an unwanted pregnancy, yet these experiences are often shrouded in silence. An Open Secret draws on personal interviews and medical records to uncover the history of women’s experiences with unwanted pregnancy and abortion in the South American country of Bolivia. This Andean nation is home to a diverse population of indigenous and mixed-race individuals who practice a range of medical traditions. Centering on the cities of La Paz and El Alto, the book explores how women decided whether to continue or terminate their pregnancies and the medical practices to which women recurred in their search for reproductive health care between the early 1950s and 2010. It demonstrates that, far from constituting private events with little impact on the public sphere, women’s intimate experiences with pregnancy contributed to changing policies and services in reproductive health in Bolivia.
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Opposition and Intimidation
The Abortion Wars and Strategies of Political Harassment
Alesha E. Doan
University of Michigan Press, 2007

The abortion fight has long been a crucible of political tactics, with both sides employing strategies ranging from litigation to civil disobedience to outright violence. Anti-abortion activists have arguably been more tactically innovative than their pro-choice peers. Opposition and Intimidation looks at how their use of political harassment fits—or doesn't—with more conventional political efforts in the struggle over abortion.

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.

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The Politics of Morality
The Church, the State, and Reproductive Rights in Postsocialist Poland
Joanna Mishtal
Ohio University Press, 2015

After the fall of the state socialist regime and the end of martial law in 1989, Polish society experienced both a sense of relief from the tyranny of Soviet control and an expectation that democracy would bring freedom. After this initial wave of enthusiasm, however, political forces that had lain concealed during the state socialist era began to emerge and establish a new religious-nationalist orthodoxy. While Solidarity garnered most of the credit for democratization in Poland, it had worked quietly with the Catholic Church, to which a large majority of Poles at least nominally adhered. As the church emerged as a political force in the Polish Sejm and Senate, it precipitated a rapid erosion of women’s reproductive rights, especially the right to abortion, which had been relatively well established under the former regime.

The Politics of Morality is an anthropological study of this expansion of power by the religious right and its effects on individual rights and social mores. It explores the contradictions of postsocialist democratization in Poland: an emerging democracy on one hand, and a declining tolerance for reproductive rights, women’s rights, and political and religious pluralism on the other. Yet, as this thoroughly researched study shows, women resist these strictures by pursuing abortion illegally, defying religious prohibitions on contraception, and organizing into advocacy groups. As struggles around reproductive rights continue in Poland, these resistances and unofficial practices reveal the sharp limits of religious form of governance.

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The Politics of Reproduction
Adoption, Abortion, and Surrogacy in the Age of Neoliberalism
Modhumita Roy and Mary Thompson
The Ohio State University Press, 2019
The Politics of Reproduction: Adoption, Abortion and Surrogacy in the Age of Neoliberalism uniquely brings together three sites of reproduction and reproductive politics to demonstrate their entanglement in creating or restricting options for family-making. The original essays in this collection—which draw from a wide range of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives—are attentive to neoliberalism’s reshaping of economies and intimacies to better understand the politics of reproduction. By looking at particular instances (surrogacy in Mexico, forced sterilization in Peru, and racialized biopolitics in post-Katrina Mississippi, among other sites), The Politics of Reproduction focuses on the effects of a radically altered economic landscape on individual choice-making. As a whole, the volume critically engages the question of choice to better understand the costs of a political and ideological climate that encourages, even demands, individual solutions to intractable social problems. Whose choices are amplified in the use of new biomedical technologies and assisted reproduction? Why and how are we discouraged from understanding the economic motivations behind the “choice” to surrender a baby for adoption or to become a surrogate or to seek an abortion? Attentive to the historical, cultural, and ideological conjunctures of reproductive politics, The Politics of Reproduction makes a distinctive contribution to feminist analyses of the specific challenges posed by neoliberalism to reproductive possibilities, politics, and justice in the contemporary moment.
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The Politics of Virtue
Is Abortion Debatable?
Elizabeth Mensch and Alan Freeman
Duke University Press, 1993
Fiercely committed to the separation of church and state, thoroughly pluralistic, largely secular: Where does a society like ours find common terms for conducting a moral debate? In view of the crises surrounding the issue of abortion, it is tempting to answer: nowhere. In this timely and provocative book, Elizabeth Mensch and Alan Freeman urge that we challenge the extremes of both the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" views of the abortion issue and affirm the moral integrity of compromise. Attempting to restore a level of complexity to the discussion and to enrich public debate so that we may move beyond our current impasse, the authors argue that it is essential to understand how issues of legal "rights" and theological concerns interact in American public debate.
Returning to the years leading up to Roe v. Wade, Mensch and Freeman detail the role of religion and its relationship to the emerging politics of abortion. Discussing primarily the natural law tradition associated with Catholicism and the Protestant ethical tradition, the authors focus most sharply on the 1960s in which the present terms of the abortion debate were set. In a skillful analysis, they identify a variety of factors that directed and shaped the debate--including, among others, the haunting legacy of Nazism, the moral challenge of the civil rights movement, the "God is dead" discourse, school prayer and Bible reading, Harvey Cox's The Secular City, the Berrigans and Vietnam, the animal rights movement, and the movement of the church-going population away from mainstream Protestant tradition toward evangelical fundamentalism. By criticizing the rhetoric employed by both the "pro-choice" and "pro-life" camps, Mensch and Freeman reveal the extent to which forces on either side of the issue have failed to respond to relevant concerns. Since Roe v. Wade, the authors charge, public debate has seemed to concede the moral high ground to the "pro-life" position, while the "pro-choice" rhetoric has appeared to defend an individual's legal right to do moral wrong. Originally published as a special issue of The Georgia Law Review (Spring 1991), this revised and expanded edition will be welcomed by all those frustrated by the impasse of debates so central to our nation's moral life.
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Prenatal Diagnosis and Selective Abortion
Harry Harris
Harvard University Press, 1975

The ability to identify and abort fetuses with certain genetic abnormalities is among the most recent and most important of medical advances. In this book, one of the world's leading medical geneticists, Harry Harris, discusses the promise and the perils of the new techniques. Dr. Harris writes with great clarity; he explains technical concepts and terms so well that a layman can follow his account with little effort. This book will serve as an excellent introduction to a large and growing literature.

Dr. Harris begins by explaining methods of prenatal diagnosis and the kinds of disease that can, at present, be identified in utero. He identifies technological limitations of the procedure and also discusses certain theoretical factors that limit its future applicability. The book concludes with a long and balanced examination of ethical issues entailed by the practice of selective abortion. The author limits discussion of his own opinions in favor of evaluating the main contemporary positions and exploring the basis of controversy. He makes clear, however, his own view that there are clear advantages to the technique and clear limitations and that there will always be gray areas in which decision must be painful and individual—unaided by pat moralizing.

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Repealed
Ireland’s Unfinished Fight for Reproductive Rights
Camilla Fitzsimons
Pluto Press, 2021

*Winner of the James S. Donnelly, Sr. Prize 2022*

In Ireland, 2018, a constitutional ban that equated the life of a woman to the life of a fertilized embryo was overturned and abortion was finally legalized. This victory for the Irish feminist movement set the country alight with euphoria. But the celebrations were short-lived - the new legislation turned out to be one of the most conservative in Europe. This book tells the story of the ‘Repeal’ campaign through the lens of the activists.

The authors trace the shocking history of the origins of the eighth amendment, which was drawn up in fear of a tide of liberal reforms across Europe. They draw out the lessons learned through the decades and from the groundbreaking campaign in 2018, which was an inspiring example of modern grassroots activism. They also recount the tensions between a medicalized approach and reproductive justice approach to abortion, as well as the harsh effect of the campaign on the health of activists.

Grounded in a radical feminist politics, this book is an honest and inspirational account of a movement that is only just beginning.

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The Roots of Polarization
From the Racial Realignment to the Culture Wars
Neil A. O'Brian
University of Chicago Press, 2024

A deeply researched account of how battles over civil rights in the 1960s shaped today’s partisan culture wars.

In the late twentieth century, gay rights, immigration, gun control, and abortion debates all burst onto the political scene, scrambling the parties and polarizing the electorate. Neil A. O’Brian traces the origins of today’s political divide on these issues to the 1960s when Democrats and Republicans split over civil rights. It was this partisan polarization over race, he argues, that subsequently shaped partisan fault lines on other culture war issues that persist to this day.

Using public opinion data dating to the 1930s, O’Brian shows that attitudes about civil rights were already linked with a range of other culture war beliefs decades before the parties split on these issues—and much earlier than previous scholarship realized. Challenging a common understanding of partisan polarization as an elite-led phenomenon, The Roots of Polarization argues politicians and interest groups, jockeying for power in the changing party system, seized on these preexisting connections in the mass public to build the parties’ contemporary coalitions.

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Speaking of Abortion
Television and Authority in the Lives of Women
Andrea L. Press and Elizabeth R. Cole
University of Chicago Press, 1999
Over four years, Andrea Press and Elizabeth Cole watched television with women, visiting city houses, suburban subdivisions, modern condominiums, and public housing projects. They found that television depicts abortion as a problem for the poor and the working classes, and that viewers invariably referred to and abided by class when discussing abortion. Speaking of Abortion is an invaluable resource that allows us to hear how ordinary women discuss one of America's most volatile issues.
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The Story of Jane
The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service
Laura Kaplan
University of Chicago Press, 1997
"In the four years before the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, most women determined to get abortions had to subject themselves to the power of illegal, unregulated abortionists...But a Chicago woman who happened to stumble across a secret organization code-named 'Jane' had an alternative. Laura Kaplan, who joined Jane in 1971, has pieced together the histories of the anonymous (here identified only by pseudonyms), average-sounding women who transformed themselves into outlaws."—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The Story of Jane is a piece of women's history in step with feminist theory demanding that women tell their own stories. It serves to remind people of an important and often overlooked moment in the women's rights movement."—Seattle Weekly

"Laura Kaplan's The Story of Jane is the first book to chronicle this controversial sliver of history, and it is a fascinating, if partisan, close-up of the group."—Newsday

"[Kaplan] draws on her personal recollections and interviews with Jane members and clients and the doctors who performed the abortions to provide a well-written, detailed history of this radical group."—Publisher's Weekly

"Weaving together the voices and memories of her former co-workers, Kaplan recounts how the group initially focused on counseling women and helping them find reliable, reasonably priced doctors....Kaplan's account of this remarkable story recaptures the political idealism of the early '70s...23 years after Roe vs. Wade, the issues and memories raised by the books are close and all too relevant."—K Kaufmann, San Francisco Chronicle

"Laura Kaplan's The Story of Jane is the first book to chronicle this controversial sliver of history, and it is a fascinating, if partisan, close-up of the group....The Story of Jane succeeds on the steam of Kaplan's gripping subject and her moving belief in the power of small-scale change."—Cynthia Leive, New York Newsday

"During the four years before the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in 1973, the 100 members of Jane helped some 11,000 women end their pregnancies....There is more in this remarkable book that will further raise eyebrows....Kaplan's engrossing tales of the quiet courage of the women who risked their reputations and freedom to help others may remind many readers of other kinds of outlaws who have resisted tyranny throughout history."—Chicago Sun-Times

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The Story of Jane
The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service
Laura Kaplan
University of Chicago Press, 1997
"In the four years before the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, most women determined to get abortions had to subject themselves to the power of illegal, unregulated abortionists...But a Chicago woman who happened to stumble across a secret organization code-named 'Jane' had an alternative. Laura Kaplan, who joined Jane in 1971, has pieced together the histories of the anonymous (here identified only by pseudonyms), average-sounding women who transformed themselves into outlaws."—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The Story of Jane is a piece of women's history in step with feminist theory demanding that women tell their own stories. It serves to remind people of an important and often overlooked moment in the women's rights movement."—Seattle Weekly

"Laura Kaplan's The Story of Jane is the first book to chronicle this controversial sliver of history, and it is a fascinating, if partisan, close-up of the group."—Newsday

"[Kaplan] draws on her personal recollections and interviews with Jane members and clients and the doctors who performed the abortions to provide a well-written, detailed history of this radical group."—Publisher's Weekly

"Weaving together the voices and memories of her former co-workers, Kaplan recounts how the group initially focused on counseling women and helping them find reliable, reasonably priced doctors....Kaplan's account of this remarkable story recaptures the political idealism of the early '70s...23 years after Roe vs. Wade, the issues and memories raised by the books are close and all too relevant."—K Kaufmann, San Francisco Chronicle

"Laura Kaplan's The Story of Jane is the first book to chronicle this controversial sliver of history, and it is a fascinating, if partisan, close-up of the group....The Story of Jane succeeds on the steam of Kaplan's gripping subject and her moving belief in the power of small-scale change."—Cynthia Leive, New York Newsday

"During the four years before the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in 1973, the 100 members of Jane helped some 11,000 women end their pregnancies....There is more in this remarkable book that will further raise eyebrows....Kaplan's engrossing tales of the quiet courage of the women who risked their reputations and freedom to help others may remind many readers of other kinds of outlaws who have resisted tyranny throughout history."—Chicago Sun-Times
 
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To Offer Compassion
A History of the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion
Doris Andrea Dirks and Patricia A. Relf
University of Wisconsin Press, 2019
In 1967, when abortion was either illegal or highly restricted in every U.S. state, a group of ministers and rabbis formed to counsel women with unwanted pregnancies—including referral to licensed physicians willing to perform the procedure. By 1973, when the Roe v. Wade court decision made abortion legal nationwide, the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion (CCS) had spread from coast to coast, referred hundreds of thousands of women for safe abortions without a single fatality, become a medical consumer advocacy group, and opened its own clinic in New York City.

As religious leaders spoke out on issues of civil rights, peace, or poverty, CCS members were also called to action by the suffering of women who had approached them for help. Overwhelmingly male, white, affluent, and middle-aged, these mainline Protestant and Jewish clergy were nonetheless outspoken advocates for the rights of women, particularly poor women. To Offer Compassion is a detailed history of this unique and largely forgotten movement, drawing on extensive interviews with original participants and on primary documents from the CCS's operations.
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Toward Better Problems
New Perspectives on Abortion, Animal Rights, the Environment, and Justice
Anthony Weston
Temple University Press, 1992
"Toward Better Problems is a work of considerable merit.... [Weston] is effective in showing how the 'theoretical' approach obscures the real values at issue and hinders their realization." --James Gouinlock, Emory University In Toward Better Problems, Anthony Weston develops a pragmatic approach to the pressing moral issues of our time. Weston seeks to address practical problems in the spirit of John Dewey: that is, by focusing on specific human concerns and multiple, overlapping values rather than on abstract philosophical principles. Weston showcases his method in sustained discussion of four highly controversial areas: abortion, animal rights, environmentalism, and justice. Weston takes up uncomfortable issues, such as how we raise food animals; test medicines, cosmetics, and chemicals on animals; and justify speciesism. He engages philosophically the treatment of land and seas as limitless garbage dumps, the creation of radioactive wastes and their disposal, and fundamental problems of social justice. But Weston's aim is not to "solve" such problems as if they were some kind of puzzle. The aim instead is to creatively transform such problematic situations into something more promising and tractable, thereby leaving us with "better problems."
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Unlearning Eugenics
Sexuality, Reproduction, and Disability in Post-Nazi Europe
Dagmar Herzog
University of Wisconsin Press, 2020
Since the defeat of the Nazi Third Reich and the end of its horrific eugenics policies, battles over the politics of life, sex, and death have continued and evolved. Dagmar Herzog documents how reproductive rights and disability rights, both latecomers to the postwar human rights canon, came to be seen as competing—with unexpected consequences.

Bringing together the latest findings in Holocaust studies, the history of religion, and the history of sexuality in postwar—and now also postcommunist—Europe, Unlearning Eugenics shows how central the controversies over sexuality, reproduction, and disability have been to broader processes of secularization and religious renewal. Herzog also restores to the historical record a revelatory array of activists: from Catholic and Protestant theologians who defended abortion rights in the 1960s–70s to historians in the 1980s–90s who uncovered the long-suppressed connections between the mass murder of the disabled and the Holocaust of European Jewry; from feminists involved in the militant "cripple movement" of the 1980s to lawyers working for right-wing NGOs in the 2000s; and from a handful of pioneers in the 1940s–60s committed to living in intentional community with individuals with cognitive disability to present-day disability self-advocates.
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Vital Conflicts in Medical Ethics
A Virtue Approach to Craniotomy and Tubal Pregnancies
Martin Rhonheimer
Catholic University of America Press, 2009
Vital Conflicts in Medical Ethics by renowned Swiss philosopher Martin Rhonheimer considers some of the most difficult and disputed questions in Catholic moral theology
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What It Means to Be Human
The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics
O. Carter Snead
Harvard University Press, 2020

A Wall Street Journal Top Ten Book of the Year
A First Things Books for Christmas Selection
Winner of the Expanded Reason Award


“This important work of moral philosophy argues that we are, first and foremost, embodied beings, and that public policy must recognize the limits and gifts that this entails.”
Wall Street Journal

The natural limits of the human body make us vulnerable and dependent on others. Yet law and policy concerning biomedical research and the practice of medicine frequently disregard these stubborn facts. What It Means to Be Human makes the case for a new paradigm, one that better reflects the gifts and challenges of being human.

O. Carter Snead proposes a framework for public bioethics rooted in a vision of human identity and flourishing that supports those who are profoundly vulnerable and dependent—children, the disabled, and the elderly. He addresses three complex public matters: abortion, assisted reproductive technology, and end-of-life decisions. Avoiding typical dichotomies of conservative-liberal and secular-religious, Snead recasts debates within his framework of embodiment and dependence. He concludes that if the law is built on premises that reflect our lived experience, it will provide support for the vulnerable.

“This remarkable and insightful account of contemporary public bioethics and its individualist assumptions is indispensable reading for anyone with bioethical concerns.”
—Alasdair MacIntyre, author of After Virtue

“A brilliantly insightful book about how American law has enshrined individual autonomy as the highest moral good…Highly thought-provoking.”
—Francis Fukuyama, author of Identity

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Women against Abortion
Inside the Largest Moral Reform Movement of the Twentieth Century
Karissa Haugeberg
University of Illinois Press, 2017
Women from remarkably diverse religious, social, and political backgrounds made up the rank-and-file of anti-abortion activism. Empowered by--yet in many cases scared of--the changes wrought by feminism, they founded grassroots groups, developed now-familiar strategies and tactics, and gave voice to the movement's moral and political dimensions. Drawing on oral histories and interviews with prominent figures, Karissa Haugeberg examines American women 's fight against abortion. Beginning in the 1960s, she looks at Marjory Mecklenburg's attempt to shift the attention of anti-abortion leaders from the rights of fetuses to the needs of pregnant women. Moving forward she traces the grassroots work of Catholic women, including Juli Loesch and Joan Andrews, and their encounters with the influx of evangelicals into the movement. She also looks at the activism of evangelical Protestant Shelley Shannon, a prominent pro-life extremist of the 1990s. Throughout, Haugeberg explores important questions such as the ways people fused religious conviction with partisan politics, activists' rationalizations for lethal violence, and how women claimed space within an unshakably patriarchal movement.
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