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Pro-Choice Books to Enlighten and Inspire
Our list of recent books to get you even more fired up in the fight to protect abortion rights!
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For almost a decade, Claudia has counseled patients at Mercy Street, a clinic in the heart of the city. The work is consuming, the unending dramas of women in crisis. For its patients, Mercy Street offers more than health care; for many, it is a second chance.
But outside the clinic, the reality is different. Anonymous threats are frequent. A small, determined group of anti-abortion demonstrators appears each morning at its door. As the protests intensify, fear creeps into Claudia’s days, a humming anxiety she manages with frequent visits to Timmy, an affable pot dealer in the midst of his own existential crisis. At Timmy’s, she encounters a random assortment of customers, including Anthony, a lost soul who spends most of his life online, chatting with the mysterious Excelsior11—the screenname of Victor Prine, an anti-abortion crusader who has set his sights on Mercy Street and is ready to risk it all for his beliefs.
No Choice: The Destruction of Roe v. Wade and the Fight to Protect a Fundamental American Right (Hardcover)
No Choice begins by shining a light on the eerie ways in which life before Roe will be mirrored in life after. The wealthy and privileged will still have access, low-income people will suffer disproportionately, and pregnancy will be heavily policed. Then, Andrews takes us to the states and communities that have been hardest-hit by the erosion of abortion rights in this country, and tells the stories of those who are most at risk from this devastating reversal of settled law. There is a glimmer of faint hope, though.
play by Natalie Y. Moore, published by Haymarket Books and premiered earlier this year. The play is about a fictional Black women's clinic in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood on the South Side and its fight with a local gadfly running for City Council who puts up a provocative billboard: "Abortion is genocide. The most dangerous place for a Black child is his mother's womb," spurring on the clinic to fight back with their own provocative sign: "Black women take care of their families by taking care of themselves. Abortion is self-care. #Trust Black Women."
You can read an interview with the playwright HERE. Among her observations:
“Even though the play is about abortion, it’s more than that,” Moore said. “It’s taking on patriarchy. It’s looking at politics. It’s looking at urban development. And I think the best literary plays have layers on layers. I never set out to make this a debate play.”
New Handbook for a Post-Roe America: The Complete Guide to Abortion Legality, Access, and Practical Support (Paperback)
A completely new edition--with a new introduction by Amanda Palmer--of Robin Marty's best-selling manual on what to do if/when Roe v. Wade is overturned.
- Author Rankin focuses on the volunteers on the front lines: the clinic escorts who face the angry and sometimes violent protesters. I’ve done it, I’m sure many of you have done it, and the author collects stories from many of them involved in the nearly five years of protecting patients, as well as from clinic staff. Just published in April from Counterpoint Press.
Dollars for Life: The Anti-Abortion Movement and the Fall of the Republican Establishment (Hardcover)
- This book, coming out June 21st from Yale University Press, tackles the financing behind the anti-abortion forces. From the publisher blurb:
Right‑to‑lifers fought to gain power in the GOP by changing how campaign spending—and the First Amendment—work. The anti-abortion movement helped to revolutionize the rules of money in U.S. politics and persuaded conservative voters to fixate on the federal courts. Ultimately, the campaign finance landscape that abortion foes created fueled the GOP’s embrace of populism and the rise of Donald Trump. Ziegler offers a surprising new view of the slow drift to extremes in American politics—and explains how it had everything to do with the strange intersection of right-to-life politics and campaign spending.
Abortion Care as Moral Work: Ethical Considerations of Maternal and Fetal Bodies (Critical Issues in Health and Medicine) (Paperback)
Coming June 17th from Rutgers University Press. This anthology brings together the voices of abortion providers, counselors, clinic owners, neonatologists, bioethicists, and historians. Authors address the motivations that lead them to offer abortion care, discuss how anti-abortion regulations have made it increasingly difficult to offer feminist-inspired services, and ponder the ethical frameworks supporting abortion care and fetal research.
When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973, with a New Preface (Paperback)
- First published on the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the University of California Press has just printed a new edition, with a new preface by the author addressing the perilous state of abortion rights. From the publisher blurb:
While abortions have typically been portrayed as grim "back alley" operations, this deeply researched history confirms that many abortion providers—including physicians—practiced openly and safely, despite prohibitions by the state and the American Medical Association. Women could find cooperative and reliable practitioners; but prosecution, public humiliation, loss of privacy, and inferior medical care were a constant threat. Reagan's analysis of previously untapped sources, including inquest records and trial transcripts, shows the fragility of patient rights and raises provocative questions about the relationship between medicine and law. With the right to abortion increasingly under attack, this book remains the definitive history of abortion in the United States, offering vital lessons for every American concerned with health care, civil liberties, and personal and sexual freedom.
This book, published in 2016, captures the evolving and largely unknown activist history of women of color organizing for reproductive justice on their own behalf. It places the experiences, priorities, and activism of women of color in the foreground. Using historical research, original organizational case studies, and personal interviews, the authors illuminate how Latina, African American, Native American, and Asian American women have led the fight to control their own bodies and reproductive destinies. Projected against the backdrop of the mainstream pro-choice movement and radical right agendas, these dynamic case studies feature the groundbreaking work being done by health and reproductive rights organizations led by women-of-color.
Legal titans Kathryn Kolbert and Julie F. Kay share the story of one of the most divisive issues in American politics through behind-the-scenes personal narratives of stunning losses, hard-earned victories, and moving accounts of women and health care providers at the heart of nearly five decades of legal battles. At this make-or-break moment for legal abortion in the United States, Kolbert and Kay propose audacious new strategies inspired by medical advances, state-level protections, human rights models, and activists across the globe whose courage and determination are making a difference.
Despite her famous pseudonym, “Jane Roe,” no one knows the truth about Norma McCorvey (1947–2017), whose unwanted pregnancy in 1969 opened a great fracture in American life. Journalist Joshua Prager spent hundreds of hours with Norma, discovered her personal papers—a previously unseen trove—and witnessed her final moments. The Family Roe presents her life in full. Propelled by the crosscurrents of sex and religion, gender and class, it is a life that tells the story of abortion in America. The Family Roe abounds in revelations—not only about Norma and her children but about the broader “family” connected to the case. Prager tells the stories of activists and bystanders alike whose lives intertwined with Roe. In particular, he introduces three figures as important as they are unknown: feminist lawyer Linda Coffee, who filed the original Texas lawsuit yet now lives in obscurity; Curtis Boyd, a former fundamentalist Christian, today a leading provider of third-trimester abortions; and Mildred Jefferson, the first black female Harvard Medical School graduate, who became a pro-life leader with great secrets.
This book collects these stories as they've been told to Shah to humanize abortion and to combat myths that persist in the discourse that surrounds it. A wide range of ages, races, socioeconomic factors, and experiences shows that abortion always occurs in a unique context. Today, a healthcare issue that's so precious and foundational to reproductive, social, and economic freedom for millions of people is exploited by politicians who lack understanding or compassion about the context in which abortion occurs. Stories have the power to break down stigmas and help us to empathize with those whose experiences are unlike our own.
A landmark literary anthology of poems, stories, and essays, Choice Words collects essential voices that renew our courage in the struggle to defend reproductive rights. Twenty years in the making, the book spans continents and centuries. This collection magnifies the voices of people reclaiming the sole authorship of their abortion experiences. These essays, poems, and prose are a testament to the profound political power of defying shame. Contributors include Ai, Amy Tan, Anne Sexton, Audre Lorde, Bobbie Louise Hawkins. Camonghne Felix, Carol Muske-Dukes, Diane di Prima, Dorothy Parker, Frank O'Hara, Gloria Naylor, Gloria Steinem, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jean Rhys, Joyce Carol Oates, Judith Arcana, Kathy Acker, Langston Hughes, Leslie Marmon Silko, Lindy West, Lucille Clifton, Mahogany L. Browne, Margaret Atwood, Molly Peacock, Ntozake Shange, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Sharon Doubiago, Sharon Olds, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Sholeh Wolpe, Ursula Le Guin, and Vi Khi Nao.
This book written for teens takes a deep and passionate look at the riveting history of the fight for reproductive rights in the United States—and how Roe v. Wade was only the beginning. As the decision of Roe v. Wade continues to be challenged, the fight for reproductive rights is becoming more and more urgent—making Blumenthal’s eye-opening work even more crucial. Tracing the path to the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade and the continuing battle for women's rights, Blumenthal examines, in a straightforward tone, the root causes of the current debate around abortion and repercussions that have affected generations of American women.