Beacon, NYU Press, WW Norton, Counterpoint
For the supporters of choice. Friday’s Supreme Court ruling overturns Roe vs. Wade was devastating. For those who have actively fought for women’s rights over the years, even decades, it feels like a huge shift, a loss, a huge defeat, even though we saw it coming. And that is all these things. But now is the time to educate yourself, arm yourself with information and context. As soon as I heard about the decision, I thought of Gloria Steinem and others whose dedication to choice and other rights affecting the marginalized (and yes, women are still marginalized) has been unwavering and inspiring. . How should they feel? I thought of my mother now 87, a Catholic who believes in a woman’s right to choose and who insisted that we go together to the Million Moms March on Mother’s Day in 2000. The three of us, my sister, my mother, and I… I was euphoric that day. We felt strong. And I thought of the women living in the 13 states — tipsters are soon to say 25 — where abortion is now essentially illegal, especially those who can’t afford the expense or the time it would take to go somewhere else to reproductive care. I continue to dwell on this: why is it so important to opponents of choice, especially men, that women are denied the right to make such fundamental decisions themselves?
But feeling helpless now is not an option. The books we have collected here, curated by the reading room team of Hamilton Cain and Wadzanai Mhute, provide an opportunity to begin to take back the power that has been usurped, for information is power! Education is power. Action is power. And we are NOT helpless. Continue reading!
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Scandalous acts and daily rebellionsby Gloria Steinem
This indelible collection of essays – first published in 1983 and repackaged in 2019 with a new introduction by Emma Watson – by the most influential women’s rights activist of our time showcases her advocacy on a range of topics, from which female genital mutilation and menstruation, as well as more personal reflections, such as his mother’s lack of opportunities and what Steinem discovered during a stint as a writer in the early New York Magazine. But above all it is a book of global compassion and humanity celebrating the global community of women and connection by a feminist who never tires of using her enormous heart and brain to mentor, listen, act, be a mover of change.
Ordinary equalityby Kate Kelly
Nearly 100 years after the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was introduced in Congress in 1923 and 50 years since it was passed by both houses, it has still not been enacted. Kelly traces the history of activists who fought for women’s rights and their impact on the movement. Kelly also argues that passing the ERA would have secured Roe v. Wade, saying, “We cannot be silent until equality is written into the text of the U.S. Constitution, cementing the permanent protection of both groups into our most fundamental document.”
body on the lineby Lauren Rankin
For many activists, it is an honor and a duty to escort women to Planned Parenthood or another abortion clinic, dodging taunts and abuse from anti-choice protesters in service of a higher calling. Rankin weaves personal stories with the larger story of the escort movement: how it emerged from the ferment of post-1960s feminism, fending off a phalanx of threats, including bombings and shootings, to stand in solidarity with the women when needed.
Reproductive rights as human rightsby Zakiya Luna
Centering women of color in the reproductive rights discourse, Luna spotlights a group, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, a national organization that focuses on improving reproductive rights policies in marginalized communities. SisterSong took an intersectional approach by including communities of color and showing that women’s rights are human rights.
After Roeby Mary Ziegler
In this landmark study, a law professor examines our post-deer future by tracing the contours surrounding the Supreme Court case: the lines were fluid and activists on both sides sought common ground in medical research and pregnancy-related discrimination. How did fighting in good faith turn into trench warfare? Ziegler’s results may surprise. Pro-choice leaders often ignored specific issues regarding race and socioeconomic class, while anti-choice soldiers were not by definition anti-feminist. The eventual binary—does a woman have a constitutional right to abortion, yes or no? –sparked a zero-sum game that will leave political scars for decades.
When abortion was a crimeby Leslie J. Reagan
Here Reagan examines four different stages in US history where a push for control of women’s reproductive rights impacted women’s freedom and maternal health. From the formation of the American Medical Association in 1857 to clandestine abortion clinics in the three decades before deerReagan highlights the effects of criminalizing abortion on women of color and across economic lines.
The Roe familyby Joshua Prager
Before Jane Roe, there was Norma McCorvey (1947-2017), whose unwanted pregnancy led her, veiled in a pseudonym, through the marbled halls of the Supreme Court. After Roe v. Wade, As the culture wars escalated and battle lines drew, McCorvey retreated into the shadows of normal life, giving up his early pro-choice stance and giving up three infant daughters for adoption. In this moving achievement of reportage, a 2021 Pulitzer Prize finalist, Prager extracts from dozens of interviews with McCorvey and others involved in the court case (including Baby Roe, now a middle-aged woman), her beautiful, illuminating prose the eye of a Category 5 Cultural Hurricane.
Jane against the worldby Karen Blumenthal
In 1972, Chicago police raided the Jane Collective, an underground network of activists founded to help women get abortions before Roe vs. Wade was passed in January 1973. To understand how the United States got here and, indeed, how in 2022 deer has been overthrown, we must examine the long history of the oppression of women and the dangerous disregard for their basic rights.
Mercy Streetby Jennifer Haigh
Fiction is often a more alluring vehicle of truth than non-fiction, and in her recently lauded novel centered on a 2015 Boston abortion clinic, Haigh depicts lives that intersect publicly as her characters grapple with the most intimate decisions. From a clinic hotline manager to a group of anti-abortion protesters, Haigh boldly pursues moral nuance, weaving crystal-clear language with a current story that twists and turns to a jaw-dropping crescendo.
Freedom & Sexualityby David J. Garrow
In this 1998 classic, widely regarded as the definitive account of the legal strategies behind Roe vs. Wade, a prominent civil rights historian sifts through academic jargon and moral posturing to uncover a constitutionally entrenched right to privacy. Garrow writes with the insight of a scholar but with the flair of a literary journalist, connecting the disparate dots between deer and other flashpoints, such as birth control.
trust womenby Rebecca Todd Peters
The minister and social ethicist argues that access to abortion is limited due to the patriarchal, religious and racist systems in this country. Peters argues that Christianity should rethink its approach to the abortion debate: “The problem is our inability to trust women to act as rational, capable and responsible moral agents who must weigh the moral question practical knowledge of what to do when they are pregnant or when there are problems during a pregnancy.
Pregnancy and potencyby Rickie Solinger
To understand why we have arrived at this moment vis-à-vis Roe vs. Wade, we need to look at the past. From 1776 to the present, women’s reproductive rights have been controlled by oppressive policies. Solinger takes us here through a history of women’s rights in the United States: from slave-breeding programs to coerced sterilizations to limited access to abortion.
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