NONFICTION

Abortion After Roe: Abortion After Legalization

Univ. of North Carolina. Nov. 2015. 288p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781469621180. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781469621197. SOC SCI
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Schoen (history, Rutgers Univ.) has authored two previous volumes on reproductive rights. Here, she has written a rich and readable account of the struggle for access to abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 struck down state laws prohibiting the procedure. Freestanding abortion clinics appeared quickly, as did power struggles between feminists and (male) physicians and between regulatory agencies and clinic owners. Pitched battles took place over the disposition of fetal remains and the ethics of fetal research. A full-throated antiabortion movement appeared, aided by new technologies such as sonograms, successfully urging state legislatures to pass restrictive laws, and its violent turn resulted in the death of physicians who performed abortions. Opponents recruited women who regretted their actions to argue that abortion harmed women. The U.S. Supreme Court began to uphold state regulations it had previously nullified, forcing the closure of clinics. The result was the reappearance of abortion mills taking advantage of poor, desperate women, while claims that women are entitled to make reproductive decisions fall on deaf ears. Schoen's sympathies lie with abortion providers—doctors, clinic owners, feminist advocates—and in addition to the standard sources, she draws upon almost three dozen interviews.
VERDICT The largest audience will be academics, but this book may also appeal to a general public.
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