Pro-Choice Literature
June 29, 2013 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for pro-choice literature inspired by this mefi comment?

For my own edification, I am interested in literature that frames the abortion debate as an attempt to "control ... women's sexuality and reproduction". Literature can include books, magazine articles, journal articles etc, and can pertain to any western society. That said, I am most interested in the Canadian and American abortion debates.

Off hand, I am reminded of these Salon articles detailing the recent attempt by State Rep Brown to criminalize abortions as "tampering with evidence".
posted by kiki_s to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
One of the key themes of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale is women's reproductive rights (or lack thereof). Although it's a work of fiction, I was assigned it in a political science class in college. I think it addresses your interest.
posted by katie at 7:50 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, gosh. This describes a huge amount of academic commentary. Do you have access to JSTOR, or to a university library? A boolean search for abortion /s sexual! would likely be very fruitful.

In case you don't, anything Reva Siegel (Reasoning from the Body) or Carol Sanger (Seeing and Believing) have written on abortion would be good places to start.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 9:21 AM on June 29, 2013

Some book recommendations:
This Common Secret, by Susan Wicklund
Why I Am an Abortion Doctor, by Suzanne Poppema
Crow After Roe, by Robin Marty and Jessica Pieklo
Dispatches from the Abortion Wars, by Carole Joffe
posted by cowboy_sally at 9:59 AM on June 29, 2013

The Cider House Rules
posted by brujita at 10:01 AM on June 29, 2013

A recent interesting article is "How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement" by the ex-president of her campus's "Students for Life" chapter. It seems tailor made for what you're looking for and is worth reading ("I realized that the only world in which opposing birth control made any sense was one in which the goal was to control women’s sex lives," she writes at one point.)
posted by history is a weapon at 12:18 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service, by Laura Kaplan, is a group memoir written by a member of the Jane Collective (lots more here). Prior to Roe v. Wade, the group connected Chicago women with providers of safe abortions and eventually came to perform abortions themselves. I read it earlier this year and am still thinking about it almost daily.

The members were acting on the presumption that you mention--that the criminalization of abortion is about controlling women's bodies--but the book itself is not particularly debate-y, in that it isn't interested in arguing the issues. It is, however, a chronicle of the work it takes to empower women's control over their bodies, even when unlawful, which I think fits what you're looking for. They put into action the OH SO RADICAL idea that treating women as subjects, not objects, was a necessary component of good reproductive health care and of true reproductive rights.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 2:04 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Handmaid's Tale is best example of this in fiction. It's probably time for me to read it again but despite my admiration for and enjoyment in Atwood's work, I can't say I look forward to its impact again. It is telling, I think, that it stands so alone. The dystopian short story ILU-486 is notable, however.
posted by Morrigan at 3:32 PM on June 30, 2013

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