About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century Americaby Carol Sanger
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
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 decisionlet alone a rightbut 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.
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet the Author
Carol Sanger is the Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Anchored in contemporary case law but enveloped in examples from popular culture, medicine, politics, government and religion, About Abortion gives voice to every woman who has considered, pursued or had an abortion. By revealing America’s muddled history and consequent warped perception of the right to terminate pregnancy, Sanger makes the case for more “abortion talk.” Compared to other closeted subjects of the late twentieth century— including homosexuality, divorce, miscarriage, even breast cancer—abortion is still a risky subject of conversation that demands secrecy. Sanger says we know why women are reluctant to discuss abortion; in many communities admittance of abortion could cost a woman her safety, reputation, family and closest relationships. Speaking sensitively Sanger is distinctly balanced in her discussion of both pro-life and pro-choice perspectives and ultimately calls on Americans to recognize abortion as an acceptable choice in the context of unwanted pregnancy. More often then not abortion regulation limits women’s life options, obliging motherhood and simply making women’s lives more difficult. This book is sure to ignite conversation about abortion and rid women of the painful secrecy attached to what should be a common medical procedure.