Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us

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Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sociologist Joffe elaborates on the violence, stigmatization and legal actions perpetrated against those providing, receiving or even tangentially involved with abortion, despite the protections due under Roe v. Wade. Joffe elucidates the human component of this contentious issue through exploring the hardships of medical professionals and health-care administrators, yet the author's near apotheosis of abortion providers weakens the credibility of her arguments. Furthermore, while criticisms of flamboyantly reactionary rhetoric might be warranted, at times Joffe's own language, such as references to women's health clinics as ”ground zero in the abortion wars,” can seem similarly overwrought. Joffe is at her best taking a more nuanced approach to the issue, as when she discusses her interviews with one nurse who considers herself prochoice but refuses to take part in the medical procedure. While the book provides ample confirmation of damaging actions taken by the movement against abortion providers and receivers, it fails to critically examine prolife ideology or substantiate claims that antiabortion activists have “distract[ed] from fully identifying an appropriate sexual and reproductive agenda.” (Jan.)
Library Journal
Joffe (sociology, Univ. of California; Doctors of Conscience) interweaves policy analysis, history, and first-person stories from providers, educators, and women seeking abortion to chronicle the impact of antiabortion activism on politics, medical education, and the lives of abortion providers and the women they serve. Joffe distinguishes so-called abortion fanatics from other people in the antiabortion movement of prolife activism and calls on them to understand the myriad reasons and circumstances that lead women to seek abortions. Joffe's argumentation is not likely to change the minds of the fanatics because she does not address the belief that the fetus is a separate human being with rights and dignity from the moment of conception. Still, she challenges Americans to think carefully about the consequences for others in the choices they make regarding the abortion controversy. VERDICT A careful and passionate work that honestly portrays the lives and commitments of individuals in the trenches of abortion debates.—Aaron Klink, Duke Univ., Durham, NC
From the Publisher
 
“No one knows more about reproductive rights in the United States than Carole Joffe. This indispensable book . . . is both harrowing and galvanizing.”—Michelle Goldberg, author of The Means of Reproduction
 
“Terrific—clear, terse, and full of things you need to know.”Katha Pollitt, author of Virginity or Death!
 
“Riveting. Joffe’s insights into popular culture, alongside her analysis of the recent barrage of ballot initiatives, are spot on in explaining the growth of negative attitudes about abortion.”—Eleanor J. Bader, Feminist Review
 
“Instructive and memorable.”—Emily Bazelon, Slate

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807001288
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 6, 2011

    A Must Read for "Both" Sides of the Debate

    Honest, well-written book that should be read by both pro-life and pro-choice advocates. (As well as those who are undecided). It gives one a lot to think about.

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