Examines the people, events, and legal questions connected to the Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion.
Children's Literature - Candace FowlerThe Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade made first-trimester abortion legal throughout the United States based on the constitutional right of privacy. Leonard Stevens tells the story of this historic decision, tracing the history of laws against birth control and abortion, clearly explaining the legal principles in the case and the process by which it was decided, and describing the continuing controversy over abortion in the years since the decision. Characters including birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger, Roe plaintiff Norma McCorvey, and McCorvey's lawyer, Sarah Weddington, provide human interest and show the sometimes complex connections between individual dilemmas and legal issues. Stevens focuses primarily, and sympathetically, on the pro-choice side of the abortion debate; however, pro-life views are treated respectfully. By tracing the history of a particular public policy issue through the courts, the legislatures, and the arena of public opinion, this book provides a valuable introduction to the ways in which such issues are resolved in the United States.
School Library JournalGr 8 Up-A high-quality account of the events and issues surrounding the Supreme Court's decision. Stevens's sociological and legal history of reproductive issues in this country includes the early efforts of Margaret Sanger to bring legal information about contraception to women, efforts to overturn early legislation in regard to the private behaviors of married couples, and, ultimately, the Roe v. Wade case, as well as its future implications. The detailed chronology leading up to its presentation to the Supreme Court makes a compelling, readable narrative. Stevens not only writes in an evenhanded manner, avoiding the predictable pitfalls of emotionalism, but also highlights the personal stories of those individuals who figured prominently in the events. That this case was not so much an ending as a beginning is made clear by the author's account of legislation generated since the Supreme Court's landmark decision in the early 1970s. The ongoing divisiveness among Americans regarding the issue of abortion is made clear by the author's descriptions of the blockades and bombings of abortion clinics and even of the murders of clinic staffers. Inasmuch as the topic still figures prominently in the American political scene, this is a timely addition. An excellent resource for students researching critical social issues, the book stands equally well in defining a long chapter in America's social history.-Sylvia V. Meisner, Allen Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Kirkus ReviewsA good discussion of the abortion controversy and the 1973 US Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade, which struck down the Texas law prohibiting abortions. Stevens presents a thorough and well- researched history of laws in America that were made to protect morals, including those that prohibited the dissemination of birth control information and devices and abortions, and traces the birth control movement led by Margaret Sanger. Readers will be interested in how two young lawyers in Texas, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, fought successfully to overturn the anti-abortion statute. Where the book falters is in an explanation of the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision. Stevens does not explain the concept of "state's rights" and why a state has power to make laws to protect its inhabitants. Nor does he explain the "balancing test" which must occur when a state law conflicts with an individual's constitutional rights. In fact, Stevens quotes the decision instead of explaining it, leaving out crucial legal reasoning in a topic that arouses strong feelings in so many people.
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.75(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.82(d)
- Age Range:
- 13 - 17 Years
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