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When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, & Law in the U S

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When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, & Law in the U S Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

As we approach the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it's crucial to look back to the time when abortion was illegal. Leslie Reagan traces the practice and policing of abortion, which although illegal was nonetheless widely available, but always with threats for both doctor and patient. In a time when many young women don't even know that there was a period when abortion was a crime, this work offers chilling and vital lessons of importance to everyone.

The linking of the words "abortion" and "crime" emphasizes the difficult and painful history that is the focus of Leslie J. Reagan's important book. Her study is the first to examine the entire period during which abortion was illegal in the United States, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century and ending with Roe v. Wade in 1973. Although illegal, millions of abortions were provided during these years to women of every class, race, and marital status. The experiences and perspectives of these women, as well as their physicians and midwives, are movingly portrayed here.

Reagan traces the practice and policing of abortion. While abortions have been typically portrayed as grim "back alley" operations, she finds that abortion providers often practiced openly and safely. Moreover, numerous physicians performed abortions, despite prohibitions by the state and the American Medical Association. Women often found cooperative practioners, but prosecution, public humiliation, loss of privacy, and inferior medical care were a constant threat.

Reagan's analysis of previously untapped sources, including inquest records and trial transcripts, shows the fragility of patient rights and raises provocative questions about the relationship between medicine and law. With the right to abortion again under attack in the United States, this book offers vital lessons for every American concerned with health care, civil liberties, and personal and sexual freedom.

Review:

"A first-rate exposition of the changing cultural and legal climate regarding abortion in America." Thomas Szasz, Washington Post

Review:

"Rich, thought-provoking, and revelatory....Reagan...is the first to span the whole period of criminalization and to cover the subject in such depth." Katha Pollitt, The Atlantic Monthly

Review:

"Essential." Frank Rich, New York Times

Review:

"This well-written book is a stellar, complex, and accessible volume that will stand as the definitive history for years to come." Rickie Solinger, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

Review:

"Reagan brings a new perspective to the hsitory of illegal abortion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries." Jane Hodgson, Journal of the American Medical Association

Review:

"A solidly grounded, sophisticated history of illegal abortion in the US. Of enduring interest to anyone concerned with the history of women's rights, sexual mores, and the relationships of law and policy to ordinary lives." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"For those who take legal abortion for granted, Reagan's work is an eye-opener." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"This book brings to life both the medical and legal history of abortion in the United States. This fascinating history, with its extensive bibliography, is an essential purchase for academic medical, legal, and women studies collections. Highly recommended for public libraries as well." Library Journal

Review:

"A brilliant account of the era before the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, when abortion was illegal....A model of social history, supported by a spectacular wealth of documentary evidence....Most important, Reagan shows how abortion and the medical and legal responses to it have changed over time....This well-written book is a stellar, complex and accessible volume that will stand as the definitive history for years to come." San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle

Review:

"Reagan raises sharp questions about the relationship between medicine and the law." Chicago Tribune

Synopsis:

"Exploiting legal as well as medical records, Reagan has retrieved the history of women who struggled for reproductive autonomy and provides our best account of how the practice and policing of abortion evolved in relation to medicine, the state, and the condition of women. [This] is a major contribution to social history."—James W. Reed, Rutgers University

"This is a fascinating book—energetic, even urgent in its narrative. It is based on entirely new material, making ingenious and enlightening use of criminal trials, inquests and newspaper accounts. Both creative and painstaking in her research, Reagan persuasively establishes historical patterns in the availability of assisted abortion, and documents a striking anti-abortion backlash in the 1940-50s. In addition to the book's value for scholars, it will undoubtedly be valuable to feminists, lawyers, doctors,and others intersted in the conditions of abortion today."—Nancy Cott, Yale University

"A first-rate exposition of the changing cultural and legal climate regarding abortion in America."—Thomas Szasz, Washington Post

About the Author

Leslie J. Reagan is Professor of History, with affiliations in gender and women's studies, law, media and cinema studies, and medicine, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Dangerous Pregnancies: Mothers, Disabilities, and Abortion in Modern America (UC Press) and coeditor of Medicine's Moving Pictures: Medicine, Health, and Bodies in American Film and Television.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520216570
Author:
Reagan, Leslie J.
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
History
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Legal History
Subject:
Law and legislation
Subject:
Constitutional
Subject:
Women's Studies - Abortion
Subject:
Abortion
Subject:
Abortion & Birth Control
Subject:
Abortion -- Law and legislation.
Subject:
Abortion -- United States -- History.
Subject:
Women's Studies
Subject:
Law : General
Subject:
Health Policy
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
19980931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
6 b/w illustrations, 7 tables
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1 in 19 oz

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » Reproductive Rights
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Reproductive Rights
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Law » Constitutional Law
History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » Law » Legal Guides and Reference
History and Social Science » Sociology » Abortion and Birth Control
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Ocean and Marine Biology

When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, & Law in the U S New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$40.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages University of California Press - English 9780520216570 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A first-rate exposition of the changing cultural and legal climate regarding abortion in America."
"Review" by , "Rich, thought-provoking, and revelatory....Reagan...is the first to span the whole period of criminalization and to cover the subject in such depth."
"Review" by , "Essential."
"Review" by , "This well-written book is a stellar, complex, and accessible volume that will stand as the definitive history for years to come."
"Review" by , "Reagan brings a new perspective to the hsitory of illegal abortion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries."
"Review" by , "A solidly grounded, sophisticated history of illegal abortion in the US. Of enduring interest to anyone concerned with the history of women's rights, sexual mores, and the relationships of law and policy to ordinary lives."
"Review" by , "For those who take legal abortion for granted, Reagan's work is an eye-opener."
"Review" by , "This book brings to life both the medical and legal history of abortion in the United States. This fascinating history, with its extensive bibliography, is an essential purchase for academic medical, legal, and women studies collections. Highly recommended for public libraries as well."
"Review" by , "A brilliant account of the era before the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, when abortion was illegal....A model of social history, supported by a spectacular wealth of documentary evidence....Most important, Reagan shows how abortion and the medical and legal responses to it have changed over time....This well-written book is a stellar, complex and accessible volume that will stand as the definitive history for years to come."
"Review" by , "Reagan raises sharp questions about the relationship between medicine and the law."
"Synopsis" by ,
"Exploiting legal as well as medical records, Reagan has retrieved the history of women who struggled for reproductive autonomy and provides our best account of how the practice and policing of abortion evolved in relation to medicine, the state, and the condition of women. [This] is a major contribution to social history."—James W. Reed, Rutgers University

"This is a fascinating book—energetic, even urgent in its narrative. It is based on entirely new material, making ingenious and enlightening use of criminal trials, inquests and newspaper accounts. Both creative and painstaking in her research, Reagan persuasively establishes historical patterns in the availability of assisted abortion, and documents a striking anti-abortion backlash in the 1940-50s. In addition to the book's value for scholars, it will undoubtedly be valuable to feminists, lawyers, doctors,and others intersted in the conditions of abortion today."—Nancy Cott, Yale University

"A first-rate exposition of the changing cultural and legal climate regarding abortion in America."—Thomas Szasz, Washington Post

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