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Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Usby Carole Joffe
Synopses & Reviews
In an America where abortion has been legal for over thirty-five years, the procedure can be surprisingly inaccessible: even in cases of rape, imminent threat to the mother’s life, or complicated miscarriage—and even with a willing doctor.
How did the post–Roe v. Wade world come to resemble pre-Roe so closely? While "abortion wars" may immediately bring to mind the very real threat of antiabortion violence, sociologist Carole Joffe shows how a pervasive stigma operates less dramatically but just as effectively to maintain cultural, political, and economic barriers to access.
After thirty years embedded in reproductive-health research, Joffe relays compelling testimony from doctors, health-care workers, and patients as they struggle against these barriers that shame women and marginalize physicians, even within the medical community. Real-life stories include those of poverty-stricken rape victims scrambling—and sometimes failing—to cover the cost of abortions that should be covered by Medicaid; a doctor having to beg her superior for permission to perform in-hospital a medical abortion too dangerous to handle at a clinic; and a woman whose miscarriage is causing septic shock refused care and bundled off to another hospital.
Along with these portraits, however, Dispatches from the Abortion Wars also offers hope for real change, pointing the way to a more compassionate standard of women’s health care—one that responds to the needs of the individual and trusts women to make their own moral choices.
Surprising firsthand accounts from the front lines of abortion provision reveal the persistent cultural, political, and economic hurdles to access
More than thirty-five years after women won the right to legal abortion, most people do not realize how inaccessible it has become. In these pages, reproductive-health researcherCarole Joffe shows how a pervasive stigma--cultivated by the religious right--operates to maintain barriers to access by shaming women and marginalizing abortion providers. Through compelling testimonyfrom doctors, health-care workers, and patients, Joffe reports the lived experiences behind the polemics, while also offering hope for a more compassionate standard of women's healthcare.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Carole Joffe is professor of sociology at the University of California-Davis and a researcher at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California-San Francisco. She is the author of several books, including Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion before and after Roe v. Wade (Beacon / 2101-9 / $20.00 pb). She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
Table of Contents
The stigma of abortion — "You need a community with you" : becoming an abortion provider — The clinics : ground zero in the abortion wars — Regulating abortion — Hospital-based abortions : chaos, cruelty, and some accommodation — Abortion patients and the "two Americas" of reproductive health — "Every woman is different" : what good abortion care looks like — What kind of America do we want? — Afterword : "abortion is a perfectly proper noun" — Postscript : the legacy of George Tiller.
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