Synopses & Reviews
This definitive account of the battle for reproductive freedom includes a bold new strategy to safeguard our rights, from two lawyers at the forefront of the movement.
Reproductive freedom has never been in more dire straits. Roe v. Wade protected abortion rights and Planned Parenthood v. Casey unexpectedly preserved them. Yet in the following decades these rights have been gutted by restrictive state legislation, the appointment of hundreds of anti-abortion judges, and violence against abortion providers. Today, the ultra-conservative majority at the Supreme Court has activists, medical providers, and everyday Americans worry that we are about to lose our most fundamental reproductive protections.
When Roe is toppled, abortion may quickly become a criminal offense in nearly one-third of the United States. At least six states have enacted bans on abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy – before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Today, 89% of U.S. counties do not have a single abortion provider, in part due to escalating violence and intimidation aimed at disrupting services. We should all be free to make these personal and private decisions that affect our lives and wellbeing without government interference or bias, but we can no longer depend on Roe v. Wade and the federal courts to preserve our liberties.
Legal titans Kathryn Kolbert and Julie F. Kay share the story of one of the most divisive issues in American politics through behind-the-scenes personal narratives of stunning losses, hard-earned victories, and moving accounts of women and health care providers at the heart of nearly five decades of legal battles. At this make-or-break moment for legal abortion in the United States, Kolbert and Kay propose audacious new strategies inspired by medical advances, state-level protections, human rights models, and activists across the globe whose courage and determination are making a difference.
No more banging our heads against the Court's marble walls. It is time for a new direction.
"Urgent and timely... Kolbert and Kay's pressing, informative, and engaging book is leading the charge in the right direction." Gloria Steinem
"An extraordinary book with great history lessons... incredible stories... There's something for everyone... Bold and wonderful." Cecile Richards, former President of Planned Parenthood and New York Times bestselling author of Make Trouble
"Kathryn Kolbert and Julie F. Kay, unparalleled experts, have written a rich, smart, and engaging book about why reproductive freedom is the crux of women's rights and equality. It's essential reading for anyone concerned with the future of democracy." Soraya Chemaly, author of Rage Becomes Her
"Controlling Women is a remarkably thorough account of the history of the legal fight for abortion rights in the United States and sets the stage for the work that still must be done to ensure that the broad spectrum of reproductive rights are a reality for all. Kolbert and Kay have added a vital resource to the pantheon." Nancy Northup, President and CEO, Center for Reproductive Rights
"[Controlling Women] could not come at a more timely moment. A great book." Leta Hong Fincher, author of Betraying Big Brother and Leftover Women
About the Author
Kathryn Kolbert has had a long and distinguished career advancing women's rights. In 1992, she made her second appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the landmark case that has been widely credited with saving Roe v. Wade. A co-founder of the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Athena Film Festival, she also created NPR's Justice Talking and the Athena Center for Leadership at Barnard College.
Julie F. Kay began her legal career at the Center for Reproductive Rights and has spent the ensuing decades developing innovative legal and policy initiatives to advance gender equality and religious freedom in the U.S. and internationally. She helped lay the groundwork for the legalization of abortion in Ireland through the first direct challenge to the country's absolute ban before the European Court of Human Rights and has fought for legal reform to protect the parenting rights of people leaving ultra-religious communities.