"This book is the first to synthesize the intertwined histories of contraception, sterilization, and abortion in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. Caron skillfully blends the local study of reproductive history in the state of Rhode Island into her thorough re-telling of the larger story that played out on the national stage."--Elizabeth Watkins, University of California, San Francisco
"Offers a wealth of new research into the politics of reproduction. The close attention Caron devotes to debates and transformations within the African-American community provides a revealing counterpoint to the larger national picture."--Amy S. Greenberg, Pennsylvania State University
In 1860, the American Medical Association launched a campaign to convince state legislatures to prohibit abortions. Until 1973's Roe v. Wade, abortion was often seen as a crime. Who Chooses? analyzes the forces at play in shaping reproductive policy in the United States.
Over the past two centuries, restrictive reproductive policies have often served as barriers to women's equality. The impact of these policies has been felt most poignantly at the local level by women endeavoring to control their daily lives. Simone Caron reveals that despite attempts by population controllers to shape the populace according to their own agendas, women throughout the years have sought means to choose for themselves the best reproduction option to suit their personal situation. She examines the political, moral, and economic forces that shaped reproductive policies and the impact they have had on women's ability to choose how to control their bodies.
Simone M. Caron is chair and associate professor of history at Wake Forest University.
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"Caron expands the discussion of abortion and its history beyond the pro-choice versus pro-life battle lines of the past 30 years."
"A well-written and accessible book that could serve as an excellent companion to undergraduate courses on the history of reproduction and health policy."
"The comprehensive bibliography will be a gold mine for anyone looking for references on the messy, often upsetting, and always fascinating history of abortion, contraceptives, and sterilization."
"One of the most important contributions of Who Chooses? is its sophisticated treatment of the attitudes of African American women and men toward abortion and contraception. Finally, in the way that she blends the histories of abortion, sterilization, and birth control, Caron offers historians new ways of looking at population control in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America."
--The Journal of American History
"One of the most important contributions of Who Chooses? is its sophisticated treatment of the attitudes of African American women and men toward abortion and contraception. Finally, in the way that she blends the histories of abortion, sterilization, and birth control, Caron offers historians new ways of looking at population control in ni
--The Journal of American History
"Caron forthrightly addresses the uncomfortable and unpleasant aspects of reproductive history. From nineteenth-century attempts to control behavior through criminalizing abortion, to arguing for birth control as an economic measure, to 1970s feminist activism and the ensuing backlash, Caron demonstrates the often misogynistic and oppressive nature of reporductive policies. The book incorporates insights from previously untapped sources to expand the national interpretation of existing histories."