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Selected bibliography of books which develop an historical perspective and provide current information about abortion.

Note: many of these titles are available at

Blanchard, Dallas, The Anti-Abortion Movement and the Rise of the Religious Right: From Polite to Fiery Protest, Twayne Publications, 1994. 177 pages. Chronicles the evolution of the anti-abortion movement, analysis of various pro-life arguments.

Bonavoglia, Angela, The Choices We Made, Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion, Random House, New York, 1991. 201 pages. Interviews with celebrities on how they dealt with the traumas of illegal or secretive abortions.

Carmen, Arlene and Howard Moody, Abortion Counseling and Social Change: From Illegal Act to Medical Practice, Valley Forge: Judson Press, 1973. 122 pages. The story of the Clergy Counseling Service and of its involvement with the first abortion clinic in New York City, with commentary on religion and abortion. Written by two of the founders of the CCS.

Costa, Marie, Abortion A Reference Handbook, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1991. 237 pages. A general handbook of facts about abortion, including a brief section about abortion in ancient times throught the eighteenth century, a timeline from 1803 to 1991, short bios of leaders in both the pro-choice and the anti-abortion movements, a directory of organizations, a bibliography, a list of films and videos, and a resource list.

Devins, Neal, Shaping Constitutional Values: Elected Government, the Supreme Court, and the Abortion Debate, Johns Hopkins U Press, 1996. 193 pages. An investigation into how elected government impacts constitutional law taking abortion legislation and debates as its nucleus. Includes a detailed study of Roe v. Wade.

Dworkin, Ronald, Life's Dominion: An Argument about Abortion, Euthanasia or Individual Freedom, Alfred Knopf, 1993. 273 pages. A philosopher charges that the national abortion debate misrepresents the complex opinions of Americans, contending that the key question is how best to respect the religious-philosophical conviction shared by everyone that human life is sacred.

Ebersole, Lucinda, Coming to Terms: A Literary Response to Abortion, W.W. Norton & Co, 1995. 183 pages. Dozens of short story and fiction excerpts provide a literary response to abortion, going beyond the usual medical focus to gather the varied literary reflections of such notable writers as Langston Hughes, Richard Brautigan and Gloria Naylor.

Feinman, Clarice, The Criminalization of a Woman's Body, Harrington Park Press, 1992. 221 pages. Nine essays address women's concerns worldwide about threats to their autonomy, privacy, and bodily integrity, focusing on the laws of various countries. 

Garrow, David, Liberty and Sexuality: The Right to Privacy and the Making of Roe v. Wade, New York: McMillan, 1994. 981 pages. An extremely detailed and well-researched study of the legal and judicial events and decisions regarding abortion in the U.S. An excellent source of information on the history of abortion rights, and the people--activists, doctors, legislators, judges and lawyers--who made that history happen.

Gorney, Cynthia, Articles of Faith: A Frontline History of the Abortion Wars, Simon & Schuster, 1998. 544 Pages. Traces the reproductive rights movement through the eyes of the Minnesota case that paved the way to Roe v. Wade. In journalistic fashion, the book is a historical account and documents the pro-and anti-choice activities. 

Hadley, Janet, Abortion: Between Freedom and Necessity, Temple U Press, 1997. Considers abortion politics with an international perspective and explores some of the new issues affecting the abortion controversy, such as the abortion pill and prenatal testing for birth defects. 

Hoshiko, Sumi, Our Choices: Women's Personal Decisions About Abortion, Harrington Park Press, 1993. 197 pages. Frank discussions by women from a broad spectrum of social, economic, and religious backgrounds who have had legal or illegal abortions. They recount their ideas and feelings about sex, pregnancy, and abortion; and reveal much about communication with men, the social and psychological contexts, family support, and other topics.

Irons, Peter and Stephanie Guitton, ed., May It Please the Court, San Diego. The New Press. (Audio recording.) Actual recordings of famous Supreme Court cases, including Roe v. Wade. 

Joffe, Carole, Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion Before and After Roe v. Wade, Beacon Press, 1995. Traces a backlash against abortion on the part of mainstream medicine, pointing out how doctors have failed to provide abortion services and training, even at a time when these services are legal. Profiles doctors who offer safe abortions at risk to their own careers. 

Kaplan, Laura, The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service, Pantheon, 1995. 314 pages. Tells how "Jane" formed and provided safe, compassionate, underground abortions, during the height of the women's movement. 

Kelley, Maria Felicia, The Choice I Made : A Week in the Life of a Young Woman Who Chose an Abortion, April Arts Press, 1997. The week in which Kelley made her choice is documented in a very personal title which takes the reader through the decision and abortion process to its aftermath. An intense, personal document of recovery. 

Korn, Peter, Lovejoy: A Year in the Life of an Abortion Clinic, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1996. Lovejoy Surgicenter is the site of some 4,000 abortions a year and the target of numerous protests as well as a handful of firebombings. Journalist Peter Korn provides a valuable look at the abortion issue with this absorbing profile of the clinic, the people who run it, the women who use its services, and the groups who will go to exreme lengths to shut it down. 

Lublin, Nancy, Pandora's Box. Princeton U Press, 1994. Offers a fresh perspective on the ethical dimensions of providing and using reproductive technologies, including contraception. Lubin uses feminist philosophy and legal theory to examine what she calls technological intervention in the womb. 

Luker, Kristin, Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood, Univ. Cal Press, 1984. An insightful examination of how the political process impacts personal decision making and thus women's lives.

Mohr, James, Abortion in America: Origins and Evolution of National Policy, New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. 331 pages. A history of American abortion law, presented in a social context. Looks at abortion practice before the first restrictive abortion laws were passed in the eighteenth century and traces the attitudes and events which eventually led to severe restrictions on abortion in every state.

Poppema, Suzanne, Why I Am an Abortion Doctor, Prometheus Books, 1996. 266 pages. Suzanne Poppema, who owns and operates an abortion clinic, shares the intimate details of her private and professional struggle to explain the reality of abortion and the violent forces that threaten women's right to choose. 

Rainey, Randall, Abortion and Public Policy: An Interdisciplinary Investigation Within the Catholic Tradition, Creighton Univ Press, 1996. 208 pages. A collection of nine essays which examine the question of when life begins, the theological parameters of Catholic doctrine, public responsibility and Catholic commitment, and public law and the role of Catholic institutional leadership. 

Reagan, Leslie, When Abortion Was a Crime: Women Medicine and the Law of the United States 1867-1973, Univ. of Cal Press, 1997. A solidly grounded, sophisticated history of illegal abortion in the US. Reagan, a historian specializing in medicine and women's studies, persuasively argues that, even during periods when legal and medical systems and religious beliefs have proscribed abortion, it has been an important, and often accepted, part of women's lives. She uses a range of materials, including government documents and the popular press, to prove her case but focuses her research primarily on legal and medical records. 

Riddle, John, Contraception and Abortion from Ancient World to the Renaissance, Harvard Univ Press, 1992. 245 pages. Riddle contends that the ancient world had safe and effective means of birth control, but that knowledge of these resources was lost in the course of the Middle Ages as medicine was taken over by university-trained physicians who had no contact with folk traditions. He cites writings from ancient Egypt to the 17th century, with a brief look at Victorian England.

Roberts, Dorothy, Killing the Black Body: Race Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty. Pantheon Books, 1997. 384 pages. A challenging look at how the reproductive rights movement has failed to fully include black women. The book suggests ways to ensure that the movement can advance by broadening its perspective to include issues such as forced sterilization, adoption and children born to mothers who used drugs.

Rubin, Eva, The Abortion Controversy : A Documentary History, Greenwood Pub Group, 1994. A collection of 92 documents relating to the abortion controversy in the US, many of them position statements by interest groups and testimony before courts or legislative committees. Arranged chronologically, they set the historical context going back to the Middle Ages, sample the debate from the 1960s to the 1990s, and extend to recent issues such as violence at abortion clinics and the banning of new drugs.

Rudy, Kathy, Beyond Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: Moral Diversity in the Abortion Debate, Beacon Press, 1997. 224 pages. Sheds new light on the religious and philosophical underpinnings of widely divergent beliefs and attitudes of Americans toward abortion, discussing the influence of Catholicism, evangelical Christianity, feminism, and classical liberalism on the issue.

Solinger, Rickie. The Abortionist: A Woman Against the Law, U of California Press, 1996. The story of Ruth Barnett, who performed more than forty thousand abortions between 1918 and 1968 without losing a single patient,. The book reveals how anti-abortion laws benefitted racketeers, syndicates, politicians, and the press, as well as reestablishing state control of women's bodies.

Solinger, Rickie, Abortion Wars: A Half Century of Struggle, U of California Press, 1994. Writings by Rosalind Petchesky, Dorothy Roberts, and others who present diverse perspectives about how the struggle for reproductive rights evolved and where it seems to be going now. 

Tompkins, Nancy, Roe V. Wade: And the Fight over Life and Liberty (Historic Supreme Court Cases), Franklin Watts, Inc., 1996. 160 pages. An indepth look at the individuals and the issues involved in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, which led to the legalization of abortion.

Tribe, Lawrence, Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes, New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1990. 288 pages. A discussion of abortion from a judicial point of view, written by a well-known authority on constitutional law.

Tushnet, Mark, Abortion Facts on File, Facts on File, 1995. 384 pages. A comprehensive overview for students of the many issues (biology, psychology, law, ethics) involved with abortion. Includes a general introduction, chronology of major events, summary of important court cases, and biographical listing of key individuals. 

Weddington, Sarah, A Question of Choice, New York: Penguin Books, 1993. 304 pages. The story of Roe v. Wade, written by the lawyer who argued--and won--the case which declared that abortion is covered by the constitutional right to privacy. Traces the case from its beginning, through the Supreme Court decsion in 1973, to more recent efforts to restrict abortion and overturn the Court's decision. 

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