What Britney Spears’s Forced IUD Can Teach Us About Women’s History

When Britney Spears announced that she was forced to use long-term birth control in the form of an IUD and wasn’t being allowed to have another child, the world was shocked. If the fight for reproductive rights usually centers on access to birth control and abortions, it’s in part because there’s no debate that forcefully… Read more →

The Case for Full Bodily Autonomy in Adolescent Reproductive Health Care

Are adolescents mature enough to make their own decisions when it comes to their medical care? If so, should those decisions be kept confidential from the adolescent’s parents or guardians? When it comes to answering this question, the lines are blurred. Thus far, public policy in the United States says both yes and no, with… Read more →

Liberal Christians in the Making of Sex Education

In the 1960s conservative Christian leaders like Billy James Hargis and his “Christian Crusade” defined the culture wars over sex education as a battle between secular liberals who wanted to teach comprehensive sex ed in the public schools, and religious conservatives who demanded silence on the subject.[1] That framing has stuck in the cultural imagination…. Read more →

You’ve Never Seen the Opioid Crisis Like This Before: A Review of Empire of Pain

It’s hard to keep up with the ever-growing body of literature on the opioid crisis, which has killed nearly as many Americans in the last two decades as the Civil War and is still getting worse. We are inundated with new books and articles to read, podcasts to listen to, and documentaries and miniseries to… Read more →

Reproductive Designs and the Stories Behind Them: A Review of Designing Motherhood

Today almost all IUDs (intrauterine devices) look like the letter “T,” with arms that slightly droop and a string that dangles from its trunk. When inserted, the arms press against the walls of the uterus to help prevent pregnancy, and the string dangles down into a woman’s vagina as a way to check that the… Read more →

Echo Chambers

Anthony Antonio has been charged with five crimes related to his participation in the January 6, 2021 insurrection, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. His attorney, Joseph Hurley, does not deny Antonio engaged in illegal and violent actions on that day but claims that his client suffers from “Foxitis.” As Hurley tells… Read more →

The Handmaids of Surgery: The Role of Nurse Anesthetists

Imagine the horror of waking up in the middle of your surgery – or worse, never being asleep at all. In the early days of surgery, this was a reality. Patients were awake throughout procedures, given alcohol and something to hold on to in order to endure the pain. The introduction of general anesthesia made… Read more →

Abortion Out West: An Interview with Alicia Gutierrez-Romine

Published in 2020 by the University of Nebraska Press, Alicia Gutierrez-Romine’s From Back Alley to the Border: Criminal Abortion in California, 1920–1969 tells the story of abortion during the era it was outlawed in California. We recently chatted about how Gutierrez-Romine came to the topic, the challenges of telling these women’s stories, and why California… Read more →

Diseases of Body and Soul: A Review of Philippa Koch’s The Course of God’s Providence

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but it takes a long time to write a book. It takes so long, in fact, that when a new book just happens to coincide with an eerily relevant global crisis, it presents a largely unexpected opportunity for the author to make the case for her work’s importance. All… Read more →

Screaming Over the Rubble: The Shifting Role of the Family in American Disaster Victim Identification

When the South Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida, collapsed in the early hours of June 24, I shuddered to think about how many lives had been lost. Because of my research on the history of disaster victim identification (DVI), however, I also started thinking ahead to the recovery of the dead. I knew that the… Read more →