Tag: Abortion

Abortion Rights and the Eugenic and Racist Origins of Having It All

As we await the high-stakes decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, state legislatures have been proposing and passing restrictions on access to abortion knowing that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming months. On May 2, a leaked draft of a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito indicated… Read more →

The Family Roe and the Messy Reality of the Abortion “Jane Roe” Didn’t Get

I almost didn’t read The Family Roe: An American Story by Joshua Prager. When I saw the premise – a biography of Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, and her family – I wasn’t immediately sure why I should care. I study the broad-scale social history of reproductive health and I had… Read more →

Deep in the Heartbeat of Texas

On September 1, 2021, Texas Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), which bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, went into effect. A heartbeat, or “cardiac activity,” can be detected with a transvaginal ultrasound as early as six weeks from the date of the pregnant person’s last period. Because few people know they are pregnant… Read more →

Babylost: An Interview with Monica Casper

Sociologist Monica Casper, who has written previously on fetal surgery, has published a new book called Babylost: Racism, Survival, and the Quiet Politics of Infant Mortality, from A to Z. The book consists of a series of essays related to stillbirth and newborn death, arranged alphabetically by topic. Lara: In my research for The Myth… Read more →

What Does It Mean to Have a “Real Choice” about Abortion?

What does it mean to have a “real choice” about abortion? I am writing this book review as the Supreme Court hears arguments over Mississippi’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, and it could seem like the wrong time for arguing the subtleties of this question. Abortion may become flat-out illegal throughout the… Read more →

What Feminists Did the Last Time Abortion Was Illegal

As the US Supreme Court heard arguments over the Texas and Mississippi laws that threatened to weaken Roe v. Wade substantially, my thoughts turned to the abortion rights activists I interviewed in California in the wake of the 1989 Webster decision. Webster v. Reproductive Services also involved a Mississippi statute, one that required viability testing… Read more →

Making Sense of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

On December 1, 2021, the Supreme Court heard Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that threatens to unravel Roe v. Wade and legal abortion. I was teaching during the hearing, so – struggling to understand what was happening – I read the transcript the next day. And then I read it again because… Read more →

When Abortion Was a Necessary Sin

Anyone tempted to make facile arguments about abortion politics, on either side of the aisle, needs to read John Christopoulos’s new book, Abortion in Early Modern Italy. The book is beautifully written and the stories in it are jaw-dropping, with nearly tabloid-worthy details about individuals’ sex lives and relationships, though handled with appropriate respect. As… Read more →

Peering Into Windows and Wombs: Reflections on SB 8

I thought about Dr. Curtis Boyd when I heard that the Supreme Court greenlit Texas’s unprecedented abortion restrictions. In the 1960s, Dr. Boyd lived in a small town in southern Texas. There, he provided illegal abortions to thousands of women who traveled across the United States to see him. Some of the women who found… Read more →

Seeing Pregnant People: History, Empathy, and Reproductive Politics

On November 22, 1863, New Yorker Charles F. Robertson testified in a deposition that, “About two months ago [his wife Letitia] suspected that she was in the family way and seemed almost crazy at the idea, and commenced taking medicine to bring on an abortion. She took blood root, tanzy, &c., and on the night… Read more →