Why do the people who claim to be anti-abortion staunchly oppose measures — such as access to contraceptives and comprehensive sex education — that would allow women to avoid unwanted pregnancy, and therefore abortion? That’s the question at the heart of How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America, Cristina Page‘s examination of the abortion issue at the turn of the latest century. The conclusion Page draws is one feminists collectively reached decades ago: that the anti-choice crowd want to control women’s sexual activity and punish deviance.
Some recent reviews decry How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America as an outdated treatise in the age of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although the birth control mandate may have increased the availability of contraceptives, women across the U.S. face more and more legislative proposals that restrict abortion and contraceptive access, including frivolous clinic requirements, longer waiting periods, religious waivers, and false information campaigns, among other ridiculous measures. What’s more, the reason behind this kind of over-regulation today is ultimately the same as the one Page outlines in How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: a capitalization on abortion ignorance by the Religious Right.
While Page’s book may need to be refreshed for a post-ACA world, the core message remains relevant. Anti-choice activists continue to lie, cheat, and harass vulnerable women, and do so — largely — with impunity. Feminists looking to revitalize their drive, and anyone who finds themself moving further to the left, would do well to read How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America, in spite of its minor flaws.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Image Credit: Charlotte Cooper