Books Magazine

Book Review: Reproductive Politics – Rickie Solinger

By Donnambr @_mrs_b
About Reproductive Politics (2013)

Reproductive Politics - Rickie SolingerThe term “reproductive politics” was coined by feminists in the 1970s to describe contemporary Roe v. Wade-era power struggles over contraception and abortion, adoption and surrogacy, and other satellite issues. Forty years later, questions about reproductive rights are just as complex–and controversial–as they were then. Focusing mainly on the United States, Reproductive Politics explores the legal, political, religious, social, ethical, and medical dimensions of this hotly contested arena.

Tracing the historical roots of reproductive politics up through the present, Rickie Solinger adopts a question-and-answer format to shed light on such questions as: are sex and reproduction “private” or “public” matters? When was abortion decriminalized in the United States–and why? What is “abstinence only” sex education? And how is reproductive politics a men’s issue as well as a women’s issue? The answers are informative and balanced, and sometimes quite surprising. We learn that the number of illegal abortions before Roe was about the same as the number of legal abortions after Roe-about one million a year; and that women are the primary earners in 40 percent of American households and head 85 percent of single-parent households-one reason access to affordable daycare has become a key factor in a woman’s decision to reproduce.

Offering a wide range of information in an accessible and lively manner, Solinger orients readers and provides the knowledge necessary to follow the debates in this important and continually evolving field.


Review: Reproductive Politics

I never really studied any formal gender studies classes at high school so, as a result, never had the opportunity to cover some of these topics formally. Nonetheless, they are highly relevant and important, so I was really pleased to have the opportunity to read this book.

In Reproductive Politics I felt I’d found a well-researched, well-presented title, covering a range of current topics, many of which are highly controversial. They are also issues that we are often reluctant to talk about, perhaps because they can provoke highly emotional or passionate responses. ‘Politics’ seems a perfect word for the social, legal and moral complexities surrounding issues such as abortion and birth control. And nothing’s going to change if we can’t find a way to talk about these issues more openly.

Despite being British and still living in the UK, I still felt this was highly relevant to me. Not all of the laws and policies applied, but these are international issues. The tagline says it all: ‘What everyone needs to know.’

Or, perhaps more fitting would have been the tagline ‘What everyone needs to talk about…’

Verdict: 4/5

Source: Netgalley

Book Review: Reproductive Politics – Rickie Solinger

About the Author:

By day a publicity assistant, by night an avid blogger and reader. I'm happiest when I'm surrounded by books and cats, with my husband by my side. Luckily, that's a pretty apt description of most days!

Donna Brown – who has written 629 posts on Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave.


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