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Abortion & Life Paperback – September 1, 2008

4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Activist, filmmaker (of I Had an Abortion) and co-author (Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future) Baumgardner dedicates her work to spreading awareness about abortion. Graced with black and white photo portraits by Tara Todras-Whitehill of women wearing Baumgardner's shirt, reading simply "I had an abortion," the emphasis is on the testimony of these patients, revealing not only how common the procedure is (one in three women, according to the Guttmacher Institute) but how diverse those women and their situations are. Baumgardner begins with a brief history of abortion legislation in America, from pre-Roe v. Wade restrictions to clinic workers and doctors protested, threatened and murdered (as in the case of Buffalo doctor Barnett Slepian). Still, as Baumgardner says, it's the record of "our lives that might provide the best road map to strengthening women's reproductive freedoms." Included is a comprehensive listing of abortion resources, and 10 percent of the book's profits go to the New York Abortion Access Fund.
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Review

Activist, filmmaker (of I Had an Abortion) and co-author (Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future) Baumgardner dedicates her work to spreading awareness about abortion. Graced with black and white photo portraits by Tara Todras-Whitehill of women wearing Baumgardner's shirt, reading simply "I had an abortion," the emphasis is on the testimony of these patients, revealing not only how common the procedure is (one in three women, according to the Guttmacher Institute) but how diverse those women and their situations are. Baumgardner begins with a brief history of abortion legislation in America, from pre-Roe v. Wade restrictions to clinic workers and doctors protested, threatened and murdered (as in the case of Buffalo doctor Barnett Slepian). Still, as Baumgardner says, it's the record of "our lives [that] might provide the best road map to strengthening women's reproductive freedoms." Included is a comprehensive listing of abortion resources, and 10 percent of the book's profits go to the New York Abortion Access Fund. -- Publishers Weekly, Sept. 2008
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933354593
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933354590
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,341,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Knauber on November 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really explains the journey that abortion has taken over the past years. It includes stories of real women from all ages, walks of life, and eras who have had abortions. It sites cases, life experiences, and the true meaning of freedom that the ability to decide for ourselves to terminate a pregnancy affords. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, it is an interesting read. I talked about it so much, my husband read it too. He was brought up to believe abortion was a terrible thing, but now his mind is opened up to what it really is, how it works, and why women seek this option. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
Personal accounts are accompanied by portraits taken by photographer Tara Todras-Whitehill, including pictures of women as famous as Ani DiFranco and Gloria Steinem, wearing the "I had an Abortion" t-shirt. This volume is not about yelling in the streets or holding picket signs; it is not about being confrontational and aggressive toward anti-choice "activists." It is about presenting the facts of what women went through and showing how necessary abortion is in an imperfect world. As long as we are yelling at each other and threatening each other, rather than listening and talking calmly, we can't reach an understanding. Abortion & Life has a buddha-like, gentle approach to the subject of abortion, not using the "us and them" mentality that is so common but rather showing why abortion is important, in hopes that abortion's enemies will make some attempt at tolerance.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of those books that stays with you as your read it, and then when you finish it. I read this book chapter by chapter over the course of several days. I did this in order to process it, but didn't realize that was the plan. I've read other works by the author and have witnessed how at times her point of view can come across as one colored by certain types of privilege (skin color, class, education, and regionalism) and this book is no different.

For young women born after Roe, this book will give a brief, interesting history of life pre and post Roe. And, the vignettes are at times powerful and painful.

There are a few things that bothered me. At times the author makes certain claims that I really don't think she could as someone who hasn't had an abortion; yet her words read as if she was speaking for all women. While I've suggested the book to some of my students, I hasten to give it five stars.

I actually wish that Amy Richards or someone else had written this book. I think that AR or another's personal touch wouldn't have been so self-righteous or at least read as such by this reader. Basically, this book is good to begin conversations and debates.

This book has a wide audience--general readers and it could be assigned in history, women's studies, sociology, psychology, and health classes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The cover photo of a pregnant mom to be suggests the charm of the book -- it both is a brief history of abortion and a collection of voices of those who had one. The author has other good stuff out there too.
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