10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2010
Carole Joffe wrote a book called Doctors Of Conscience about 11 or 12 years ago. I first met her over the telephone when I called her to ask the address and phone number of one of the doctors she featured in that book. We soon met a my first National Abortion Federation meeting after she talked me into to joining in 1999. At my first meeting I met some of the most incredible people I had ever met and many became fast friends. Now, several of these friends are dead. One, Dr. George Tiller, murdered only last year by a religious fanatic, Scott Roeder, in George's church in Wichita as he handed out church materials. I have been a victim of the same religious terrorists that have murdered others and burned our clinics and offices. However, like most of my incredibly brave colleagues among the abortion provider group, I also refuse to be intimidated by these Christian Taliban. Carole does an excellent job of featuring our colleagues.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2010
I have to confess, I'm jealous of Carole Joffe. Not just because she gets to teach and live in Northern California, and not just because she gets to travel around the country interviewing experts in the reproductive rights movement. I'm jealous because her new book, Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us is well-written and informative and makes me worry that my book about the pro-choice movement, which could potentially be seen as a kind of companion to hers (well, I think it could!), won't be half as informative or inspiring.
As the title indicates, Carole is focused on the toll that anti-choice activity has taken on the pro-choice movement. "Activity" is too polite a word, actually, when you're talking about arson, anthrax threats, and punitive legislation - and, of course, the murder of Dr. Tiller, which occurred as this book was in its final stages. I defy anyone to read about the trials and tribulations of a clinic which suffered an arson attack and not choke up, both at the bravery of the staff and the generous nature of the community, which turned out in force to support the rebuilding. Acts like this pepper the book, though not all are as dramatic; but they all speak to one of the ideas running through the pages, that individual connections mean so much more than rhetoric and sound bites.
That idea has particular resonance for me, and is what inspired my book, Generation Roe. I haven't spent as much time in the trenches of the abortion wars as Carole, but my experience in direct patient services has shown me that individuals relate much more strongly to personal experience than anything else. There is such a stigma attached to abortion, far more so than should be attached to any medical procedure, but when the actual reasons that women choose abortion are made clear, it's that much harder to dismiss the procedure as one done out of convenience or on a whim. As one of the founding members of the D.C. Abortion Fund pointed out to me when I interviewed her, "Women's stories will always carry the day." And she's right, but the stories of the people who choose to undertake this work need to be told, too. These stories help us all understand the larger context in which abortion rights reside: the contexts of healthy families, economic stability, attaining educational goals, and safeguarding personal health.
There's another reason I'm so fond of story-telling: because almost forty years after Roe, states are still introducing restrictive legislation, doctors and clinicians are threatened, and the issue is just as divisive as ever. So why not try and shift the public discourse from the political to the personal? As a member of Medical Students of Choice who grew up in a conservative community observed, while the pro-choice community is talking about choices, the anti-choices forces are talking about murder. Which is a brilliant P.R. stroke, if nothing else, and evidence of the pro-choice movement's failure to truly recognize the emotional component of this issue. I'm not suggesting that we pander to their side and bring out the violins and tissue and only tell the "right" stories of abortion, the rape victims and fetal anomalies and married women. There is no right story, just as there is no wrong story, and we need to tell and share them all.
Okay, enough of my soapbox. Bottom line is, go read Dispatches from the Abortion Wars. Get angry, and get inspired, and tell the world why you're pro-choice, too.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2013
"Dispatches from the Abortion Wars" by Carole Joffe. A thought provoking account of the assault on women's reproductive services by religious zealots who see it as their duty to shove their beliefs down every woman in this country's throat. But, if you are like me very passionate about the issue of abortion and women's reproductive health care and easily infuriated, you might want to think hard before buying this book. It's an unvarnished account of life in the trenches of the constant war on women's reproductive care services that has been raging for the last 40 years now. And isn't likely to end anytime soon. If a person didn't know better, they would think it was the beginning of the last century not 2013. Where a simple surgical procedure has been so demonized by Christian zealots who are relying on a heavy dose of religious superstition to sell their ignorance. It's in danger of disappearing.
The book is written well and very informative, it gives a lot of details in the health care field that up until now I was not aware of. So, the book is extremely informative about the newest things in women's reproductive health care that every young woman needs to know in order to be informed, the reason I gave it such high marks. I remember all too well when abortion was illegal and religious zealots ruled the country. And they want to drag us kicking and screaming back into that same ignorance. I have no desire to return to such a country again, to put my Granddaughters through the misery a lot of we women learned to live with in that era. And the way it's looking it is going to happen again. So many women keep voting the anti-choice politician's back into office to do us more damage. I pay close attention to how they vote.
There are parts that are very disturbing, the idea we the taxpayer are paying for Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) to spread lies and misinformation is infuriating. These zealots are a blight on this country. But, it happens daily and politican's keep giving these parasites taxpayer funds so they can continue to spread their lies and mislead young women. The tactics these zealots use are even more infuriating. They are the kind of people who have literally no ethics or morals guiding them. They make a mockery out of Christianity.
0 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2014
If you have high hopes for this read, abandon them now. As with many amoral zealots, the writing bias is obvious, it is filled with unscientific discussion of the facts, and its thesis is based on emotion. Is it too much to expect that authors be educated on their writing subject?
If one is looking for a read that adequately provides both sides of the argument and provides the reader with science-based argumentation, do not waste your time. No wonder this book sales for 40 cents.