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Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church Hardcover – May 20, 2014

5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"For anyone looking around in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby decision and asking, 'How did we get here?' ["Good Catholics"] provides your answer--and then some. . . . An excellent primer on the dynamic issue of religion in reproductive health issues in the US."--Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood"Conscience" (02/15/2015)

"A page-turning thriller filled with courageous individuals."--Lousewies van der Laan, Vice President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe"Conscience" (02/13/2015)

"A serious study instead of what could have been a partisan puff piece."--Mary E. Hunt"Women's Review of Books" (04/01/2015)

"Thoroughly researched."--Jim Hinch"The Los Angeles Review of Books" (05/24/2015)

From the Inside Flap

"Wonderful, original, and provocative. . . . Destined to be a critical and popular success."—Kristin Luker, author of Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood

"Good Catholics traces the emergence of a strong and effective pro-choice movement in American Catholicism from the 1970s to 2012. It also documents the aggressive politicization of the Vatican and Catholic hierarchy in combating dissent on abortion and birth control among American Catholics. Patricia Miller concludes that the underlying issue in this struggle is not just abortion itself, but the deep hostility of traditional Christianity to women's sexuality and the possibility of women enjoying sex without ‘paying’ for it by pregnancy and childcare."—Rosemary Radford Ruether, Professor of Theology, Claremont School of Theology and Graduate University

“A must read for all of us who are prochoice because of our faith, not despite it. We are not alone.”—Jon O'Brien, President, Catholics for Choice
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (May 20, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520276000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520276000
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A page-turner, this book could be titled "Pius Politics: The U.S. Catholic Bishop's Obsession with Women's Sexuality." Not just Catholic women--everyone. Why did the Catholic church go on a 40-year crusade to make women's lives miserable? Sheesh, it'll blow your mind how far they went and who they're colluding with, and they're still at it.

With finesse, Patricia Miller makes this weighty topic read like a political thriller with a fascinating cast of characters. Told through the lives and struggles of real people, the book initially shocks and reawakens you to realities and stigmas of sex without birth control and the consequences for women of all ages back in the 1950s through Roe V. Wade, all the way up to present day. These are untold, inspiring stories of courageous people who took a stand against absolute power.

Very well written, fair, and nuanced, Miller comes off as a sharp, cool, objective lawyer building an impeccable case for a who-done-it. As a reader, you're in the jury; you can feel yourself seething and head nodding as she teases out hidden intentions, Matt Taibbi style. It really gets your blood boiling.

Miller brings a detective novelist's knack for suspense, using extensive research to piece together 50+ years of political intrigue over the control of women's sexuality. Respected leaders, people we see in the news regularly, schemed clever ways to flair their flock's tribal passions by conflating contraception and abortion, intentionally inciting a blind rage of moral indignation to change the laws of the land. Today, a legal beachhead is in place to further erode access to contraception. Miller shows you the proof, told by insiders and whistleblowers that were outcast for their dissent.
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I usually read non-fiction, preferring books on physics and astronomy as my usual fair. I'm a keen environmentalist and often do what I can in an effort to advocate for the fragile ecology. It is with this backdrop that a friend suggested I read Patricia Miller's book "Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church." It was based on the correct assumption that this material would help me gain insight into some of the religious and political dimensions that we face today.

What I found was a book that was a thorough, informative read of the abortion and reproductive rights history to date. As someone who grew up in the 60's, when revolution was in the air, I didn't realize half of what was going on. This book goes a long way to fill in the gaps. Once, as a teenager, a friend asked why I only had one sibling and I said that thought my parents didn't want any more children so my mother was on the pill. He was Catholic, had 5 siblings and angrily put down such a notion. I suppose we all came face to face with these conflicting issues over time; Miller's book fleshes out who the players were in this contentious environment.

In the 80's I was convinced that having children was not for me, and militantly expressed this to others as our moral right: over-population was the enemy destroying the planet! I was hopeful a majority would see the logic to such a practice. Miller's book details the forces that were arrayed against my naive position. She articulates how the seeds that defeated my 'Zero Population ideals' were borne. We watch as Regan 80's era anti-abortion policies blossomed into the nightmare we are living today.
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A scholarly and well researched review of the history and literature on the issue of abortion within the Catholic church. Ms Miller deserves out gratitude for her thoughtful and exhaustive work. I highly recommend this book.
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Patricia Miller does an excellent job of tracing the history of the role of women, sexuality and abortion in the Catholic Church and explaining the larger social, political and economic context of that history. The way she connects the dots makes a compelling story and gives the reader a much deeper understanding of the entire issue, regardless of one's personal stance. I found the book hard to put down and had many "ah ha" moments of understanding the issue within a larger context. With this full picture of the history of this issue, you can more easily set aside the extremist for/against stances and decide for yourself what your true belief is.

This deeper understanding of the social and political forces at work on this issue proved to be thought provoking and I found myself thinking about how women are viewed and treated today in popular culture, with the heavily sexualized imagery in movies, music, advertising, etc., working against the efforts of women working to achieve equal representation in the workplace and politics. It would be interesting to know what contextual pressures are driving today's expectations and definitions of women.

Good Catholics is a very interesting and well written book and I hope Patricia Miller continues to explain and address women's issues in her future work.
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