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Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Womens Reproduction in America (Alternative Criminology) Hardcover – November 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Series: Alternative Criminology
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press; 1St Edition edition (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814727549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814727546
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Author and sociologist Flavin (Class, Race, Gender and Crime) turns with typical vigor and abundant research to the subject of women's reproductive rights. Taking a historical perspective, Flavin outlines a set of progressive arguments focusing on abortion and family planning, the parental rights of incarcerated women, and "structural barriers posed by our drug laws and child welfare policies that disproportionately and adversely affect poor and minority women." Flavin's text faces tough issues head on from a viewpoint somewhere to the left of liberal, and her passion for women's rights makes a powerful narrative engine. Bolstered by quotes and firsthand accounts, Flavin delivers eye-opening reports on topics including abortion rights, infant abandonment and battered women, detailing little-noticed or taken-for-granted policies that restrict and remand women. Written in a flowing academic style, Flavin's attention to historical detail and unfailing moral compass make her progressive reexamination of women's rights thorough and convincing.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“At last, a book that recognizes that reproductive rights encompass more than abortion rights. Our Bodies, Our Crimes covers all of the essential and highly controversial topics regarding the intersection of reproductive rights and criminal justice.”

-Claire M. Renzetti,co-author of Women, Men, and Society

“In Our Bodies, Our Crimes, Flavin traces the life-and-death power that the little-examined patriarchal assumptions informing our common life can have—especially among poor, nonwhite women. Flavin . . . supplies a sobering primer on the laws and social constraints that keep women from fully controlling their bodies. The case studies she surveys in Our Bodies, Our Crimes make it painfully clear that the freedom to decide how and when to reproduce is, for a huge swath of American women, just as important as the much more fervidly discussed question of how and when women can choose not to reproduce.”



Our Bodies, Our Crimes is one of the most compelling books I've read in recent years. Flavin’s writing is exquisite and her documentation is careful and thorough. Whether informing the reader about reproductive freedom, battered women, or incarcerated women, she does so even-handedly and ably captures the complexities and depravities that real women and girls encounter every day in this country. Flavin draws on high profile cases, unknown cases, laws, policies, history, criminology research and much more to explain how her cases are decided by race, gender, class, and sexuality. Her book will help students, legal professionals, gender and legal scholars, and lay people to understand the common themes and threads of violence against women and girls and the sexism, racism, and classism in labeling girls and women deviant and criminals.”

-Joanne Belknap,author of The Invisible Woman: Gender, Crime, and Justice

“Illuminates the dark corners of a public polity that holds pregnant women accountable for all aspects and outcomes of their reproduction without offering the compassion, education, or control necessary to produce happy endings—or beginnings.”
-Jennifer Reich,author of Fixing Families: Parents, Power, and the Child Welfare System

Our Bodies, Our Crimes is a beautifully written and well researched book that makes an original and important contribution to the emerging social science literature on reproductive politics. I strongly recommend it.”

-Carole Joffe,author of Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion before and after Roe v Wade

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tara R. Bishop on April 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jeanne Flavin addresses the issue of women's inequality through by through the lens of the criminal justice system in Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women's Reproduction in America. Flavin argues that women's rights as citizens are threatened by a patriarchal society that subjugates women to increasing surveillance and controlling methods of regulation. Women's choices are narrowed by the sanctions associated with intimate partner violence, access to quality gynecological care, laws of fetal protectionism, and antiquated sterilization policies. Our Bodies, Our Crimes examines structural injustices associated with capitalistic, morally charged policies that systematically perpetuate myths and stereotypes of women's inability to make informed decisions about herself, children, and family.
Flavin is a postmodern feminist who explores the layered effects of ethnicity, age, gender, and class on the life chances and choices of women. She prompts the reader to consider the unique elements of American women's history and rights as inextricably linked to their reproductive rights. Flavin argues that women's role as mother and caregiver are generationally regulated through en vogue policies that never really expire but progressively build upon themselves. For example, she demonstrates that late eighteenth century eugenics policies never disappeared with elimination of criminal sterilization policies in 1974.
Flavin cites the transition of sterilization and segregationist policies to economic and sentence reducing incentives for poor minority women to utilize permanent or long term birth control measures. The court system offers substantially reduced jail and prison sentences to female offenders who voluntarily undergo Medicaid sponsored sterilization.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Curtis on August 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The breadth and depth of the research and writing in this book took my breath away at times. I thought I was well-versed in recent and current matters regarding women and issues regarding reproduction. I was wrong. I was woefully underinformed and had never been aware of the forest, just a few saplings here and there. Every professional in counseling, ministry, law enforcement and medicine who deals with women of childbearing age should read this book. That said, I am amazed that while right-wing, poorly researched books on very limited reproductive issues have far reduced prices, this book remains priced so high at Amazon and even more elsewhere. Curious discrepancy, since this book is by far the must-read factual research on the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kristen M. Wares on September 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This intelligent, well researched book is unafraid of being passionate, and brings the reader into the difficult, multifaceted topics it covers. An important read for anyone interested in feminist criminology, sociology, social work or public health. Wonderful book!
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