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Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us Hardcover – January 1, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sociologist Joffe elaborates on the violence, stigmatization and legal actions perpetrated against those providing, receiving or even tangentially involved with abortion, despite the protections due under Roe v. Wade. Joffe elucidates the human component of this contentious issue through exploring the hardships of medical professionals and health-care administrators, yet the author's near apotheosis of abortion providers weakens the credibility of her arguments. Furthermore, while criticisms of flamboyantly reactionary rhetoric might be warranted, at times Joffe's own language, such as references to women's health clinics as ground zero in the abortion wars, can seem similarly overwrought. Joffe is at her best taking a more nuanced approach to the issue, as when she discusses her interviews with one nurse who considers herself prochoice but refuses to take part in the medical procedure. While the book provides ample confirmation of damaging actions taken by the movement against abortion providers and receivers, it fails to critically examine prolife ideology or substantiate claims that antiabortion activists have distract[ed] from fully identifying an appropriate sexual and reproductive agenda. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Sociologist Joffe doesn’t present a “balanced account” but writes “as a war correspondent embedded with the troops.” Though fanatics constitute a small portion of antiabortionists, their violent acts and extreme politics have made abortion highly controversial and contributed to medical administrators’ reluctance to provide it. Legislative restrictions make TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) a greater threat than bombs or bullets, with “excessive and unnecessary” government regulations increasing the costs and scarcity of abortion services. Against that backdrop, Joffe depicts providers as activists and clinics as “ground zero” in the abortion wars, citing such incidents as the infamous “anthrax letter” assaults on clinics by extremists to verify those characterizations. She adduces “the two Americas” of reproductive health, placing abortion within America’s “striking disparity” of health care for the poor vis-à-vis the non-poor and using case histories to put human faces on the effects of that two-tiered system and the consequences of public-funding cutbacks. This scholarly yet clear and well-paced reportage from the front will stir as it encourages debate. --Whitney Scott

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807035025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807035023
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,056,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William F Harrison on February 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gripping and very graphic. This novel will make any person look at the reproductive rights movements from a different perspective. I did not always agree with the opinions of the author, but that is what gives this book an edge. The author is very straight forward and descriptive about the good, the bad, and the ugly truth of reproductive rights; specifically, this author focuses on abortion and its political and social impacts on modern society.
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Format: Paperback
Most books about abortion are not objective, this one is not. I agree that the anti abortion forces have gone too far in many ways but the pro choice side has also been less than objective. This book is quite one sided.

Few people on either side make very good arguments either way about what to do about abortion. In my opinion, there are three issues, moral, legal, practical. There have been about 50 million legal abortions in this country since 1973; there are now over 1 million per year, the rate has been falling. There are about 45 million abortions every year worldwide. Millions of women become pregnant who do not want to have a baby or can't afford to. The moral question -- is abortion the taking of a human life. Yes, it is preventing human life, that is what makes the issue difficult. The legal question is should it be illegal. Given how many women want to have abortions, making it illegal is simply not an option unless there are realistic alternatives. It doesn't make sense to make millions of women criminals because of their personal moral choices or to risk their health getting illegal abortions. The practical question is -- what is the alternative. Our best bet would be a massive program providing contraception and education and well organized adoption. Is there any reason to believe that can happen or that it would work? We need to try or we will be fighting this forever. Anti abortion people who are also against contraception are idiots and should be treated as idiots. It took the Catholic church 350 years to forgive Galileo for saying the earth moved around the sun so don't hold your breath about their policy on contraception.

Other books on the abortion debate can be found here:

Midwest Independent Research
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"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.
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