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How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics and the War on Sex Paperback – Bargain Price, December 25, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
The abortion issue is a cover for a fundamentalist "anti-contraception" and "anti-sex movement," argues this vigorous broadside. In a well-researched and pointed critique of prolife excesses, NARAL official Page (The Smart Girl's Guide to College) details the multifaceted opposition the Christian right has mounted to a broad range of reproductive rights. Prolife groups, she notes, have fraudulently conflated contraceptives with devices or substances that cause abortion, championed pharmacists who refuse to sell contraceptives, and organized to block over-the-counter sale of "Plan B" emergency contraceptive pills. Attacking both feminism and premarital sex, she contends, they vilify working moms and push ineffective abstinence-only sex-ed curricula, and have even opposed a vaccine against the HPV virus, a major cause of cervical cancer, claiming it would promote promiscuity. The irony, she argues, is that prolifers' effort to restrict access to contraception actually increases the number of abortions. Against what she believes is the fundamentalists' dour procreationist ideology and animus toward sexual pleasure itself, Page celebrates the blessings conferred by contraceptives in liberating women, and their families, in our modern "pro-choice world," claiming that "regular sex brings people as much happiness as a $50,000-a-year raise." If sometimes a tad facile, her defense of the sexual revolution in upbeat—even patriotic—terms makes this a spirited, thought-provoking addition to the culture wars. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The passion of the pro-life movement extends beyond abortion opposition to an overarching desire to end contraceptive use and to restrict sex to procreation only, argues Page, director of a national pro-choice organization. In contrast, by supporting women's ability to control their reproductive lives, the pro-choice movement has helped to improve life for American women across a broad range of social and economic issues. She details the corrosive influence of pro-life politics on science, including lobbying to prevent FDA approval of an emergency contraceptive pill to be sold over the counter. The pro-life movement has political "muscle that extends across the globe," harming efforts to reduce family size in developing nations and to encourage advancement of women. Page outlines the threats to the Roe decision and the privacy rights that also protect all aspects of sexuality, from contraception to homosexuality. This is a well-researched and thoughtful look at the politics behind reproductive issues and the implications for all Americans, whatever their position on abortion. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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This book really surprised me. I had no idea that the pro-life people had an agenda far beyond preventing abortions. As established in the book, they really wish to control the morals/sexual habits of people, not just to prevent abortions. I learned that by opposing contraception, as almost all pro-life groups do, the pro-life movement actually causes more abortions.
I became interested in this book after reading "Freakonomics," which argues that legalizing abortion has actually lowered the crime rate in America, a statistic I found very interesting.
I still don't know how I feel about abortion itself, but I know that I don't agree with the far-reaching effects of pro-life agenda. I definitely will not support the movement anymore by automatically voting for Republicans based on the sole issue of abortion, as I've always done.
I would encourage any pro-life person who is really concerned with preventing abortions to read this book. Even if it doesn't change your mind about abortion, it will give you insight into the primary agenda of many pro-life groups. As a pro-lifer myself, I was shocked and disappointed that my own group may be contributing to the abortion problem rather than solving it.
One story the author relates is particularly disturbing. The Population Research Institute, an extremely small branch (about 6 members) of the lobby Human Life International, successfully led a campaign to de-fund UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). They were working in China to try to stop China's forced abortion policy by encouraging voluntary family planning in a certain number of counties. By all accounts, it was going quite successfully, and China was going to expand the number of counties participating in the program. The PRI, however, erroneously claimed that UNFPA was collaborating with China's forced abortion policy. They denied this, and pointed that there was no evidence to back up the allegation. Bush, however, listened to them and withdrew the US funding for the agency. In response, European nations increased their funding of UNFPA to compensate for the US withdrawal (worth about $25 million). The result: ideology triumphed, and we lost even more credibility among the world.
Page does a good job in showing how the pro-life movement is about more than the prevention of abortion, and how countries with access to contraception and comprehensive sex-ed are the ones that have the lowest abortion rates. She only spends a little time on how access to contraception and the entry of women into the workforce has improved the country socially; given the title of the book, I wish she had spent a little more time on the issue. Further, it would have been a good idea to give at least a brief philosophical defense of the pro-choice position, or to show the inconsistencies of the pro-life position beyond the utilitarian consequences thereof. Overall, however, this is an interesting and important little book that will help citizens inform themselves about crucial issues.