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The War on Choice: The Right-Wing Attack on Women's Rights and How to Fight Back Paperback – April 13, 2004
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"Women's reproductive rights are under the greatest threat we've faced in the past thirty years," writes Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In The War on Choice, Feldt describes the right-wing campaign to end reproductive choice and warns women who value reproductive rights that "zealous, noisy, persistent extremists" and "arrogant" politicians are eager and able to return women to "the stifling culture of the 1950s" when abortion was illegal and sometimes fatal. Feldt--who has come a long way since she got pregnant at 15 and married her high school boyfriend because she saw no other option--presents an disturbing array of anti-choice and, indeed, anti-women quotes and activities from right-wing politicians, legislators, and activists. Her aim is to "open our eyes and mouths" and teach readers how reproductive rights are being chipped away and will ultimately be chopped down if action isn't taken. She presents convincing arguments that not only are legal abortions threatened, but also the rights to contraception and pregnancy-prevention education. She offers dozens of specific actions that women can take to mobilize pro-choice. Recommended both for women who remember life before reproductive freedom and younger women who take this freedom for granted. -- Joan Price
From Publishers Weekly
The right wing is eroding women's reproductive rights, and America's pro-choice majority must sound the battle cry, writes Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in this provocative work. The "war" goes beyond abortion, Feldt claims, to encompass "the right to have full access to family planning information, facilities, and products, the right to have children or not, sex education for young people that goes beyond the abstinence-only education being promoted by the right wing, and the right to medically accurate information." Feldt assumes her readers are pro-choice (she says it's necessary to "speak to the choir"), and for them, this book reveals how doctors are giving ideology-based information to patients, the rights of fetuses are being elevated and U.S.-funded organizations abroad are forbidden to teach family planning. Feldt's angry and personal tone, coupled with her liberal quoting of conservative sound bites (e.g., "There is no way to have premarital sex without hurting someone") makes for thought-provoking, challenging reading. She excels when giving concrete plans for how individuals can activate change, but her strong opinions leave little room for disagreement. For example, pro-choicers who support the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (aka the Laci Peterson Law) could feel alienated by some of Feldt's assertions. Oversimplifications and unsupported statements also mar the work. This book isn't for those on the fence about choice, and it definitely won't convince conservatives. However, it's an excellent tool for staunch supporters of reproductive rights; it will rouse readers to fight for change.
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Top Customer Reviews
"The War on Choice by Gloria Feldt. If you are a novice in the area of choice, this is probably the best book you could buy to inform yourself. I don't think there is an area that isn't covered. If you have been in the fight since the 80's like I have, some of it gets pretty dry. The biggest problem being, the format makes it hard to read. So it doesn't go quickly.
I have been pro choice for 30 years due to the Republican agenda. I used to be Republican until they took up the Right to Life cross and started playing God judging me. That's when I quit voting for them. So I am more than familiar on all the aspects of the assault on women's reproductive rights as well as sex in general. And it has not slowed down any in 2012, in fact it's gotten worse.
The only problem I found with the book is I don't think she goes far enough to stress fundamentalist's religions role in these issues. I am aware how most of them used to see birth control, but it isn't that way anymore, it's in the past. That's what is extreme important to stress. Most anti choice people are on the grounds of religion (I won't say all). A lot of their arguments are based on their interpretation of the Bible. And their trying to take people's personal freedoms away from them because it goes against their religious beliefs and the bible. If that's what they want to believe that's their privilege, but I resent it being shoved down my throat in the form of laws based on their religious beliefs. This sordid behavior has become acceptable practice in far too many religions. In fact, it is encouraged by activist ministers who are no longer ministers but activists for a social cause. So I don't think she goes far enough in this area.
But, at the same time, realize a person like her can only go so far without being accused of being anti Christian by many. The Catholic Church (of which I am now an ex Catholic) has been deep in the anti-choice movement before Roe came about. The idea 'life begins at conception' is strictly Catholic dogma and nothing but. The Bishops were just quiet about it for a lot of years, and let the fundamentalist Christian's do their dirty work for them. The first Right to Life Group was formed by Catholic's around 1968 when California liberalized it's abortion laws. It's all about controlling women and see to it they have NO freedoms at all...economic, personal, marital or religious. All we are, are baby making machines with no right to autonomy if it comes down to choosing between us the fetus. The fetus will win every time.
In a world that is in a life and death struggle with over population, pollution, poverty, privation, starvation, war, global warming, depleting natural resources only to name a few of the results of a overcrowded planet that's only going to get worse if these people are successful. These religious zealots need to be educated about the human suffering they are heaping on mankind. The more people on this planet, the greater the demands that are being made on our environment. They need to start taking a good look at the results of their ignorance on birth control and being held responsible for the misery they are peddling. The only way I know how to do that. is quit voting for the kind of people who push these anti choice agendas and take your religion to task for supporting them. The War on Choice won't be over until they are held responsible. That's why every voter needs to be responsible enough to educate themselves and not take anyone's word for it. I always do a lot of research on such issues on my own. Be rest assured, if they win the war against women, the zealots will not stop, they will move on to something else that goes against their religious beliefs. Until there is no freedom left to believe different than they do in this country. So the next time you go in the voting booth, you had better start thinking about what you are putting in office and the damage they are going to be doing in the long run. So let your conscious be your guide!
The book is another example of why Pro-Choice activists are losing the media war. The greatest weakness of the book is that it only describes the enemy. It fails to put a human face on the tragedies of women and families who face tragedy without help. How does Tay-Sachs disease affect a family? What about a 12-year-old impregnated by a family member or step father? The anti-choice movement gains "moral" ground despite the fact that their advocates bomb clinics, assassinate providers, and rape a 15-year-old girl (e.g., John Burt in Florida)? The author and other Pro-Choice activists need to develop the emotional hooks and popular language that will attract those who haven't given, and won't ever give, much thought to the issues. Feldt needs to realize that the war is a public relations war, not just a political one.
I recommend a companion book, if you can find it, by John M. Swomley, Jr., "Compulsory Pregnancy: The War Against American Women."
This book is a complete waste of time. It is FULL of every single semantic, meaningless phrase you have ever heard from the PC side and then some. The author spends several pages complaining about the use of the term "partial-birth abortion" as a propaganda term which is "medically and scientifically inaccurate". yet several chapters later, uses the "medically and scientifically inaccurate" term "pre-embryo" to describe an embryo which has not implanted. Apparently the author is not familiar with pro-choice Princeton biologists Lee Silver's book "Remaking Eden" where he admits that the term "pre-embryo" is purely political.
Of course, all you can really expect from a book like this is semantics. The entire pro-choice movement was built on a solid foundation of carefully crafted word choices, and this book is no different.
The one redeeming thing about this book is that it actually made it seem like pro-lifers were and will make some ground in defeating abortion, but it certainly does not appear that way. It's unfortunate, because I'm sure there are several books that deal with the issue of abortion in a competent manner, but this is not one of them.