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Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now to Save Reproductive Freedom

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This definitive account of the battle for reproductive freedom includes a bold new strategy to safeguard our rights, from two lawyers at the forefront of the movement. Reproductive freedom has never been in more dire straits. Roe v. Wade protected abortion rights and Planned Parenthood v. Casey unexpectedly preserved them. Yet in the following decades these rights have been This definitive account of the battle for reproductive freedom includes a bold new strategy to safeguard our rights, from two lawyers at the forefront of the movement. Reproductive freedom has never been in more dire straits. Roe v. Wade protected abortion rights and Planned Parenthood v. Casey unexpectedly preserved them. Yet in the following decades these rights have been gutted by restrictive state legislation, the appointment of hundreds of anti-abortion judges, and violence against abortion providers. Today, the ultra-conservative majority at the Supreme Court has activists, medical providers, and everyday Americans worry that we are about to lose our most fundamental reproductive protections. When Roe is toppled, abortion may quickly become a criminal offense in nearly one-third of the United States. At least six states have enacted bans on abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy—before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Today, 89% of U.S. counties do not have a single abortion provider, in part due to escalating violence and intimidation aimed at disrupting services. We should all be free to make these personal and private decisions that affect our lives and wellbeing without government interference or bias, but we can no longer depend on Roe v. Wade and the federal courts to preserve our liberties. Legal titans Kathryn Kolbert and Julie F. Kay share the story of one of the most divisive issues in American politics through behind-the-scenes personal narratives of stunning losses, hard-earned victories, and moving accounts of women and health care providers at the heart of nearly five decades of legal battles. At this make-or-break moment for legal abortion in the United States, Kolbert and Kay propose audacious new strategies inspired by medical advances, state-level protections, human rights models, and activists across the globe whose courage and determination are making a difference.  No more banging our heads against the Court’s marble walls. It is time for a new direction.


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This definitive account of the battle for reproductive freedom includes a bold new strategy to safeguard our rights, from two lawyers at the forefront of the movement. Reproductive freedom has never been in more dire straits. Roe v. Wade protected abortion rights and Planned Parenthood v. Casey unexpectedly preserved them. Yet in the following decades these rights have been This definitive account of the battle for reproductive freedom includes a bold new strategy to safeguard our rights, from two lawyers at the forefront of the movement. Reproductive freedom has never been in more dire straits. Roe v. Wade protected abortion rights and Planned Parenthood v. Casey unexpectedly preserved them. Yet in the following decades these rights have been gutted by restrictive state legislation, the appointment of hundreds of anti-abortion judges, and violence against abortion providers. Today, the ultra-conservative majority at the Supreme Court has activists, medical providers, and everyday Americans worry that we are about to lose our most fundamental reproductive protections. When Roe is toppled, abortion may quickly become a criminal offense in nearly one-third of the United States. At least six states have enacted bans on abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy—before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Today, 89% of U.S. counties do not have a single abortion provider, in part due to escalating violence and intimidation aimed at disrupting services. We should all be free to make these personal and private decisions that affect our lives and wellbeing without government interference or bias, but we can no longer depend on Roe v. Wade and the federal courts to preserve our liberties. Legal titans Kathryn Kolbert and Julie F. Kay share the story of one of the most divisive issues in American politics through behind-the-scenes personal narratives of stunning losses, hard-earned victories, and moving accounts of women and health care providers at the heart of nearly five decades of legal battles. At this make-or-break moment for legal abortion in the United States, Kolbert and Kay propose audacious new strategies inspired by medical advances, state-level protections, human rights models, and activists across the globe whose courage and determination are making a difference.  No more banging our heads against the Court’s marble walls. It is time for a new direction.

30 review for Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now to Save Reproductive Freedom

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darcia Helle

    Controlling Women is part memoir, part history, and part social science. Mostly, it made me angry, not at the authors but at the male-dominated system intent on controlling even the most personal facets of a woman’s body and life. The two authors are lawyers who’ve been working on the forefront of women’s rights for decades. With this book, they take us on their journey from the early struggles of Roe vs. Wade to our current fight to maintain that ruling. Within the legal history, the authors also Controlling Women is part memoir, part history, and part social science. Mostly, it made me angry, not at the authors but at the male-dominated system intent on controlling even the most personal facets of a woman’s body and life. The two authors are lawyers who’ve been working on the forefront of women’s rights for decades. With this book, they take us on their journey from the early struggles of Roe vs. Wade to our current fight to maintain that ruling. Within the legal history, the authors also share stories of women who’ve been caught in the maelstrom, forced to plead for the right to manage their own bodies, and suffered both emotionally and physically because of it. This book isn’t solely for those who are pro choice. The authors explain how we got here and why, and it’s that “why” that every woman should be concerned with. *I received an ARC from Hachette Books.*

  2. 5 out of 5

    High Sky

    This is the book American women have been waiting for. A comprehensive recent history from the sources on the front lines. I could not put it down. It’s both infuriating and exciting! It just may usher in an entire new era in American (and hopefully International) women’s equity and equality. I know “must read” is a cliche, but it fits. If you are wondering what the hell is wrong with this country, this book is the place to start. It’s brave, it’s written in conversational language, and it’s got This is the book American women have been waiting for. A comprehensive recent history from the sources on the front lines. I could not put it down. It’s both infuriating and exciting! It just may usher in an entire new era in American (and hopefully International) women’s equity and equality. I know “must read” is a cliche, but it fits. If you are wondering what the hell is wrong with this country, this book is the place to start. It’s brave, it’s written in conversational language, and it’s got me excited to work together with other good people of all stripes to get American women and people of all gender identities the privacy, sanity, equality, equity and fairness that is long overdue and is under threat in a time like no other. A worthwhile buy that will hold a place of privilege on your book shelf as a piece of working his(her)story. Breathtaking, and the only thing I can think is why has this book taken so long to be written? The answer is - the authors have been busy! You’ll see. There is a lot to learn and even more to be done, but this book gives me hope, something hard to come by these days. Read it. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    One thing I learned is that abortion was legal in the 1700's when the Constitution was written! Otherwise, I already knew most of the history of abortion and abortion rights. However, I was very impressed with the writing and achievements of the authors and I appreciated the list of suggestions at the end of the book as well as a wonderful quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman's life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she One thing I learned is that abortion was legal in the 1700's when the Constitution was written! Otherwise, I already knew most of the history of abortion and abortion rights. However, I was very impressed with the writing and achievements of the authors and I appreciated the list of suggestions at the end of the book as well as a wonderful quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman's life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices. I heartily agree.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Very well written. Not too technical. Engaging. A call to action. Lots of general information that everyone should read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie

    This book was much denser than I had initially anticipated. I enjoyed the emphasis on women of color and how reproductive rights specifically impact them as that is a vital part of this work. Admittedly, I did not know many of the specifics of Roe v Wade or about the other pivotal legislation so this book was very informative book; however, I expected the language and writing to be more accessible.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Readingcaptures

    Very factual and no frills. Written by two lawyers that want to see the law stay in favor of women. Book releases July 13th and it’s the perfect ammunition needed for this conversation topic. - knowledge

  7. 4 out of 5

    Everydayreader1

    For anyone interested in human rights, women's rights, reproductive rights and social justice, this is a must read. I highly recommend this book. It's a great resource, and also a great evocative work on mapping out current and future strategies for future action on gender equity. For anyone interested in human rights, women's rights, reproductive rights and social justice, this is a must read. I highly recommend this book. It's a great resource, and also a great evocative work on mapping out current and future strategies for future action on gender equity.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    THE primer for anyone following the next round of reproductive health cases going to the Supreme Court. We need to know where we have been to fight on.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joann Hyle

    Must read if you want to know what you can do in your state after the US Supreme Court reverses Roe and each state is free to pass its own abortions bans or restrictions. It’s scary, but there is room for hope when you read what already is happening to protect reproductive freedom in states like Oregon and Colorado.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I received this as a free arc from Hachette books. This is an excellent and very readable history of abortion rights, which will probably make you angry. It focuses on those most affected by abortion restrictions and how those restrictions disproportionately effect them. It was somewhat depressing and you are left feeling somewhat hopeless at the overwhelming challenge women’s rights have with today’s Supreme Court, but the last few chapters outline things that can be done, so there is some hope I received this as a free arc from Hachette books. This is an excellent and very readable history of abortion rights, which will probably make you angry. It focuses on those most affected by abortion restrictions and how those restrictions disproportionately effect them. It was somewhat depressing and you are left feeling somewhat hopeless at the overwhelming challenge women’s rights have with today’s Supreme Court, but the last few chapters outline things that can be done, so there is some hope for the future.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mary Gwynn

    Fabulous book by Kolbert and Kay, both top reproductive rights lawyers, who argued two of the most influential abortion cases. They tell us how we got here, why abortion is such a hot button political issue, how women are kept down by it, and what we can do now! Highly recommend.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leila Rubes Mehfuz

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary Higgins

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kristie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Shields

  18. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  19. 5 out of 5

    E

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hilary Link

  21. 4 out of 5

    Juliana

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jon

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elisa

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sydney Stockton

  25. 5 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leah Duffy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Glenda Nelms

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Marcolongo

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mal D

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

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