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Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us by Carole Joffe

Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us by Carole Joffe

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Published by Beacon Press

Surprising firsthand accounts from the front lines of abortion provision reveal the persistent cultural, political, and economic hurdles to access More than thirty-five years after women won the right to legal abortion, most people do not realize how inaccessible it has become. In these pages, reproductive-health researcher Carole Joffe shows how a pervasive stigma-cultivated by the religious right-operates to maintain barriers to access by shaming women and marginalizing abortion providers. Through compelling testimony from doctors, health-care workers, and patients, Joffe reports the lived experiences behind the polemics, while also offering hope for a more compassionate standard of women's health care. Find out more here: http://www.beacon.org/productdetails.cfm?sku=0128

Surprising firsthand accounts from the front lines of abortion provision reveal the persistent cultural, political, and economic hurdles to access More than thirty-five years after women won the right to legal abortion, most people do not realize how inaccessible it has become. In these pages, reproductive-health researcher Carole Joffe shows how a pervasive stigma-cultivated by the religious right-operates to maintain barriers to access by shaming women and marginalizing abortion providers. Through compelling testimony from doctors, health-care workers, and patients, Joffe reports the lived experiences behind the polemics, while also offering hope for a more compassionate standard of women's health care. Find out more here: http://www.beacon.org/productdetails.cfm?sku=0128

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Published by: Beacon Press on Jan 22, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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09/29/2013

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THE STIgMA OF ABORTION
Consider the following incidents that occurred in the United Statesduring the rst eight years of the twenty-rst century.
These events were directly tied to the presidential administration of George W. Bush:
False information on the links between abortion and breast can-cer and the purported ineffectiveness of condoms was posted on gov-ernment Web sites.After the United States invaded Iraq, Bush’s potential appointeesto the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad were asked abouttheir positions on
Roe v. Wade.
Several high-ranking ofcials within the U.S. Food and DrugAdministration (FDA) resigned in protest when the agency disre-garded the views of an overwhelming majority of its expert advisory panel and, bowing to Bush administration pressure, refused to makeemergency contraception (EC) available over the counter.
Consider as well these incidents from the relatively new world of “fetal politics”:
A measure on Colorado’s 2008 ballot sought to dene fertilizedeggs legally as “persons,” which would severely restrict access to abor-tion, contraception, fertility treatments, and scientic research.A group calling itself the NAAPC (the National Association forthe Advancement of Preborn Children) led suit in California tostop research on stem cells.
 And these events occurred in local communities:
In Fargo, North Dakota, a routine conrmation of the appoint-ment of a police chief was temporarily derailed because it emergedthat some fteen years previously, the then twenty-four-year-old of-cer and his girlfriend had decided upon a (legal) abortion. After theman apologized to local politicians for his “mistake,” his appoint-ment went forward.In Waco, Texas, opponents of abortion urged a boycott of Girl
 
Scout cookies because local troops had collaborated in a sex edu-cation program with Planned Parenthood—a program that did notmention abortion.An increasing number of pharmacists in locations across theUnited States, loosely afliated with a group called Pharmacists forLife, refused to ll prescriptions for both emergency contraceptionand monthly birth control pills, claiming that these drugs causedabortions.
 And consider these legal developments:
In the 2007 Supreme Court case
Gonzales v. Carhart,
a majority of the Court upheld a ban on a method of second-trimester abortionthat medical experts felt was the safest in certain situations. In thatdecision, the Court, for the rst time, also held that it was constitu-tional for an abortion law to have no exception for the health of thepregnant woman. (Notably, an almost identical measure was over-turned by the Court two years earlier, but this time the Court hadtwo new Bush appointees, both of whom voted with the majority.)A South Dakota law that mandates that physicians must informabortion patients that they are “terminating the life of a whole, sepa-rate, unique, living human being” was upheld in several levels of ju-dicial review.
Consider now examples from popular culture:
Three popular movies from 2007,
Knocked Up,
 
Waitress,
and
 Juno,
feature young women who experience unplanned pregnancies.In the rst two lms, abortion is barely mentioned; in the third, theheroine considers the option, then rejects it after a visit to a clinicthat was portrayed in lurid, unrealistic terms. These lms continueHollywood’s (and television’s) traditional aversion to dealing withabortion in a thoughtful manner, because of fears of controversy.
 Next consider two recent real-world examples of teenagers whoseunintended pregnancies received widespread public attention:
Jamie Lynn Spears, the sister of the pop icon Britney Spearsand a television star in her own right, became pregnant at the ageof sixteen. Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin, the Republicanvice presidential candidate in fall 2008, became pregnant at seven-teen. Both young women were unmarried. Both decided to continuethe pregnancy. While premarital sexual activity and out-of-wedlock pregnancy once would have been roundly criticized, especially by 
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