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352 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 12 halftones, notes, bibl., index

Studies in Social Medicine

ISBN  978-1-4696-2118-0
Published: November 2015

Abortion after Roe

By Johanna Schoen

Abortion is--and always has been--an arena for contesting power relations between women and men. When in 1973 the Supreme Court made the procedure legal throughout the United States, it seemed that women were at last able to make decisions about their own bodies. In the four decades that followed, however, abortion became ever more politicized and stigmatized. Abortion after Roe chronicles and analyzes what the new legal status and changing political environment have meant for abortion providers and their patients. Johanna Schoen sheds light on the little-studied experience of performing and receiving abortion care from the 1970s--a period of optimism--to the rise of the antiabortion movement and the escalation of antiabortion tactics in the 1980s to the 1990s and beyond, when violent attacks on clinics and abortion providers led to a new articulation of abortion care as moral work. As Schoen demonstrates, more than four decades after the legalization of abortion, the abortion provider community has powerfully asserted that abortion care is a moral good.

About the Author

Johanna Schoen is associate professor of history at Rutgers University and author of Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare.


“Spells out the necessity and moral good of providing abortion care.”
--Ms. Magazine

“Constructs a powerful, often deeply disturbing account of the experiences of clinic personnel and others striving to provide a full range of reproductive options to women in the face of violent opposition. . . . Highly recommended”

"A master work of research.
--Linda Gordon, Dissent

"This engaging book provides a nuanced and important analysis of abortion practice and antiabortion activism in the three decades after Roe v. Wade. Listening for the voices of her actors, asking hard questions, and examining the changing roles of the state and its agencies, Johanna Schoen offers a new way of thinking about abortion practice and the state."
--Naomi Rogers, author of Polio Wars: Sister Kenny and the Golden Age of American Medicine

"This is a completely new, original, and needed book, filled with engaging stories and findings. Johanna Schoen addresses important questions about how and why changes in medical practice and politics occur and illuminates an area of social life that receives intense public attention, but that few people know much about."
--Leslie J. Reagan, author of Dangerous Pregnancies: Mothers, Disabilities, and Abortion in Modern America

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