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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

In Our Control

The Complete Guide to Contraceptive Choices for Women

by Laura Eldridge

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Forward by Jennifer Baumgardner

The efficacy and risks of different birth control options are dramatically different today from what they once were thanks to scientific advances and increased awareness of STDs and other factors. In the most comprehensive book on birth control since the 1970s, women's health activist Laura Eldridge discusses the history, scientific advances, and practical uses of everything from condoms to the male pill to Plan B.

Do diaphragms work? Should you stay on the Pill? What does fertility awareness really mean? What about the history and scientific research behind IUDs? Find these answers and more in In Our Control, the definitive guide to modern contraceptive and sexual health. Eldridge presents her meticulous research and unbiased consideration of our options in the intimate and honest tone of a close friend. She goes on to explore large-scale issues that might factor into women's birth control choices, urging her readers to consider the environmental impacts of each method and to take part in a dialogue on how international reproductive health issues affect us all.

Whether you're looking for your first birth control method or want to know more about your current contraceptive choice, In Our Control offers the information and practical wisdom you'll need to make empowered decisions about your sexual health.

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Buying options

“Laura Eldridge's new book In Our Control: The Complete Guide to Contraceptive Choices for Women (Seven Stories Press, 2010) isn't kidding with that subtitle. The last time I remember reading so much detail about contraceptive options was poring over Our Bodies, Ourselves when I was in my 20s … This is women's health activism at its best.”

“Straightforward, nonjudgmental, and honest … Eldridge walks readers through the thought process within her critiques, which allows the reader to become a smart consumer of contraceptive options … [Her] fresh voice was apparent on every page of In Our Control, and evoked the pro-woman, community-oriented feel of a volume of Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

“I couldn't put In Our Control down. Reading Laura Eldridge's history about contraception blew my mind. We cannot allow pharmaceutical companies to endanger women lives! This book is about to regalvanize the women's health revolution!”

“Laura Eldridge carries on the torch of women's health advocacy with this important new book. Without all the facts in front of you, the contraceptive choices of today's woman can be daunting rather than freeing. Laura Eldridge provides an eye-opening history of the issues women's health advocates have fought for, and assesses where we stand today.”

“Combining medical evidence, personal stories, and historical details, Eldridge has produced a wonderfully engaging and accessible book that will help women navigate today's contraceptive maze.”

blog — January 20

Roe v. Wade at 50: Download a free copy of The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America

“The overturning of Roe is the perfect time for every supporter of abortion rights to examine their own commitment to the cause and to discover how they, too, can meet this moment. … Thinking local will be key in a post-Roe environment in which more than ever access to abortion is determined by one’s geography.”

—Robin Marty, author of Handbook for a Post-Roe America, for New York Times Opinion

get the healthcare you need — by any means necessary


January 22, 2023 marks fifty years since the passage of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade (1973), and seven months since it was unceremoniously overturned by our current Supreme Court justices. In the months since the Court declared that the federal government cannot mandate states to allow pregnant people to end their pregnancies, we have grappled with the consequences of this decision, strengthening existing abortion networks and funds and establishing new ones to help serve the now-significant portion of the US population that doesn’t have direct access to abortion.

In a recent interview with Truthout, Handbook for a Post-Roe America author Robin Marty stressed the importance of sharing information about self-managed abortion whenever possible. Marty says, “Technology is the biggest way of pushing it: websites, emails, Twitter, all of these electronic disseminations.” However, these methods of accessing information are not available to everyone, particularly those without reliable internet access or those who fear reprisal should a family member or partner gain access to their search history. “We need to make this easy,” Marty said. “There’s an easy way for people to be able to access medication. There’s an easy way for people to be able to perform their own abortions. This is not difficult. And the fact that the government is blocking them from it, that is cruelty. It’s nothing short of cruelty.”

That’s why we’re making DRM-free (easily shareable) copies of The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America available to download for free from our website through Monday, January 23rd. Download a copy for yourself or send it to a friend, family member, or anyone else who might one day need to terminate a pregnancy.

The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America is a comprehensive and user-friendly manual for understanding and navigating recent cataclysmic changes to reproductive rights law, to help you get the health care you need — by any means necessary. Activist and writer Robin Marty guides readers through a post-Roe America, offers waying to fight back, including: how to acquire financial support, how to use existing networks and create new ones, and how to, when required, work outside existing legal systems. She details how to plan for your own emergencies, how to start organizing, what to know about self-managed abortion care with pills and/or herbs, and how to avoid surveillance. The only guidebook of its kind, The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America includes new chapters that cover the needs and tools available for pregnant people across the country.

This second edition features extensively updated information on abortion legality and access in the United States, and approximately one hundred pages of new content, covering such topics as independent alternatives to Planned Parenthood, "auntie networks," taxpayer-funded abortions, and using social media wisely in the age of surveillance.

RECOMMENDED READING

WINNER OF THE 2022 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE 

Now a major motion picture directed by Audrey Diwan

Translated by Tanya Leslie

In 1963, Annie Ernaux, 23 and unattached, realizes she is pregnant. Shame arises in her like a plague: Understanding that her pregnancy will mark her and her family as social failures, she knows she cannot keep that child.

This is the story, written forty years later, of a trauma Ernaux never overcame. In a France where abortion was illegal, she attempted, in vain, to self-administer the abortion with a knitting needle. Fearful and desperate, she finally located an abortionist, and ends up in a hospital emergency ward where she nearly dies.

In Happening, Ernaux sifts through her memories and her journal entries dating from those days. Clearly, cleanly, she gleans the meanings of her experience.

Inextricably connected to issues of autonomy, privacy, and sexuality, the abortion debate remains home base for the culture wars in America. Yet, there is more common ground than meets the eye in favor of choice. Sarah Erdreich’s Generation Roe delves into phenomena such as "abortion-recovery counseling," "crisis pregnancy centers," and the infamous anti-choice "black children are an endangered species" billboards. It tells the stories of those who risk their lives to pursue careers in this stigmatized field. And it outlines the outrageous legislative battles that are being waged against abortion rights all over the country. With an inspiring spirit and a forward-looking approach, Erdreich holds abortion up, unabashedly, as a moral and fundamental human right.  

Edited by Barbara Seaman and Laura Eldridge

Science journalist Barbara Seaman (1935-2008) spent the last forty years of her life on the front lines as a women's health advocate. Throughout her career, she was also a tireless supporter of other women's voices. Here she brings together an essential collection of essays, interviews, and commentary by leading activists, writers, doctors, and sociologists on topics ranging across reproductive rights, sex and orgasm, activism, motherhood and birth control. The more than two hundred contributors include Jennifer Baumgardner, Susan Brownmiller, Phyllis Chesler, Angela Davis, Barbara Ehrenreich, Germaine Greer, Shulamith Firestone, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Erica Jong, Molly Haskell, Shere Hite, Susie Orbach, Judith Rossner, Alix Kates Shulman, Gloria Steinem, Sojourner Truth, Rebecca Walker, Naomi Wolf, and many others.

LAURA ELDRIDGE is a women’s health writer and activist. She is the author of In Our Control: The Complete Guide to Contraceptive Choices for Women, the co-author of The No-Nonsense Guide to Menopause, and co-editor of Voices of the Women's Health Movement. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.