International Planned Parenthood Federation, Top 6 Books of 2011
Renowned for her practice's exemplary results and low intervention rates, Ina May Gaskin has gained international notoriety for promoting natural birth. She is a much-beloved leader of a movement that seeks to stop the hyper-medicalization of birth—which has lead to nearly a third of hospital births in America to be cesarean sections—and renew confidence in a woman's natural ability to birth.
Upbeat and informative, Gaskin asserts that the way in which women become mothers is a women's rights issue, and it is perhaps the act that most powerfully exhibits what it is to be instinctually human. Birth Matters is a spirited manifesta showing us how to trust women, value birth, and reconcile modern life with a process as old as our species.
A letter from Robin Marty, activist and author of The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America, on the occasion of the Texas Governor Greg Abbott's decision to sign TX Senate Bill 4, in which abortion is criminalized after 6 weeks:
According to a newly enacted Texas law, abortion is now essentially illegal in the state, and anyone who assists someone in getting one can be accused of “aiding and abetting.” Even worse, this law can be enforced by any random person claiming to know that this “crime” has occurred.
This is exactly the scenario we always feared: strangers deputized as an anti-abortion crime watch, creating a massive surveillance system to ensure every pregnant person gives birth to a live child — or goes to jail if they do not. Today, it’s Texas. Tomorrow it will be the next red state, and then the one after that.
Nothing has changed about the procedure or its safety — all that has changed is on August 31st, abortion was legal in Texas and today it is not. Does that seem like justice to you? If not, then grab a book and get ready to fight.
The end of Roe is coming. How will you prepare?
The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America is a comprehensive and user-friendly manual for understanding and preparing for the looming changes to reproductive rights law, and getting the health care you need — by any means necessary. Activist and writer Robin Marty guides readers through various worst-case scenarios of a post-Roe America, and offers ways 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 now, 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.
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.
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.
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.