Abortion and Public Opinion


Judith A. Baer

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Historical and Multicultural Encyclopedia of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States



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Westport, CT

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Reproductive rights refers to a range of claims concerning whether, when and how to have children. Beneath this clear statement lays the most contentious political, legal, and cultural issue in America today. Involving the self, the family, and the State, women's reproductive rights generates much impassioned argument but painfully little agreement. Topics and authors take on diverse and often clashing positions, highlighting this issue's complex and highly charged nature. Arranged alphabetically by topic, articles representing racial and ethnic groups' experiences figure prominently, as do the effects of age, class, education, health, religion, and sexual preference on childbearing and -rearing practices, in and out of wedlock. It also includes articles on laws, court cases, political attitudes, prominent activists, and technological advances as they relate to reproductive rights. Entries are written by highly regarded scholars, are cross-referenced, and conclude with suggested further readings.

Designed to introduce and inform the reader to this extremely difficult topic, Baer's ecumenical approach exposes us to a variety of opinions from support for current abortion policies to the building movement for fetal rights. Only reasoned opinions supported by hard evidence are included, and no attempt was made to mute the often incommensurable opinions expressed within. This book will be a valuable resources for students, scholars, and any person interested in learning about the multiplicity of perspectives on this important issue that is at the heart of our current culture wars.


American Politics | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Political Science | Women's Studies