Abortion: A Documentary and Reference Guide
This thought-provoking reference work explores the evolution of America's heated abortion debate in a selection of over 40 primary documents from the 19th century to the present day. The guide includes not only key laws and court cases that have determined abortion policy, but also political speeches, medical essays, theological writings, newspaper advertisements, magazine articles, and popular books that offer insight into America's changing attitudes towards women, race, the medical field, and the role of government in its citizens' personal lives. Each document is preceded by an introduction and is followed by analysis to help readers understand its significance and historical context.
Today abortion is America's most contentious political and religious rallying point. Yet 150 years ago it was a virtual non-issue, quietly performed for centuries by women and mid-wives. What changed? This thought-provoking reference work explores the evolution of America's abortion debate in a balanced selection of over 40 primary documents by doctors, feminists, religious leaders, politicians, extremists, and judges from the 19th century to the present day. This guide not only examines the key laws and court cases, like Roe v. Wade and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, that have determined abortion policy, but offers insight into America's changing attitudes towards women, race, the medical field, and the role of government in its citizens' personal lives. Memoirs of early abortion providers, excerpts from popular women's self-help books, the complete text of Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, and personal writings from key liberal and conservative figures on both sides of the debate provide a more complete picture of an issue that is deeply personal, deeply divisive, and anything but clear-cut. A straightforward and accessible book, ideal for both students and general readers looking to expand their understanding of one of the most complicated, and still unresolved, issues of our day.
Each excerpt is preceded by a brief explanation of its significance and followed by author analysis to help readers understand its implications and the historical context in which is it was written. Readers gain direct access to America's most important legal papers and transcripts on abortion, complimented by a well rounded view of the public beliefs and sentiments that have fueled abortion debates. Suggestions for further reading conclude each chapter, perfect for research or to guide interested readers in their search for material. The front matter includes a Timeline of major events in abortion history, and the back matter, offers a Bibliography of 50 titles on abortion and over 30 Web links.