Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States

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Macmillan, 2001 - Social Science - 290 pages
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In the late 1960s and early 1970s, advocates of legal abortion mostly used the term "rights "when describing their agenda. But after "Roe v. Wade, "their determination to develop a respectable, nonconfrontational movement encouraged many of them to use the word "choice--"an easier concept for people weary of various rights movements. At first the distinction in language didn't seem to make much difference-the law seemed to guarantee both. But in the years since, the change has become enormously important.
In "Beggars and Choosers, "Solinger shows how historical distinctions between women of color and white women, between poor and middle-class women, were used in new ways during the era of "choice." Politicians and policy makers began to exclude certain women from the class of "deserving mothers" by using the language of choice to create new public policies concerning everything from Medicaid funding for abortions to family tax credits, infertility treatments, international adoption, teen pregnancy, and welfare. Solinger argues that the class-and-race-inflected guarantee of "choice" is a shaky foundation on which to build our notions of reproductive freedom. Her impassioned argument is for reproductive rights as human rights--as a basis for full citizenship status for women.

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User Review  - greeniezona - LibraryThing

I can't even begin to tell you how startling I found this book. The number of topics to which I had devoted little or no thought previously. How well she documented and expressed opinions that I did ... Read full review

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User Review  - Angelic55blonde - LibraryThing

This is a great prochoice book that anyone who calls themselves prochoice should read. It focuses on the politics of both adoption and abortion and it's an easy read. Highly recommend it! Read full review


1 Choice Is a Moving Target
2 Justifying Choice The Back Alley Butcher as Spectral Icon
3 Claiming Rights in the Era of Choice Part I Awakenings
4 Claiming Rights in the Era of Choice Part II Concerned United Birthparents
5 Constraining Choice Welfare Queens as Illegitimate Consumers
6 Motherhood as Class Privilege in America A Public Policy Project

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About the author (2001)

Rickie Solinger is an independent historian who lives in the Hudson Valley. Her books include "Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race Before Roe v. Wade", "The Abortionist: A Woman Against the Law", and "Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States".

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