Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty

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Pantheon Books, 1997 - Social Science - 373 pages
5 Reviews
In "Killing the Black Body," Dorothy Roberts gives a powerful and authoritative account of the on-going assault - both figurative and literal - waged by the American government and our society on the reproductive rights of Black women. From an intersection of charged vectors (race, gender, motherhood, abortion, welfare, adoption, and the law), Roberts addresses in her impassioned book such issues as: the notion of prenatal property imposed upon slave women by white masters; the unsavory association between birth control champion Margaret Sanger and the eugenics movement of the 1920s; the coercive sterilization of Black women (many of whom were unaware that they had undergone the procedure) under government welfare programs as late as the 1970s; the race and class implications of distributing risky, long-acting contraceptives, such as Norplant, through Medicaid; the rendering of reproduction as a crime of prosecuting women who expose their fetuses to drugs; the controversy over transracial adoption; the welfare debate (who should pay for reproduction?); and the promotion of the new birth technology (in vitro fertilization and egg donation) to serve infertile white couples.

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User Review  - Rosa.Mill - LibraryThing

This was the first book picked for the Reproductive Justice Book Club a friend of mine started. This is very different then anything I would normally read but I want to give the author lots of credit ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - booksofcolor - LibraryThing

Although it's not quite as brilliant as Yxta Maya Murray's Conquest in the scope of synthesis, it's still a very good and indicting piece of work on reproductive freedom and black women, with references to the same pushes for sterilization via uninformed drug trials and etc. Read full review


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About the author (1997)

Dorothy Roberts was a poet of exile. Born in Canada of a family already distinguished in the arts, she lived most of her adult life in the eastern United States. Yet, her poetry remained firmly rooted in Canada and in the landscape of the North.

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