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 ...
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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Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-30 Feminists need a paradigm shift, argues Solinger (Wake Up Little Susie;, The Abortionist), away from the post-Roe v. Wade concept of "choice" and back to the '60s concept of "rights," based on the approach of the civil rights movement, which argued that all citizens were entitled to vote, for instance, regardless of class status. "Choice" evokes a marketplace model of consumer freedom, she explains, while rights are privileges to which one is justly and irrevocably entitled as a human being. The shift from the language of rights to that of choice was deliberate, aimed at reducing the federal welfare tab and increasing the pool of adoptable children, which began to diminish after the early 1970s, Solinger argues. Once the pill and legal abortion were available, poor women could be considered "bad choice-makers" if they kept having babies they couldn't afford hardly the government's responsibility. (Never mind, Solinger observes, that many poor women can't afford either option and might want children, just as middle-class women do.) Is this progress? No, Solinger writes: "women with inadequate resources... must... have the right to determine for themselves whether or not to be mothers." With its crisp, jargon-free prose and copious footnotes, Solinger's reexamination of those twin bogeys the Back Alley Butcher and the Welfare Queen is a provocative read for any modern feminist. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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