Our Bodies, Our Crimes by Jeanne Flavin

partial image of a black woman in handcuffsOur Bodies, Our Crimes: the Policing of Women’s Reproduction in America by Jeanne Flavin (2008)

To start with, read this Op-Ed the author wrote and is the text in GoodReads (click above link)

The Real Issue behind the Abortion DebateAn op-ed by Jeanne Flavin in the “San Francisco Chronicle”

2009 “Choice” Outstanding Academic Title

The intense policing of women s reproductive capacity places women’s health and human rights in great peril. Poor women are pressured to undergo sterilization. Women addicted to illicit drugs risk arrest for carrying their pregnancies to term. Courts, child welfare, and law enforcement agencies fail to recognize the efforts of battered and incarcerated women to care for their children. Pregnant inmates are subject to inhumane practices such as shackling during labor and poor prenatal care. And decades after “Roe,” the criminalization of certain procedures and regulation of abortion providers still obstruct women s access to safe and private abortions.

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Constitutional Myths by Ray Raphael

drawing of George Washington book coverConstitutional Myths:What We Get Wrong and How to get it Right (2013)

Update: this book is now on my BUY list. The content is superb. The author has also written several other books in this area of American History that I will get from the library soon.

In the preface, the author describes how the  Constitution, once revered as a uniting force, has now become divisive along ideological lines. “People see in our governing document only what they wish to see. It is not a unifying force, as its authors had intended, but a wedge that widens the partisan divide.” A little bit later he makes the point that history cannot “be understood by treating the past as if it were the present. Much has happened since the founders’ time: national expansion on a shrinking planet, nuclear and biological warfare, Internet and broadcast technologies, and so on — more than two centuries of subsequent history. He gives a rather amusing anecdote to illustrate the changes.

Compare then and now. On October 15, 1789, President Washington set out from New York with only two aides and six servants to tour New England. In his diary, he chronicled the first day of the journey:

‘The road for the greater part, indeed the whole way, was very rough and stoney [sic], but the land strong, well covered with grass and a luxuriant crop of Indian corn intermixed with popions [pumpkins] which were ungathered in the fields. We met four droves of beef cattle for the New York market (about 30 in a drove) some of which were very fine — also a flock of sheep for the same place. We scarcely passes a farm house that did not abd. in geese.’

Washington was traveling through what is now THE BRONX, traversed by interstate highways and expressways, not stony roads, and home to some 1.4 million people packed tightly within apartments. If the country Washington observed was very different back then, so too was the manner in which he observed it, close up and literally on the ground, experiencing every stone in the road. He could meet his constituency directly, without intervention from an advance team, a press corps , or a small army of secret service agents.  (p. xi, emphasis mine as anyone who has ever been to the Bronx will agree)

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Sisters in Law by Linda Hirshman

sisters in lawSisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World (2015)

O’Connor discussion
I have been hostile to Sandra Day O’Connor ever since I read that it was her language that gave the states the ability to regulate abortion as long as it was not an “undue burden” to pregnant women. And today’s hundreds of abortion restrictions stem from this language. But I thought it was just me that hated her for being a republican first and a woman second.  I thought she was always hailed for making choice the law of the land, but in fact it would seem that she was not progressive on the issue either.

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