A provocative salvo in the abortion wars.
Activist pro-lifers aren’t just out to end abortion, charges Page, director of NARAL Pro-Choice New York’s Institute for Reproductive Health Access; they aim even to ban contraception, roll back the sexual revolution and force women to stay in the kitchen. The author pointedly questions why anti-abortion advocates, who presumably would do anything to prevent unwanted pregnancies, oppose sex education in schools. Using rankings produced by the Children’s Defense Fund, Page argues that pro-life congressmen consistently vote against children’s interests on matters like gun control and education. The Bush administration is, unsurprisingly, a major villain here, due to such incidents as the FDA’s refusal to grant over-the-counter status to emergency contraception—the result of pressure exerted by ill-qualified, ideologically zealous appointees, the author contends. Page, who believes Roe v. Wade may soon be overturned, concludes with chilling accounts of the desperate measures pregnant teenagers resort to when they can’t get an abortion without parental consent. One 17-year-old persuaded her boyfriend to jump on her stomach until she miscarried; under the state’s unborn victims of violence act, he was sentenced to life in prison. (The couple lived in Texas.) Occasionally, Page’s charges are flat-out wrong. She repeatedly insists that pro-lifers believe that “the only acceptable reason for sex is procreation.” Unlikely to persuade any dyed-in-the-wool pro-lifers, these arguments may well inspire fence-sitters or people with pro-choice leanings. (Such readers may wish the author had included an appendix listing ways to get involved in the pro-choice cause.)
Stirring, if a little predictable.