The interplay of complex political, medical, and societal issues involved in reproductive rights is clearly explained and placed in its historical context.
Human reproduction and attempts to control it have been issues for society throughout history, culminating in the United States in contentious debates about abortion. Wittenstein places the issue in historical context beginning in the ancient world and highlighting particular periods of struggle for societal change, making clear how long abortion and birth control have been issues of contention. Major figures such as Alfred Comstock and Margaret Sanger are introduced, as well as some of the differences in approach that caused divisions in the cause in the early years of the 20th century. Ultimately, Wittenstein argues, the greatest influences continue to come from scientific advances that improve contraception even as the country remains divided about pregnancy termination. This slim volume is full of information on all aspects of the subject. Written in a clear, straightforward style, it manages to include pertinent information about the role of reproduction in U.S. slavery as well as current efforts to address the issue globally. Black-and-white and color photographs, drawings, charts, and sidebars add graphic interest. There is considerable backmatter: glossary, timeline, source notes, selected bibliography, recommendations for further information, index, and photo credits.
A valuable resource. (Nonfiction. 12-16)