Sara MatthiesenFeb 16, 2022
Family Making and the Limits of Choice After Roe V. Wade
University of California Press 2021
We tend to associate Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that decriminalized abortion in 1973, with the choice not to have children. But Roe was equally transformative for Americans' understanding of family--having and raising children also came to be thought of as a choice. In Reproduction Reconceived: Family Making and the Limits of Choice after Roe v. Wade (University of California Press, 2021), Sara Matthiesen highlights the distance between this idea of choice and worsening forms of inequality that have forced far too many to work harder simply to create and maintain a family. In this new and timely work, Matthiesen shows how the effects of incarceration, for-profit and racist healthcare, disease, and poverty have been worsened by state neglect. At its core, Reproduction Reconceived is an urgent historical account: of the myriad labors that families have been made to perform simply to survive, and of the inevitable costs that pile up when family making is seen as a private responsibility rather than a public good.
Dr. Nicole Bourbonnais is an Associate Professor of International History and Politics and Co-Director of the Gender Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Her research explores reproductive politics and practice from a transnational historical perspective. More info here. Twitter: @iheid_history and @GC_IHEID