Historical and Multicultural Encyclopedia of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States

Historical and Multicultural Encyclopedia of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States

Historical and Multicultural Encyclopedia of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States

Historical and Multicultural Encyclopedia of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States

Synopsis

"Reproductive rights" refers to a range of claims concerning whether, when and how to have children. Beneath this clear statement lays the most contentious political, legal, and cultural issue in America today. Involving the self, the family, and the State, women's reproductive rights generates much impassioned argument but painfully little agreement. Topics and authors take on diverse and often clashing positions, highlighting this issue's complex and highly charged nature. Arranged alphabetically by topic, articles representing racial and ethnic groups' experiences figure prominently, as do the effects of age, class, education, health, religion, and sexual preference on childbearing and -rearing practices, in and out of wedlock. It also includes articles on laws, court cases, political attitudes, prominent activists, and technological advances as they relate to reproductive rights. Entries are written by highly regarded scholars, are cross-referenced, and conclude with suggested further readings.

Excerpt

This one-volume reference work introduces the reader to the subject of reproductive rights through a collection of short articles. It has been planned to be as comprehensive and inclusive as possible. As the title implies, the approach is historical and multicultural. The articles extend both backward and forward in time, attempting to provide insights into both what has changed and what has stayed the same. The article topics—and the authors—were chosen with an eye toward representing American culture in its diversity and complexity, not only with respect to racial and ethnic groups but also in age, class, education, health, religion, sexual preference, and viewpoint. The approach is interdisciplinary as well as historical and multicultural. The encyclopedia includes articles on laws, court cases, political attitudes, prominent activists, and technological advances, and on subjects like race, class, disability, and sexual preference as they relate to reproductive rights.

I have designed this encyclopedia with two purposes in mind. First, I wanted it to do what good, specialized encyclopedias do: provide brief introductions to selected topics and references to guide further inquiry. Second, I wanted articles that would engage and provoke readers. I have worked hard to ensure that this encyclopedia includes opinions other than mine. After I had selected topics on which to solicit articles, I also put announcements on several e-mail listserves, asking readers to suggest other topics. I invited articles from both scholars and activists, and encouraged the authors to incorporate reasoned opinions, supported by evidence, into their articles. Viewpoint was welcome; bias was not. One result of my efforts to include multiple viewpoints is the presence of considerable overlap and repetition in this volume. For example, at least 12 articles deal, directly

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