"The issues she takes on are crucial—not solely the subject areas of reproductive rights and law, or public policy lenses and judicial impact in women's and children's lives, but also the more difficult and fundamental questions of how these 'hot topics' can be approached so as to make the most of the good will of all and the force of free discussion for social learning. . . . she brings a strong, evolving and distinctive perspective to the discussion." —Emily Fowler Hartigan
In Abortion and Dialogue, Ruth Colker argues that the state falsely views the woman and the fetus as having conflicting needs when it intervenes in decisions regarding preganancies. Colker's feminist-theological perspective on reproductive health issues encourages both pro-choice and pro-life advocates to consider how the value of life is implicated in discussions of reproduction.
Colker argues that theology can contribute to our understanding if we apply the concepts of love, compassion, and wisdom to problems identified by feminist theory and to actual concrete situations: the impact of abortion regulations on poor female adolescents; the judicial treatment of abortion regulations; state intervention into women's decision-making during pregnancies carried to term. Colker concludes by examining effective and respectful family-planning strategies that truly help women in making reproductive choices.
INTRODUCTION: ABORTION ADN DIALOGUE
PART ONE FEMINISM AND THEOLOGY
CHAPTER ONE Aspirations: An Authentic Self Embedded in Love, Compassion, and Wisdom
CHAPTER TWO The Critique: The Problems of Consciousness and Sexual Objectification
PART TWO WOMENS' VOICE
CHAPTER THREE Testimonials
CHAPTER FOUR Empirical Data
CHAPTER FIVE An Equality Perspective: Anti-Subordination Above ALl
CHAPTER SIX Roe v. Wade
CHAPTER SEVEN Webster v. Reproductive Health
Services: Where's the Feminist Argument?
CHAPTER EIGHT MATERNITY CASES
AFTERWORD TOWARD CHOICE AND LIFE
TABLE OF CASES
This is feminist scholarship at its best: interdisciplinary, passionate, personal, and political. This book is more original than its title suggests. Although other works, e.g., Laurence Tribe's Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes (CH, Dec'90), Faye Ginsberg's Contested Lives: The Abortion Debate in an American Community (1989), Mary Ann Glendon's Abortion and Divorce in Western Law (CH, Feb'88), and Rights Talk (1991), have noted how the absolutism of the abortion debate thwarts the discovery of common ground, none have so sensitively appreciated the concerns of both sides and so eloquently suggested an alternative theory as Colker (Tulane Univ.). She crafts a feminist—theological perspective based on the conception of an authentic self that moves toward the aspirations of love, compassion, and wisdom. When these aspirations are applied to abortion politics, problems within both movements are revealed. How can pro—choicers be so disrepectful of concerns for life? How can pro—lifers ignore the realities of women's lives? Colker then shows a way out of the thicket by utilizing an equality framework guided by the three aspirations. Both controversial and inspiring, this volume is highly recommended for all libraries. —S. BehuniaFebruary 1993~Long, Le Moyne College