Saturday, December 27, 2008
Jeanne Flavin on the Policing of Reproduction in the United States
Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women's Bodies in America (NYU Press), by Jeanne Flavin (Sociology, Fordham Univ.):
Panicked teenagers are prosecuted for abandoning or killing their newborns, but are not guaranteed comprehensive sexuality education or reproductive health services. Poor women are pressured not to procreate and urged to undergo sterilization. Women who are addicted to illicit drugs risk arrest for carrying their pregnancies to term. And more than 30 years after Roe, women still face barriers to obtaining a safe and affordable abortion including clinic violence and attempts to criminalize medically necessary procedures.
In Our Bodies, Our Crimes, Jeanne Flavin argues that, not only has the states control of womens bodies become more intrusive and more pervasive, it has also become invisible and taken for granted. This important work is framed around several vivid case studies, each taking place at a different time in the reproductive cycle. Through these disturbing examples, Flavin describes how the criminal justice system regulates women and their reproductive behavior from conception to childrearing.