A curated booklist by your favorite SPL librarians!
|Abortion and the Law in America: Roe V. Wade to the Present by Mary Ziegler
A comprehensive history of abortion law in America, Zeigler examines the intricacies of both the pro-life and pro-choice arguments, including interviews with lawyers and activists from each side of the issue. Zeigler poses that “anti-abortion forces have proven to be more flexible tacticians than their opponents,” whereas pro-choice activists have made greater strides when joining forces with grassroot organizations like the National Black Women’s Health Project (Choice Review, 2020). Recommended for those interested in reproductive law through an academic lens.
|Comics for Choice: Illustrated Abortion Stories, History, and Politics edited by Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor, and Ø.K. Fox
With contributions from over 60 artists and writers, including lawyers, activists, historians, and medical workers, this award-winning graphic novel offers an anthology of comics about abortion, from history and politics, to policies and personal experiences. The black and white art of the various cartoonists, like Leah Hayes (Not Funny Ha-Ha), Anna Bongiovanni (Grease Bats), and Jennifer Camper (Rude Girls and Dangerous Women), brings these powerful messages to life with poignance and nuance. Publisher’s Weekly writes, “The book is at once a rallying cry, a tender lament, and song of liberation that will resonate long after the final page is turned.”
|Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now to Save Reproductive Freedom by Kathryn Kolbert and Julie F. Kay
The intersection of gender, sex, race, and power in reproductive healthcare; five decades of abortion litigation in America; censorship in sex education for teens; attacks on women’s healthcare clinics; and changes in the Supreme Court which directly impact reproductive rights, are all discussed in detail, alongside how reproductive healthcare is handled much differently “across the pond” in this relevant title aimed to help readers grasp the complexities of abortion access in America, and better strategize for the future of reproductive health, starting now.
|Everything Below the Waist: Why Healthcare Needs a Feminist Revolution by Jennifer Block
American women visit more doctors, have more surgeries, and fill more prescriptions than men, yet author Jennifer Block finds herself asking, “Why is the life expectancy of women today declining relative to women in other high-income countries, and even relative to the generation before them?” (Publisher). Tackling women’s healthcare in the US, Block offers a historical, scientific, and anecdotal analysis of how, despite the best efforts of the feminist movement, women’s healthcare has been shockingly resistant to progress. The Washington Post calls Everything Below the Waist "a must-read for women, especially any woman who might ever need to see a doctor."
|Graphic Reproduction: A Comics Anthology edited by Jenell John
With work from the likes of Carol Tyler, Alison Bechdel, and Joyce Farmer, this graphic novel offers a diverse collection of personal tales surrounding sexual reproduction, from conception, to miscarriage, stillbirth, and childbirth. Showcasing many voices from the growing genre of graphic medicine, this important work delves into the intersection of reproduction and sociocultural issues beyond “normative” childbearing in the twenty-first century. The artwork ranges from line-drawings to more colorful, realistic illustrations.
|Jane Against the World: Roe V. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal
Geared toward young adults, this award-winning history on the battle of reproductive justice in America aims to shed light on a topic that is seldom discussed with young people in educational settings, yet impacts them nonetheless. More than a history of abortion, this work also details the complexities surrounding birth control, sterilization, and sexual education in the US, and the coming uncertainty for the future of reproductive healthcare. Contents include a glossary of legal and medical terms, timeline, and information about significant Supreme Court cases.
|The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America: The Complete Guide to Abortion Legality, Access, and Practical Support by Robin Marty
Intended as a “comprehensive and user-friendly manual for understanding and preparing for the looming changes to reproductive rights law,” the New Handbook for a Post-Row America, by activist and writer Robin Marty, details topics like “how to plan for your own emergencies, how to start organizing now, what to know about self-managed abortion care with pills and/or herbs, and how to avoid surveillance” (Publisher). The new edition of this one-of-a-kind guidebook features extra content with useful tools and resources for pregnant individuals.
|Take My Hand by Dolan Perkins-Valdez
Based on a true story, Take My Hand follows whistle-blowing Black nurse-turned doctor, Civil Townsend, who draws attention to wrongdoings against her patients in post-segregation Alabama. As a young nurse, Civil is aggrieved to discover she’s been tasked with placing poor, Black girls on birth control because their family receives welfare benefits. Thus, a seed is planted in Civil as she furthers her education, to advocate for bodily autonomy for women. Yet upon retiring, Dr. Townsend still feels unsettled, and refuses to lay to rest the haunting stories from her life’s work.
|This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund
In this riveting memoir, Dr. Susan Wicklund discusses her first-hand experiences with abortion, from the challenges of her own abortion at a young age, to her often intense and emotional role providing reproductive healthcare to women for twenty years. Dr. Wicklund details her passion for her work, something she considers a calling, as she comes to the aid of women who often feel at their most vulnerable. She also speaks candidly about the dangers of her profession from pro-life extremists, and admits to wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying a revolver for her own safety. This Common Secret offers a compassionate lens on the intricacies surrounding reproductive healthcare, and gives voice to the human side of reproductive justice.
|The Abortion Divide
This 2019 Frontline documentary highlights the lives of women struggling with the realities of unplanned pregnancy. Filming from an abortion clinic in Pennsylvania, the filmmakers juxtapose women seeking abortion care against those protesting outside the clinic, as they examine both sides of the abortion debate and how each side has evolved through the years.
|Abortion: Stories Women Tell directed by Tracy Droz Tragos
Filmed by award-winning director Tracy Droz Tragos, this 2017 HBO documentary cuts to the heart and soul of the abortion debate in America by focusing not on opposing arguments, but rather on women with lived experiences in reproductive healthcare. Zooming in on the sole remaining abortion clinic in her home state of Missouri, Tragos presents the stories of women seeking treatment, medical providers at the clinic, and the activists fighting on both sides of the divide, candidly sharing their stories on this timely issue. This video is provided for streaming by the library through Kanopy.