History (U.S.), 464 pages
Publisher: University of Illinois Press, March 12, 2007
The only book to cover the entire history of birth control and the intense controversies about reproduction rights that have raged in the United States for more than 150 years, The Moral Property of Women is a thoroughly updated and revised version of the award-winning historian Linda Gordon’s classic history Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right, originally published in 1976. Arguing that reproduction control has always been central to women’s status, The Moral Property of Women shows how opposition to it has long been part of the conservative opposition to gender equality. From its roots in folk medicine and in a campaign so broad it constituted a grassroots social movement at some points in history, to its legitimization through public policy, the widespread acceptance of birth control has involved a major reorientation of sexual values.
Gordon puts today’s reproduction control controversies–foreign aid for family planning, the abortion debates, teenage pregnancy and childbearing, stem-cell research–into historical perspective and shows how the campaign to legalize abortion is part of a 150-year-old struggle over reproductive rights.