Birth or Abortion
Private Struggles in a Political World
The complexity and rich nuances of the stories in Birth or Abortion? permit us to see this public controversy with new eyes. These stories, woven together, are our nation's story — one that has never been told by the long and angry debate. Once we learn to hear these women, we may also learn to listen to each other.
In a sensitive and generally balanced attempt to "keep the human faces of a profound moral dilemma plainly in view," Maloy, a freelance writer, and Patterson, a journalism professor at Duquesne University, profile 50 women as each chooses either to continue or to terminate a pregnancy. The participants have variously confronted abortion between the 1950s and the late 1980s; coming from a wide range of economic, cultural and racial backgrounds, the subjects also address a variety of challenges, from genetic threats to financial burdens. From their reporting, the authors conclude that specific practical and emotional considerations determine a woman's choice. They note that while deciding whether or not to abort, the women they profiled rarely used the highly charged moral and political language used in public debate, and suggest that abortion-rights advocates and right-to-life defenders must seek common ground. The thesis of the book--that abortion is right for some and wrong for others, and that only the involved parties can arrive at the best decision--represents a pro-choice position.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Abortion is as hard to talk about sensibly as to deal with politically. Kate Maloy and Maggie Patterson have helped us all. By letting us hear people on both sides tell their own stories, they move the debate beyond rhetoric and abstractions. By their scrupulous effort to listen to all sides, they also move us along politically, pointing us in a promising direction. A stimulating, provocative, thoughtful book." (Daniel Callahan, Director, The Hastings Center; author of What Kind of Life: The Limits of Medical Progress. Sidney Callahan, Psychologist; author of In Good Conscience: Reason and Emotion in Moral Decision Making.)
"The stories collected in this sensitive book take readers inside the intimate lives of their friends and neighbors, revealing the emotional and the ethical complexity of reproductive decision making. After reading this book, one better understands why abortion is truly the right choice for some women and the wrong choice for others." (Anita Allen-Castellito, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center; author of Uneasy Access: Privacy for Women in Free Society.)