Beggars and Choosers

How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States

Rickie Solinger

Hill and Wang

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An impassioned argument for reproductive rights

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, advocates of legal abortion mostly used the term rights when describing their agenda. But after Roe v. Wade, their determination to develop a respectable, nonconfrontational movement encouraged many of them to use the word choice--an easier concept for people weary of various rights movements. At first the distinction in language didn't seem to make much difference-the law seemed to guarantee both. But in the years since, the change has become enormously important.

In Beggars and Choosers, Solinger shows how historical distinctions between women of color and white women, between poor and middle-class women, were used in new ways during the era of "choice." Politicians and policy makers began to exclude certain women from the class of "deserving mothers" by using the language of choice to create new public policies concerning everything from Medicaid funding for abortions to family tax credits, infertility treatments, international adoption, teen pregnancy, and welfare. Solinger argues that the class-and-race-inflected guarantee of "choice" is a shaky foundation on which to build our notions of reproductive freedom. Her impassioned argument is for reproductive rights as human rights--as a basis for full citizenship status for women.

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Beggars and Choosers
1CHOICE IS A MOVING TARGETAlthough we strongly believe in the private and responsible nature of our own choices to have children, we simply do not see the choices of women in poverty in the same way.--Thomas Ross, Just Stories1 
 
 
January 22, 1973, was a remarkable day in United States history. That afternoon Lyndon Baines Johnson died. At nearly the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court announced one of its most ambitious decisions ever, Roe v. Wade. On the evening news, the former president's death eclipsed the announcement that abortion was now legal

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Reviews

Praise for Beggars and Choosers

"Solinger sheds light on several important disparities . . . Solinger is on to something." --Eyal Press, The New York Times Book Review

"With its crisp, jargon-free prose and copious footnotes, Solinger's reexamination [is] a provacative read for any modern feminist." --Publishers Weekly

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About the Author

Rickie Solinger

Rickie Solinger, a historian and writer, is the author of three other books about reproductive rights: Wake Up Little Susie, Abortion Wars, and The Abortionist. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Rickie Solinger

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Available Formats and Book Details

Beggars and Choosers
How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States
Rickie Solinger

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hill and Wang
September 2002
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780809028603
ISBN10: 0809028603
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 304 pages, Includes Notes, a Bibliography, and an Index
$22.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hill and Wang
September 2002
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466807525
ISBN10: 1466807520
304 pages, Notes, Bibliography, Index
$7.99
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