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Our Bodies, Our Crimes


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A battle cry for all women in their fight to be fully recognized as human beings.

Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I Beginning 1 "Race Criminals": Reproductive Rights in America Part II Begetting 2 "Breeders": The Right to Procreate 3 "Back-Alley Butchers": Terminating Pregnancies 4 "Baby-Killers": Neonaticide and Infant Abandonment Part III Bearing 5 "Innocent Preborn Victims": Fetal Protectionism and Pregnant Women 6 "Liars and Whiners": Incarcerated Women's Right to Reproductive HealthPart IV Mothering 7 "Bad Mothers": Incarcerated Women's Ties to Their Children 8 "Asking for It": Battered Women and Child Custody Conclusion: Being Notes Bibliography Acknowledgments Index About the Author

About the Author

Jeanne Flavin is Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Fordham University and co-editor of Race, Gender, and Punishment: From Colonialism to the War on Terror. She is also a member of the board of directors for National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), a non-profit organization which protects the civil rights of women. Proceeds from this book will be shared with NAPW.


"Bolstered by quotes and firsthand accounts, Flavin delivers eye-opening reports on topics including abortion rights, infant abandonment and battered women, detailing little-noticed or taken-for-granted policies that restrict and remand women. Written in a flowing academic style, Flavin's attention to historical detail and unfailing moral compass make her progressive re-examination of women's rights thorough and convincing." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) "In Our Bodies, Our Crimes, Flavin traces the life-and-death power that the little-examined patriarchal assumptions informing our common life can have--especially among poor, non-white women. Flavin ... supplies a sobering primer on the laws and social constraints that keep women from fully controlling their bodies. The case studies she surveys in Our Bodies, Our Crimes make it painfully clear that the freedom to decide how and when to reproduce is, for a huge swath of American women, just as important as the much more fervidly discussed question of how and when women can choose not to reproduce." Bookforum "Highly recommended." Choice "Our Bodies, Our Crimes is a beautifully written and well researched book that makes an original and important contribution to the emerging social science literature on reproductive politics. I strongly recommend it." Carole Joffe, author of Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion before and after Roe v Wade "Our Bodies, Our Crimes is one of the most compelling books I've read in recent years. Flavin's writing is exquisite and her documentation is careful and thorough. Whether informing the reader about reproductive freedom, battered women, or incarcerated women, she does so even-handedly and ably captures the complexities and depravities that real women and girls encounter every day in this country. Flavin draws on high profile cases, unknown cases, laws, policies, history, criminology research and much more to explain how her cases are decided by race, gender, class, and sexuality. Her book will help students, legal professionals, gender and legal scholars, and lay people to understand the common themes and threads of violence against women and girls and the sexism, racism, and classism in labelling girls and women deviant and criminals." Joanne Belknap, author of The Invisible Woman: Gender, Crime, and Justice "Illuminates the dark corners of a public polity that holds pregnant women accountable for all aspects and outcomes of their reproduction without offering the compassion, education, or control necessary to produce happy endings - or beginnings." Jennifer Reich, author of Fixing Families: Parents, Power, and the Child Welfare System

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