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Rethinking abortion : equal choice, the Constitution, and reproductive politics / Mark A. Graber.

  • Graber, Mark A.
  • Books

About this work


Mark Graber looks at the history of abortion law in action to argue that the only defensible, constitutional approach to the issue is to afford all women equal choice - abortion should remain legal or bans should be strictly enforced. Steering away from metaphysical critiques of privacy, Graber compares the philosophical, constitutional, and democratic merits of the two systems of abortion regulation witnessed in the twentieth-century: pre-Roe v. Wade statutory prohibitions on abortion and Roe's ban on significant state interference with the market for safe abortion services. He demonstrates that before Roe, pro-life measures were selectively and erratically administered, thereby subverting our constitutional commitment to equal justice. Claiming that these measures would be similarly administered if reinstated, the author seeks to increase support for keeping abortion legal, even among those who have reservations about its morality.

Abortion should remain legal, Graber argues, because statutory bans on abortion have a history of being enforced in ways that intentionally discriminate against poor persons and persons of color. In the years before Roe, the same law enforcement officials who routinely ignored and sometimes assisted those physicians seeking to terminate pregnancies for their private patients too often prevented competent abortionists from offering the same services to the general public. This double standard violated the fundamental human and constitutional right of equal justice under law, a right that has powerful roots in the American political tradition and that remains a major concern of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, [1996]

Physical description

x, 244 pages ; 25 cm

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 209-236) and indexes.


Introduction: Sublime Theories, Ugly Facts -- Ch. I. The Clash of Absolutes Revisited -- Ch. II. Abortion Law in Action -- Ch. III. Equal Choice -- Ch. IV. Rule by Law -- Ch. V. Realizing Equal Choice -- Conclusion: The Allure of Pro-Life.


Copy 1. Donor: This item was originally held in the Women's Health Library. It was donated to Wellcome in 2016 by the Feminist Library, which acted as temporary custodian following the closure of Women's Health in 2006. The Women's Health Library archive, consisting of information files on a wide range of health issues, is held in the Wellcome Library (Reference: SA/WHL).
Copy 1. Former Women's Health Library shelfmark: T


  • English

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  • 0691011427
  • 9780691011424