Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights
Feiwel & Friends, February 2016
books for young people
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Imagine that you’re sixteen years old and still in school.

Now imagine that you have just discovered that you’re pregnant.

What are you going to do?

From the 1870s until well into the twentieth century, buying birth control was illegal in the United States. And until the early 1970s, abortion was illegal in most states as well.

Desperate women sought illegal abortions from anyone who offered them or dangerously tried to end their pregnancies themselves. Tens of thousands of women were injured or maimed, and thousands died.

Women’s rights advocates, doctors, lawyers, and ordinary people fought religious and cultural traditions and often put their own reputations and freedom on the line to change the laws.

Ultimately, the decision came down to the nine men on the United States Supreme Court. On January 22, 1973, the court’s ruling in the case Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in every state.

Jane Against the World takes readers on an emotional and riveting journey through the intense fight for reproductive rights and one of the most controversial and divisive rulings in U.S. history—one that continues to reverberate today.

This eye-opening book is the perfect tool to facilitate difficult discussions and awareness of a topic that is rarely touched on in school but affects each and every young person.

This journalistic look at the history of abortion and the landmark case of Roe v. Wade is a necessary book.

reviews
“Though it doesn't seem like a radical thought, a woman's right to decide what happens to her own body, her pregnancy, and her reproductive organs has been a centuries-long debate in the U.S. In her latest work of nonfiction for young adults, Sibert-nominated Blumenthal (Six Days in October, 2002) plunges headfirst into the murky waters surrounded by not just the complex history of the Roe v. Wade landmark case, but of the century in American history that led to the ruling. In measured but powerful chapters, she lays out the facts, diving into the restrictions — and shady medical practices — surrounding not only abortion but birth control, sterilization, and sexual education. In highlighting key figures, Blumenthal is clear to distinguish important work from darker histories—she doesn't leave out Margaret Sanger's association with the eugenics movement—offering a full picture of a complicated issue. She lingers, too, on the uneasy future of Roe v. Wade, once thought to be the final word on the subject. But what makes this book a cut above is her enduring recognition of the fact that reproductive rights restrictions have always been a way for people in power to further racist, classist agendas. Thoroughly sourced and accompanied by black-and-white photos and "Pregnant Pause" sidebars, this essential guide, which gives voices to vulnerable populations, demands to be heard.” —Booklist, starred review, Maggie Reagan

“In comprehensive detail, Blumenthal (Bonnie and Clyde) traces the complicated battle for reproductive rights in the U.S. from the late 1830s to today’s continued challenges. The centerpiece of the book is a scene-by-scene exposition of both hearings by the Supreme Court of the landmark Roe v. Wade case, in which Blumenthal sensitively illuminates the Supreme Court Justices’ struggles with the moral, medical, and legal aspects of abortion. The author also brings to life key figures in many arenas, including women faced with unwanted pregnancies who agreed (sometimes anonymously) to enter the legal fray, as well as doctors, clergy, and lawyers who actively helped or hindered either side. Closing chapters, entitled “Pushback: 1992–2000” and “Restrictions 2000-2016,” and the epilogue note the many ways in which reproductive rights continue to be vigorously contested. Written in clear, accessible language, as lively as it is thorough, the book presents the issue as far more nuanced and complex than the often sharply divided “pro-choice” and “pro-life” stances it is often boiled down to. Extensive back matter includes a glossary, timeline, wide-ranging bibliography, and notes. Ages 12–up. ” —Publishers Weekly

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