I think everyone should read this. Roberts, also the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights, says she was driven to write the book after reading news articles in the late 1980s about black women who were arrested and jailed for using drugs while pregnant. Required reading for my pe What else is there to say? She has been a professor at Rutgers and Northwestern University, a visiting professor at Stanford and Fordham, and a fellow at Harvard University's Program in Ethics and the Professions, Stanford's Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and the Fulbright Program. Making Reproduction a Crime -- Ch. These women can be criminally prosecuted for child abuse or for supplying controlled substances to a minor via umbilical cords. The best part about this book, in my opinion, is that unlike many similar Sociological works, Roberts doesn't simply lay out the problem, she also provides a solution.
By using the history of how American law--beginning with slavery--has treated the issue of the state's right to interfere with the black woman's body, the author explosively and effectively makes the case for the legal redress to the racist implications of current policy with regards to 1 access to and coercive dispensing of birth control to poor black women 2 the criminalization of parenting by poor black women who have used drugs 3 the stigmatization and devaluation of poor black mothers under the new welfare provisions, and 4 the differential access to and disproportionate spending of social resources on the new reproductive technologies used by wealthy white couples to insure genetically related offspring. The author is able to combine the most innovative and radical thinking on several fronts--racial theory, feminist, and legal--to produce a work that is at once history and political treatise. Along with this biological impairment, it is believed that Black mothers transfer a deviant lifestyle to their children that dooms each succeeding generation to a life of poverty, delinquency, and despair. Reading about the extensive historical double standards for white and black women's reproduction is a total eye-opener, even for someone with a strong interest in reproductive health and social justice issues. It is limited by the liberal ideals of individual autonomy and freedom from government interference; it is primarily concerned with the interests of white, middle-class women; and it is focused on the right to abortion.
Thus it forced women into very specific categories: the ideal black woman does not reproduce but provides cheap labor, and the ideal white woman reproduces the next generation. Clearly racism plays a role in part of our political policies and this is a great book to cite as evidence for it. During the times of slavery, black women were forcefully impregnated both in order to maintain the institution of slavery and as an economic incentive for white slave owners to control the reproductive lives of black women. Depo Provera is another highly marketed sterilization method that is less intrusive though still involves hormone injection. While Dorothy whose other writings on bioethics I've enjoyed lays an important outline of oppression and abuse of mostly black women medically, she mentions-- but doesn't much chronicle-- their resistance to these practices leaving the reader unsatisfied.
Under this postliberal doctrine, the government is not only prohibited from penalizing welfare mothers or crack-dependent women for choosing to bear children; it is also required to provide subsistence benefits, drug treatment, and medical care. This is an excellent book for anyon This is one of those fantastic books that is desperately in need of a revised or second edition. She was elected twice by the School of Law graduating class to be faculty graduation speaker, and was voted outstanding first-year course professor by the class of 2000. Their children might be taken from them, and sold away or rented out without any recourse. The authors in this book attempts to shape gender and sexuality in the Caribbean in a different view from the perspective of the. Over half of the papers presented at the Second International Congress of Eugenics in 1921 concerned the biological and social consequences of marriages between people from different ethnic groups. Rape was common, both at the hands of white men, and black men chosen as mates for potentially fertile women.
Reproductive freedom is a matter of social justice, not individual choice. Black women were seen not only as labourers, but as the source of new slaves to add to the labour force. . Encountering the details of this eugenic discourse helped me to understand why some women in the Black Lives Matter movement portray police violence as a threat to their reproductive rights because it kills their children in addition to independently violating their children's rights to life, liberty, due process, and equality. These studies concluded that over time inferior races would die out and sterilization would merely hasten the process p. If the pregnant slaves fought or rebelled against the demands of their owners, they were punished without harming the economically profitable fetus inside the slave.
The quote of the southern public assistance employee above demonstrates the eugenic elements of the New Deal in the way that it coded black reproduction as morally deficient while channeling funds to white mothers deemed worthy. She explains that there are shared experiences amongst all mothers, but that raising black children in a racist, patriarchal society poses its own pain and struggle. Weiss University Professor, and the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at. Those who benefit from a system of White Supremacy could have daily historical reminders culled from this book, like: -When enslaved children died because of poor conditions, coroners would usually blame the mother for smothering the child in her sleep. The use of race in the medical field is used as a shortcut and as a result can become a distraction by relying on a social construction in order to make biological determinant. Those devoted to studying eugenics joined organizations such as the American Eugenics Society, the American Genetics Association, and the Human Betterment Association.
She serves as chair of the board of directors of the Black Women's Health Imperative, on the board of directors of the , and on the advisory boards of the Center for Genetics and Society and Family Defense Center. Dorothy Roberts is brilliant and is also a clear, persuasive writer. For example, in 1991 Kentucky gave women a five hundred-dollar bonus for voluntary use of Norplant and fifty dollars for each year they used the system and in Louisiana, home of David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, there is a one hundred dollar per year incentive for use p. As a frequent reader of race theory I can say positively that I have not been, adjusted for learning, by any other work so confronted with what I can but hope is the last of my racism; I traditionally have some eco-fascist sympathies and prior to this monumental work I must say that I was a decently hardcore nonracial eugenics-supporter, but Roberts taught me that my thinking is overly influenced by post- Roe v. Their children were born into slavery and became the property of the owner, creating a labor pool that could both self-replenish and expand. This occurs in both genders, but is particularly grotesque during instances in which the prisoner is female.
Roberts suggests that when doing research on individuals instead of framing the question as how does it affect different racial groups the question should be framed as how does it affect human beings. Basically, if you care about reproductive issues, this is a must-read. Ingeniously synt They rarely make books like this anymore -- intellectually dense, original, and necessary critical legal theory that has the potential to entirely reframe how we understand women's liberation. Given the subject matter, it simply cann Horrifying. The dominant notion of reproductive liberty is flawed in several ways. She has published a range of groundbreaking articles and books analyzing issues of law, race, gender, health, class and social inequality, including Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty 1997 , Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare 2002 and, most recently Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century 2012.
This is a hefty read. I would even go so far as to say that this book changed my life. Yet, these procedures are often withheld from single women, poor women, and gay and lesbian couples, which Roberts blames on racial bias and prejudice. At the same time, women were assumed to be either dependent on male breadwinners or on the government. I recommend this to anyone with interests in reproductive rights, civil rights, black feminism, and their intersection. Where white ablebodied women have in general been encouraged to have children, leading to a construction of reproductive freedom as the choice not to reproduce except on her own terms, the mass of historical and social meanings surrounding reproduction for black women leads to a far more complex formulation of what it means for them to have full autonomy over their reproduction.