This definitive account of the battle for reproductive freedom includes a bold new strategy to safeguard our rights, from two lawyers at the forefront of the movement.

Reproductive freedom has never been in more dire straits. Roe v. Wade protected abortion rights and Planned Parenthood v. Casey unexpectedly preserved them. Yet in the following decades these rights have been gutted by restrictive state legislation, the appointment of hundreds of anti-abortion judges, and violence against abortion providers. Today, the ultra-conservative majority at the Supreme Court has activists, medical providers, and everyday Americans worry that we are about to lose our most fundamental reproductive protections.

When Roe is toppled, abortion may quickly become a criminal offense in nearly one-third of the United States. At least six states have enacted bans on abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy—before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Today, 89% of U.S. counties do not have a single abortion provider, in part due to escalating violence and intimidation aimed at disrupting services. We should all be free to make these personal and private decisions that affect our lives and wellbeing without government interference or bias, but we can no longer depend on Roe v. Wade and the federal courts to preserve our liberties.
 
Legal titans Kathryn Kolbert and Julie F. Kay share the story of one of the most divisive issues in American politics through behind-the-scenes personal narratives of stunning losses, hard-earned victories, and moving accounts of women and health care providers at the heart of nearly five decades of legal battles. At this make-or-break moment for legal abortion in the United States, Kolbert and Kay propose audacious new strategies inspired by medical advances, state-level protections, human rights models, and activists across the globe whose courage and determination are making a difference. 

No more banging our heads against the Court’s marble walls. It is time for a new direction.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

“Kathryn Kolbert and Julie F. Kay, unparalleled experts, have written a rich, smart, and engaging book about why reproductive freedom is the crux of women's rights and equality. It's essential reading for anyone concerned with the future of democracy.”—Soraya Chemaly, author of Rage Becomes Her
Controlling Women is a remarkably thorough account of the history of the legal fight for abortion rights in the United States and sets the stage for the work that still must be done to ensure that the broad spectrum of reproductive rights are a reality for all. Kolbert and Kay have added a vital resource to the pantheon.”—Nancy Northup, President and CEO, Center for Reproductive Rights
“The story feels both old and new. The wins, the backlash—it’s exhausting. How many times do women have to shout their abortions? How many times do women have to demand to have a voice about our own skin? But while Kay and Kolbert provide a necessary and urgent primer on the history of reproductive rights in America, they don’t just end the story here in this moment, where reproductive rights are under attack like never before, they push the conversation forward. Instead of making their mission smaller, they are expanding the vision of reproductive justice to include 'healthcare for all,' better sex ed, expanding access to birth control, reducing sexual abuse, violence, and harassment, and reducing maternal deaths.”—Lyz Lenz, author of Belabored

"A knowledgeable, essential reframing of an incendiary issue based on common sense, historical fact, and simple decency."

Kirkus Reviews
“[Kolbert and Kay] make a powerful case for rethinking the legal and political strategies…This impassioned and well-argued rallying cry rings loud and clear."—Publishers Weekly
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