Reproductive Rites

The Real-Life Witches and Witch Hunts in the Centuries-Long Fight for Abortion

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By Sophie Saint Thomas

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A provocative pop history that explores the witches—and witch hunts—in the untold story of abortion, from the days of Socrates through the Salem Witch Trials and the 1980s Satanic Panic, all the way to our fraught present.

“Not only fascinating and engaging but, in our current post-Roe climate, necessary . . . with wit, humor, and verve that make it an unputdownable read for every feminist.” —Jennifer Wright, author of Madame Restell: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Old New York’s Most Fabulous, Fearless, and Infamous Abortionist

For millennia, across cultures and continents, both providers and recipients of reproductive healthcare and abortions have been persecuted as witches (whether they actually practiced the craft or not). In this dauntless reassessment of that history, journalist Sophie Saint Thomas follows the tangled threads of witches and reproductive rights through the ages.

Along the way, she maintains an intersectional eye toward the communities most affected by reproductive oppression (including Native Americans, enslaved Black women, and trans people) and offers a scathing look at the hypocrisy of anti-choice crusaders (from eugenicists in the Church of Satan to an astrology-following Republican First Lady). With heart, humor, and deeply researched insights, Reproductive Rites brings new context to the urgency of our ongoing fight.

  • Reproductive Rites is not only a fascinating and engaging read but, in our current post-Roe climate, a necessary one. From the time of the Pharaohs to Donald Trump, Sophie Saint Thomas details society’s conflicted relationship with reproductive rights. This volume offers readers exacting research into everyone from ancient midwives to modern day anti-choicers. The facts will help every reader understand how we came to find ourselves in our current position. And it’s all presented with wit, humor, and verve that make it an unputdownable read for every feminist.”

    Jennifer Wright, author of Madame Restell: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Old New York’s Most Fabulous, Fearless, and Infamous Abortionist
  • “An exciting, racy, angry, and well-informed survey, which ranges across a wide span of history in order to make points of tremendous relevance to the present.”

    Ronald Hutton, author of The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present
  • “Through a cross-cultural lens, Saint Thomas offers us a fascinating exploration into the socio-psychological dynamics which underscore the practice of witch persecution and the ongoing oppression of women’s reproductive rights. Her work is an incisive critique of human prejudice and its historical consequences.”

    Alan Kilpatrick, author of The Night Has a Naked Soul: Witchcraft and Sorcery among the Western Cherokee

On Sale
Oct 15, 2024
Page Count
288 pages
Publisher
Running Press
ISBN-13
9780762485291

Photo of author Sophie Saint Thomas, holding roses

Sophie Saint Thomas

About the Author

Sophie Saint Thomas is a writer based in New York City and originally from the US Virgin Islands. She is the author of books including Weed Witch. She has been published in GQ, Playboy, VICE, Cosmopolitan, Forbes, Allure, Glamour, Marie Claire, High Times, Nylon, Refinery29, Complex, Harper’s Bazaar, PRIDEMagazine, SELF, and more.

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