The Pequod Review:
Abortion today is highly politicized along party lines, but Kristin Luker's intelligent book Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood shows how complicated the issue has been throughout the last 200 years of American history. It has been a wedge issue from the very beginning; in the mid-1800s, physicians used abortion and their views on the beginnings of human life to establish their authority over lawyers and clergy, and enhance the status of their profession. A somewhat uneasy period of equilibrium followed, where decisions were left to private consultations between doctors and patients, only to be disrupted in the 1960s when a variety of interest groups — led largely by the Catholic Church and other Christian groups — elevated the issue in their own attempt to reclaim social/professional authority. And the Republican Party (which had earlier been strongly pro-choice) latched onto the issue in order to try to win these voters. Luker also perceptively shows how current public opinion on abortion is more nuanced than the binary options offered by our political parties. Recommended.