I picked this book up as a pro-life feminist curious what this book would say about other women in the cause. Would it mention Feminists for Life of America? Would it mention more recent groups such as New Wave Feminists? How would it depict the pro-life movement as a whole? I was greatly disappointed on all fronts. It was a struggle to finish the book, but I figured I needed to in order to give it a fair hearing.
This book profiles several pro-life women who were most active in the 70’s and 80’s. It does seem to try to give a fair depiction of the women’s motives. The author does seem to have a slight admiration (maybe?) for pro-life liberal activists such as Juli Loesch. But that’s about the only nice things I can say about her tone. Frankly, I think it’s a joke that so many Amazon reviewers called this book unbiased. I’m not sure if we all read the same book. I’m not surprised to find connections between this author and Planned Parenthood.
The book concentrates on two parts of the pro-life movement in which she says women were most influential: the growth of crisis pregnancy centers and anti-abortion vandalism and terrorism. She has nothing positive to say about crisis pregnancy centers. She depicts crisis pregnancy centers as manipulative liars. She depicts those who worked to interfere with abortion clinics’ operations as vandals, trespassers, and criminals. A large part of this book is a profile of Shelley Shannon, the woman who attempted to kill late-term abortionist George Tiller in 1993.
Feminists for Life of America is only mentioned in a couple of sentences. Almost all she says about them is that the aforementioned Juli Loesch was a founding member. Feminists for Life, a pro-woman, pro-life organization that pre-dates Roe v. Wade really deserved to have a more prominent place in a historical work discussing the role of women in the pro-life movement.
The only other compliment I can give to this book is that I did learn some things I didn’t know about the women who were involved in the movement before me. The depiction of events is accurate, even if her biased interpretation leaves much to be desired. If you can get past the tone and language, the substance of the book is pretty factual. She clearly did her research, but she failed to leave her strong pro-choice opinions at the door. I would love to see a book like this that is truly unbiased. I would love to see a book that talks about helping women in addition to some of the darker stuff.
I got the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review through my membership in Netgalley. Thank you University of Illinois Press! I wish I had more positive things to say.