Scarlet A: The Ethics, Law, and Politics of Ordinary Abortion


Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.2 X 0.9 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

Katie Watson is an award-winning Associate Professor of Medical Social Sciences, Medical Education, and Obstetrics & Gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, where she has taught bioethics, medical humanities, and constitutional law to medical students and masters
students for fifteen years. Professor Watson is also a lawyer who began her career clerking in the federal judiciary and practicing public interest law, and in 2017-2018 she worked part-time as Senior Counsel to the Women's and Reproductive Rights Project of the ACLU of Illinois. Professor Watson
has been a Board member of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, and she is currently on the Board of the National Abortion Federation, and a Bioethics Advisor to and Member of the National Medical Council of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.


"The role this book plays in bringing ordinary abortion to the fore, telling its story and casting the spotlight on its many beneficiaries, is invaluable to anyone involved in or looking to join the debate about abortion in the 21st century." -- Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal

"In this brilliant new book, Watson draws on legal proceedings, bioethics literature, and personal experience; offers cultural and literary analysis; and uses her unique vantage point as a lawyer, bioethicist, and medical educator to develop a thought-provoking and thoroughly fresh perspective on one of the most divisive moral issues of our time." --Mara Buchbinder, Hastings Center Report

"[E]xcellent ... Watson has a gift for explaining complex arguments in a simple, easy to understand manner. ... Watson's book is an important contribution to the growing literature on abortion stigma and the moral case for abortion, and its accessible language will make it an excellent text for classrooms and book clubs. Watson's writing style is personal and engaging, making the book a pleasure to read. The ideas it contains are complex and subtle, but the writing is direct and honest." -- Anu Kumar, Conscience

"As a guide to the various ways of thinking about abortion, "Scarlet A" is readable and respectful - and therefore, in its own quiet way, revolutionary." --New York Times

"The book is a thoughtful and engaging consideration of one of this country's most controversial words: abortion." --The Chicago Tribune

"In this refreshingly accessible book Katie Watson, invites readers to a conversation about 'ordinary abortion'-that is, the vast majority of abortions that take place in the U.S. With immense intelligence and sensitivity, and considerable wit, Watson offers new ways to think about this complex issue, and, importantly, urges readers to continue this conversation with their neighbors and friends."-- Carole Joffe, University of California, San Francisco

"Watson provides an important perspective of abortion that isn't regularly shared -- that of a 'routine' and commonly performed procedure. She deftly explores why women often have this procedure and yet don't speak of it openly. The more perspectives we explore and the more we open our minds to various ways of looking at this topic the more readily we can come to a meaningful understanding. I would encourage anyone -- regardless of their current view of abortion -- to read this book."-- Louise P. King Harvard Center for Bioethics

"At last, a new, important, and powerful effort to improve the national abortion debate: in this book, bioethicist and lawyer Katie Watson initiates a rich conversation about the morality of ordinary legal abortion in the context of unwanted pregnancy. This illuminating book builds on the narratives and vocabulary of women's lived experience in deciding about abortion. It will captivate anyone willing to attend to the complexity and ambiguity of such decisions." -- James F. Childress, University Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia

"Katie Watson is not afraid to acknowledge the moral complexities of abortion, even as she affirms the legal right to access it. Her writing is lively and clear, but she never underestimates readers' ability to engage in serious moral thinking. Watson will make you think about abortion in new, unforgettable ways." -- Lisa H. Harris, University of Michigan

"Scarlet A is written in a clear, engaging, and accessible style. While it was written and marketed with a general audience in mind, bioethics students and scholars alike will find much to appreciate. Watson's interdisciplinary approach makes for an interesting and
novel perspective. The emphasis on ordinary abortion is a particularly important innovation for bioethics, which has all too often focused on extraordinary cases. Watson ends the book with a simple charge to her readers: 'Let's keep talking.' I have no doubt that this important
book will inspire readers to do just that." --Mara Buchbinder, Hastings Center Report