A Miscarriage of Justice: Women's Reproductive Lives and the Law in Early Twentieth-Century Brazil


Product Details

Stanford University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 1.1 inches | 1.35 pounds

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About the Author

Cassia Roth is Assistant Professor of History and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Georgia.


"Roth's remarkably wide-ranging research offers a comprehensive and nuanced analysis of the science, law, politics, and lived experiences surrounding women's reproduction in Rio de Janeiro in the first half of the twentieth century. Deeply contextualized in the social, economic, and cultural history of post-abolition Brazil, A Miscarriage of Justice interrogates the dialogue between local and global histories of medical and legal sciences while maintaining focus on individual women whose reproductive lives were increasingly pathologized and criminalized. This remarkable book is sure to become required reading in the fields of Latin American and gender history."--Sueann Caulfield "University of Michigan "
"With straightforward elegance, Roth conveys the harsh realities of women's reproductive experiences in Brazil in a time of great social transformation. Fully accounting for the historical, political, and cultural complexities of their interactions with the larger community and the state, the author documents both change over time and the continuity of women's legal--and even existential--disenfranchisement through varying political regimes."--Julia E. Rodriguez "University of New Hampshire "
"In A Miscarriage of Justice, Cassia Roth provides an innovative and unique history of reproduction in Brazil, weaving together medical and legal directives on childbirth, abortion, and infanticide alongside the intimate, embodied experiences of gendered 'crimes' and social inequalities in Rio de Janeiro. Taking a broad view of reproductive health that explores motherhood, infanticide, and abortion simultaneously, Roth argues that the surveillance and criminalization of women's reproductive practices and of their racialized bodies were critical anchors of Brazilian state-building, especially during the complex years of the authoritarian Estado Novo. This is a deeply researched, sophisticated, and insightful study with significant implications for understanding reproductive justice issues even in contemporary politics."--Okezi T. Otovo "Florida International University "
"Told with care and from a place of deep empathy, the heartbreaking stories in Miscarriage of Justice bring Brazilian women back into their own history, which has been told about them, but rarely through and with them. While a patriarchal legal system and medical institution tightened its control around women's reproductive lives, Roth shows through these women's stories that they wrested that control back in whatever way they could."--Leila A. McNeill "Lady Science "