Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare


Product Details

University of North Carolina Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 0.9 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author

Johanna Schoen is associate professor of history at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.


An insightful and engaging account of local, national, and international struggles over the control of women's fertility. . . . Should be read by students and researchers alike interested in the American South, medicine, state formation, and the intersections of gender, race, and class.--NC Historical Review

Schoen analyzes how news reports can water down historical complexity and stifle further discussion, and how apologies can mislead the public into thinking that problems have been solved and impoverished women's reproductive rights are secure.--Journal of African American History

Schoen works from a dazzling array of material. . . . [She] sifts through this evidence with remarkable care and tact, providing a picture of the changing nature of women's access to reproductive technologies over several decades. The strength of the work lies in how Schoen refuses to shy away from complex and competing accounts of a fraught set of topics. . . . A bold and innovative move to set the terms on which we might be able to write global histories of reproduction.--Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

[A] well-written book. . . . [that has] the sort of impact that many academics dream of initiating and rarely achieve.--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

Schoen successfully reveals what has been a misunderstood history of the agency and coercion involved in the relationship between women's bodies and the state. This book is a valuable contribution to the history of medicine, public health and welfare, women's rights and the impact of state policy on individual women and their families in the United States and around the world.--Journal of American Studies

Skillfully demonstrates the global impact of these earlier twentieth century debates and imperial relationships. . . . Schoen skillfully positions her work within the wider study of women's reproduction history.--Material Culture

The material on North Carolina [is] compelling and highly accessible.--Journal of the History of Medicine

Schoen's book is a must read for anyone interested in reproductive issues. . . . The reclamation of women's motivation in securing access to services, as well as the positive portrayal of some health and state officials, is a breath of fresh air.--Journal of Southern History

Deserves to be on the reading list of every women's studies program and to be read by men and women who wish to improve the health of both our female citizens and our democracy.--Winston-Salem Journal

Schoen has given us a well-documented twentieth-century history of the struggle over reproductive rights grounded in politics and culture, a richly nuanced sociological account drawing from interviews and original documents, and a passionate argument for the importance of securing the citizen's right to birth control.--American Journal of Sociology

This is an important study, one that rightfully places North Carolina's story squarely on the historical map.--American Historical Review

Schoen's book is a striking corrective to simplistic misconceptions that reproductive control had only negative connotations for working-class or African American women who were subject to eugenic state sterilization policies. . . . Schoen has provided a thoughtful, rigorous, and original study of women's multifaceted interaction with state reproductive policy.--Journal of American History

Although not indicated in either title or subtitle, this book's focus is North Carolina, 1880-1973. There is, however, nothing narrow or provincial about this impressive study. . . . It is impossible here to adequately convey the sophistication and complexity of the monograph. . . . All students and practitioners interested in women's health, social welfare policy, community medicine, social activism, fertility control, reproductive rights, pharmaceutical trials, coercive abortion, and sterilization programs should read this book. Essential.--Choice