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Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  97 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
An impassioned argument for reproductive rights

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, advocates of legal abortion mostly used the term rights when describing their agenda. But after Roe v. Wade, their determination to develop a respectable, nonconfrontational movement encouraged many of them to use the word choice--an easier concept for people weary of various rights movements
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 18th 2002 by Hill and Wang (first published 2001)
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Sep 08, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing
I spend a lot of time talking about and promoting choice - but until reading this book, it didn't occur to me that using that word, "choice", could be harmful to women. Because using "choice" instead of what we really mean, which is "rights" - as in, women have the RIGHT to make their own reproductive choices, allows people an opening in which to pass judgment and, as we've seen, legislation. By narrowing the language to "choice", we've allowed an anti-choice movement to spring up, because it's ...more
Nov 28, 2008 Jukka added it
Beggars and Choosers - Rickie Solinger
This book caught my attention reading about international adoption in the Nov 26, 2008 Minnesota Women’s Press (excellent paper!). The article is called “Feminist Lens on Adoption” by Katie Leo.
I recommend it.

I really think the ideas of “right to motherhood” and identifying the myths around the “legitimacy of motherhood” is exactly right. This has bearing also toward attitudes regarding abortion and abortion rights a
Jun 03, 2008 Celeste rated it really liked it
This book was hard for me to rate because while parts of it are phenomenal, there are sections where I wished she would have pushed the theoretical issues a little bit more. Overall though, this is a phenomenally important book that everyone should read. Sollinger explores the ways in which the language of reproductive "choice" works to constrain reproductive "rights."
-"Given the popular definitions of good choice makers and bad, I believe it is crucial to consider the degree to whic
Jan 27, 2011 Nikki rated it liked it
This book is imperfect, but it definitely helped me develop and deepen my reasoning for being pro-choice (I mean, pro-reproductive rights). Sometimes in spite of itself.

Solinger basically explores how the language of "choice" makes reproductive rights a consumer product. Only women who can afford it can make the choice to have abortions, keep their babies and generally be thought of as good mothers and women. Instead, we should think of abortion as a right--not a choice--which leads you down th
Nov 09, 2007 Jessica rated it liked it
Recommends it for: the pro-choice
Okay, so BEST TITLE EVER for a nonfiction "issue" book, right???

This is an important, though imperfect, book. If you care about reproductive rights but haven't ever thought too deeply about how the "pro-choice" discourse is constructed and whose interests it narrowly serves, you should read this and Dorthy Roberts's Killing the Black Body. If you're only going to read one, definitely pick Roberts, but Solinger also has very important things to say. While some of its points are fairly obvious, th
Sep 05, 2012 Amanda rated it it was amazing
This was completely fascinating, and also a bit infuriating - not the book or the author, but the way women and their lives and 'choices' have been treated and demeaned over the decades. Solinger does a fantastic job of laying out the history of abortion and adoption in the United States and drawing a clear picture of how each political decision has drastically impacted the lives of women over the decades. The main theme is about the illusion of 'choice' when it comes to being a mother and the w ...more
Oct 08, 2007 Stephanie rated it really liked it
I'd picked this up because of an article in the paper - that Solinger was speaking, and it mentioned the book. Having read the book, I regret that I didn't go to hear her speak, because I would have been interested to hear her take on the recent Supreme Court abortion ruling. This book was a very cogent analysis of the idea of (reproductive) choice and how it plays out according to class and race. Solinger's premise was very interesting -- that the linguistic shift from reproductive rights to re ...more
Aug 05, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I can't even begin to tell you how startling I found this book. The number of topics to which I had devoted little or no thought previously. How well she documented and expressed opinions that I did have. Which is not to say that I agreed with her every point, nor that her every point was groundbreaking. Many of the arguments my sister found shocking I found reasonable (though mostly because we drew different conclusions from them). A good word to sum up this book is: eye-opening. Rather than su ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Kara rated it liked it
Troubling look at the way we evaluate who is eligible to be a mother, and who is only fit to produce babies for the adoption market.
Jan 01, 2011 Matilda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: political
Great book. Will forever change the way you look at international adoption.
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