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    Jeanne Flavin, Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women’s Reproduction in America (2009)

    The intense policing of women's reproductive capacity places women's health and human rights in great peril. Poor women are pressured to undergo sterilization. Women addicted to illicit drugs risk arrest for carrying their pregnancies to term. Courts, child welfare, and law enforcement agencies fail to recognize the efforts of battered and incarcerated women to care for their children. Pregnant inmates are subject to inhumane practices such as shackling during labor and poor prenatal care. And decades after Roe, the criminalization of certain procedures and regulation of abortion providers still obstruct women's access to safe and private abortions.In this important work, Jeanne Flavin looks beyond abortion to document how the law and the criminal justice system police women's rights to conceive, to be pregnant, and to raise their children. Through vivid and disturbing case studies, Flavin shows how the state seeks to establish what a "good woman" and "fit mother" should look like and whose reproduction is valued. With a stirring conclusion that calls for broad-based measures that strengthen women's economic position , choice-making, autonomy, sexual freedom, and health care, Our Bodies, Our Crimes is a battle cry for all women in their fight to be fully recognized as human beings. At its heart, this book is about the right of a woman to be a healthy and valued member of society independent of how or whether she reproduces.

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    Linda C. Fentiman, Blaming Mothers: American Law and the Risks to Children’s Health (2017)

    In the past several decades, medicine, the media, and popular culture have focused on mothers as the primary source of health risk for their children, even though American children are healthier than ever. The American legal system both reflects and reinforces this conception of risk. This book explores how this occurs by looking at unconscious psychological processes, including the ways in which we perceive risk, which shape the actions of key legal decisionmakers, including prosecutors, judges, and jurors. These psychological processes inevitably distort the way that ostensibly neutral legal principles are applied in ways that are biased against mothers. The book shows how assertions that mothers and mothers-to-be have “risked” their children’s health play out in practice. Pregnant women, women who do or do not breastfeed, and mothers whose children are injured or killed by the mother’s abusive male partner end up facing civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution. The book also illustrates how America’s resistance to the precautionary principle has led to an epidemic of children poisoned by lead. Vaccination is the only area in which parents are permitted to opt out of medically recommended health care for their children. The book explores the role of “choice” in children’s health and how it is applied unevenly to mothers and others, including manufacturers of toxic products. The book ends with recommendations for real improvement in children’s health.