Obstacle course The everyday struggle to get an abortion in America

David S. Cohen, 1972-

Book - 2020

"This book tells the real story of abortion in America, one that captures a disturbing reality of sometimes insurmountable barriers put in front of women trying to exercise their legal rights to medical services. Without the efforts of an unheralded army of doctors, nurses, social workers, activists, and volunteers, what is a legal right would be meaningless for the almost one million people per year who get abortions. There is a better way-treating abortion like any other form of health ca...re-but the United States is a long way from that ideal"--

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

362.19888/Cohen
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 362.19888/Cohen Checked In
Subjects
Published
Oakland, California : University of California Press [2020]
Language
English
Physical Description
281 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780520306646
0520306643
Main Author
David S. Cohen, 1972- (author)
Other Authors
Carole E. Joffe (author)
  • Introduction: the turbulent state of abortion in America
  • Making the decision: coping with roadblocks, deception, and lies
  • Finding and getting to a clinic: hard to find, harder to reach
  • Coming up with the money
  • Getting in: medical clinics as war zones
  • Counseling at the clinic: government-mandated deceit
  • Waiting periods: logistical nightmares, potentially serious delays
  • The procedure: politics overrides medical expertise
  • An alternate vision: abortion as normal health care.
Review by Choice Reviews

As the subtitle indicates, this volume chronicles the almost insurmountable obstacles most women face in the US when trying to procure an abortion, through 70 original interviews with abortion providers, clinic volunteers, and patients from all over the country, supplemented by print and internet accounts. Cohen (Drexel Univ., Kline School of Law) and Joffe (Univ. of California, San Francisco) stress that the difficulties in obtaining a safe abortion in a timely manner disproportionately impact women of color, poor rural populations, and those unfortunate enough to live in states with Draconian anti-abortion restrictions (compounded by vocal and intimidating anti-abortion protesters). Yet, alongside the many depressing stories there are many inspiring ones as well—tales of clinic personnel who frantically piece together funding for impoverished clients, volunteers who drive women hundreds of miles in search of open clinics, staff who find ingenious ways to circumvent the unscientific propaganda that misogynist state laws force them to repeat to women. The book is well written, lively, and accessible to students. This reviewer's only criticism concerns the nonstandard citation method, which is difficult to use. Editors at the University of California Press should have insisted on scholarly footnoting. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels.--A. H. Koblitz, emerita, Arizona State UniversityAnn Hibner Koblitzemerita, Arizona State University Ann Hibner Koblitz Choice Reviews 58:04 December 2020 Copyright 2020 American Library Association.

Review by Choice Reviews

Obstacle Course by Cohen (Drexel Univ., Kline School of Law) and Joffe (Univ. of California, San Francisco) offers first-person stories of women who have received abortions, abortion providers, and allies. Applying their expertise in law and reproductive health, the authors interviewed 70 women from all regions of the US. Their primary focus is on the experiences of marginalized women navigating obstacles to abortion, including misinformation, testing, finances, geographic and legal access, and protestors. They argue that these obstacles, which they term "abortion exceptionalism," are uniquely onerous among medical and health care services and have significant negative consequences for both patients and providers. Histories of abortion practices and legislation provide context for these stories. Alternatives suggested would support self-managed abortion (SMA) care that is normalized within the health-care system. The book contains a 9-page index and 32 pages of endnotes. Although the endnotes follow the Chicago Manual of Style, there are no corresponding superscripts in the text, with the exception of footnotes in the introductory chapter. This makes it frustrating to identify, follow up on, or evaluate sources of specific data and information in the text and ensuing arguments. Summing Up: Recommended. With reservations. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals.--M. D. Lagerwey, Western Michigan UniversityMary D. LagerweyWestern Michigan University Mary D. Lagerwey Choice Reviews 58:05 January 2021 Copyright 2020 American Library Association.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"This book tells the real story of abortion in America, one that captures a disturbing reality of sometimes insurmountable barriers put in front of women trying to exercise their legal rights to medical services. Without the efforts of an unheralded armyof doctors, nurses, social workers, activists, and volunteers, what is a legal right would be meaningless for the almost one million people per year who get abortions. There is a better way-treating abortion like any other form of health care-but the United States is a long way from that ideal"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

It seems unthinkable that citizens of one of the most powerful nations in the world must risk their lives and livelihoods in the search for access to necessary health care. And yet it is no surprise that in many places throughout the United States, getting an abortion can be a monumental challenge. Anti-choice politicians and activists have worked tirelessly to impose needless restrictions on this straightforward medical procedure that, at best, delay it and, at worst, create medical risks and deny women their constitutionally protected right to choose. Obstacle Course tells the story of abortion in America, capturing a disturbing reality of insurmountable barriers people face when trying to exercise their legal rights to medical services. Authors David S. Cohen and Carole Joffe lay bare the often arduous and unnecessarily burdensome process of terminating a pregnancy: the sabotaged decision-making, clinics in remote locations, insurance bans, harassing protesters, forced ultrasounds and dishonest medical information, arbitrary waiting periods, and unjustified procedure limitations.   Based on patients' stories as well as interviews with abortion providers and allies from every state in the country, Obstacle Course reveals the unstoppable determination required of women in the pursuit of reproductive autonomy as well as the incredible commitment of abortion providers. Without the efforts of an unheralded army of medical professionals, clinic administrators, counselors, activists, and volunteers, what is a legal right would be meaningless for the almost one million people per year who get abortions. There is a better way'treating abortion like any other form of health care'but the United States is a long way from that ideal. 

Review by Publisher Summary 3

It seems unthinkable that citizens of one of the most powerful nations in the world must risk their lives and livelihoods in the search for access to necessary health care. And yet it is no surprise that in many places throughout the United States, getting an abortion can be a monumental challenge. Anti-choice politicians and activists have worked tirelessly to impose needless restrictions on this straightforward medical procedure that, at best, delay it and, at worst, create medical risks and deny women their constitutionally protected right to choose. Obstacle Course tells the story of abortion in America, capturing a disturbing reality of insurmountable barriers people face when trying to exercise their legal rights to medical services. Authors David S. Cohen and Carole Joffe lay bare the often arduous and unnecessarily burdensome process of terminating a pregnancy: the sabotaged decision-making, clinics in remote locations, insurance bans, harassing protesters, forced ultrasounds and dishonest medical information, arbitrary waiting periods, and unjustified procedure limitations.   Based on patients’ stories as well as interviews with abortion providers and allies from every state in the country, Obstacle Course reveals the unstoppable determination required of women in the pursuit of reproductive autonomy as well as the incredible commitment of abortion providers. Without the efforts of an unheralded army of medical professionals, clinic administrators, counselors, activists, and volunteers, what is a legal right would be meaningless for the almost one million people per year who get abortions. There is a better way—treating abortion like any other form of health care—but the United States is a long way from that ideal.