Abortion after Roe

By Johanna Schoen

352 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 12 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3601-6
    Published: August 2017
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2119-7
    Published: September 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8604-0
    Published: September 2015

Studies in Social Medicine

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Awards & distinctions

William H. Welch Medal, American Association for the History of Medicine

Abortion is--and always has been--an arena for contesting power relations between women and men. When in 1973 the Supreme Court made the procedure legal throughout the United States, it seemed that women were at last able to make decisions about their own bodies. In the four decades that followed, however, abortion became ever more politicized and stigmatized. Abortion after Roe chronicles and analyzes what the new legal status and changing political environment have meant for abortion providers and their patients. Johanna Schoen sheds light on the little-studied experience of performing and receiving abortion care from the 1970s--a period of optimism--to the rise of the antiabortion movement and the escalation of antiabortion tactics in the 1980s to the 1990s and beyond, when violent attacks on clinics and abortion providers led to a new articulation of abortion care as moral work. As Schoen demonstrates, more than four decades after the legalization of abortion, the abortion provider community has powerfully asserted that abortion care is a moral good.

About the Author

Johanna Schoen is professor of history at Rutgers University and author of Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare.
For more information about Johanna Schoen, visit the Author Page.


“Spells out the necessity and moral good of providing abortion care.”--Ms. Magazine

“Constructs a powerful, often deeply disturbing account of the experiences of clinic personnel and others striving to provide a full range of reproductive options to women in the face of violent opposition. . . . Highly recommended”--Choice

"A master work of research.--Linda Gordon, Dissent

“A clear-eyed history . . . well written and historically rich: a deeply interesting account of the post-Roe era focused on the lived experience of giving and getting reproductive health services.”--Women’s Review of Books

“Significantly contributes to the understanding of abortion since Roe v. Wade (1973). . . . Jargon free and thus accessible to undergraduate and graduate students alike.”--American Historical Review

“Schoen fills an important gap in historical scholarship that until now has focused on the pre-Roe era. . . . Skillfully incorporates the legal, political, and social history of abortion care in the United States since the 1970s.”--Journal of the History of Medicine