Fighting for Control

Power, Reproductive Care, and Race in the US-Mexico Borderlands

By Lina-Maria Murillo

Fighting for Control

Approx. 336 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 17 halftones

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-8259-4
    Published: January 2025
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-8258-7
    Published: January 2025

Justice, Power, and Politics

Paperback Available January 2025, but pre-order your copy today!

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The first birth control clinic in El Paso, Texas, opened in 1937. Since then, Mexican-origin women living in the border cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez have confronted various interest groups determined to control their reproductive lives, including a heavily funded international population control campaign led by Planned Parenthood Federation of America as well as the Catholic Church and Mexican American activists. Uncovering nearly one hundred years of struggle, Lina-Maria Murillo reveals how Mexican-origin women on both sides of the border fought to reclaim autonomy and care for themselves and their communities.

Faced with a family planning movement steeped in eugenic ideology, working-class Mexican-origin women strategically demanded additional health services and then formed their own clinics to provide care on their own terms. Along the way, they developed what Murillo calls reproductive care— quotidian acts of community solidarity—as activists organized for better housing, education, wages, as well as access to birth control, abortion, and more. Centering the agency of these women and communities, Murillo lays bare Mexican-origin women's long battle for human dignity and power in the borderlands as reproductive freedom in Texas once again hangs in the balance.

About the Author

Lina-Maria Murillo is assistant professor of gender, women, and sexuality studies, history, and Latina/o/x studies at the University of Iowa.

For more information about Lina-Maria Murillo, visit the Author Page.


"A groundbreaking and foundational history of Mexican-origin women in the borderlands. Lina-Maria Murillo's eloquently written and meticulously researched book brings to light this overlooked and marginalized story."—Miroslava Chávez-García, author of Migrant Longing: Letter Writing across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands