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Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of…
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Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption,…

by Rickie Solinger

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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."
highlights:
-"Given the popular definitions of good choice makers and bad, I believe it is crucial to consider the degree to which one woman's possession of reproductive choice may actually depend on or deepen another woman's reproductive vulnerability." From page seven
-Sollinger's analysis of the iconic figures of the Back Alley Butcher and the Welfare Queen
-exposition of the deep paradoxes inherent in US policy toward motherhood: forcing poor single, mothers of infants to go to work (without providing subsidized day care), while simultaneously giving tax credits to middle class women to stay home; foster mothers are given 2/3 more money to care for children than the children's mother's receive from welfare, etc.

Things I wish she would have pushed further:
-feminist theory of motherhood: Sollinger describes the difficulties Concerned United Birthmother's had getting the support of second-wave feminists, because these feminists were reacting against the idea of biological motherhood as the defining characteristic of a woman's life. How can we create a feminist theory of motherhood that recognizes a woman's right NOT to be a mother while recognizing the profound psychological effects that separating a child from its birthmother has on that mother? Sollinger quite thoroughly explores the ways in which United States' culture has been reconstructing motherhood as a consumer activity, but seems at the same time to suggest that there is some essential motherhood that exists beyond culture. How do we respect cultural differences in constructions of motherhood without Othering poor and third world mothers as 'illegitimate' mothers? ( )
  TinuvielDancing | Jan 19, 2010 |
This is a great prochoice book that anyone who calls themselves prochoice should read. It focuses on the politics of both adoption and abortion and it's an easy read. Highly recommend it! ( )
  Angelic55blonde | Jun 29, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0809028603, Paperback)

Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States is a thorough feminist history of public policy on abortion since Roe v. Wade, as well as a reconsideration of recent political strategy. Rickie Solinger's third book on reproductive rights hinges on a crucial semantic shift in the 1970s from "abortion rights" to the softer, less direct "choice" and "pro-choice," itself an attempt to shake off the awkward "pro-abortion" tag. While "rights" are undeniable, Solinger asserts, "choice" is a market-driven concept. "Historical distinctions between women of color and white women, between poor and middle-class women, have been reproduced and institutionalized in the "era of choice," she continues, "in part by defining some groups of women as good choice makers, some as bad."

Solinger also advances a troubling economic thesis about adoption, defined roughly as "the transfer of babies from women of one social classification to women in a higher social classification or group." Bracing and well-researched, Solinger's arguments should be considered by anyone working for women's and children's rights. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:29 -0400)

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