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Suggested Reading

Oct. 2003: This month's issue of Z magazine (an independent magazine of critical thinking on political, cultural, social and economic life in the US ( features a commentary by NAPW Executive Director Lynn Paltrow. The commentary, The Unborn/Abortion Smokescreen begins:

As the administration promotes the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, known now as the Laci and Connor Law, would create a separate federal offense if, during the commission of certain crimes, an individual causes the death of or bodily injury to a "child in utero." It explicitly applies to all stages of pregnancy and creates a federal law recognizing everything from a zygote to a fetus as an independent "victim," with legal rights distinct from the woman who has been harmed. Unwittingly, pro-choice activists who respond by focusing on how this bill might undermine the right to choose abortion may be playing into the administration's hands; the debate on abortion creates a brilliant diversion from the administration's failure to protect either children or women.

The commentary is accompanied by its very own cartoon and is available on news stands near you.

TitleCrack in America : Demon Drugs and Social Justice Order Now
AuthorEdited by Craig Reinarman and Harry G. Levine
Crack in America : Demon Drugs and Social Justice A devastating, sad, angry, though always scholarly book about the many failures of our national drug policy. The contributors make a convincing case that America is unable to solve the problems associated with crack because it is unwilling to deal with extreme economic and racial inequality except by stigmatizing and punishing the unequal. The book is of urgent importance--a powerfully persuasive and illimuniating inquiry about America. I wish it could be required reading for the White House and all the agencies responsible for the country's drug problems."--Herbert J. Gans, Columbia University

TitleDrug Crazy : How We Got into This Mess and How We Can Get Out Order Now
AuthorMike Gray
Drug Crazy : How We Got into This Mess and How We Can Get Out From Drug Crazy is a scathing indictment of America's decades-long "war on drugs," an expensive and hypocritical folly which has essentially benefited only two classes of people: professional anti-drug advocates and drug lords. Did you know that a presidential commission determined that marijuana is neither an addicitve substance nor a "stepping stone" to harder drugs ... only to have President Nixon shelve the embarrassing final report and continue the government's policy of inflated drug addiction statistics? Did you know that several medical experts agree that "cold turkey" methods of withdrawal are essentially ineffective and recommend simply prescribing drugs to addicts ... and that communities in which this has been done report lower crime rates and reduced unemployment among addicts as a result? Whether he's writing about the American government's strong-arm tactics toward critics of its drug policy or the reduction of countries like Colombia and Mexico to anarchic killing zones by powerful cartels, Mike Gray's analysis has an immediacy and a clarity worth noting. The passage of "medical marijuana" bills in California and Arizona (where the bill passed by a nearly 2-to-1 majority) indicates that people are getting fed up with the government's Prohibition-style tactics toward drugs. Drug Crazy just might speed that process along.

TitleThe Fix Order Now
AuthorMichael Massing
The Fix "When, back in 1988, the New York Review of Books sent me to Columbia to write about the Latin American cocaine trade," notes Michael Massing, a contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and 1992 recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, "I had little notion that the issue of drugs would engross me for so many years." The "War on Drugs," arguably, has been the United States' most futile and expensive social campaign. In 1998, the federal drug budget was more than $17 billion--over ten times its 1981 allocation--and yet the corresponding population of drug offenders in the nation's state and federal prisons has increased tenfold within that same period. What to do?

TitleSmoke and Mirrors : The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure Order Now
AuthorDan Baum
Smoke and Mirrors : The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure In a retrospective look at the war on drugs in the United States, journalist Dan Baum calls the nation's drug policy "as expensive, ineffective, delusional and destructive as government gets." He examines the Nixon White House's effort to turn the drug war to political advantage and the Carter Administration's brief flirtation with decriminalizing marijuana. He also details the cover-ups and blunders of some of the biggest drug busts in the country's history. Yet despite the policy's ineffectiveness, at least 85 percent of Americans oppose legalization. Baum sheds light on the reasons for this issue and calls for radical compromise.

TitleKilling The Black Body: Race Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty Order Now
AuthorDorothy Roberts
Killing The Black Body: Race Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty Throughout American history, our government and society at large have attempted to control the black woman's body--from the antebellum master's economic stake in the fertility of bonded women to the 1990's suggestion of laws to prevent women on welfare from having babies. Yale and Harvard graduate Dorothy Roberts' presents an impassioned indictment of this dehumanizing policy.

TitlePregnant Women on Drugs: Combating Stereotypes and Stigma Order Now
AuthorSheigla Murphy and Marsha Rosenbaum
Pregnant Women on Drugs:  Combating Stereotypes and Stigma Touching and informative. . . Drug-addicted women who have either been ignored or reviled are finally given voice to tell their own stories. Their sad, true, and quintessentially human experiences provide persuasive arguments for compassion and supportive approaches to the problems of substance abuse and pregnancy.

TitleMaking Women Pay, The Hidden Costs of Fetal Rights Order Now
AuthorRachel Roth
Making Women Pay, The Hidden Costs of Fetal Rights Once backed primarily by anti-abortion activists, fetal rights claims are now promoted by a wide range of interest groups in American society. Government and corporate policies to define and enforce fetal rights have become commonplace. Not only pregnant women are affected by these developments, as all women are considered "potentially pregnant" for much of their lives. In her powerful and important book, Rachel Roth brings a new perspective to the debate over fetal rights. She clearly delineates the threat to women's equality posed by the new concept of "maternal-fetal conflict," an idea central to the fetal rights movement in which women and fetuses are seen as having interests that are diametrically opposed. Roth begins by placing fetal rights politics in historical and comparative context and by tracing the emergence of the notion of fetal rights. Against a backdrop of gripping stories about actual women, she reviews the difficulties fetal rights claims create for women in the areas of employment, health care, and drug and alcohol regulation. She looks at court cases and state legislation over a period of two decades beginning in 1973, the year of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Her exhaustive research shows how judicial decisions and public policies that grant fetuses rights tend to displace women as claimants, as recipients of needed services, and ultimately as citizens. When a corporation, medical authority, or the state asserts or accepts rights claims on behalf of a fetus, the usual justification involves improving the chance of a healthy birth. This strategy, Roth persuasively argues, is not necessary to achieve the goal of a healthy birth, is often counterproductive to it, and always undermines women's equal standing.

TitleMisconceiving Mothers: Legislators, Prosecutors, and the Politics of Prenatal Drug Exposure Order Now
AuthorLaura E. Gomez
Misconceiving Mothers (No reviews)

TitleMothers and Illicit Drugs: Transcending the Myths Order Now
AuthorSusan C. Boyd,
Mothers and Illicit Drugs: Transcending the Myths During the past decade, media and medical forces have combined to create an alarming view of pregnant mothers who use illicit drugs. The result has been increased state control of these women and their infants. This in-depth study is the first in Canada to look at how mothers who use illicit drugs regard the laws, medical practices, and social services that intervene in their lives. Focusing on practices in western Canada, Susan C. Boyd argues that licit and illicit drug categories are artificial and dangerous and that the evidence for neonatal syndrome (NAS) is suspect and ideologically driven. She shows that women of colour and poor women are treated much more harshly by authorities, that current regulations erode women's civil liberties, and that social control is the aim of drug policy and law. The study highlights mothers' views of the NAS program at Sunny Hill Hospital for Children in Vancouver. Writing from a critical feminist perspective, Boyd exposes some surprising social fictions - those that separate 'good' and 'bad' drugs, as they do 'good' and 'bad' mothers.

TitleMother Troubles: Rethinking Contemporary Maternal Dilemmas Order Now
Author Julia E. Hangisberg and Sara Ruddick (eds.)
Mother Troubles: Rethinking Contemporary Maternal Dilemmas Hanigsberg and Ruddick have assembled an insightful, stimulating collection of essays by women, mostly legal theorists and scholars, who write from a feminist perspective about the ways societal and cultural beliefs concerning mothering and mothers are reflected in law and public policy. The inclusion of essays by religious theorists demonstrates the profound influence of religion not only on the thinking and behavior of mothers in fulfillment of their role but in the formation of cultural expectations and social standards. The essays demonstrate that there is a standard for mothers to which fathers are not held. Mothers are expected to be perfect and are punished when they fail to achieve perfection; yet there are few programs in place to support mothers in providing adequate care for their children. The inclusion of contributors from various disciplines allows a multifaceted look at a pervasive aspect of society. The essays are thoughtful and provocative, scholarly yet reflective of the experience of the authors. The first and last essays, reflective "bookends" for the interior essays, are intensely personal accounts.

TitleUsing Women, Gender, Drug Policy, and Social Justice Order Now
Author Nancy D. Campbell
(no reviews)

TitleShattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare Order Now
AuthorDorothy Roberts
Dorothy Roberts "It costs the federal government eleven times as much to provide foster care as to provide public aid to families," writes Northwestern law professor Roberts (Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty). Even worse, she charges that child removal policies are biased, targeting blacks over other racial groups. Roberts has reached these conclusions through the careful research and scrutiny of court documents, foster-care records, and police reports.

TitleBeggars And Choosers: How The Politics Of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, And Welfare In The United States , 47 (2001) Order Now
AuthorRickie Solinger
Beggars And Choosers Feminists need a paradigm shift, argues Solinger (Wake Up Little Susie;, The Abortionist), away from the post-Roe v. Wade concept of "choice" and back to the '60s concept of "rights," based on the approach of the civil rights movement, which argued that all citizens were entitled to vote, for instance, regardless of class status. "Choice" evokes a marketplace model of consumer freedom, she explains, while rights are privileges to which one is justly and irrevocably entitled as a human being

TitleThe Making of the Unborn Patient, A Social Anatomy of Fetal Surgery Order Now
AuthorMonica J. Casper
Unborn Patient Welcome! Because my book is about surgery, some readers might think that it is too specialized for a "general" audience. But I am a sociologist, not a clinician, and my interest in fetal surgery concerns its political and ethical dimensions. This is not a "how to" medical textbook, but rather a complex exploration of what it means that we can now operate on fetuses in utero.

TitleIs the Fetus a Person? A Comparison of Policies across the Fifty States Order Now
AuthorJean Reith Schroedel
Fetus a Person Schroedel, a professor of politics and policy, offers a demanding but quite valuable analysis of how different states address the issue of whether a fetus has legal protected "personhood." At the core of her work are three situations in which the nature of the fetus raises legal questions: abortion, drug use by pregnant women, and battering of pregnant women. She examines the history of moral and legal discourse about the nature of the fetus and then analyzes statutes and case law now in force...

TitleCrack Mothers, Pregnancy, Drugs, and the Media Order Now
Author Drew Humphries
In Crack Mothers, Drew Humphries asserts that medicine and criminal justice have always been at odds on the subject of drug use. One treats drug users as patients, the other as criminals. However, beginning in the late 1980s, the "crack mother" scare led to an unprecedented alliance between doctors and prosecutors in same states, where doctors turned addicted pregnant women over to the police for arrest, trial, and incarceration. Humphries analyzes the public reaction to crack cocaine and the policies instituted to combat it. She shows us that more often than not, policies were generated by the fears that crack mothers were harbingers of even more serious social problems. The media's construction of the crack mother as a model of depravity is, she argues, a reflection of mainstream desires and fears, not a reflection of the truth. Humphries offers a more balanced view of the women who use crack and the policies that have been adopted to stop them.

Government Publications

Drug Addiction Research and the Health of Women, National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services, NIH Publication #98-4290

Improving Treatment for Drug-Exposed Infants, Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 5, US Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 93-2011

Pregnant, Substance-Using Women (TIP) Series 2, US Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 95-3056

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