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Dangerous Pregnancies: Mothers, Disabilities, and Abortion in Modern America [Paperback]

Leslie J. Reagan

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Book Description

July 9 2012
Dangerous Pregnancies tells the largely forgotten story of the German measles epidemic of the early 1960s and how it created national anxiety about dying, disabled, and “dangerous” babies. This epidemic would ultimately transform abortion politics, produce new science, and help build two of the most enduring social movements of the late twentieth century--the reproductive rights and the disability rights movements. At most a minor rash and fever for women, German measles (also known as rubella), if contracted during pregnancy, could result in miscarriages, infant deaths, and serious birth defects in the newborn. Award-winning writer Leslie J. Reagan chronicles for the first time the discoveries and dilemmas of this disease in a book full of intimate stories--including riveting courtroom testimony, secret investigations of women and doctors for abortion, and startling media portraits of children with disabilities. In exploring a disease that changed America, Dangerous Pregnancies powerfully illuminates social movements that still shape individual lives, pregnancy, medicine, law, and politics.


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Review

“Previously confidential, unpublished court cases and individual accounts add to the uniqueness of Reagan’s historical angle.”
(Foreword 2010-07-29)

“Ultimately inspiring story that should be required reading for anyone who doubts the benefits of vaccines.”
(Jo Marchant New Scientist 2010-08-21)

“Intellectual.”
(Margaret Marsh Journal Of American History 2011-06-20)

“Fascinating.”
(Mary Devereux Journal Of Clinical Investigation 2011-06-20)

“Powerfully moving, historically precise, and politically relevant.”
(Carol Mason American Studies 2010-11-01)

From the Inside Flap

“Compellingly attentive to medical and legal structures, but also to dramatic human choices, Dangerous Pregnancies provides a boldly argued and carefully documented historical grounding for critical debates in public policy and women’s rights.”—David Roediger, author of How Race Survived U.S. History

"Both a gripping story of the activism of middle-class mothers and an insightful study of abortion law reform, Dangerous Pregnancies is a compelling argument about reproductive rights, immunization, and the public health power of the state. A terrific book."—Molly Ladd-Taylor, author of "Bad" Mothers: The Politics of Blame in Twentieth-Century America and Mother-Work: Women, Child Welfare, and the State, 1890-1930.

"Accessible and clearly written, Reagan's illuminating account of German measles is immensely valuable both in itself and as a window into larger issues of gender, public health, and bioethics."—Charles Rosenberg, author of The Cholera Years and No Other Gods: On Science and American Social Thought

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very important history done in a very academic manner... June 28 2013
By Chris Haynes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Well this editorial review makes it known: ""Intellectual."--Journal of American History"

Yup, it is that all right.

This is an academic history/medical book that only the dedicated layman would appreciate. You need to read it in small doses, otherwise it is a snore fest. Which is why I sent it off to a epidemiologist friend, he would like it just like all of his other graduate level text books.

I only say that because I had to buy Advanced Engineering Mathematics from Amazon for a graduate level class, and I actually enjoy much of that math. But I realize that is not normal.

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