Let’s talk about Generation Roe by Sarah Erdreich…
I’m always excited to host an FDL Book Salon because I get to read thought-provoking books and then chat about them with people who think! I’ll confess that hosting the Book Salon for Sarah Erdreich’s Generation Roe is extra exciting. I am Generation Roe. I was born exactly one month after the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision and have never known a world without the rights protected under it. I’ve also never known a world where access to abortion hasn’t been under attack. As a reproductive justice activist who works for an abortion provider in Missouri, I was eager to read a book that keeps it real while taking a reader’s hand and pulling them down to the grassroots where political battles over abortion impact people’s lives every day.
Sarah Erdreich’s Generation Roe is a crisp, well-written, thorough exploration of abortion through the reality of women’s lives. Erdreich dives into everything from “abortion-recovery counseling” and “crisis pregnancy centers,” to the infamous race baiting anti-choice “black children are an endangered species” billboards. Generation Roe tells the stories of people who work in the field of reproductive health despite threats of violence and Erdreich explores how the stigma placed on abortion fuels those threats. In Generation Roe, Sarah Erdreich also outlines the legislative battlefields across the country and delves into mistakes and missteps pro-choice activists have made along the way.
As a Missourian, I’ve watched my state assembly pass legislation granting employers the right to refuse birth control coverage based on that employer’s moral objection. I’ve fought bills that would allow health care workers to refuse to inform survivors of rape about emergency contraception and others that would prevent local government from applying any regulations to “crisis pregnancy providers.” I even watched as Missouri Right to Life placed an anti-choice billboard in a predominately Black ward of St. Louis city, an advertisement declaring that the most dangerous place for a Black baby is within a Black woman’s womb. Through it all there is the reality on the ground. A reality that has Black women four times more likely to die in childbirth, an infant mortality rate in Missouri that rivals some of the most economically challenged nations in the world, and a sexually transmitted infection rate for St. Louis city that is one of the highest in the country.
It’s fitting that this FDL Book Salon for Generation Roe is taking place during Women’s History Month because so much of the culture war over abortion is rooted in the fight for reproductive justice and equality. Every day activists fight to maintain and expand women’s right to have children, to not have children, and to raise the children they chose to have in environments free of violence and oppression. It often feels like a never-ending series of defeats, but Erdreich points to the common ground that exists and how we can use it for social change. Generation Roe is not a book that chronicles a slow painful loss. Erdreich encourages us to face reality to speak honestly and without shame about abortion. In doing so, she makes Generation Roe a call to action that demands we uphold the human right to abortion and fight like hell to protect it.
I’m down with that.
[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]