The Means of Reproduction

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5

While most well-informed Americans know how globalism has changed world economies, few know how it affects women's rights. Michelle Goldberg sets out to rectify this in her groundbreaking new book, which exposes how policies concerning reproductive freedom inform the daily lives of women across the globe. Reporting from the United States, Kenya, India and Nicaragua, Goldberg exposes how laws—written at the Vatican, Washington, D.C., and other centers of power—spread throughout the world.

A concise, sensitive and witty writer, Goldberg infuses potentially dry details of public policy with page-turning power. She crunches plenty of statistics but never drones—she always makes a point. Her discussion of the reproductive-rights movement highlights the necessity for American women to keep fighting for progressive, pro-choice legislation, which has far greater repercussions than the oft-discussed "Mommy wars." And she leavens her arguments with riveting real-life stories: At one point, she details the plight of Rosa, a young pregnant Costa Rican girl who has to escape her strictly Catholic country into Nicaragua for a life-saving abortion. It reads like a scene from The Handmaid's Tale.

Eliciting predictable rage and horror in readers does not seem to be Goldberg's main purpose. Instead, she remains coolly focused on proving her thesis, that "the degree to which American politics takes women's rights seriously has epochal reverberations all over the planet." However familiar this concept may feel, Goldberg's reporting brings immediacy to grand-scale issues, arguing that more work needs to be done—even though we have a pro-choice president.—Elizabeth Isadora Gold

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By Michelle Goldberg. Penguin Press, $25.95.