I first learned about Michele Goodwin on a zoom program sponsored by the Beverly Hills Bar Association and Writers Bloc, “The Future of Reproductive Rights in America.” The conversation included Alexis McGill Johnson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and moderator Jessica Mason Pieklo, Editor at Rewire News Group. Goodwin is the Chancellor’s Professor at the UC Irvine School of Law and the Director of the Center for Biotechnology & Global Health Policy. You can watch the event here: https://writersblocpresents.com/main/the-future-of-reproductive-rights/. I was so impressed by Goodwin that I read her book, Policing the Womb.
Both the program and book introduced me to a legal history of women’s health in the U.S. that I had never fully learned. Goodwin also relates U.S. healthcare policies to women’s healthcare globally. Policing the Womb forced me to see how naive I have been. The book is brilliantly researched and reviews a long history of caselaw up to the present along with the stories behind the legal decisions. The stories are emotionally very hard to read, but the information is essential for anyone who is concerned about women’s health in this country–especially the health of women of color and poor women. The in depth study paints a frightening picture of the pressure mostly white male political leaders have placed (and continue to place) on their female citizens, especially transgender and pregnant women, whom they are sworn to treat with the same rights and respect they give their male constituents. With Roe vs. Wade undermined in state after state and at risk of being completely overturned, this is a must read for all who care about the future welfare of women. All justice issues are interconnected. We are all at risk.