In the United States, the “right to choose” an abortion is the law of the land. But what if a woman continues her pregnancy because she didn’t really have a choice? What if state laws, federal policies, stigma, and a host of other obstacles push that choice out of her reach?
Based on candid, in-depth interviews with women who considered but did not obtain an abortion, No Real Choice punctures the myth that American women have full autonomy over their reproductive choices. Focusing on the experiences of a predominantly Black and low-income group of women, sociologist Katrina Kimport finds that structural, cultural, and experiential factors can make choosing abortion impossible–especially for those who experience racism and class discrimination. From these conversations, we see the obstacles to “choice” these women face, such as bans on public insurance coverage of abortion and rampant antiabortion claims that abortion is harmful. Kimport's interviews reveal that even as activists fight to preserve Roe v. Wade, class and racial disparities have already curtailed many women’s freedom of choice.
No Real Choice analyzes both the structural obstacles to abortion and the cultural ideologies that try to persuade women not to choose abortion. Told with care and sensitivity,No Real Choice gives voice to women whose experiences are often overlooked in debates on abortion, illustrating how real reproductive choice is denied, for whom, and at what cost.
About the Author
KATRINA KIMPORT is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and a research sociologist with the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) program of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco. Her books include Queering Marriage: Challenging Family Formation in the United States (Rutgers University Press).
"No Real Choice marks the definitive end of arguing for a 'pro-choice' America by proving how policies, assumptions, and histories of medical injustice often make abortion utterly unchooseable. Collecting voices from those who considered abortion but went to term anyway, Katrina Kimport charts the logistical obstacles to terminating unwanted pregnancies and illustrates the need for promoting the right to parent for low income individuals and people of color. The lived reality of racism shapes these ethnographic stories of struggle over reproductive possibilities and impossibilities to affirm abortion not as an option but as a necessary element of a just society." — Carol Mason
"For those skeptical that there’s anything new to say about abortion, Kimport’s book is a must-read. Her careful analysis shows—startlingly—that many women give birth because abortion is 'unchoosable.'" — Lisa Harris, MD
"Kimport’s discovery of women receiving prenatal care who have not 'chosen' to have a baby offers a revelatory corrective to the way we talk about abortion, childbirth, and choice in America." — Katie Watson
"No Real Choice offers important insights into the reproductive experiences of women, especially poor women of color. The result is a reframing of the choice for women, from one of deciding between abortion and the continuation of pregnancy to one of deciding whether or not to have an abortion." — Nazli Kibria
"I came away from the book appreciative that Kimport had collected and shared so many moving and important stories of women whose voices are otherwise unlikely to be heard." — Nursing Clio
"Chocolate Opera Cake and No Real Choice with Prof. Katrina Kimport" — Proofing and Lies podcast
"The Femtastic Podcast with Katie Breen: interview with Katrina Kimport" — The Femtastic Podcast
"We Need to Do More Than “Protect Roe'" by Katrina Kimport — The Nation
"Kimport’s book will be of interest to scholars of reproduction, social movements, legal studies, and social inequalities. It is written in accessible prose that makes the book a suitable text for both graduate and undergraduate courses as well as the broader public. As the United States stands at the precipice of a dramatic change to laws governing the right of pregnant people to reproductive autonomy, No Real Choice is a must-read."