Abortion, Motherhood, and Mental Health: Medicalizing Reproduction in the United States and Great Britian (Social Problems & Social Issues)

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9780202306803: Abortion, Motherhood, and Mental Health: Medicalizing Reproduction in the United States and Great Britian (Social Problems & Social Issues)
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Whatever reproductive choices women make--whether they opt to end a pregnancy through abortion or continue to term and give birth--they are considered to be at risk of suffering serious mental health problems. According to opponents of abortion in the United States, potential injury to women is a major reason why people should consider abortion a problem. On the other hand, becoming a mother can also be considered a big risk. This fine, well-balanced book is about how people represent the results of reproductive choices. It examines how and why pregnancy and its various outcomes have come to be discussed this way. The author's interest in the medicalization of reproduction--its representation as a mental health problem--first arose in relation to abortion. There is a very clear contrast between the construction of women who have abortions, implied by moralized argument against abortion, and the construction that results when the case against abortion focuses on its effects on women's mental health. Lee argues that claims that connect abortion with mental illness have been limited in their influence, but this is not to suggest that they have not become a focus for discussion and have had no impact. The limits to such claims about abortion do not, by any means, suggest limits to the process of the medicalization of pregnancy more broadly, that is, a process of demedicalization. The final theme of Ellie Lee's book is the selective medicalization of reproduction. Centering on the claim that abortion can create a post abortion syndrome, the author examines the "medicalization" of the abortion problem on both sides of the Atlantic. Lee points to contrasts in legal and medical dimensions of the abortion issue that make for some important differences, but argues that in both the United States and Great Britain, the post-abortion-syndrome claim constitutes an example of the limits to medicalization and the return to the theme of motherhood as a psychological ordeal. Lee makes the case for looking to the social dimensions of mental health problems to account for and understand debates about what makes women ill. Ellie Lee is research fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Southampton, Highfield, United Kingdom.

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“Students of medical sociology, sociology of mental illness, and comparative sociology will find Abortion, Motherhood, and Mental Health an enjoyable and worthwhile read. Lee’s study of the social construction of mental illness and the detrimental effects of medicalizing the human experience will find a wide audience.”

—Casey Schroeder and Brian Gran, Journal of Marriage and Family

“Is the stress of modern motherhood enough to provoke psychiatric illness? In Abortion, Motherhood, and Mental Health, Ellie Lee adds another significant dimension to our understanding of the medicalization of reproduction, arguing that the experience of mothering is increasingly viewed as risky to women’s mental health. . . . The book will be of interest to sociologists of medicine as yet another finely detailed examination of the seemingly relentless march of medicalization in which ever-larger swaths of human experience become pathologized and thus subject to expert intervention. Lee’s analysis cogently illustrates the power of the cultural sanctioning to shape our understandings of life events. In this sense, claims about PAS and postpartum depression alike represent essentialist arguments that construct female biology not only as destiny, but as the ultimate threat to mental well-being.”

—Elizabeth M. Armstrong, American Journal of Sociology

“Ellie Lee’s study on the medicalization of abortion and motherhood is an intriguing look at how the selective designation of reproductive events as causes of mental illness serves social and political agendas. It is also a call for critical thinking on the pervasiveness of conceiving bodily and psychological events as problematic and something from which to be cured, not something to be lived and learned from. Beyond her focus on reproduction, Lee’s book is an essential read for those interested in how mental illness becomes located in common life events and the motives that fuel this process. While acknowledging women’s experiences as real for them, she emphasizes the importance of thinking critically about the adoption of a singular (medical) framework for their interpretation. . . . Lee’s conclusions are surprising, persuasive, and unsettling. . . . Her book presents a strong argument and an interesting comparison of the foundations of and justification for legal abortion in the United States and the United Kingdom.”

—Alissa Perrucci, Contemporary Sociology

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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 2004. Hardback. Condition: New. 2nd New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Whatever reproductive choices women make--whether they opt to end a pregnancy through abortion or continue to term and give birth--they are considered to be at risk of suffering serious mental health problems. According to opponents of abortion in the United States, potential injury to women is a major reason why people should consider abortion a problem. On the other hand, becoming a mother can also be considered a big risk. This fine, well-balanced book is about how people represent the results of reproductive choices. It examines how and why pregnancy and its various outcomes have come to be discussed this way. The author s interest in the medicalization of reproduction--its representation as a mental health problem--first arose in relation to abortion. There is a very clear contrast between the construction of women who have abortions, implied by moralized argument against abortion, and the construction that results when the case against abortion focuses on its effects on women s mental health. Lee argues that claims that connect abortion with mental illness have been limited in their influence, but this is not to suggest that they have not become a focus for discussion and have had no impact. The limits to such claims about abortion do not, by any means, suggest limits to the process of the medicalization of pregnancy more broadly, that is, a process of demedicalization. The final theme of Ellie Lee s book is the selective medicalization of reproduction. Centering on the claim that abortion can create a post abortion syndrome, the author examines the medicalization of the abortion problem on both sides of the Atlantic. Lee points to contrasts in legal and medical dimensions of the abortion issue that make for some important differences, but argues that in both the United States and Great Britain, the post-abortion-syndrome claim constitutes an example of the limits to medicalization and the return to the theme of motherhood as a psychological ordeal. Lee makes the case for looking to the social dimensions of mental health problems to account for and understand debates about what makes women ill. Ellie Lee is research fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Southampton, Highfield, United Kingdom. Seller Inventory # FLT9780202306803

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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 2004. Hardback. Condition: New. 2nd New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Whatever reproductive choices women make--whether they opt to end a pregnancy through abortion or continue to term and give birth--they are considered to be at risk of suffering serious mental health problems. According to opponents of abortion in the United States, potential injury to women is a major reason why people should consider abortion a problem. On the other hand, becoming a mother can also be considered a big risk. This fine, well-balanced book is about how people represent the results of reproductive choices. It examines how and why pregnancy and its various outcomes have come to be discussed this way. The author s interest in the medicalization of reproduction--its representation as a mental health problem--first arose in relation to abortion. There is a very clear contrast between the construction of women who have abortions, implied by moralized argument against abortion, and the construction that results when the case against abortion focuses on its effects on women s mental health. Lee argues that claims that connect abortion with mental illness have been limited in their influence, but this is not to suggest that they have not become a focus for discussion and have had no impact. The limits to such claims about abortion do not, by any means, suggest limits to the process of the medicalization of pregnancy more broadly, that is, a process of demedicalization. The final theme of Ellie Lee s book is the selective medicalization of reproduction. Centering on the claim that abortion can create a post abortion syndrome, the author examines the medicalization of the abortion problem on both sides of the Atlantic. Lee points to contrasts in legal and medical dimensions of the abortion issue that make for some important differences, but argues that in both the United States and Great Britain, the post-abortion-syndrome claim constitutes an example of the limits to medicalization and the return to the theme of motherhood as a psychological ordeal. Lee makes the case for looking to the social dimensions of mental health problems to account for and understand debates about what makes women ill. Ellie Lee is research fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Southampton, Highfield, United Kingdom. Seller Inventory # FLT9780202306803

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