Reproductive Rights and the State
Getting the Birth Control, RU-486, and Morning-After Pills and the Gardasil Vaccine to the U.S. Market
by Melissa Haussman
January 2013, 184pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39822-3
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39823-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The facts in the birth control battle are sobering, among them that women’s access to contraception and medical abortion in the United States has never been offered without restriction. More disturbing, as studies of four key, birth-control-related drugs demonstrate, is the realization that politics and profit have continually trumped medical considerations in determining the availability and use of birth control drugs.

Simultaneously examining four significant, never-before-combined case studies, this unique feminist analysis offers troubling revelations about the private-public interaction in U.S. policy affecting birth control drugs.

Reproductive Rights and the State: Getting the Birth Control, RU-486, and Morning-After Pills and the Gardasil Vaccine to the U.S. Market tackles a subject that remains controversial more than 60 years after “the pill” was approved for use in the United States. The first book to examine the politicization of the FDA approval process for reproductive drugs, this study maps the hard-fought battles over the four major drugs currently on the U.S. market.

To make her case, Melissa Haussman scrutinizes the history of the FDA and the statutes that have governed it, as well as interactions between the U.S. government, American pharmaceutical companies, and the medical community. The analysis centers on explaining how three reproductive drugs were kept off the U.S. market well after their efficacy had been proven, while the availability of the fourth, Gardasil, has less to do with helping girls than with preserving the financial wellbeing of Merck. Readers will come away understanding how, when it comes to reproductive drugs, women’s health concerns have consistently taken a backseat to political agendas and corporate profits.

Melissa Haussman, PhD, is associate professor of political science at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Her scholarship focuses on Canadian and U.S. political structures and behavior, particularly as they impact and include women. Haussman's published works include Abortion Politics in North America; Gendering the State in the Age of Globalization: Women's Movements and State Feminism in Postindustrial Democracies, co-edited with Birgit Sauer; and Federalism, Feminism and Multilevel Governance, co-edited with Marian Sawer and Jill Vickers.


"Reproductive Rights and the State is a fascinating read for anyone with an interest in women's health, drug policy and the pharmaceutical industry, and the spaces where these intersect."—Conscience, October 1, 2013
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